I met Stephanie Tillman over three years ago, and was immediately attracted to her fascinating journey to success, beautiful spirit and warm, caring heart. We worked together on a international campaign, and subsequently became life-long sisterfriends. Less than a decade ago, Stephanie was a mother raising two toddlers and struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Stephanie and her husband found God, sobriety and new life, but just as they began their new chapter, they faced the challenge of homelessness. As her family moved through homelessness and began to rebuild their lives, Stephanie was presented with business project that put the spotlight on her natural promotional and graphic design talents. Over the next few years Stephanie worked a marketing job, while continuing to build her skillset with design projects she contracted on the side.
After making a leap of faith to become an entrepreneur, or say no to an ever-growing client list. She took the leap. The company quickly expanded to become iKros.com, a full service marketing, branding and graphic design firm. In its second year, iKros.com grew more than 555%, gaining a lot of attention as revenues topped one million dollars. Stephanie Tillman was a success by any typical measure, but money and attention were not the indicators of success that mattered to her…in the midst of chaotic growth, Stephanie stepped away from the workflow of the business to reflect on how the company could create greater impact. Reflection and meditation led her to recognize the core of her purpose – storytelling.
As part of her move from CEO to Chief Storyteller, Stephanie has embarked upon yet another mission; a United in Prayer Road Trip to bring awareness and healing to the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT.
The CEO Pundit™: What inspires you?
Stephanie Tillman: I’ve had the amazing experience to hear over 8,000 stories in the past 2 years and I am continually inspired by each and every chapter of life that has been shared with me. When you get to hear stories of tragedy and triumph daily, you realize how amazing this journey is and I am constantly inspired by the strength, character and perseverance of ordinary hearts who overcome unimaginable trials.
The CEO Pundit™: Who inspires you?
Stephanie: It’s hard to name just one person that has inspired me. I am only here today because of mentors, friends and family. Each one has stitched a thread of greatness in to my life and as I am slowly seeing the canvas be created, I understand that the beauty comes from sharing this life with many people and learning from each of them. If I had to name one person I am inspired by in the current Chapter of my life, it would be Kari Carmona. She is an average woman with an extraordinary belief and strength that I am daily in awe of. Two years ago Kari lost her husband and 8-year-old daughter in a tornado. She is a young mother who cares for 4 children and also her mom who is physically incapable of caring for herself. She inspires me not because she kept walking after she experienced such unimaginable loss…but she inspires me because through her darkest days, she finds the strength to seek comfort from the cross. I am humbled by her love for Jesus. There are days, even weeks when I don’t spend time seeking my strength from Him and I continually mess things up. Her family wakes up each day at 5am to spend time together in devotionals. I am inspired by her heart…by her strength and by her laughter…even when her heart is breaking.
The CEO Pundit™: What is your legacy?
Stephanie: My legacy is my story, and my story starts at home. We can all accomplish great things in this lifetime, but without a strong foundation in our beliefs and our family, what good is all the works we do in business or in ministry? I’m a storyteller. I realize that I was not given my story for it to be mine, but to use it to shine a light on the Chapters of other people’s lives. My legacy is one of being engaged in the human experience through the glasses of compassion and grace. I have no desire to live a perfect life, I desire to live a life that is a journey of always growing, learning and sharing engaged moments with family and strangers. My legacy is one of helping the broken meet the same healer who inspired me to greatness over 10 years ago. After all, what greater legacy is there in this lifetime?
We need more Stephanie Tillman’s in the world…cheers to you, lovely.
Follow Stephanie on Twitter @StorySteph and @PrayerRoadTrip.
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