Meet Nikki! - Westport Moms

How old are your kids and how long have you lived in Westport? I have three awesome kids. Noah (age 22), Zachary (20) and Sophia (16 years old) – a sophomore at Staples high school. We moved here like many families when I was pregnant with Zachary, my second child. My kids really were raised here from the beginning.

How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project it is you might be doing? My career really began when I was eight years old and I fell in love with taking care of children and also being an entrepreneur. I would go around the neighborhood and find families to let me babysit. I have now successfully helped launch three pediatric practices. First – Cornell Medical Associates on the West Side, followed by Childrens Health Services in Weston, Connecticut. And finally, Dr. Jennifer Gruen and I teamed up to bring a premier personalized pediatric practice to Westport – Village Pediatrics. And we love Village and have never looked back. But I noticed a need in the community for primary care for adults and it was bothering me for years. So I wanted to take my business experience and open a primary care center for adults. When I found the building behind CVS it just lent itself so well to being a wellness center.  I realize that this has caused some confusion in the community, but my commitment remains to Village Pediatrics while simultaneously being the CEO of the Westport Health and Wellness Center.  You really can do It all – and most importantly, have fun doing it. The greatest benefit is all of the amazing people I am now meeting in the wellness space.

What was your best memory from 2021, a strange year we know… My best memory of 2021 would have to be my trip to Tanzania with Unite the world for Africa – a charity I am on the board of. Going to Africa and really getting to know the people, and seeing how I could be of service there, has been on my bucket list since I wrote my college essay. And the experience was even more than I bargained for. Of course, establishing the Wellness Center was a huge accomplishment and a dream I had held for a long time.

What are you most looking forward to in 2022?  That’s easy – having the community join and experience the wellness center! And I’m spending two weeks in Costa Rica in July. I can’t wait to practice my Spanish.

What is the best show you have recently (binge) watched? AND/OR what is the last book you read? I just finished the Dropout and also just watched King Richard; they were both amazing. For reading, I just finished Beautiful Country, which was an amazing immigrant story.

What is one food you could not live without? That’s a tough one. I’m going to say fruit, especially mango

What is your greatest fear? I feel fortunate not to be one who is held back by fears in general. My biggest fear would probably be doing something impulsive and regretting it later. But I act quickly and get stuff done and generally don’t look back. It’s my winning formula.

What is your greatest indulgence? Massages. I’ve always loved them and since I’ve been experiencing the cupping massage with Ana at the Wellness Center it has come to an even higher level. I love discovering different types of massages as well. Most recently, I had a Thai massage on vacation, which was awesome.  And travel. It’s my happy place so I am constantly booking trips and dreaming of my next ones.

Which talent would you most like to have? I would love to be able to play the piano. My sister was an accomplished pianist and I used to love just sitting and listening to her practice. Unfortunately, I did not possess her musical genius.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Rome was not built in a day, slow and steady wins the race, live and work close to home, and no one is better than you and you are better than no one!

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? That my first name is actually Carol and I was named after my aunt who had significant cerebral palsy and was wheelchair-bound and taught in the living room by my grandmother for most of her life. Well – until Hillary Clinton pushed the agenda of schooling for all children, including the disabled!  Also, that I love a good deal and I somehow figured out how to get Duke to pay me to go to medical school with a combination of persistence and great people in the financial aid office there.

If you weren’t doing what you are today, what might your career path might have been? I can’t imagine not being a pediatrician. But I was struck when I went to my high school reunion and a couple people were surprised that I wasn’t a writer. I do love to read and explore my creative side.  That’s what I’m doing with TikTok doc now.

If you could travel to one place this next year, where would it be and why? That’s almost funny and I don’t mean to make people jealous but I am currently in Death Valley and then hiking the Grand Canyon, I’ve got two trips planned to Costa Rica and a business weekend in Atlanta, and I may be hiking the Camino in Spain in the fall. 

If you could live somewhere other than where you do, where would it be? I’m pretty sure everybody knows the answer to this is California. With Costa Rica coming as a close second. But I do also love Manhattan. Ideally I could divide time.

If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted to do, what would it be? If possible, I would magically start with a 10-15 mile bike ride on the road with no traffic in perfect weather. I would end up at a nice place for brunch with my best friend or one of my children. I would then go to a spa for massage and hot pools. If I could magically see a Broadway show and have a great dinner after, that would make a pretty ideal day for me.

Are you a morning person, or a night owl? How does sleep fit into your life?  I used to be a morning person but I’m growing to have more respect for morning sleep. I like to try to just get a lot done during the workday but not have a crazy pace in the morning and still be in bed reading and falling asleep between 10 and 11. I usually get around eight hours a night.

What thing has surprised you most about being in the suburbs? Having grown up in a suburb similar to Westport – Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles – I think what I love about Westport is our vibrant downtown, library and restaurants. 

What is the first thing you do when you walk in the door after a long day? Hug my daughter

At a movie: Candy or Popcorn? Popcorn
Cook or order in? That’s a tough one but probably order in
Cake or Ice Cream? Vanilla cake with buttercream frosting
Iced Coffee or Hot Coffee? Hot coffee
Beach or Mountains? Can’t choose between the beach and mountains; I just love them both so much
Puzzle or Board Game? Puzzle
Wine or a Cocktail (if cocktail, which one?) Cocktail – spicy margarita
Before bed: Social media or book/TV? Book/TV
Watch or play sports? Play sports 
Stay in or go out? Go out! I do not like to sit still
Comedy or Drama? Dramedy

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