I Stopped Running and Now I’m Back on Track


There was a two-week period between the end of March and a few days before my birthday that I was literally contemplating the trajectory of my entre life LOL. During those two weeks was the first time in over 20 years that I didn’t have a concrete plan with next steps. The good news is that I was weighing various options. I was not confused or feeling stuck, but rather deciding what was the fastest and most direct path to get to my 100-acre farm goal. I had not felt that sense of ‘raw’ possibility since earning my bachelor’s degree many moons ago. Since I’m being authentic here, I was also running away from some ‘social worky’ things (yes that’s a real word, even if only social workers understand it LOL). A few things happened that took me right back to my core – yes, the core that I was running form.

My clients are all searching for a job that they love, but one of the things I know about myself is that I can’t do only what I love. I also must do something to eradicate the things that I despise or that bring me sadness. That is what led me to career coaching and to start Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting.

Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting helps businesses recruit, hire, train, and retain great employees because bullying is my ultimate pet peeve. I have an adverse reaction to toxic workplaces and micromanagers. I am systemic thinker who is always seeking a macro solution. When I help women in human services leadership go to the next level in their careers, I want those positions to be in great companies who prioritize employee engagement and value a healthy work environment.

I conducted three awesome interviews with amazing social work entrepreneurs while I was also interviewing candidates for a public health position. I was so energized and excited when I interviewed Kenia Maldonado, Portia Rouse, and Katherine Spinney. I was drained interviewing the job candidates. I have been a hiring manager for almost 15 years, so I have the interview thing down to a science. It’s the people that I can’t coach or who interview poorly who make the biggest impression on me – and not in a good way. I interviewed a candidate with a master’s degree who has been trying unsuccessfully to secure a job in her field for two years and another whose answer to my first question contained the answer to two illegal interview questions and another who was a top candidate in her first interview and went to the end of the line after her second. There were other things, but you get the point. I already told you that I was running away from some things – well they found me that week. My macro social work brain was on overload – I literally had to process the interviews from that week with a colleague.

You will be happy to know that I am no longer running! I am back on track! As a reward for my obedience, I received two unsolicited ‘confirmation’ messages from former interns I supervised over 5 years ago.

“My supervisor reminds me of you. She is kind, supportive, encouraging, realistic expectations, knowledgeable, and cares about our personal and professional growth.”

“I wanted to thank you for being part of the reason I decided to pursue my MSW. Working with you taught me a lot about systems, nonprofits, and doing work we care about. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go after undergrad and working with you helped push me toward getting to MSW. So, I truly want to thank you for your leadership, as well as your kindness and teachings.”

My heart is full! I love my work! I always practice what I preach, and I love the many unsuspecting ways that I am rewarded for it!!

Nicki Sanders, MSW, CEO, is a Career and Empowerment Strategist who helps high-performing women of color in management go from overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated to energized, well paid, and appreciated. Through Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, she also helps businesses recruit, hire, train, and retain great employees. Nicki 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 combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life she loves. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

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