We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily George, LCSW, MS.Ed. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Schools are dynamic places of learning, community, and joy. I have worked in several over the last twenty years. Though so rewarding, it is also incredibly challenging. Stress, burnout, vicarious traumatization are all real. Whether a classroom teacher or school staff, we often put our own self care aside to prioritize the needs of our students. In my office, I not only saw students for counseling, but also had teachers on my couch who felt at the end of their ropes. Throughout the years, I asked myself, who is there to support our school staff as they work tirelessly to support students? Many of my school social work colleagues did not even have clinical supervision which is a best practice in our field. Identifying this gap inspired the idea for my business. I provide clinical supervision to social workers and counselors, facilitate workshops to enhance well being and self care, and more When teachers and school staff feel supported, they are in a much better position to support students. Hence my tagline: Support for those who support.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always said, “Schools are my jam.” After college, I had no idea where my path would take me. A Psychology major, I knew I wanted to be in the mental health field in some way, but I wasn’t ready to go right into it. Then a friend suggested I apply for the New York City Teaching Fellows. I taught elementary school for four years while receiving my Masters in Education. There is so much more that goes into being a teacher in addition to academics. Some of my students had significant stressors that greatly impacted their learning. I felt overwhelmed with wanting to be there to support them but had curriculum to get through. It was a lot. After some time, I made the decision to focus on the feelings.
Attending my MSW program inspired me to continue working in schools and to provide the essential social and emotional support that students need to enhance their academic success. I obtained a School Social Worker position at a charter school in Manhattan. My experience as a teacher complemented my new role and helped teachers feel that I understood their viewpoint.
Over the next thirteen years, I worked tirelessly to support students, their families, staff, and the community as a whole. I grew my practice to be social justice oriented, strengths-based with a culturally responsive, trauma-informed, and healing focused lens. I also built an online community of school social workers and counselors. The Faboo Listserv now has almost 600 members! It is a space for collaboration, resources, referrals and more. I also had my two amazing daughters while working.
Being a working mom is no joke. Working in a school, you go from other people’s children to your own. I felt like I never had a second. Constantly exhausted, I’d stay later at work to complete tasks I didn’t get done during the school day. Burnout seeped into me like a mold in the walls. At first, I didn’t notice it, but it was there.
I resigned from my position three times. The first was in 2018, after my second child when I wasn’t sure how I’d manage everything. But I stayed. The next year, I said it was for real; I was leaving to start my business. It was all set. Then the pandemic hit. My husband, an anesthesiologist, was moved to the ICU to intubate patients with Covid. My children and I were at home negotiating online learning. Concerned I’d not be able to grow my business due to school closures, budgetary concerns, etc, I retracted my resignation… again. I’d stay for one more year.
The 2020-21 school year was the toughest of my career. I was experiencing my own trauma and stressors while supporting others’ traumas. I felt I had to be there for everyone all of the time. I asked for more help, but couldn’t get it. I had never felt this way in my entire career. I was drowning.
Saying goodbye to a place you’ve spent the last ten years is so tough. Leaving students is the toughest. I spent two months terminating with the whole school community.
Then the summer came! I hadn’t realize the dark hole I was in until after the school year ended. Spending the summer creating my LLC, learning the in’s and out’s of starting a business, and planning for teaching classes at NYU, I slowly felt like I was crawling out of that hole.
I’m still in my transformation. Building this business has allowed me to see my own strengths more clearly. The most important lesson I’ve learned is to trust myself. Leaving any job is scary, especially one that you’ve spent so long at. But doing just that has increased my confidence, knowing that I have worked hard and deserve to be where I am now. I am so thankful to everyone who has supported me. And am loving supporting those who support.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As a native New Yorker, I know I live in the best city on Earth! So to show my bestie a good time, we would start out on a walk on the Highline. Then we’d hit a spot of her choice in Chelsea Market for lunch. A stroll through the Whitney would follow. We’d head home for a disco nap and time with my two amazing daughters. Next up is dinner at Ama Raw Bar, a favorite spot in the East Village. (Oysters, cocktails, and more.). We’d end the night at a concert. (Some people buy lots of shoes. For me, it’s concert tickets.) The Bowery Ballroom is my favorite NYC venue, but for my bestie, I’d choose Pier 17 as it overlooks the East River, bridges, and Brooklyn.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Since I started as a School Social Worker, I have had Alicia Wilson, LCSW by my side. When we worked together, we shared our office. You get to know someone pretty well when you spend that much time together. We also could have instant feedback and advice as various challenges arose. We shared deep conversations about social justice, anti-oppressive practices, and ways to identify and remove barriers for our scholars and their families. What has stuck with me for all these years is Alicia’s unwaivering and unconditional love, support, and sisterhood. She is always my biggest cheerleader, my thought partner, my dear friend. We make each other better at what we do. Social workin’ it! I also to give a special shout out to Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School. Working there for ten years, I was given space to grow my practice, confidence in my expertise, and trust in my dedication to our entire school community.
Last, I want to shout out my mentor, Diane Mirabito, DSW. My favorite professor at NYU Silver School of Social Work, we have stayed connected through the years. She encouraged me to start this business, providing insight and support. I am so grateful to now work alongside her at NYU.