We had the good fortune of connecting with Joy Stephens and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joy, what do you attribute your success to?
Authenticity is absolutely the biggest factor in my success. When I host webinars and workshops for companies, they are going to get concepts and ideas presented to them in a way that rings true to who I am as an individual. The subject matter that I cover is complex and at times uncomfortable. I let my audience see the passion and vulnerability that I have when presenting it. My business has grown based on the strength of stellar reviews.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I began working with corporations on diversity and inclusion, I was dead-set on giving them more than just “check the box” training. Diversity efforts have largely failed because it was put under the umbrella of “compliance” and not “personal development”. I’m changing that. I’m challenging the notion that corporate leaders aren’t “ready” for these heavy conversations. They have to be ready, because their employees have been ready for generations now. As a life coach, I encourage my clients to visualize what a perfect day at work looks like. In my mind, I visualize myself walking out of a building in slow motion as it explodes behind me. Why? Well because I love action movies but also because I envision that I have blown up the status quo. I’m very proud of the impact I have made in the spaces where I’ve left my mark. I constantly have employees at every level – from new hire to senior leader – email or message me to tell me how moved they were by my workshop, and how it’s changed how they see their world. That means everything to me. Beginning this career path was scary. I didn’t know if I would be well received. And at times, I wasn’t. But I stayed true to what I wanted to do and looked for clients who were ready to get serious about evolving their culture. I was lucky that my time in corporate America had afforded me a cushion to get my business off the ground. And it also helped me to not compromise my vision.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m a homebody mostly so I don’t hang out much, but I do love a good meal. Anyone who comes to visit me knows that we are going to hit up as many of my favorite restaurants as our waistlines will allow!! Some of my go-to places are Slutty Vegan, Hattie Marie’s BBQ (some of the best outside of my home state of TX), Pappadeaux (also a Texas transplant), Irie Mon Cafe and Negril ATL, and finally, Nothing Bundt Cake or Cafe Intermezzo. And we can’t forget brunch at Flying Biscuit or The Real Milk & Honey.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to shout out Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. Her book was a life changer for me, and her related interviews and seminars not only fueled my passion but served as a blueprint for how I wanted to present information – straight, no chaser.