Cultivate a Culture of Leadership (No Matter Your Title)

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I am so excited today. I am really looking forward to talking to EB. Don’t you love that we have the EB Academy, and our guest today is EB? It can’t get any better than that. I was just like, “This is so cool!”

I feel very fortunate when we come across another exciting woman who has changed her career and has made a dedicated effort to help all of us be better at being us.

Dr. Relly Nadler: EB, welcome. I’m going to read a little bit of your bio and then we are going to jump into questions that you’ll expand on.

Who is EB Sanders?

She’s a sought-after coach. A staffing consultant seeking creative individuals, companies, and organizations. She believes that great leaders have extraordinary careers.

Her mission is to convince everyone that they don’t have to choose between happiness and success. So, that’ll be one of the areas we zero in on.

A little bit of background; EB spent twelve years as a college professor teaching courses like the History of Creativity – which sounds fascinating. And then as the budgets changed, she found her course load shrinking. So, she had to do a pivot.

She fully pivoted into creative recruiting and staffing for almost ten years.

From there she moved in and was all in for being a career coach.

What she’s learned in her career changes, she passes on to others – we will hear more about this as we jump in.

Finding your thing is just like being in love; you know it in your toes. So, that’s one thing.

Creativity and inspiration are central to creating a fulfilling career. You’ve got to have a plan.

EB, welcome to Leadership Development News.

EB Sanders: Thank you so much for having me.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: So, EB, one of the things that Relly and I love to do when we kick off our conversations with great folks on the show is just talk a little bit about how you got here.

I’m excited to talk to you because I was a college professor at Rutgers University. I was there for quite some time. It was interesting, it’s a whole different way of doing what we do now, as coaches, but I can be very passionate about my experience.

I’d love to hear more about yours and how you got to where you are now.

EB Sanders: Absolutely. If you could see me, I’m just nodding my head vigorously because it is, like you said, a different way of doing what we are doing now. It makes so much sense to us who’ve come from the academic world and teaching students in that way.

But to the outside, it may seem like a bit of a switch.

For me, yeah, being a college professor is what I always wanted to do, it was just one of those things that once I got to college – and I did not come from a family of college-goers, I was one of the very first in my family to go to college–once I was there, it was just a given that I didn’t want to leave. How was it best for me to not leave? It was to teach.

So, I went through school and did grad school. Started as a teaching assistant. I’m basically one of those students that just never left. I absolutely adored my job. I worked very diligently and very hard to get that job.

While I was working very hard, it was one of those things where yes it was hard work and it was a lot of long nights and a lot of effort on my part but I loved what I did so much that it never felt like a choice for me that I was sacrificing anything to do this job.

I just absolutely adored it.

I loved my students. I loved the subject matter that I was able to teach. I loved the ways I was able to teach. It absolutely was everything that I wanted until I really got to that point where, as a grown woman, I was making a decision between paying the electric bill or eating that week because professors as a general rule; aren’t paid.

I like to think that’s not shocking news to anyone.

So, then I really did have to make some choices, some seemingly tough choices. It was either moving across the country away from my family for a tenure track job to somewhere I didn’t want to be but to do the job I wanted to do, or, it was to give up this job that I had loved for so long and find another way to do it.

There was a big messy middle there of me trying to figure out who I was if I wasn’t a professor and what that meant and how I could still do some of the things that I loved so much as a professor. How I could still have a lot of the same types of interactions but do a different job?

There really was a lot of trial and error and a lot of throwing spaghetti at the wall. A lot of trying to figure things out until I got some help for myself.

I was really guided along by a few other amazing women in some wonderful fields who helped me steer myself into recruiting and staffing. And really understanding that it was very similar. It was still me helping people figure out what they wanted to be, for themselves. Guiding them on their journey. Helping them be the best that they could be and show up in the way they wanted to show up.

I loved that job, as well. It was such a great career.

The reason I pivoted out of that into my latest and greatest career change – which going through two of them has been really interesting – was that I realized that to help people in the way that I truly wanted to help them, in a way that was genuinely best for them, I couldn’t be beholding to a company paycheck.

Because at the end of the day I would always have to do what was best for the company. I would have to tow the company line sometimes.

I really wanted to help people on such a base level. Do what was very much best for them and help them in their careers be the successful people they wanted to be in the way they wanted it – not what was best for the company.

So, that’s how I’ve gotten to where I am today. It’s been a little bit of a messy, windy road but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Looking back on it now, I can see the through line – it was always me helping people figure out how they want to show up. Figure out who they want to be. It makes complete sense to me now that I would not be where I am now if I had not been in academia. If I had not had that career.

So, it’s a great place to be right now. I’m really happy with the work that I’m doing.

You can listen to the entire interview above by clicking on the play button.

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