I Recognize My Elevation



I shared this post on social media on Monday:

“I’ve said with conviction and confidence for years the only classroom I will ever be in again is the one where I’m teaching! Last week I researched whether a DSW or PhD was a better fit for me. Not sure what changed and who to blame LOL. I SHOCKED myself! At best, I still think I’m years away from a doctoral program. We’ll see what happens next…”

After discussing this shocking revelation with a friend, I realized that I am in a group coaching program with many brilliant professionals who all have at least a master’s degree and a good majority have a doctoral degree or are currently in a doctoral program. I don’t believe that was an accident or a coincidence, although I did not know that was the case before joining. Without realizing it, being in their presence has had a positive influence on me. My thoughts and goals are elevating in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

As I was driving yesterday, I had a strong desire to take more concrete action as it relates to my 100-acre goal (it’s now a goal, no longer a dream). I realized that I don’t have connections in the agriculture community and it’s time for me to build new relationships and gain new experiences specifically related to farming. Although my ideas about how I want to engage are still forming, I knew I needed to move forward even if only in a small way.

Here are the ideas floating around in my head:

  • I don’t want to spend all my time in an office this fall
  • I want to be able to not just spend time outside, but spend time on farms and with farmers
  • I want to be able to use my macro social work education and training to help local farmers
  • I want to be able to center my skills and ideas on agritourism, resource development, community engagement, health education, and social entrepreneurship

I had valuable conversations yesterday with two amazing millennials who are passionate and knowledgeable about agriculture, sustainability, food security, and justice for Black farmers. I ended both conversations with more enthusiasm and information to follow up on.

What is the point of this blog post?

  1. Who you are connected to matters. Spend time with people who will lift you up and not pull you down.
  2. If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working toward it. Take concrete action on your goals.
  3. Nurture your network. Professional connections should be reciprocal.


Oh, and a doctorate of social work is the best fit for me and my 100-acre goal.

And if you have recommendations of people I should connect with please don’t hesitate to send them my way.



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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