What can you do with a degree in social work? Sabriya Dobbins, BSW ’17, tells us how she transformed herself into the award-winning Founder of Project Passport and a Life Discovery Expert.
During her time at NC State, Sabriya was a Thomas Jefferson Scholar and earned a Dual Bachelor Degree in Social Work and Animal Science. She recalls her time at the School of Social Work as, “One of the most rewarding experiences of my life because I had the opportunity to take courses that reshaped my understanding of social justice and gave me a sense of empowerment to help change the lives of others.” Throughout her internships at NC State, Sabriya had the opportunity to serve many populations, including disabled adults. These experiences developed her passion for helping others take control of their lives.
After graduation, Sabriya set out to find the career path that would fulfill her newfound passion. She worked briefly in real estate and higher education, but quickly realized these fields weren’t the right fit. During this time, Sabriya began to consider a different approach to finding her “perfect fit” by creating her own lane.
“In 2019, I ended up making the big leap of owning my own business, Project Passport. I wanted to create a sacred space for people trying to find themselves in the midst of life and their career. Originally, the plan was to take clients all over the world to rediscover themselves and to gain new tools to thrive mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The model was going to be wellness travel retreat experiences that help clients face problems rather than escape them. By the time I got our first retreat set up and sold out for Kenya, the pandemic hit in early 2020.”
Faced with the challenges of running a new company during the pandemic, Sabriya had to quickly evolve her business model.
Unable to host in-person gatherings, virtual retreats and workshops became their new environment. Additionally, the demand to discuss mental health topics, such as stress management, decision-making, intentional productivity, and discovering purpose, grew ever-higher. Luckily, these changes allowed Sabriya to reach clientele populations and offer new solutions. “The majority of our work is done with companies and organizations as well as individual women. We are blitz-style and activity-based, meaning that clients gain access to many techniques in one retreat as we change gears quickly and often. It has been crazy seeing just the level of need in the work we do as people are wanting solutions more than ever, especially in the workplace,” she stated.
In fact, since the inception of Project Passport, the company has served over 1,000 individuals across the globe. Valuable partnerships with organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) have also enabled the company to provide free services to hundreds in need.
Now the founder of a growing, proactive mental health company, Sabriya continues to utilize the lessons and perspectives learned at the School of Social Work.
“The teachers in my program at State taught me to be creative and to dare to think outside of the box. I created my own field of experiential, proactive mental wellness because I knew people needed it. I think back to my Multicultural Social Work class, where I had a professor who broke down how systematic racism worked. She taught us what it meant to change the system. I attended my first protest ever because of this class. It was exhilarating because now I even teach the same concepts of racial justice on my retreats with clients, and I am not afraid to own my truth. I think back to practicing mock counseling sessions and even teaching sections of social work content to my class with my peers. All of these experiences prepared me to host and lead my retreats alongside my team. It also helped me feel confident in leaping into life coaching as I already had 1:1 client practice through the program,” she said.
Further elaborating, Sabriya stated, “The program has been the backdrop to my credentials and credibility to the work I do. People know that my social work background means that I have an understanding of how to interact with people in a way that is effective and impactful with theory as a foundation. It has been a relief as I was always afraid I would not be enough as a business owner because I do not have 10+ years of experience. Now, looking back on the journey, I see how I became more prepared every day throughout my college and post-college experiences.”
To learn more about Sabriya’s proactive mental health service, Project Passport, visit their website at: project-passport.com. Additionally, you can visit their LinkedIn or follow them on Instagram/Facebook at @projectpassporllc.