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Q&A with Dr Erica Sheffield

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Dr. Erica Sheffield , Educational Consultant and Motivational Speaker

How would you describe your career path in a few words?

My career path has consisted of a variation of educational sectors, spanning from the K-12 sector, collegiate level, educational consulting business, and owning an educational consulting business. From the onset, I was fortunate to have excellent mentors to assist with laying the foundation as I trained to become a special education teacher. I am very passionate about the field of education and how to best serve teacher candidates, new/experienced teachers, and offer professional development support for school districts. I have worked in the field of education for over 26 years. I am a TRANSFORMATIONAL KEYNOTE SPEAKER, EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANT, PUBLISHED AUTHOR, and MENTORING COACH. I was an Associate Professor with the University of West Alabama for almost two decades. In the consulting sector, I was an educational consultant and district scheduler with PowerSchool for close to a decade and provided educational services across the State of Alabama. Since retiring from the university, I work part-time as an Online Professor and ADA Compliance Coordinator for Online Programs. I am the CEO and Founder of Anchored 2 Teach, LLC, an educational consulting business where we help educators develop confidence and guidance to elevate their careers as educational leaders. Anchored 2 Teach, LLC. provides administrators with seven strategies to build and manage an inclusive work environment where ALL teachers feel VALUED AND RESPECTED!!

What was my most challenging experience and how did it change your mindset?

Aside from encountering challenges within the teaching field at every professional level, my most challenging experience was stepping out on faith with opening a consulting business. There was a shift in my mindset, because I was approaching retirement after 25 years of service. To my dismay, through guidance from my personal mentor, there was still work to be done in the educational field. Trusting in my talents and skills acquired over the years, my mission is centered around offering professional guidance for teachers and administrators. I consider myself a living vessel committed to impacting the educational sector by utilizing practices and principles implemented throughout my career. My business allows me the opportunity to impact school districts on larger scales with seven proven strategies to address teacher shortage dilemmas. My mindset was broaden in a sense that I was challenged to strategically design a business platform centered around applying my “survival strategies” as methods to empower teachers to work collaboratively to overcome daily challenges. The life of an educator is not easy and being accustomed firsthand gave me an advantage to offer services with positive results.

When you get surprised by unusual context, what do you think?

In the field of education, we are accustomed to surprises on a daily basis. As a previous special education teacher, chairperson, and local education agency (LEA) representative for nine years, receiving surprises were the norm. There was never a dull moment in the K-12 sector. Every day brought on new challenges, and I really felt that experience prepared me to never expect the same results. It made me into the transformational leader that I am today.

Once I transitioned to higher education, surprises became more manageable as I prioritized them based on the degree of importance. The key is to not become complacent but always search for ways of advancement as you impact the lives of others. One thing that I know for certain as a business owner, you must be flexible with scheduling coaching engagements even with concrete schedules. Schedules tend to change due to unforeseen circumstances. Also, it is important to reflect and adapt processes accordingly.

Based on your experience, what are the key success factors for a female leader/manager?

Based on my experience, there are several key success factors for female leaders/managers. It is important to know your self-worth and what you bring to the table based on your skills and attributes. A personable, authentic, and intentional spirit tends to go a long way! As a leader, having a clear mission with strategic goals are vital to the overall success of your company.

Leading by example is a quality that I practice daily. You should strive to exemplify the leader you want others to emulate. Holding yourself and your team members accountable is essential as well. Being resilient, resourceful and a risk-taker are attributes that a female leader should possess. Challenges are bound to happen, but the key is to use those challenges to strengthen your skills as you perfect your craft. I consider myself a lifelong learner and it is important to have a mentor for professional guidance.

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