With offers coming at her in every direction to play softball at any level of her choosing, Gregg had one major factor while picking colleges in 1996. The Esko, Minn., native wanted to play, and she wanted to play the moment she stepped foot on a collegiate diamond. Gregg was flattered that her home state wanted to keep her local at the University of Minnesota, but the recipe head coach Mitch Hanson was concocting at NDSU was just right for Gregg’s taste.
“I knew it was an up and coming program,” Gregg said. “It was evident by my site visits that the program was on the rise and they had a new coaching staff in place that was very aggressive in terms of goal setting.”
Gregg’s intuition didn’t fail and the Bison became a perennial division II power over her next four years by winning 230 games and the national championship in 2000. Gregg was at the heart of the success, leading the way with her bat and scorching speed on the base paths.
Softball titles and records weren’t the only lifelong accomplishments from NDSU that Gregg would carry with her into her adult life. She got married to her husband Ace after her junior season and they’ve remained as close as ever with their three children Trinity, Dawson and Alexa.
After graduating from NDSU in the fall of 2000, Gregg was volunteering with the softball team and working at Innovis, but she knew the business world was what intrigued her most. That’s when she received an offer to work at a technical and customer support agency.
“After the first day at my new job, that evening I got an offer to work at Microsoft,” remembers Gregg. “So I had to go in my second day and give my notice, which is kind of embarrassing.”
Gregg laughs when recalling how she got a job at one of the most influential companies in Fargo. Her intuition was in full-gear and she knew Microsoft was the place to be.
Technical support was Gregg’s first job title at Microsoft in 2002. She went through the technical training and started helping people in and out of her company with the products Microsoft was helping develop. Similar to coming to NDSU, she was successful right away and earned a position in a managerial-service delivery role that would send her around the world to places like India, the Philippines and Spain.[/text_output]
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[text_output]Today, Gregg’s organization focuses on supporting some of Microsoft’s largest enterprise customers across the Office and SharePoint products, which also includes customers using O365 Cloud.
“When I’m going, I’m motivating and inspiring others,” Gregg says about her travels. “I’m the leader of their organization, so I want to make sure to connect them to the vision of the company, the vision of the organization and it’s all about being a customer-centric culture. I’ve had different specific objectives in each of my various trips, but the commonality is always connecting with people and bringing that optimism and attitude.”
Optimism and attitude are also two of the many words Gregg uses when describing the applicable life tools she learned during her four years in the Bison softball program. She describes it as a different playing field, but the way communication motivates in the dugout and conference room is generally the same.
Gregg has followed the Bison since the day she left and still hears from head coach Darren Mueller (an assistant back when she played) from time to time with his softball alumni newsletters. She even gets a chance to brag about the football team whenever her organization members in Texas bring up the FCS National Championship game. Football conversations also spark an opportunity to display the kindness she fell in love with when she moved to the area.
“Every time they come to visit, they talk about how friendly the staff in the cafeteria are or just the team members being warm and friendly,” Gregg said. “I think that it makes it an attractive location.”
Gregg and her family live 30 miles south of Fargo in Barnesville, Minn. She said her son, Dawson, is adamant about playing sports at NDSU and will start his first year of tackle football this fall with his father, a former Minnesota State Moorhead player, as his coach.
Hitting singles and stealing bases are a thing of the past for Gregg, but the Bison Pride she displays with her work effort and sacrifice at Microsoft has reestablished her as a game-changing player. The old adage continues off the diamond; there’s no stopping Nikki Gregg.[/text_output]