We had the good fortune of connecting with DeNika Turner-Stephens and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi DeNika, what makes you most proud of the business you’ve built?
Runway 4 Peace, Inc was built on passion with a purpose. Our organization created a unique opportunity to help children gain self-love and confidence through the creative art of modeling. I am most proud to have made a positive impact on the youth we serve in the community. Empowering kids to see the value in themselves and learning to accept and love themselves as they are, has been the most rewarding.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have been employed with the USPS for 7 years, as a mail carrier. There were many challenges and lessons learned. In the beginning, I worked 7 days a week, long hours, and it became frustrating because I was too exhausted to work on Runway 4 Peace.
In 2014, I auditioned for a paid USPS commercial in Austin, TX, as a mail carrier and was selected to get flown out. This was a dream come true to do something aligned with my passion. The day of my flight my postmaster was upset and text me right before take off. She told me I am to report to work, even though I had previously reported to my immediate supervisor. I stayed on my flight and enjoyed the experience because a job will always be there, opportunity will not. It was worth the risk to follow my dream because not only did it help me financially, but if I would have abandoned my dream, that meant giving up on myself.
Moving forward, I was promoted to a permanent employee at USPS and Sundays became my guaranteed off day. I decided to dedicate that day to Runway 4 Peace by hosting free modeling workshops, giveaways, and producing interactive events. I was able to effectively build my organization to serve my community.
My job is not my final destination. It is a stepping stone along my journey to get me where I am destined to be.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Wow it’s so many places to choose lol. Well my best friend is my husband. We have experienced some wonderful places. Below are some great places: Activities: – Gondola Ride in Newport Beach – ATV Riding in Santa Clarita – Horseback Riding in Topanga – OUE Skyspace LA Restaurants: – Chili’s (I LOVE THIS PLACE) – Houston’s in Manhattan Beach – Vibrato Grill & Jazz (Live music) in Bel Air – Hopdoddy has the BEST BURGERS!! – Stinkin Crawfish in Gardena has the BEST crab legs
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband, LiJuan Stephens, has been the backbone of my organization. LiJuan and his grandpa were the ones who built our first runway stage. He pushed me to go above and beyond, with nothing being impossible. The amount of support, love, and encouragement I have gained from him is remarkable. I am also appreciative to our supporters, donors, and volunteers. Thank you all for believing in our dream and playing a vital role in our success.