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Meet Stephen Gillikin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephen Gillikin. 

Hi Stephen, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
From childhood to present, I’ve always been curious and creative. Occasionally I’m fortunate enough to find peace and quiet, but life can often feel like a long series of events to figure out. Luckily, I enjoy learning and discovering new things. I enjoy it as an improviser. I enjoy it as a Teaching Artist. I enjoy it as an actor & writer. And I suppose I mostly enjoy it in my personal life and relationships. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
There’s always a new challenge. There’s always an unexpected wall that’s going to block the path. And so there’s always a chance to learn, practice, or use your climbing skills or whatever is needed to get beyond that wall in this metaphor. 

I’ve dealt with both self-doubt & over-confidence, cynicism, and throw in some mild social anxiety at certain ages. And I can still potentially deal with those elements on occasion, but now I have more experience and tools to handle those patterns. The walls keep coming, and I continue to develop as a climber. 

Of course, there’s also practical challenges outside of just myself. Financial constraints. Time constraints. Collaborative disagreements. Rejection. But it’s important to keep finding an ethical way forward and beyond those walls. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m an actor. I mostly focus on improvisation. And I also use improvisation as a teaching tool. I feel grateful as a Teaching Artist to be able to work with all ages — elementary students, middle school, high school, plus adults of a vast age range. There’s still other populations I’d like to meet and work with, but I’m proud of the experiences I’ve had up to this point. 

For better and worse, I really don’t care about things I don’t care about. As that relates to my career, there are certain milestones & expectations I’m just not concerned with. What’s important to me is doing work I believe in. The things I do care about, I’m very committed to, and that’s where my focus and attention goes. 

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
I don’t know what trends or branding ideas or public sentiment will be over the next 10 years, but I think how “the workplace” in my industries will operate will be a further continuation of now. 

I foresee the next decade being an expansion of the current focus of trying to use emotional awareness & social intelligence to create professional/classroom/recreational spaces that are accessible, safe, and allow everyone the opportunity to grow. 

Who knows how much will actually be achieved, but that’s where I anticipate the focus to further lean. 

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