Conducting Charm City: A Q&A with Nicole Bridges, Baltimore Office Leader

Clare Sausen May 18, 2021

What excites you most about your appointment to the Baltimore office leader?

NB: The Baltimore office is really unique— we’re primarily comprised of employees in firmwide services, but we do have a small design studio in the office, too. I’m especially excited to get more exposure to the design side of the company—which I’m not as familiar with as an accountant myself. I think it will be especially interesting to get more insight into their projects and design initiatives.


How does your industry knowledge contribute to your abilities as an office leader?

NB: One of the primary responsibilities of this role is to be accountable for both the operational integrity as well as the financial performance of the office. My background is in accounting, so that allows me to have insider knowledge into evaluating and ensure our healthy financial performance. Though I have always been deeply involved in reviewing our numbers, I now work closely with the entire team to make suggestions and analyze those numbers to ensure financial health.


How has working remotely influenced your leadership style?

NB: I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that we all need more flexibility during this time. We’ve all been impacted professionally and personally by this pandemic, and the ability to be flexible with employees as they navigate that is imperative. From accommodating alternative work schedules to ignoring a barking dog in the background, people deeply appreciate the grace they’re given during this difficult time. I think that the work from home situation actually reinforced my leadership style in a lot of ways: I’ve never been a micromanager — I trust my staff to do what they need to do correctly in the given time frame. Working from home, you don’t know exactly everything that someone is working on, so trust is key.


What do you miss most about going into the physical office?

NB: I still go in about once a week since the pandemic started to sign checks and do other administrative tasks. I only started with the firm about three months before the pandemic, so I don’t know much else. Those three months happened to be the busiest time of the year for accounting, so I didn’t get to interact or meet as many people as I would’ve liked to. I’m most looking forward to that face-to-face interaction and getting to know everyone in person. I have gotten to meet people digitally that I hadn’t met for those three months, but it’s different than being together and knowing someone personally. I want to establish strong relationships and understand the office.

As far as a culture going forward, I think we’ll still have adjusting to do based on alternative scheduling.  I suspect we will all have different schedules in terms of coming into the office and working from home. I don’t think we’ll have a situation where you can see everyone in the office at the same time for a while still—if ever. It’s certainly a challenge to try to maintain the company culture when everyone is so segmented, so we must be intentional when we can come in again to gather and periodically bring everyone together to connect.


Nicole Bridges, CPA is an Associate Principal, Global Controller and Office Leader in CRTKL’s Baltimore office. With over two decades of accounting and finance experience in various industries, Nicole leads the firm’s global accounting and reporting functions.  Prior to CRTKL, she was the Controller for a Regional Interior Design and Furniture Procurement firm in which she led the Accounting, Finance and Treasury functions.  Nicole brings to the company a solid foundation of technical accounting, internal controls and accounting processes to ensure accurate and timely financial results.  Nicole earned a Bachelor of Accounting from Towson University and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the State of Maryland.

Author Spotlight

Clare Sausen
Clare Sausen is a Content Writer for CallisonRTKL. Based in Washington, D.C., she leverages her personal and professional experience in journalism, radio, and nonprofit communication to serve as a valuable member of the global firmwide team. Since attaining her Bachelor of Arts degree from George Washington University in Communication and American Studies, she has honed her craft of architectural storytelling across multiple platforms.