In addition to my coaching and consulting through Packaged For Success Enterprises, teaching at Trinity Washington University, and raising awareness about the needs of teens in foster care through my Pack A Purse Drive and Pack A Backpack Drive, I also hire, supervise, and train a diverse team of program staff, consultants, interns, and volunteers for a positive youth development organization that provides life skills education to over 400 teen girls of color in 17 public schools in the Washington metropolitan area. I know that was a really LONG sentence, but it sums up my professional life pretty well.
Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® encourages girls and boys across the country to dream without gender limitations and to think imaginatively about their family, work and community lives. This national, public education program connects what children learn at school with the actual working world. Children learn that a family-friendly work environment is an employer and family issue and not just a woman’s issue. Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work helps girls and boys across the nation discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life. For the last two years I have spent the weekend before Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day with 40 teen girls strengthening their leadership and advocacy skills. Each year, 8 of my girls stand on stage and speak to a group of 100 professionals and an additional 60 teen girls on Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day. These ambassadors highlight important issues that teen girls face and what we can do as a society to support and assist them. They also seek career and education advice from “teen friendly adults” as the conversation shifts from the stage to round tables. My job is to organize, coordinate logistics, ensure adequate staffing, monitor the girls, facilitate sessions for each event, and the list goes on. It is one of my busiest weeks of the year – it fills me with pride, joy, and exhaustion. I am exhausted but not burned out. I am professionally fulfilled and ready for a vacation at the same time. My wish is that each of my interns feels that feeling.
Since graduation season is upon us, I want to share my hopes for my interns. I hope that my interns:
- Understand the difference between a job and a career
- Have a solid foundation upon which to build the career of their dreams
- Are confident in their ability to make the world a better place
- Have become life-long learners
- Feel their internship experience was valuable
- Leave their internship knowing that work/life balance is possible
- Know that I am proud of them, happy for them, believe in them, and will always be a resource and cheerleader for them
Nicki Sanders, MSW, is a travel and cupcake lover with a passion for self-discovery and career development. She has a strong background in developing and managing interns and successful internship programs. She is an accomplished manager, professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has packaged her Master of Social Work degree and 20 years of diverse work experience into Packaged For Success, a full service training and professional development company.
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