We had the good fortune of connecting with Tai Caldwell and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tai, what is the most important factor behind your success?

God. I know it sounds so cliché but it’s true for me. As a child, I never knew my pain had purpose or that I would grow up to utilize my lived experience as I walk alongside others to encourage them on their wellness journeys. God had a customized plan for my life; I definitely didn’t have a plan at all for years. I’ve found that I’m successful when I yield to that plan…to the spiritual “prompts” along the way, even when I can’t see the connection. For example, years ago I was prompted to volunteer with StandUp SpeakOut of NC at a summer camp they hosted for girls. That led to me to more work with the organization, which led to me attending a “Me, Too” conference hosted by them where I met Tammy Blackard Cook, a licensed therapist, who introduced me to resiliency tools, which in turn led me to resiliency training. Then I became an independent contractor at Aspire Counseling Group in Raleigh, NC as a trauma-informed Resilience Coach who also has my NC Peer Support Specialist certification. One simple “prompt” led to my career. I don’t believe in coincidence.

My success lies in knowing that everything is connected. It feels good knowing there’s a wonderful and purposeful plan for my life; especially since there was a time, before I learned to love me, when I didn’t even want to live. My responsibility is to show up daily as my authentic self, as all of who God created me to be, and to flow with that.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?

To know about my business, Tai Connects, LLC where we provide coaching and consulting is to know ME, so here we go!

Let me read from my mini bio real quick (LOL)…Tai Caldwell, AKA Tai Connects, is a Resilience Coach at Aspire Counseling Group, Storyteller at Write. Speak. Inspire.™, and Community Outreach Facilitator for StandUp SpeakOut of NC. Tai knows how essential it is to focus on mental health and wellness as a catalyst to living a fulfilled life. She is passionate about applying her training and lived experience to empower individuals who desire transformative growth in their personal and professional lives.

Today, Tai is expanding her influence by providing consulting to advocacy organizations, facilitating workshops and keynotes across the country, and creating relevant resources to support students and families. One amazing resource she provides is Hike 2 Connect™, which is an immersive experience designed to engage a participant’s body, mind, and spirit. It includes mindfulness activities and the implementation of resiliency tools. The goal is to get teen and adult participants connected to nature, themselves, and others around them.

I’m still growing and learning; it took a while for me to understand that my learning will never end because there’s always more knowledge to gain and apply.

When challenges come, I know it’s all part of the process. We can take an “L” or we can learn a lesson—I’ll take the lesson. I stay connected to individuals who have great success in the areas of which I’m seeking great success. I stay connected to the trailblazers ahead of me who teach me how to learn from their mistakes, how to streamline some processes along the way—which allows for more productivity—and who keep me encouraged.

What do you want the world to know about you, your brand, or your story?

What do I want the world to know about me, my brand, or my story? You all ask great questions! Tai CONNECTS. I want the world to know that I’m on a mission to connect people to the greatness within themselves, to resources that enhance their lives, and individuals to one another because a healthy, supportive community helps us THRIVE not merely survive.

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 would have to reach out to my friends who love going out to different places for suggestions because I am pretty low-key; I enjoy chilling at home, chilling with one friend or a small group of friends and HIKING.

So, to the best time ever…

We’d go hiking at The Eno River where we’d also set up hammocks to just chill. We’d catch a movie…or three at a theater with reclining seats, grab food from Bida Manda to go eat by the lake, maybe hit up an open mic at City Soul Cafe, go ATVing, ziplining, have a meal catered by Full Street Wings Cafe, eat dessert from Sweet & Savory Dessert Cafe—mine would be gluten-free—, tackle a rock-climbing wall and find out what else they want to do so we can make it happen.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

Omgoodness! I HAVE TO give a shoutout to my spiritual mom, Dr. Phyllis H. Forte!!! She’s known me all my life but began training me in my twenties. I could write a book on her influence but let me rein myself in (LOL). She trained me in administration, in teaching, in the importance of volunteering, in ministry, in serving with EXCELLENCE, in the importance of order—we do NOT do confusion. She also taught me the huge impact a consistent, caring adult can make on the life trajectory of a young person who has experienced childhood trauma like I did. I carry all of this with me as I work in the community.

Shoutout to Monica Daye, the PHENOMENAL Executive Director of StandUp SpeakOut of NC (susonc.org) and founder of Breathe Life Wellness Center. Monica…that sister is a continuous inspiration to me. She started StandUp SpeakOut, a 501c(3), from the ground, up. Monica chose to be a victor, not a victim, and she uses her horrific experiences as a survivor of childhood rape and domestic abuse, as fuel on her mission to help others. She’s learned the power of healing and then helping heal others; I follow in her footsteps. Not only that, she grants others the opportunity to join her in building, growing and THRIVING. I’ve been allowed to cultivate my skills at SUSO—StandUp SpeakOut­—, to sit at her feet and glean, to push greatness in others as she pushes greatness in me and I’m just…I’m grateful to have her in my life.


Shoutout to Sharlene Alice Provilus, CEO of Write. Speak. Inspire.™ (writespeakinspire.com), and PUSHER OF TAI! I have to make myself keep this one short. I met Sharlene through a great mutual friend, Marisha Mathis, not too long ago. The way this woman has added to my life in such a short period of time is immeasurable. Sharlene is a woman of God who is STRONG in her faith and that shows up in EVERY facet of how she handles business. I look at her, this amazing, beautiful, Hatian woman, doing what she loves—telling stories to educate and inspire—and it’s her CAREER! She shows me that it’s possible! Not only that, it’s HER speaker management firm that manages me. Sharlene pushes me to dream bigger, to execute better, to broaden my horizons, to look for opportunities in places I wouldn’t generally even consider. When I’m on a call with her, I grab a pen and paper. Why? Because the woman is a wealth of knowledge and what she carries, if applied, has the potential to take my life to the next level. I count myself blessed to have her on my team.


This last shoutout is to one of my GREATEST cheerleaders whose encouragement only comes in second to my husband’s. (Deep breath) Blaise Harris, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate and #DopeBlackTherapist, at One-Eighty Counseling is more than my childhood friend; Blaise is an integral puzzle piece of my life that…helps me tap into a deeper place within myself and I am better for it. Blaise and I come from the small town—less than 400 residents—of Bunn, NC. The specific area where we grew up is called “Franklin Estate”. Blaise was raised in the trailer park down the street from me. Now, it bears to mention that he was raised in the trailer park that was riddled with alcohol, drugs, and generational trauma. By society’s standards, Blaise was destined to be a statistic. Yet, that’s not my friend’s story. He grew up to be a graduate of NC State, a Firefighter, an EMT, a Fire Safety Educator, an EXCELLENT dad, a graduate of North Carolina Central University, the founder of his OWN business, G.Squared Consulting and Counseling Services, PLLC and so much more! He shows me what a real-life superhero looks like! He inspires me to keep pushing when I don’t feel like I’m making that much of a difference. He lights a fire under me and within me when I have moments of complacency. Blaise is my listening ear when I need someone who “gets it”. If you have a Blaise, you have a friend who will inspire you and HELP you move mountains.

Website: www.taiconnects.com, hike2connect.com, https://aspiregroupnc.com/practitioners/tai-caldwell/

Instagram: @taiconnects, @hike2connect

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tai-caldwell-227014b0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/taicaldwell

Youtube: Tai Connects https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrsWxC_4MOxgSxEoZuGmv4Q

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.