headshot of Nicky smiling

As a former Azusa Pacific University admissions counselor, Nicky Slavich ’14,  MA ’18, often shared with incoming students that developing your faith in college is similar to little league baseball. The ball is set on the tee, but it’s up to each student to decide whether or not to swing the bat in their hands. Slavich’s journey throughout navigating his calling at APU, and landing a job he never envisioned having, proves that it takes more than just one swing to create the life God has planned for you. Continually honing his faith, and going for it even when feeling uncertain about the outcome is something Slavich commits to every single day.

Originally from the Bay Area, Slavich had only ever attended private Christian schools growing up, so when deciding where to attend college, APU stood out as an excellent option. “When I toured the campus for the first time I was amazed by the contagious, energizing atmosphere,” he said. Slavich appreciated the generous scholarships and opportunities on campus to get involved. Although he waited as long as possible to declare a major, unsure of where his passions were leading him, Slavich chose to study history with the intention of becoming a teacher. 

A vital aspect of Slavich’s personal and spiritual growth at APU came from connecting with mentors and taking advantage of discipleship opportunities to deepen his faith. “APU is a place that doesn’t necessarily give you all the answers, but it asks all the right questions,” he said. “I’m grateful to have been immersed in an environment that cultivates spiritual curiosity and growth.” 

After finishing his undergraduate studies in 2014, Slavich worked in various roles at APU while earning his MA in Organizational Leadership. Over the course of four years, he was the Welcome Center coordinator, later transitioning to serving as an admissions recruiter, and then the assistant director for Orientation and Transitions (now Campus Life). “I’ve always been passionate about leadership, and it couldn’t get any better than working at the same place I got my master’s degree,” he said. Building connections with students and encouraging them to pursue their calling was a highlight of Slavich’s time as an employee at APU.

Hoping to expand his horizons, Slavich started working at IMT Residential as a recruiting and engagement specialist. For a long time he had dreamed of working at Google, but never thought he would end up there since he assumed the company mostly hired computer scientists and software engineers. Much like the baseball bat analogy he shared with students, Slavich took a shot, over and over again despite how often he felt the effort was futile. Slavich, who is now a LinkedIn influencer with more than 400,000 followers, used the platform to reach out to people working at Google asking if he could get to know their story. “Genuinely being interested in what people do and asking great questions naturally lends itself to networking. I see it more as building relationships on a common ground,” he said. Even though roughly 20 people Slavich reached out to did not respond, he never gave up, and one day he heard back from a stranger who shared his story on a phone call. He gave Slavich a reference at Google, and months later, the person who was once a connection on LinkedIn became Slavich’s friend and co-worker. 

Slavich’s job as a recruiter at Google includes communicating with candidates to prepare software engineers for the intense hiring process. Amidst the many duties his work entails, Slavich demonstrates his character by making positive connections with each applicant. His favorite part of the job is creating a competitive compensation package for the candidates who are hired, and welcoming them to Google. 

Although Slavich thoroughly enjoys his career, he doesn’t view it as his identity. “Prior to getting the job I always wanted, I thought that once I got it I would have ‘made it.’ I’ve found that success is less about what you do and more about who you are becoming,” he said. 

Slavich values spending time with his wife Chelsea ’14, who he met at APU during his first week as a student. They will soon celebrate eight years of marriage, and are grateful for their two greatest gifts: Marlow, age 3, and Layne, age 1.

Reflecting on his unexpected journey, Slavich has learned that the path to his calling isn’t always as clear as he hoped it would be. “God offers a lot of freedom to figure out what you want to do with your skills and interests. I’ve been reflecting a lot on Proverbs 3. I learned that if you trust the Lord, He will direct your steps,” he said. Slavich’s story shows that when you swing the bat God places in your hands, He’ll give you the ability to hit a home run.