Conversation with Nicki Sanders and Wendy Elover, Progress Partner


Wendy Elover is a serial entrepreneur who, even at a young age, had the ability to bring people together for a common cause. Her willingness to step into the leadership role in various groups without a designee placed in charge set the stage for life as a successful leader.

Wendy learned the importance of leadership from the example of her parents. Her mother held several leadership roles in local community groups throughout Wendy’s childhood, and her father was an entrepreneur, always leading by example. Wendy’s first business was an appliance parts store where she helped repairmen & do-it-yourselfers. She later owned a marketing and fundraising company, a CPA practice with her husband, and a personalized book business. Wendy is also a licensed mortgage loan officer.

Wendy is the founder of Dreams in Motion Consulting. With each new business, she has always taken a skill or life experience to build on. Her journey to reignite her passion for life and overcome perfectionism led to Dreams In Motion Consulting where she offers workshops and one-on-one consulting to help people get unstuck. Her life mission is to help people step outside of their comfort zone and create life intentionally filled with purpose, passion and joy – which looks different for everyone. Dreams In Motion Consulting is ever-changing – evolving as Wendy evolves.

Wendy is also the author of ‘My Cape Is at the Cleaners: Choosing Happy over Perfect’. Wendy realized the need to share positive messaging and human stories, and although she doesn’t particularly love writing, the idea to write a book would not go away. She pushed past her emotions and dictated the entire book into her phone.

Over the years, Wendy has learned that environment, opportunity, and vision are essential elements in successful leadership. What Wendy wishes she had known before becoming a leader in an official capacity is the difference between managing and leading. Wendy describes management as getting things done through people, but she leans more toward leadership which entails guiding and supporting your team to help them thrive and accomplish goals together. Wendy stated, “good leaders often lead people right out of their team or upward within their teams” – cultivating their skills so that they can leave the nest and soar.

When asked what makes women good leaders, Wendy stated that women typically congregate together so we have experience bringing people together. She also stated that, in general, women are encouraged to nurture their family and community which teaches them to have the empathy to understand where people are coming from and understand that there are many different sides to each person. Despite the great leadership skills women possess, Wendy feels that it is often hard for women to stand up and say, “I’m here and ready to lead”, awaiting some undefined internal or external permission to step up and have their voices heard.

The main goal of a leader is to motivate, guide and support their team and keep them collectively moving forward. In addition to her business, Wendy is very involved in her local community and also leads the Training and Onboarding Departments of a National firm. Wendy sees the job of a leader to unite and support team members focused on a common larger mission while helping unleash and guide their passion. Having people agree is an ongoing challenge but can be accomplished by continuing to circle back to the big mission or “why”. Wendy believes that you can learn more from challenging team members than easy ones. In hindsight, she is grateful for the challenges which brought opportunities to learn and made her a better leader.

As women, Wendy feels that sometimes our feelings make it hard for us to make the tough choices, but it is a skill that can be developed. Her advice for women in leadership is to “jump in”. If a woman is drawn to leadership, Wendy encourages them not to hesitate to take intentional action towards a leadership role. She advises that women find a good mentor and surround themselves with a tribe who will encourage them and hold them accountable. Wendy says to be aware that you will never feel 100% ready because there will always be something that you didn’t anticipate. Life experience will make you a better leader, and she also wants women to know that growth as a leader is essential – for your team to continue to grow, you must grow too.

What Wendy learned from a bad leader is that leadership matters, and in a position of power, you must always have the best interest of your people in mind. Your team is always watching and looking to you for guidance and example, and if you pay attention, you can learn a lot from the people that you lead. Wendy learned by fire that as a leader, “fixing” isn’t always the best answer. She warned that if people don’t feel truly heard and valued, your attempt to “fix” their problem can be misinterpreted as you not trusting or believing that they have the skills to do it themselves. Instead of taking over and risking the possibility of teammates unintentionally feeling inadequate, it’s often more effective to talk through the possible resolutions together and then support them through the process, allowing them to own their choices – easy to say, but challenging to do consistently daily.

When asked what her leadership superpower is, Wendy responded that it is her ability to bring people together from different backgrounds and find common ground to make big things happen. Wendy believes that having representation of many different viewpoints matters, and she is intentional about seeking out diverse opinions, especially in her community projects.

When asked about self-care, Wendy said that she now realizes that she lost years of “me time” because she didn’t understand that she could pull back and slow down at will. Wendy is an extrovert who enjoys spending time with friends and loved ones and is being more intentional about that time as a part of her self-care plan. She also enjoys listening to podcasts and hearing other people’s ideas to spark her own creativity.

Wendy is not a huge cupcake eater but is a lover of chocolate mousse. She highly recommends yummy black bottom cupcakes from her friend Randi of Baking Mamas (which of course I will try).

Wendy is a wife, mother of three daughters, and a self-proclaimed “work in progress”. You can visit her website or follow her on Facebook to learn more about her business and community projects.

Nicki Sanders, MSW, CEO, is a travel and cupcake lover with an aptitude for authentic connection and career design. She has an extensive background in developing and managing successful programs and leading high-functioning multi-disciplinary teams. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has merged her Master of Social Work degree and over 20 years of diverse work experience into a thriving business.  Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting helps businesses recruit and retain the best employees and helps women in mid-level management design the careers of their dreams.

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