We had the good fortune of connecting with Deidra Stewart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Deidra, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I am a mental health professional, more specifically a licensed clinical social worker, with over twenty years of experience. I have worked in a variety of settings, and one thing stood out to me in each and every one of them. My community was being underserved and improperly educated when it comes to all things mental health. Often the systems in place didn’t take cultural diversity into consideration when determining treatment, diagnosis, or alternative solutions. I decided to go into private practice so that I could effectively serve my community by creating effective treatment and education plans that could be understood and accepted by those who look and believe like me. I’ve often been told that I am very practical with my approach, which makes seeking help easier. Working in other organizations didn’t always provide me with the flexibility I needed when addressing the whole person, body, soul, and spirit. The name of my business, Hope Unlimited Counseling and Consulting, LLC was birthed out of one of the most painful experiences of my life. In 2003 my mother was murdered as a result of domestic violence. At the time she has returned to school at the age of 50 to complete her degree in early childhood education. One of the last assignments she completed was an essay about her purpose. In the essay she stated, “I just want others to know that there is always hope”. I took it as my mission to complete her work, first by becoming legal guardian for my younger siblings, and then by creating a practice that focuses on restoring hope in the lives of some of the most vulnerable populations in my community. My pain birthed my passion and propelled me to provide the best possible care to those in need,
What should our readers know about your business?
My practice is Hope Unlimited Counseling and Consulting, LLC. It has been referred to as a “one stop shop” because not only do I provide therapy, I also provide life coaching, psychoeducational classes(parenting, anger management, domestic violence intervention for abusers as well as survivors, etc), and consulting to other businesses, agencies, and community services. I love that I have a vast knowledge of alot of areas, as it has increased my reach professionally. I have taken everything I have learned from previous job positions and incorporated it into my practice. When I started my practice in 2011, I was the only one in my community, outside of community mental health, providing mental health services. People would have to drive approximately 30 minutes and go to multiple places to get what they needed. I am proud to know that I filled that gap in services. I started my practice with an idea, and a little bit of help from a SCORE mentor. I have learned that the process wasn’t as hard as many made it out to be. Once I gained the fright information, everything else fell into place. I credit that mostly to the fact that God was leading me, because I see this as what He ordained me to do. I now want to provide that same assistance to other aspiring business owners. The biggest lesson I have learned is to know who your “client” is. Many times business owners feel the need to diminish themselves, and their prices to suit as many people as possible. The is a hinderance and can result in failed businesses. Once I realized my target audience, I also realized that they wouldn’t mind paying what was asked. I do understand that some people just don’t have the means to pay for therapy, so I also provide some assistance in that area. I never want money to be the only factor that prevents people from getting the help they need. I want the world to know that I am about serving people first, the money and other things will come. If I keep my heart pure in my purpose I believe God will bless the works of my hands and mouth(I talk alot for a living).
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?
I am not sure if this applies to me since I don’t live in Atlanta, however some of my favorite spots near me include hiking trails, mountains, and waterfalls.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Mother, the late Lucille Stewart Ward deserves all the credit for me being where I am. She pushed me in ways I didn’t understand because she saw potential and purpose in me. She taught me wisdom, but yet was humble enough to learn from me as well. As previously stated, her death magnified the needs in my community, but it also gave me another perspective that helped me serve better. I didn’t want anyone else to experience some of the heartache and injustices that my family endured during that time. I created my practice to meet the needs of the whole person within the context of their life situations.
Facebook: Hope Unlimited Counseling and Consulting