In a world where challenges abound, some individuals possess a remarkable ability to navigate through the toughest obstacles and emerge as true catalysts for change. One such trailblazer is Stephanie Atwood, Founder & Director of ElevateHER Mental Health Support Services Canada, who has carved a niche for herself in the dynamic landscape of social entrepreneurship and non-profit work. With unparalleled resilience, a commitment to excellence, and a unique approach to success, Stephanie’s journey is one of overcoming adversity and using her lived experiences to create positive impact.
Nominated for the MHFNS (Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia)”Let’s Keep Talking” award, Stephanie’s work has received recognition and acknowledgment for its significance in the mental health industry. She has proven her expertise through workshops at the 2023 SETA conference in Alberta, where she shared her knowledge and experiences in developing a peer support model and plan for trafficking and exploitation, working closely with individuals with lived experience.I was the keynote speaker at the 2023 SETA (Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking Awareness Canadian Conference, and pitched my idea for a National Toolkit for Service providers addressing trafficking as it relates to GBV, as well as a survivor led peer support model.
Currently studying with the University of Sydney, Stephanie continues to expand her knowledge and skills, seeking innovative approaches to improve mental health support services and prevention strategies for trafficking and exploitation. I am now finished, so can maybe take this out?
Under the banner of ElevateHER, Stephanie has teamed up with EFry to host LOVE146 for the first time in Canada, conducting vital trafficking and exploitation prevention training. Love146 is a world reknown humanitarian organization, combatting trafficking and exploitation of youth, with prevention programs developed by youth survivors. Based in Texas and New Haven, they are coming in October for the first time and we are hosting the training opportunity for organizations across Atlantic Canada and beyond. This partnership reflects her dedication to fostering collaborations and building networks to tackle critical societal issues.
At the heart of Stephanie’s story lies a profound commitment to excellence and a relentless drive to empower others. Her childhood was marred by severe trauma, including experiences of childhood bullying and sexual assault & exploitation. Despite these challenges, she never lost sight of her own potential and believed that her purpose was to use her experiences to do good in the world.
Throughout her career, Stephanie has been guided by a survivor-led approach, emphasizing the importance of lived experience and authenticity in her work. She firmly believes that being authentic with boundaries allows her to positively impact others without compromising her well-being.
One of the biggest challenges Stephanie faced was ageism in the field. As a young entrepreneur, she encountered skepticism from older individuals who doubted her experience and abilities. Undeterred, Stephanie proved herself through her work, showcasing her excellent leadership style and a proven record of success, especially in working with vulnerable and marginalized youth, women, and girls.
Securing funding and sponsors was another formidable hurdle for Stephanie. However, through her tireless efforts and dedication to achieving objectives and filling gaps in mental health support, she managed to grow ElevateHER from a small startup to a flourishing nonprofit with offices and staff across the province. Her achievements have not gone unnoticed, with the Federal Government recognizing her work and growth.
Stephanie’s wisdom and advice to others are rooted in authenticity, self-belief, and thinking outside the box. She encourages people to be true to themselves and to have the courage to take risks and pursue their passions, even in the face of societal norms and expectations.
Looking ahead, Stephanie envisions expanding ElevateHER’s services throughout Canada, with a particular focus on providing safe, affordable, and quality housing in the industry. Her ultimate aspiration is to empower individuals globally, allowing them to become leaders and managers in various offices across the country.
Through her journey, Stephanie seeks to build awareness and credibility among potential funders, investors, and sponsors, highlighting the value of lived experience and showcasing that it can be harnessed to create positive change. She continues to be an inspiration, offering insights into resilience, self-perception, and growth.
In her personal life, Stephanie plans to indulge in travel and cultural experiences while cherishing quality time with her beloved Chihuahuas. She dreams of opening a hobby farm and working with other NGOs overseas, contributing to the betterment of communities worldwide.
As Stephanie Atwood and ElevateHER Mental Health Support Services Canada continue to evolve, their unique approach to success challenges conventional norms, inspiring others to embrace their own journeys of growth and self-acceptance.
For more information about Stephanie Atwood and ElevateHER Mental Health Support Services Canada, visit their website at https://www.elevatehercanada.ca/