#WĀHINEWEDNESDAY: Stephanie Pierce
Living life to the fullest
Stephanie is from our coastal neighbouring city, Tauranga. She is a multi-faceted, multi-talented young woman who leads a varied and busy life. You can find her in Tauranga Hospital’s emergency department, suturing wounds, taking bloods or bandaging limbs. You may also spot her amongst the musty clothing racks at a local op-shop, searching for a hidden gem to resell for a tidy profit via her online business: Full Circle Goods. Sometimes you may even spot her spiking a ball on the volleyball court, or cycling down the well-worn Redwood mountain biking tracks. Safe to say, Stephanie is an active relaxer who slowed down long enough to answer a few questions for us!
What are four words you would use to describe yourself?
Determined, caring, competitive, empathetic.
What book or movie character do you resonate with?
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. She’s a battler.
What book are you currently reading, and what would you recommend?
I’m currently trekking through Educated by Tara Westover. This book is amazing! It follows the story of a young woman who faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles. However, through courage and determination she overcomes these and carves out a path for herself against all odds! I love seeing how you can rise above your circumstances and achieve whatever you set your mind too.
You own two cats. They dislike each other. How do you navigate the ensuing household disputes and complicated conflict resolution processes?
Being rescue cats they had a pretty traumatic start to life, so a high level of patience and empathy was required. My husband and I also really believe in conscious cat parenting. So we choose to engage and connect with our cats using emotional intelligence rather than punitive methods. Research proves that the brain thrives with connection and empathy. So, we choose to adopt these methods when dealing with difficult behaviour and the usual cat fight conflict. However, when it gets really bad, I have warned them that if they carry on they will be back on the streets where they were originally found and it seems to work.
You're a former New Zealand volleyball representative, so it’s safe to say you are a successful sportswoman. What steps, sacrifices or actions did you have to take to achieve the success that you did in this field?
Well, genetically I had a helping hand as I’m above 6ft! Also, my father is a P.E teacher and Tauranga is a breeding ground for volleyball players. All of this definitely gave me an advantage and interest in this sport. However, I had to train hard and commit weekends and weeknights to become the best that I could be. To be a successful sportswoman, you also have to be humble, patient and chip away at certain skills. It doesn’t come immediately or naturally, instead it takes hard work, determination and a belief in yourself.
I was super lucky to have the opportunity to represent New Zealand for several years and travelled to various countries competing in both beach and indoor volleyball. I have also played for the Tauranga women's A volleyball teams for the past nine years and won various national titles prior to retiring in 2018.
Whatever it is that you like, I recommend pouring time and effort into it, as it can open doors and opportunities that you would not otherwise have access to.
Not only have you excelled at sports but you are also working in the Emergency Department as a nurse. What inspired you to become a nurse? What attributes do you need to excel in this line of work?
I took a year out from high school to decide what I really wanted to study. Prior to nursing, I worked for a clothing company called Lower where I was in charge of the online store. It was a great experience for me straight out of school and, although I loved the creative aspect of the job, I knew deep down I needed to be doing something more to help people. That year, after watching my grandma pass away and watching the nurses in the hospice, I was inspired to do my nursing training. Nursing appealed to me because it’s so practical and people-oriented. I’m an active relaxer who loves people and a challenge, so I thought nursing would make use of these skills.
Initially, I was worried that I would find nursing studies difficult. This was because, during high school, I mainly focused on my sports and art subjects (my strengths) and often found more ‘academic’ work strenuous. However, determination, hard-work and diligence enabled me to not only enjoy but excel in my tertiary studies. This shows that when you find your niche or have a goal, then you will find success.
I recently joined the Emergency Department in Tauranga and love everything about it. You have to problem-solve, keep a cool-head and rise above the chaos that can ensue in this busy department. No day is the same, so you're constantly challenged and stretched. This forces you to adapt and add to your tool-kit and knowledge everyday - something that has been invaluable in my professional development. Alongside this, I’m also completing my postgraduate studies in health science and working towards my masters, so it’s safe to say I’m kept busy.
I would love to eventually take on a managerial or leadership role within the hospital, as this would utilize my strengths as well as being another goal and challenge to work towards.
You have also created and run a successful business called “Full Circle Goods”. What was the ethos and inspiration behind this?
I started this business to foster and grow my business nous. I’ve always been entrepreneurial, looking for a bargain and thinking of business ideas. This, combined with my love of a deal, having a good-eye for quality goods and believing in the importance of reusing and recycling, led to the birth of my business: Full Circle Goods. Essentially, it’s re-selling goods that I’ve found tucked away in stores. So far, it's more of a hobby and a chance to rummage through local stores for hidden gems.
Running this business gives me lots of cool opportunities to interact with people that I otherwise wouldn’t have met. I’ve even made a lifelong friend with one of my lovely customers. She has become a second mum to me and we often meet for coffee when she is in Tauranga. These randomly formed friendships are so precious in life. Full Circle Goods has also helped grow my knowledge of what it’s like to run a small-scale business. It also provides a different challenge and line of work outside of nursing. You can follow me and have a look at some of my latest finds on instagram @fullcirclegoods
What’s a cause or issue, that faces young women today, that you are particularly passionate about?
I’m very passionate about women’s health and positive self-talk, especially relating to body image. So many girls spend their time wishing they looked different or trying to change their appearance. Unfortunately, society seems to paint a pretty strong picture that unless you are a certain size, you aren’t good enough. This is so damaging and the biggest lie. Our bodies are all created differently and this should be celebrated. We need to be careful what we fill our precious minds with. It’s important to pay attention to what you listen to, read and watch. If it doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, get rid of it.
I am also a huge believer in addressing anything that may be stopping you from reaching your goals, or the life you want to live. Maybe it’s insecurities, self-doubt or you’re suffering with your mental health. Whatever it is, go and see someone! Recognising and addressing areas in your life that are holding you back can be so empowering. Unfortunately, for some reason, it can be hard or feel embarrassing to seek help. However, a good friend once said to me, “There is freedom in bringing our struggles to light,” which is so true. It’s important to remember everyone is battling something. Their struggles might just look different to yours.
Lastly, remember to be kind to yourself, you are doing the best you can through this season.
Any final words, favourite quotes, top tips you would like to finish off with?
I really admire Rupi Kaur and would recommend looking through her works of poetry. In particular, I really like the following quote from her poem Legacy:
“i stand on the sacrifices of a million women before me thinking what can i do to make this mountain taller so the women after me can see farther.”