Meet the Dallas 500: Nakesha Lopez

Meet the Dallas 500: Nakesha Lopez
Meet the Dallas 500: Nakesha Lopez

Nakesha Lopez is the Chief Human Resources Officer at the largest nonprofit health system in the state, Baylor Scott & White Health. The New York native never thought she would end up in the Lone Star State, but she has leaned into all that Texas has to offer and embraced what makes the state unique. She arrived at the health system in 2018 after working in HR in the financial industry with leadership roles at Barclays and Lehman Brothers.

Lopez is an avid reader (two or three books per week) and seeks to “balance listening, empathy and accountability” in her leadership style. As the health system continues to struggle with workforce shortages and maintain quality of care, her role in human resources is dynamic and important. Read on to learn about her first car, the book she says everyone must read, and where she’d be if she weren’t in the c-suite of a health care system.

education: University of Phoenix (MBA-HR Management), Hunter College (BA Sociology)

Place of birth: Trinidad and Tobago

First job: “I first worked as a weekend babysitter in high school. The woman I worked for later hired me to work in her IT recruiting firm (Simone & Associates) which still exists today, doing many different administrative tasks. This position was a great stepping stone to learn about professionalism at a very young age and my first experience with Human Resources, especially recruitment.”

Best advice: “Always dress the part (executive presence) and understand that every opportunity is a learning opportunity.”

Dinner party: “Mandy Ginsberg, former CEO of Match Group because of the equality and pay equity initiatives she has put in place during her tenure. Also Bob Jordan, CEO of Southwest Airlines because I am fascinated by his customer-focused business model.”

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Election destination: “Europe for the history and the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, for the food, culture and beach.”

Nonprofit cause: “Prader Willi Syndrome Association, which supports individuals and families with information and resources. My son was born with this disorder.”

Passion: “Reader! I read two to three books a week.”

Industry change: “To make access to healthcare easier for ALL communities.”

Local price: “Tonkotsu ramen from Oni Ramen in Deep Ellum.”

Do over: “I don’t believe in repetitions and I don’t like to regret things. I believe each step leads to the next part of the journey. If anything, I can look back and wish I had spent more time living in the moment.”

Fun fact: “My first concert was seeing Destiny’s Child perform at Jones Beach in New York during an MTV summer tour with up-and-coming artists.”

Go to counselors: “Sometimes I find advice in a book, but more often it’s from internal and external peers across the country.”

Toughest challenge: “The last two years, the negotiations on COVID-19 and the labor challenge, have been the toughest.”

First car: “A green Dodge Neon. I was so proud to have a car because so many of my peers in New York took the subway.”

Biggest success: “Our work to reduce both the nurse unemployment rate and contract labor during an unprecedented labor shortage.”

A better DFW: “Although I love the food scene in Dallas, I would like to add more Caribbean restaurants.”

The pivotal moment: “I never planned to leave New York because I had deep family ties, but my husband was in the Army and was asked to move to Ft. Hood in Texas. We moved as a family and it ended up being monumental. The people were so nice and faith-based, which was important to us. I met a lot of people and created my own, new network.”

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Walk-up song: “‘Fighter’ by Christina Aguilera”

Must read: “The most powerful woman in the room is you by Lydia Fenet”

Spiritual animal: “I’m basically an introvert, but I have to be more extroverted at work and other networking settings, so I’d have to say an animal that blends well in different environments like an owl.”

Alternate reality: “I wanted to be an entrepreneur with my own business in the beauty industry.”

Biggest risk: “Moving to Texas from New York.”

Bucket list: “I would like to cycle along the Amalfi Coast in Italy.”

Key strategies: “Effective communication, humility and responsibility. I think you should aim to inspire people with communication and strive to balance listening, empathy and accountability.”

Future forecast: “Because the last two years were so challenging, I’m excited to get to a new normal; to a place of stability.”


Will Maddox

Will is a senior editor for D managing director magazine and the editor of D CEO Healthcare. He has written about healthcare…

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