The NR Group is led by Nancy Swabb and Rikki Ray, who together have more than 35 years of experience in corporate, consumer, association and nonprofit event planning, marketing, fundraising and communications.
It’s our business to connect people. Relationships matter.
We understand different constituencies because we are different constituencies. We know how to appeal to Millennials, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers.
We listen and observe. We anticipate our clients’ needs and pay attention to the details. We have learned, for example, when to print a script in 24 point type so a CEO or news anchor doesn’t have to use reading glasses at the podium. We learn who’s gluten free, vegetarian, pescatarian or allergic to peanuts. We monitor weather forecasts. We remain calm and discreet.
We know how to lead a team and delegate. Ideally, we and the assistants and vendors we bring on board remain invisible, and our clients shine. That’s just how we like it.
Rikki prides herself on being open–minded, solving problems in new ways and always being willing to try new things. She is detail-oriented yet people-focused. A cause-centered approach enables her to shepherd a variety of fundraising initiatives successfully.
Rikki began her career at Mercer, the world’s largest human resources consulting firm, where she worked with a variety of clients on human capital related matters.
While she enjoyed the challenge of helping her clients solve complex problems, she felt moved to follow her passion for making a difference in the lives of others and began her journey of mastering the art of nonprofit management.
She’s been fortunate to work with a variety of charities including Nativity Preparatory School, Elizabeth Seton Academy, the Holocaust Education Foundation, and the On Your Feet Foundation. Her nonprofit experience includes corporate solicitation programs, annual giving, direct mail, capital campaigns, feasibility studies, endowment building, strategic planning, prospect research, list enhancement, major gift cultivation and strategies, inauguration of planned giving, and donor recognition programs.
Rikki holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Outside of her time at The NR Group, Rikki enjoys checking destinations off of her travel bucket list, trying new restaurants, and exploring Chicago with her husband and three children.
A Chicago native, Nancy has always had many projects going at once, including volunteer work for charities close to her heart.
She spent four years at a business-to-business marketing agency, and many years in the nonprofit sector. She raised money and ran events, including galas honoring Chicago’s most high-profile civic leaders and philanthropists, and The L.A.T.E. Ride, a popular after-midnight bicycle ride with thousands of riders.
The nonprofit world taught Nancy a lot about collaboration, diplomacy and how best to work with lean budgets. For the last five years, Nancy has been called upon to work with both corporate and nonprofit entities.
Clients value her can-do attitude, personable nature and ability to build relationships and trust across teams with varied stakeholders.
Nancy is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She loves the energy and vitality of Chicago, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. In 2017, they hosted a child from West Africa who had life-changing surgery at Advocate Children’s Hospital. Baby Dominique’s story garnered world-wide attention. Expected to live a long life after her successful surgery, Dominique contracted malaria back home in Ivory Coast and passed away in late 2018. To keep her spirit alive, Nancy is using the hashtags #yearoflove and #dominiqueislove to highlight a kindhearted and inspiring person on her Facebook page every day of 2019.