I AM…two very powerful words, because whatever you put after them becomes your reality!
I was 14 years old and in Disney World the first time I ever saw my name spelled correctly on merchandise. You wouldn’t believe how excited I was! I could claim my name.
When I launched The Teen Toolbox in 2005, I was working a full-time job and didn’t want to use my name. When I transitioned my business name to Packaged For Success, I was also being very cautious about avoiding accusations of a conflict of interest or outshining my employer. Although I was hiding in many ways, I always claimed my name. I claimed my name because it is mine, it is me!
When I set up social media and email accounts for my jobs I always used “nickiatjobname”, never nickisanders, because Nicki Sanders is me. It is mine! My job doesn’t get to define me.
I perform an internet search of my name regularly. For years when I typed in my name I would be asked if I meant ‘Niki’ Sanders – a character of the TV show Heroes. Nope! Then I decided to work to get my name higher in the search engine results.
After Nikki Minaj hit the scene, a couple of her photos would show up when I typed in my name – absolutely NOT! I began to tell the teen girls that I worked with that I was “The Original Nicki” and flood the internet with more of my pictures.
I don’t use my middle initial on social media because that’s just giving too much. My next move was to differentiate myself from the other ‘Nickis’. How should I do that? I decided to use my profession and what I wanted to be known for. I began to consistently use MSW behind my name. Today if you search Nicki Sanders, MSW, it’s all me. My social media hashtags are @nickisandersceo because I am the CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting.
I AM a Social Work Career Coach for high-performing Women of Color in social work leadership. I AM also a leadership consultant to companies that want to live their values and create a healthy workplace culture. What makes me an expert in leadership? Training, experience, research, and most importantly, confidence.
- Unapologetically Nicki
It has been said that your brand is what people say about you when you are not around. It’s what you’re known for. It’s what sets you apart.
What do you want to be known for?
At the end of the day, I get to determine and build my professional brand in the way that works best for me – and I implore you to do the same.
“You are a brand, and your career is your business.” – Nicki Sanders, MSW
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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