• Accomplished leader of global communications networks, campaigns, policy and best practices comprising internal and external stakeholders, marketers, elected officials, advocates, and experts
  • Established influencer of effective and collaborative teams, public relations strategy, organizational risk mitigation and brand elevation
  • Advocate of cultivating diverse, inclusive, and positive communities, conversations and educational opportunities to elevate impact, research and results
  • International public speaker on topics of leadership, social change, impact, integrity, digital citizenship, online accountability, crisis communications, strategy, engagement, and education
  • Engaged and experienced servant of the public good, former elected official, municipal program coordinator, and confidant



January 2014-Present, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI

  • Serve as an expert advisor and strategy lead for the creation and oversight of messaging on prominent issues such as COVID-19, public health, vaccination advocacy and awareness, democracy and debate, commencement, Presidential initiatives and issues of institutional prominence and concern. In the 2020-2021 FY my work garnered over 6.7 million engagements with university resources, nearly half a million clicks to university websites, over 5.2 million views of university visual content and more than 82,000 shares of university resources.
  • Direct a team of 12 strategic communicators and indirectly manage relationships and collaboration with over 50 schools, college, and organizational staff to unify and optimize online messaging on behalf of the U-M brand, 19 schools and colleges, subsidiary administrative units, university leadership, Michigan Medicine, U-M Flint, and U-M Dearborn.
  • Elevate faculty expertise, outreach, and impact through management of the President’s Faculty Public Engagement and Impact initiative, and close partnership with the Office of Research, Academic Innovation, Government Relations, Michigan News, and the coordination of the Michigan Impact newsletter. Through our public engagement and impact efforts, in FY 2020-2021 promoted over 125 faculty experts resulting in nearly 50,000 audio downloads and over 94,000 page views of research discussions related to societal needs and community concerns. During the month of May alone, our implementation of a 31-day campaign to promote university impact and raise awareness for funding needs amid state budget discussions resulted in over 1.6 million views and almost 67,000 engagements.
  • Mitigate institutional risk, elevate brand perception, create measurements, and ensure over 1,200 official channels provide additional value to millions of university stakeholders through cohesive, coordinated communications and campaigns.
  • Guide the development of public online personas for key institutional leaders, including President’s, Chancellor’s, Executive Officer’s, Dean’s and faculty, authoring content and providing insights that encourage growth and engagement, for scholarship and reputation management, including over 630,000 Twitter engagements and 6,400 shares for the university President in 2020.
  • Prioritize projects and develop roadmaps for the execution of strategic communications and marketing efforts, most recently including the creation and coordination of over 1,500 pieces of content on COVID-19 and our public-health informed fall.
  • Oversee the maintenance of the U-M brand watch tool, tracking conversations and identifying key constituencies as they relate to emerging issues and leading cross-unit efforts to create documentation reflecting collaborative OVPC efforts on important initiatives, and demonstrating campaign success.
  • Proactively research and implement the early adoption of new communications platforms for high-performance and goal-oriented results.


March 2016-Present, Nikki Sunstrum, LLC

  • Provide guidance to higher education, government, nonprofit institutions and organizations regarding strategy, brand management, communications, risk mitigation, governance and leadership.
  • Past clients include: Association of American Universities, U.S. Department of State, Great Lakes Homeland Security Association, American Marketing Association, Columbia University, Michigan Department of Agriculture, Karlstads University (Sweden), University of Montana, University of South Florida, College and University Public Relations and Associated Professional, Bentley University, Oakland Public Schools, Peterson Rudgers Group, Baruch College, Wentworth Financial Communications, Hertz Foundation, Grand Valley State University, Bellarmine University, Washington University – St. Louis, University of Tennessee, Oberlin College, University of Maryland, University of Toronto and more


March 2011-January 2014, State of Michigan, Lansing MI

  • Managed communications and coordination of internal and external statewide crowdsourcing projects, responsible government initiatives, and state employee charitable campaigns and recognition efforts
  • Authored, established, and enforced statewide strategy, best practices and terms of use policies for 123 cross-departmental accounts and individual use
  • Coordinated official interactive communications channels as Chair of the State of Michigan Social Media Board, engaging a collective audience of over 4.5 million
  • Facilitated the education of state employees, leadership and external organizations in social media best practices and the latest technologies
  • Served as an advocate and liaison with the Governor’s Office, executive officers, state department leadership and communications staff on matters of education, best practice and collaboration


2012-2013 (Special Assignment), Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Lansing MI

  • Designed and implemented compelling and engaging campaigns to promote the “Pure Michigan” brand and MEDC initiatives, including “Pure Michigan Pink,” the state’s first social good campaign aimed at promoting breast cancer awareness
  • Conceived the first State of Michigan Social Media Day, promoting the state’s social media accounts to Michigan’s 9.8 million residents.
  • Procured the first platform for identifying analytics, impact and return on investment for social communications
  • Doubled business and talent program communities through strategy direction, content management and training
  • Developed strategy and produced content for the Pure Michigan tourism campaign


2008   Master in Education, Aquinas College, Grand Rapids MI

2003   Bachelor of Science – Political Science, Grand Valley State University, Allendale MI


CASE, Circle of Excellence: The Michigan Wings

Faculty Award, Higher Ed Experts Faculty 

Award Recipient, The Best of Michigan Business and Higher Ed Experts Faculty

Manager’s Award, Michigan Main Street Program

Horizon Award, Michigan Main Street Program