We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie McGruder and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My business provides vital information to a class of people that are often times misjudged and overlooked. So I hope to share helpful information using my professional and lived experiences for the greater good of people affected by a mental illness, a developmental disability, or an addictive disease. I teach people how to successfully and safely navigate what behavioral health professionals at the State level call the System of Care.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As a mother who has raised a child with a dual diagnosis of Autism and Bipolar I created an agency entitled Source of Strength S.O.S. for Georgia Families to educate and empower families with the knowledge necessary to successfully and safely navigate the System of Care here in Georgia. As the owner of S.O.S, I take pride in using my professional experiences as the former Board Liaison of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities between its’ members of the Board to continue to serve the three population of people who have either a behavioral health diagnosis, a developmental disability, or a diagnosis of addictive disease.
I deem myself a subject matter expert because I am the only person in Georgia who has had experience working for the juvenile court system. I also worked to coordinate meetings of the Members of the Board of DBHDD, the agency responsible for administering Behavioral Health services in Georgia. As such, I have first-hand knowledge of what services will intel for the consumers served by the overlapping agencies such as the Department of Family and Children Services, The Department of Community Health, The Department of Community Supervision, The Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Judicial Branches of Government.
I am most proud of turning the struggles with finding appropriate services for my child even though I was employed with the agency responsible for providing services in mental health and developmental disabilities to become empowered to teach others.
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 genuinely think it is downright disrespectful to come to Atlanta and not visit the birth home of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Also, since I work in downtown Atlanta, I often find myself taking long walks, most of which have led me to Ponce City Market. You can visit the many shops located in the Market (to think it was once an Atlanta Police precinct) and a great place to start a tour of the Atlanta Beltline.
After shopping at Phipps Plaza and Lenox Mall during the day, we would capture the live musical guests at St. James Live in Atlanta.
Even with the controversy of the Confederate Soldier’s carvings of Stone Mountain, you cannot help but know that it is a breathtaking view and that you can even capture a glimpse of Stone Mountain while dining at the Sundial Restaurant in the Westin Hotel Downtown.
I would be remiss if I did not include a visit to visit the hidden treasurer of my hometown, Senoia, Georgia, known for being featured in Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Meet the Browns and the television hit series The Walking Dead.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my amazing, resilient son, Ryan Billups, who has taught me how to love unconditionally and how to enjoy life no matter what comes. My mother, Joeann McGruder, fought and survived two different types of cancer, proving that she is as tough as they come. My sisters Evette McGruder and Taffie Joseph. My mentor Cassandra Greene. My amazing pastor and wife, Reverend Doctor Gregory A. Sutton and First Lady Gail Sutton of Jackson Memorial Baptist Church. All Georgia Certified Peer Specialist-Parents (you ROCK) and Sue Smith, the Georgia Parent Support Network owner.
The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and WOWW Ministries.