Sharea received a Master’s of Social Work in Policy & Planning with a concentration of mental health, health and aging from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Sharea is currently the Executive Director and owner at RS Counseling & Wellness Center. Along with her work in her practice, she is a part time lecturer at Rutgers in their graduate level social work department where she has taught: Program Development and Strategic Planning, Clinical Practice with Adolescents/Children, and Diversity and Oppression.
Number of years in management: 15 years
Tell us about your path to management.
When I received a BA degree in Sociology from Rider University, I started a position at a community mental health center. After working for a short time; I was promoted to a team leader role where I was supervising three case managers. I really enjoyed the work but I quickly realized that I needed to learn more about mental health and supervision. After researching several degrees, I realized that my passions and values aligned best with Social Work. That lead me back to school with macro-level focus in Social Work. Once I graduated with my MSW, I was off and running.
What leadership qualities do you find to be the most effective in reaching your organizational or career goals?
I think the most important qualities to effectively reaching goals include time management, and being organized. I know we have heard these qualities before but for me they help to maintain a high level of professionalism and energy that helps you enjoy the work you do.
How do you motivate your team members?
I motivate my team through valuing them as a whole person. I try to know their goals, what’s important to them and the work they do, and the role they play in achieving my practice’s mission. I encourage them to grow in their roles and support many of their professional goals within and outside of my practice.
Is there a leader or mentor who has inspired or assisted you along your professional journey?
I would have to say my work with Tonya Ladipo at The Ladipo Group as a major inspiration for the place I am in my practice. She was an amazing clinically supervisor at a time when I wasn’t certain how my clinically work would benefit my management and leadership goals. With her guidance, I was able to frame both and create a practice that incorporated the whole of who I am.
How has networking impacted your career?
Networking, I believe is a key component in my professional growth. I credit networking for helping me build and grow my practice. It was through my connections, I was able to fill my practice within the first six months of opening. I also have an awesome business accountability partner that I meet through networking. I know it is in forming healthy connections that I have been able to create authentic relationships that help me impact those I serve.
What are you reading and/or following now (e.g. book, blog, social media groups, etc.)?
Right now, I am preparing for a new contract I was given where I will be training and doing executive coaching on being a trauma informed agency. So I am reading all things Trauma Informed. Other than that, I make sure to visit Linkedin to check in on some of the different Social Work groups.
What advice do you have for those beginning their professional journey or who are already in leadership positions?
Believe in your education, skills and talent but never stop learning and growing. Leadership requires you to stay open to new and expansive ideas.
Do you have an initiative or project you would like to tell our readers about?
As mentioned earlier, I am excited about our new business consultant contract where I get to develop a curriculum, training and perform executive coaching on being a trauma informed agency. My practice is also rolling out a curriculum this summer called Counting Your Flower created to help increase and maintain positive self image and esteem in Black females ages 14-17. Lastly, I am in the process of expanding my practice into additional counties in my home state of New Jersey which will give me the chance to impact more families in need.
What do you wish you had known before you started your career?
I wish I knew earlier in my career the importance of self-care as a Social Worker. We hear it all the time but it wasn’t until I personally took my self-care routine serious that I was actually able to thrive in my many roles.
Share a mistake or failure that provided the most growth in your career.
My greatest professional lesson came in the form of a failed business. The business was growing, however, after growing fond of the business my partnership ended. I quickly thought it meant business was not for me and focused back on working. Yes, I did well in my profession, loved what I was doing but I couldn’t get the thought of owning my business out of my head. That failure brought me to a place where I was planned and prepared to take a healthy risk to open the doors to my private therapy and training practice, RS Counseling & Wellness Center.
Where can people reach you for questions (social media profiles such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, e-mail or phone)?
Company website: RS Counseling & Wellness Center
Personal website: Sharea Farmer
LinkedIn: Sharea Farmer, LCSW
Facebook: RS Counseling & Wellness Center