George Nichols III was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he was raised with his four older sisters. He remembers the powerful experience of his childhood; being brought up in a home of strong, influential women. He credits both his childhood and life with his wife and two daughters—all resilient women—for having shaped him into a better man. George constantly reminds his son that he will be just fine in the future—surrounded by that same atmosphere. He and his wife, Cynthia Jean “CJ”, currently reside in Potomac, MD with their three children, Courtney, Jessica, and George IV.
George is a 1980 graduate of Alice Lloyd College. He explains how ALC was a significant turning point in his life. Throughout his childhood George’s concentration had been on his basketball career—it had been everything to him. Then his father’s position with Firestone Tire Company was terminated during a strike when George was just thirteen. It was because of this unexpected event he began to strive for greater things than typical teens. George always had caring and compassionate people in his life that pushed him to see beyond his ability to play basketball. However, it was during his time at ALC that helped him begin to focus on who he was and who he had the potential to become. After graduating from ALC, George went on to attend Western Kentucky University where he received his bachelor’s degree. His now extensively successful career in financial services began after receiving his M.A. from the University of Louisville.
At the age of twenty-eight, George’s reputation for efficient problem solving launched with a position as Chief Executive Officer of Central State Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Once he successfully tackled the management issues at Central State, George was quickly picked up by Blue Cross and Blue Shield as the Executive Director of Product Development, soon rising to Marketing Director. In 1995, he was chosen to serve as the Executive Director for Kentucky’s Health Policy Board. Continuing his fast-paced rise in the insurance and financial services fields, George took on a role as Special Advisor to Governor Paul Patton in matters of health care policy and economic development for the financial services industry. Additionally, George has served as President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and Chairman of the International Relations Committee. He served as the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Insurance before joining New York Life in 2001 as Senior Vice President and Assistant to the Chairman. While working within New York Life, George held many central positions. In 2006, he joined the Office of Governmental Affairs, assuming its leadership role in 2007.
Along his journey, George has stayed in touch with his roots, continuing to better himself. In 1991, he began mentoring an at-risk youth who was residing in one of the toughest neighborhoods Louisville had to offer. While George considered his childhood to be financially trying, the experiences he gained during his time in this mentorship brought many things into perspective for him. Character traits he developed while at ALC (compassion, faith, respect, leadership and a desire to give back) helped him navigate the expedition. George was determined to show the youth what life could provide with work and perseverance.
The dedication to a life of service has earned George many prestigious recognitions, including being named to Savoy’s list of Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America in 2012 and again in 2018; Kentucky’s first African-American insurance commissioner; the first African-American president of the NAIC; and the first African-American elected to New York Life’s Executive Management Committee.
George Nichols once noted that his dream job would be to someday run a non-profit organization. ALC is delighted to say that he has finally achieved that dream! The American College of Financial Services announced that George Nichols III will assume the position of their President and Chief Executive Officer effective November 1, 2018. The organization noted that his seventeen-year career in both the public and private sectors made him uniquely qualified to lead the largest accredited, non-profit educational institution dedicated to the financial services profession in the U.S.
Alice Lloyd College is endlessly grateful for George’s continued support. A shared purpose of providing leadership and guidance to Appalachian youth has placed George on ALC’s Board of Trustees where he continues to positively impact our future leaders.
Mr. Nichols’ advice to current ALC students reflects that of what he gives to himself: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6