What is your story?
I spent 12 years as a Humanities Professor at several fantastic colleges here in the Bay Area, teaching courses like ‘The History of Creativity.’
I loved my job. Capital "L" love, but as I'm sure you know, education/academia is not a cash cow, so I scrimped, saved, worked weird little jobs in the cracks between classes to make ends meet, but it all finally came to a head when my options were a) move across the country for a tenure track position and be struggling slightly less financially (only now in a place far from home) OR b) find a new career.
Once I came to terms with the fact that I really, yes really, had to pay the landlady, I fully pivoted into creative recruiting and staffing, where I racked up almost 10 years of experience. Was it "love" the way I loved teaching? Not quite (you only get one first love), but I really dug my gig. What I especially loved was directly helping women with their career development - I loved that part so much that I knew I needed to go all-in as a Career Coach.
I took Big Leap number two and started my own business! It’s been a wild ride, to say the least.
What message do you promote?
My number one message is that you should make money doing what you want and do what you want with that money because women & folx are controlling their careers and, in turn controlling their money and their lives... still is a radical act.
I truly believe that finding and doing your ‘thing’ means you will make more money. You absolutely don’t have to choose between doing something meaningful or making money. That can be a big, fat “And.”
And what do you get to do with that money? You get to use it to support your values. You want to support organizations, foundations, candidates, family members, your community, causes....? go. to. town. The more money you make - the more you can support.
In what capacity do you Lead Up for your community?
I Lead Up for my community by living the mission of my business. I focus on supporting organizations and causes I value - with the profits I make teaching others how to do the same. I consider my community to be made of several parts: my physical community of where I live, my entrepreneurial/business/client community, and the LGBTQIA+ community at large. I Lead Up for each of those in slightly different capacities, but always with the same end goal in mind: support.
Share a struggle you overcame:
I was the first in my family to graduate from college. And not ‘just’ college but post-grad, and I had landed my dream job of teaching at the college level. It was everything I ever wanted, and I had worked very hard to accomplish.
When I lost that job (and any foreseeable options), I was devastated.
It was like a long-term, 'this is it forever' romantic relationship ending! It truly felt like a divorce - which I was going through at the same time!
It took me months of soul searching and not a few tears to get to a place where I could even acknowledge that there really were other doors. Wide-open doors.
I couldn’t accept that the identity I had held on to for all those years, that of “Professor” had to be put to rest. I held on to one or two night classes and took several jobs that I knew I would hate - which I looked at as a good thing because I was still trying to make teaching work, and any other job would “just” be a day job that I could leave when I found a way to make teaching work.
It took another 2+ years for it to all come to fruition, and it wasn't an easy or even a direct path, but I'm currently teaching others how to figure out who they are and find fulfillment, and there's no way I could be where I am without the heartbreak of having had to give up being a professor.
I am in love with my career in a whole new way, and I can't imagine not being a coach.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
For me, it’s those moments when I can see on the face of a client the exact moment they go from “It’s hopeless” to “I’ve never been more excited.”
Helping them work through the feelings of uselessness and unhappiness that come with being unfulfilled in their careers is why I do what I do. To see them own their values and get filled with energy about all their future possibilities leads to lots of happy dancing, good crys, and goofy smiles.
How do you Show Up?
For me, it’s all about walking the walk. If I talk to my community about not negotiating their salary, but only accepting what they’re worth, then the same holds true for me.
In order to show my community that doing what you want (not what society feels you should do) is the only way to be truly fulfilled, then I find a way for my business to not just survive but actually thrive - yup, even in 2020!
I show up by being transparent, held accountable, walk the walker I needed at my most vulnerable moments.
If you could give one piece of advice for women who are entering the workforce or launching their own business, what would that be?
It would be to be the most you. To be absolutely, 100% you. To succeed at anything, but especially your business/career, you have to lean into your number one asset, your you-ness. When you stop trying to fit in and just let yourself do your things in your way - when you let them be easy and do them instinctively, when you don't fight against your nature, your strengths, your interests but lean into them, all of your energy goes into producing amazing results.
Contact EB Sanders