Nicole Pineault, Executive Director, Blood Operations at Rhode Island Blood Center

STANTON, Del. – Nicole Pineault, based at Rhode Island Blood Center, took on a leadership role at the Blood Bank of Delmarva nearly three years ago when she started supervising Community Relations and Volunteer Specialist Angela Williamson and Communications Specialist Tony Prado, and those responsibilities soon increased to also overseeing the Account Managers in Donor Recruitment on an interim basis.

At the time, she was Director of Donor Resources for both RIBC and BBD, and Nicole oversaw growth in Donor Recruitment that included the expansion of Mobile Operations to Washington, D.C., the addition of the Anchor on the Roof media events, consistently had strong collections amongst blood drives in general, and provided valuable editorial guidance to external and internal communications that always ensured BBD put its best foot forward, with tact and grace. As Account Manager Bryan Shepherd said, “She is the physical incarnation of Switzerland.”

One of her moves was to enlist RIBC Marketing Manager Caitlin Grimaldi-Flick’s editing prowess to the weekly and monthly newsletters that was a big help to Tony. Nicole and Tony also strategized media messaging last year to increase awareness about the need for more diversity amongst donors, a move that increased African American donors at BBD from 5.1% to 5.7%, Hispanic American donors from 1.8% to 2.8% and Asians doubled 1.1% to 2.2% from 2022 to 2023, respectively.

Now, the recent hiring of BBD Marketing Manager Jason Burlew on January 22, the addition of Director of Donor Recruitment Joanna Arat back in September and Nicole’s promotion to Executive Director, Blood Operations at RIBC have reduced the amount of time she now spends at BBD.

Tony Prado and Nicole Pineault

But this is not goodbye; it’s simply farewell. We’ll still see Nicole around, and we’re glad of that.

Both Nicole and BBD Executive Director, Blood Operations Steven Corse report to Vice President, Regional Operations (RIBC & BBD) Beau Tompkins.

“What do you get when you combine grit, strength, compassion, empathy, dedication, care, curiosity, humbleness, superb humor, and inspiration?” Beau said. “You get Nicole Pineault.  She is hands down the most impactful person I have every had the pleasure of working with.  Nicole demands that we all work harder and do more for our communities.  Thank you for being you, Nicole.”

Nicole met with Jason and Tony for a symbolic passing of the torch, so to speak, on Teams Monday, January 29. Afterward, she was kind enough to do a Q&A for Bloodline to discuss her role at BBD and her new leadership role at RIBC moving forward.

Q When did you start at Rhode Island Blood Center? And when did you start working with BBD?

A: I celebrated 20 years with RIBC in October. I started 3 months after I graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in English. I was hired to support 2 account managers as their marketing assistant. My time with the BBD team began more than 2 years ago. Initially, that meant working closely with Angela Williamson and Tony Prado. The account managers followed about a year later.

Nicole Pineault speaking at a podium.

Q Was NYBCe Senior Vice President Patty Killeen instrumental in getting you more involved with BBD?

A: Yes, and I’m so glad she did! Working so closely with another division was eye opening. It really helped me understand the geographical and operational differences we have and identify ways we can continue to collaborate and learn from one another.

Q You once told me you got your supervisor legs in the former bone marrow program. Can you elaborate on that?

A: I had been working as a recruiter for the marrow program for a few years when the director of the department asked me to take on a newly created supervisory role. My focus was to grow the number of sponsors we were working with, and the number of new members we were adding to the registry. In that role, I traveled throughout New England focusing on collegiate partnerships, diverse donor groups and patient families. I learned a lot and will be forever grateful for that opportunity.

Q When did you first visit BBD? Are we RIBC’s twin in the enterprise?

A: My first visit to BBD was years ago. I came to visit the contact center to explore where there might be opportunities to share best practices. RIBC and BBD have a lot of similarities – small states, seasonal beach traffic, smaller teams, etc. It makes sense that we continue to work together under Beau’s leadership.

Q How did you enjoy supervising the Donor Recruitment Department at BBD, including Account Managers Mary Moore, Ralph Groves, Bryan Shepherd and Gia Rivera?

A: I enjoyed it immensely. They are a wonderful group with strong relationships, great work ethic and a commitment to our mission that is inspiring. I miss them but know they are in good hands with Joanna.

Nicole Pineault posing with Rhode Island Blood Center staff.

Q What was it training Director of Donor Recruitment Joanna Arat?

A: Training Joanna was a wonderful experience. She catches on quickly and asks great questions. Joanna also has great instincts which is not something that can be taught. She is a wonderful addition to the NYBCe family and the recruitment leadership team. Also, Joanna has contacts throughout the Delaware community that will assist as we continue to grow our operational footprint.

Q What’s your favorite restaurant/hang out when you visit Delaware?

A: I am a firm believer in trying to give back to the sponsors that work with us. I have tried to visit many of the Blood for a Brew sponsors when I’m in Delaware. There are so many fantastic breweries in your area.

Q How does Bryan Shepherd’s Ocean City Blood Drive compare to the big event at RIBC?

A: Our largest 3-day drive is very different than the OC drive. It is held at Electric Boat, a Department of Defense contractor, building submarines. We are not working with local media to ensure the success of those drives. Both are impressive and require a lot of attention and planning, but there are marked differences in the audience, communication channels and security requirements (to name a few).

Q What did you really think of Anchor on the Roof and Anchor Boxed in? Did it end up being what you envisioned when you assigned that to Tony out of ADRP?

A: I LOVED these events! I hope they run annually and continue to grow. Tony, you took our vision and ran with it. I am so proud of you! Your dedication to trying something new and committing to its success was abundantly clear to all involved.

Q Congratulations on your promotion. Did you ever think you would be Executive Director, Blood Operations at Rhode Island Blood Center?

Nicole Pineault posing with Rhode Island Blood Center staff.

A: Twenty years ago, I never envisioned I’d be where I am today. I have been incredibly blessed to have been surrounded by others that saw potential in me that I didn’t always see in myself. I have had the most wonderful bosses and mentors. My family and I are eternally grateful to each and every one of them.

Q We’ve all gotten to know Vice President Beau Tompkins better over the last year, and he’s now our boss. You can sense his passion and how much he cares. What’s it like to work for him, Nicole?

A: Beau is a special person. He always has the best of intentions and truly cares for our staff. Watch him next time you are in a meeting, attending an event or walking through the donor room while he is donating. Beau attempts to connect with everyone. I have always felt heard and supported. That man has a gift, and I’m so happy to be a member of his team.

Q Do you think you’ll travel less or about the same to BBD now in your new role?

A: I will be on site at BBD much less, but I’m always here to offer support.

Q We can always see you on Microsoft Teams, right? Isn’t that a great tool. I often feel like you’re here because of Teams.

A: Teams is a great tool. It’s wonderful to see one another on a regular basis even when we are several states away. Also, the chat function is something I utilize constantly, it’s very convenient. 

Q Is it fair to say you know all the directors and managers by their first names at BBD?

A: It is fair to say that I know most of them.  There are some new staff that I look forward to working with.

Q As a leader, what do you do to inspire those who work for you?

A: I try to lead by example and invest in people personally. I genuinely care for the members of my team, and I hope that shows in everything I do.

Q How would you describe your personality?

A: I am extroverted, driven and positive. Also, anyone that has worked closely with me knows I like data 😉.

Q Describe your sense of humor.

A: My family thinks I am a bit corny, LOL!

Lastly, can you please give us a few biographical details?

Town: Central Falls, R.I. (It’s one square mile!)

Family: Husband, Lt. Col. Dennis Pineault (RI-ANG); son, Caleb (12); daughter, Aubrey (10)

Education: (College, degree) University of Rhode Island, BA-majored in Public Relations and minored in English

Hobbies and interests: I LOVE to read. I enjoy barre, going to the ballet, seeing plays, hanging out at the beach, eating a good meal and laughing with family and friends. I enjoy meeting new people and learning about them.

Favorite book/magazine: Book- “Beneath A Scarlet Sky” by Mark Sullivan

Favorite movie and TV show: Christmas movies (National Lampoons Christmas Vacation is at the top of my list), comedy specials on Netflix and HGTV (House Hunters and Married to Real Estate are two of my favorites right now).

Good advice: Time is precious, don’t waste it.

Favorite quote: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched-they must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller