Solution-Focused Advocacy and Social Entrepreneurship - An interview with Dez Stephens

Dez Stephens, ACC, is the Founder and CEO of Radiant Coaches Academy, a division of Radiant Health Institute – a social enterprise and prominent international coach training school that certifies holistic life coaches, wellness coaches and business coaches. She is a credentialed coach, master trainer and marketing strategist.

Dez Stephens

Who is Dez? Please introduce yourself

– In short, I am a social justice entrepreneur, peoples’ advocate and planetary activist. I am dedicating to opening up new markets within the global coaching industry. Providing accessible and affordable certification opportunities empowers compassionate individuals to create change wherever they are. Above all, I am passionate about eliminating barriers through mediums that continue to give back and build stronger communities, while lifting the individuals involved.

What was it that made you so interested in Coaching?

– For me, this started in my childhood when adults asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. My response was typically, “I just want to help people, but I’m not sure how.” After briefly considering education, healthcare, social work and therapy; none of that fully resonated. I went into nonprofit work straight out of college because I thought that this would flex my humanitarian muscles. Like many of us when we work for nonprofits, I got burned out after many years of endless fundraising campaigns and activism. I felt discouraged because I wanted to “do more” and help more. I could have really used a coach myself back then! One day while working at a nonprofit, a respected colleague of mine turned to me and said, “You would make an amazing life coach because you’re so compassionate and so resourceful.” I turned to my colleague almost in disbelief like, “There’s a name for this thing I want to do?” That one realization was the seed that has since grown into a beautiful garden I couldn’t have imagined as a child.

You speak of humanitarian work on your website and have even helped set up a charity in Honduras. When did you start with this movement to give back to communities through coaching, and why this subject is so exciting and important to you?

– I had a small idea back in 2013 to use coaching to empower people from less prosperous backgrounds to get a foot up and into a market wherein they could work both locally and internationally. My hope was that they would pay it forward and give as they had been given. That inspiration turned into training and certifying over 150 holistic coaches in Central America, where professional coaching barely existed a decade ago. I set out to offer full and partial scholarships and now offer global in-person and online professional coach training certifications. Through this project, I have seen so many lives changed, and to me, there can be nothing more important. As such, we are expanding and hoping to reach communities around the globe to replicate our model.

It is clear that one of the biggest aspects of your career has been your social entrepreneurship. What are some other examples of projects that you have been involved in?

– As a result of my coaching and coach trainings in Honduras, I am a co-founder of an NGO providing pain recovery and grief recovery coaching to Central Americans through the Melanie Gissell Foundation. We set up this nonprofit organization to honor a 10-year old girl who died in a tragic car accident. Her parents and I now support Latin Americans who are dealing with their own loss of a precious loved one.

– I am a co-founder of RISE Global providing sustainable educational initiatives to high schoolers in Honduras and indigenous peoples on American Indian Reservations in the United States.

– For nearly 10 years, I volunteered at the Tennessee Prison for Women as a coach and mentor. I have also provided life skills seminars to women leaving prison with a history of drug abuse and sex trafficking.

– I am a Team Lead with EthicalCoach providing coaching + training to NGO leaders internationally.

– My training academy established a "Coaches Who Care" initiative to provide pro bono and discounted coaching to those in need.

It is easy to say that you've built a powerful movement from within your organization. Could you share your three best tips to our readers?

  1. Stay committed and surrender to your calling. Often we resist what is yearning within us. Your desires are not random. They are your destiny. Everything else pales in comparison.

  2. Follow your intuition. You are the author and creator of your life. Your instincts are guiding you, so allow them to take you where you need to be and listen to your gut when it tells you, “Not this,” or, “Not now.”

  3. Skate away from the crowd. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Pay attention to the innate creativity that lives inside each and every one of your cells. You are unique and you are meant to express your uniqueness.

We are thrilled to have you onboard here on Brainz Magazine. What can our readers expect from you?

– Readers can expect compassion and inspiration, mixed with a dash of humor and candor. I want readers to know that there is always a way forward and someone believing in them and their dreams. I will share stories of how lives have been profoundly impacted and changed through the medium of professional coaching and how individuals, families and communities are evolving and growing. But most of all I will offer hope.

Lastly, what is your big goal? Do you have a dream? Where are you in 10 years from now?

– The dream…the BIG dream. I would love to see the benefits of coaching on every continent. In 10 years, I would love to see thriving coaching communities in areas that currently have never even heard of coaching as a viable business. I would love to see individuals living their best lives, empowering others and growing their coaching practices to truly make a positive difference.

For more information, follow Dez on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and visit her YouTube-Channel and website!



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