We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Cahill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, what do you attribute your success to?
If I were to give one piece of advice, it would be ‘never underestimate yourself’. Through my work, I have learned you can do what seems like the impossible. The secret behind doing the impossible, you ask? It is constantly reminding yourself, that no matter what, there is another way. At the beginning I failed constantly. I was told no a thousand times before I was told yes. But my biggest inspiration was my mother, who somehow could always think of a new way to try. I will always have her words in my head saying “there are infinite ways to open the same door”. So if you feel discouraged or feel like your dream is just unachievable, remember that there is still a way to open that door, get up and try again. Even if no one believes in you, not even yourself, there is still someone who does. We have never met before but I still believe in you.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a mental health advocate. I work project base to improve mental health for individuals and reduce the stigma attached. I am a public speaker, sharing my own personal mental health story as a way to help connect people in hopes they can feel less alone in this world. I was an athlete that obtained many concussions while playing volleyball. In my lifetime I have had a total of five diagnosed concussions. The third concussion was a severe frontal lobe injury that resulted in a lot of mental health symptoms. Symptoms such as; anxiety, depression, mood swings, and panic attacks. The symptoms did not fade away, like most cases do. A couple years after the injury with no changes, I decided to fight for others who are also struggling. Then began my path as a mental health advocate.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would start off by visiting the best little coffee shop in Downtown Phoenix, Lola’s. It is a wonderful hidden little coffee shop that feels warm and welcoming. You also can’t go wrong with drinking the caramel latte. If you are gluten free, like me, I would highly suggest stopping by Jewls Bakery. It has everything you can think of gluten free. They even have gluten free raised donuts which is very hard to find anywhere else. But you better stop by there early in the morning because they sell out quickly. I would then suggest heading to Old Town Scottsdale to visit the Scottsdale Museum for Contemporary Art. This is a lesser known museum that everyone can enjoy. It has different local pieces all the time. For dinner we would go to a great place right next to the museum called the Grapevine. The grapevine has good food, great drinks, and even has karaoke every night. All of these places are great local hidden gems that should be visited in order to get a true view of Arizona.
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?
I have so many people to thank for my success. I want to thank every single person who took a chance on me, before I had qualification and experience in my field to work with them. They believed that I could do big things, even when I did not believe in myself. I will not take that for granted and will always do my best to pay them back for their faith in me. It also gave me perspective to take chances on others also coming up in my field. I used my time to also mentor others that may not have as much experience. To name some of the few that really help build me up to where I am today and were true mentors in my life: Gina Sanfillippo Aaron Kransnow and Maria Grimshaw Clark (ASU Counseling and Health Services) David Simmons (UBU foundation) and Randy Spencer (Alice Cooper The Rock Center) The Andy Hull Sunshine Foundation Scott Nasser (Gililland Middle School Teacher)