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Leading as a Way of Life: Nikki Thompson Frazier embodies influence, inspiration and example

Titles don’t always do descriptive justice to relate the depth of someone or the profound difference a single person makes in the lives of others.

More than the small-business owner of Sweet Encounter Bakery & Cafe in downtown Lansing’s Knapp’s Centre, Nikki Thompson Frazier is also a woman who leads.

She’s a person of color who leads.

She’s a parent who leads, a partner who leads and a neighbor who leads.

Nikki Frazier making cupcakes

There are many dimensions that go into Frazier’s leadership, as well as how she leads, the examples she sets and the inspiration she gets.

“I do lead in all of those different ways,” Frazier said. “Sometimes people don’t even realize that they are leading in so many different ways within their lives, and they don’t even realize that they are, in fact, a leader.”

Her most public-facing leadership role is running her shop, where she focuses on allergy-friendly and gluten-free soups, sandwiches, sweets and more “to make sure that families like mine could have an inclusively delicious dining experience that doesn’t compromise taste, texture or flavor,” she said. The business’s spectrum is supplemented with cooking classes for all ages, catering services and a growing e-commerce push.

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