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Meet Steph Palermo of Just Steph

Today we’d like to introduce you to Steph Palermo.

Steph was born into an American-Sicilian family just outside Boston, Massachusetts. There were no ultrasounds in 1966. Along with the dysfunctions of her family, Steph entered this world with a rare disorder, Poland Syndrome.

Fingers were missing from her right hand which was part of a much shorter arm. Another PS trait is the absence of the affected side’s pectoral muscle.

All around, life was going to be a bit more difficult for Steph Palermo. Her home was equally filled with laughter and tears. Steph witnessed abuse, a gambling addiction and violence. The dinner table was a sanctuary. All the family events revolved around eating meals most Americans experienced only in restaurants. At a very young age, Steph began to use food to find the “happy place.”

Meanwhile, outside the home, Steph faced the world. She was unable to play instruments, most sports and was slower at completing ordinary tasks. She was ostracized, mocked and left out. Steph had numerous surgeries to help her gain better use of her right hand. When the physical pain of bone and skin grafts wore off, the emotional effects lingered. She sometimes felt like a sideshow freak.

Steph, a naturally extroverted people lover, began to hide. She used food to find comfort. By second grade, Steph packed on the pounds. She hid her hand, and now she had a weight problem. This continued through adolescence, and her self-esteem was rock bottom. Fast forward through a rough marriage and birthing four boys, Steph decided to take charge of her body. She hired a nutritionist and started boxing. She dropped one hundred pounds from the birth of her last son.

This was the easy part. Steph had to battle her lack of self-confidence and embarrassment of her limb difference, always believing she was ugly and not worthy to be loved. Boxing and years of therapy helped Steph gain the confidence she needed to start loving herself.

It wasn’t until Steph started speaking about living with a limb difference that she realized she wasn’t alone in the journey against her false self. She finally started to laugh at herself, not take herself so seriously. This was the dawn of true joy for Steph.

Since college, Steph has always loved radio. She wanted a radio show to have some fun and be a platform for her message. She found a station, paid for air time and made a name for herself in both Boston and Atlanta. Thankfully, social media helped her to promote globally. She began looking for speaking opportunities, networked and continued to write and blog. She developed “The Ruby Slippers Workshop: You Had the Power-All Along.”

To connect with like-minded folks, She joined women’s entrepreneurial business groups, hired interns to help her with social media, read everything she could to keep her self-esteem and motivation high, and hired a coach. Essentially, she assembled a fantastic team: accountants, web designers, spiritual coach and her trusted “shrinkmate” (therapist). She surrounded myself with people who supported her, Team JS.

Steph has developed at twelve-week course: Twelve Hours to Feel Groovy which will be launched this Fall. She is also speaking in Dubai this September to The Global Nursing Conference on what it means to live with a Rare Disease/Disorder. The title of her talk is #Perfect. She is working on her next book and is available for personal consultations to help you feel groovy.

Today, Steph continues to box, cook, socialize and ask for help when a task is daunting. If anyone understands the rocky road to peace, Steph does. She no longer hides behind food, although she still loves the party. Steph loves unconditionally knowing that the people who walked with her through her struggles are her cheerleaders. Steph continues the daily journey striving to love wholeheartedly and attain balance and peace.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No! Most of my struggles were internal.

– Living with a limb difference
– Going from 20 years at home with my kids to building a business
– Getting clarity on what I wanted to do, aligning with my gifts and actually making money
– Feeling worth it, etc.

Just Steph – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am an empathic messenger which means I am a highly sensitive intuitive. I host a podcast, Offer personal consulting, workshops, keynote speaking. I am also a published author and blogger. I will be launching a twelve-week online course this Fall. Essentially, I help people understand their purpose, realize their role here in the universe and help them work through uncomfortable situations and conversations to get them feeling groovy every day.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is measured in the right relationships and the amount of lives you positively impact. Success, for me, is not dollar driven, though it can be a result of the work I do. I listen to my intuition and how I feel. I look for the responses in the people around me and feedback.

I look for these positive attributes within all my relationships:
-comfort level

I avoid the following:
-shallow conversation/behaviors
-a deficit in any of the above
-feeling something is not right

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. mary

    January 29, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    I’ve known Steph for 14 years and feel privileged to call her my friend. She is inspirational and motivational and authentic. Her kids are wonderful and a testimony to great parenting. I’ve enjoyed her videos and have come to realize we all have disabilities or life experiences that make great excuses…but Steph made hers ‘reasons why’ and that makes all the difference. Our handicaps can actually be our motivators, and hers have strengthened her and empowered her. Keep doing what you are doing Steph – making a difference. xo

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