Elevating The Narrative of the Social Work Profession



If you graduated from an accredited social work program and you’re using your social work education and training to succeed in a job, then you are doing social work – the job title is irrelevant.

It’s time to eliminate the narrow, traditional view of social work and expand our work as our world expands.

My Social Work Philosophy:

  • I believe social work education (bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree) from an accredited school of social work makes one a social worker.
  • I believe that social workers should be paid more for our education and expertise.
  • I believe that all clinical social work students should take a few macro courses.
  • I believe that licensing should be the same across all 50 states.
  • I believe that the BSW and LMSW licenses are gatekeeping, not title protection.
  • I believe that all clinicians/therapists should be licensed (LCSW or LCSW-C).
  • I believe that a macro and/or mezzo license could be a game-changer because it shows equal value for all practice areas.

I’ve been a part of, built, and led successful multi-disciplinary teams, but there is something special about working with social workers.

After 30 years, I still love social work!

I don’t love the narrow view of social work that has not expanded and elevated although our physical world has expanded and elevated. If we don’t adapt, we get left behind.

It seems we need a reminder that there are 3 practice areas in our profession – micro, mezzo, and macro.

Social work is more than therapy. Social work is more than case management. Social work is more than child welfare services.

Have you considered that 10-20 years ago social workers filled afterschool program, nonprofit management, and housing coordinator roles? Today your competition includes candidates with degrees in youth development, human services, and psychology.

But…I’m also happy to see more social workers in environmental justice, policy, and employee assistance positions.

The diversity and wealth of available opportunities are unmatched, and I am accepting the responsibility of elevating the narrative of the social work profession…this is only the beginning!





Nicki Sanders, MSW, ushers high-performing women of color in mid-level social work and human services leadership through promotion to senior leadership. As Founder and CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, her mission is simple – to eliminate toxic workplaces by developing skilled, empathetic, and goal-oriented leaders who have the vision, support, and resources to create a culture where business prospers, and employees thrive individually and collectively. Nicki has an extensive background in nonprofit management leading high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life and career aligned with her values and purpose. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

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