New River Community and Technical College
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Nikki Bowman grew up in Clay and Kanawha counties. She showed signs of being an entrepreneur at an early age. Instead of a lemonade stand, when she was five years old, she set up a table outside of a local grocery store and sold tadpoles for $0.25. She was the first of her family to graduate from college, putting herself through school by working several jobs, including being a resident assistant, working the nightshift in residence halls, and serving as an Alcohol Beverage Control Commission undercover operative responsible for busting bars for selling to underage drinkers. Nikki graduated from West Virginia University summa cum laude and then received her master’s degree in Writing from DePaul University in Chicago, where she was awarded the only writing fellowship. She graduated at the top of her class.
After working in the magazine industry for nine years, in 2008, she decided to move back to her home state of West Virginia to launch her own company, New South Media Inc. The mission of her company was to create high-caliber publications that changed perceptions about the Mountain State, not just the perceptions from those outside of West Virginia, but she wanted to change the way West Virginians looked at themselves. After being turned down by four different investor groups and several banks that would not loan her money to launch her business, exasperated she funded her company by using her own savings. Since launching her business in 2008, her company, which publishes the critically acclaimed WV Living, WV Weddings, Morgantown, Explore, and West Virginia Focus magazines among others, has grown exponentially and now employees 13 people in an industry that has seen major layoffs and downsizing. She recently launched a custom publishing arm to her business and opened a satellite office in Charleston, WV.
Community service is important to Nikki. She fervently believes that living local and being a vested community member is more than a lifestyle choice, it is a responsibility. She serves on the executive committee of several boards including the Morgantown Chamber of Commerce and the Tamarack Foundation, the state’s leading non-profit for the arts. She is also a member of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Marion County Chamber of Commerce, and WV Hospitality and Tourism Association. She serves on the Fairmont State University’s Business School Advisory Board, WVU Pittsburgh Symphony Board, Regional Board of AAA, and the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. She was chosen by the Women’s Business and Training Center as the 2011 Pocahontas County Woman Business Leader and selected by the State Journal as one of the Generation Next 40 under 40. She was also recently inducted into the 2014 class of Leadership West Virginia. Nikki is the recipient of three Star of the Industry Awards given by the West Virginia Division of Tourism.
Nikki is a highly sought-after speaker. She has served as the keynote for several business development conferences and leadership conferences. She has traveled to every nook and cranny in the state, serving as a judge in everything from the Miss West Virginia Pageant to The Road Kill Cook-off in Marlinton to the International Water Tasting Competition in Berkeley Springs.
Nikki resides in Morgantown with her husband Greg, who is a law professor at West Virginia University, and her two children.