Let’s get to know Stefan!
ziversity - with stefan palios - part 3
We’ve been having a great time getting to know Stefan! This is our third and final portion of our interviews with Stefan where we get to dig deep into the fun and lighter side of Stefan’s life.
OUTVisions: I understand you also give back to the community by volunteering. Tell us about your most recent volunteer experience and why you feel it’s important.
Stefan Palios: Yes! Volunteering is incredibly important to me, both structured and non. I currently am vice president of sponsorship for Out On Bay Street (OOBS), Canada’s largest millennial-focused LGBT nonprofit. My main job is fundraising so that we can put on our monthly socials, annual conference, and expand our programming nationally (which we are working on this year, our 10th year!).
This is so important to me because OOBS is working to build a national LGBT community. When I was in the closet, I wanted nothing more than to have other people like me in my life – as friends, mentors, or even just public figures that I might be able to see myself in. So now I am on the flip side of that. I am out (and safe to be so), and have the opportunity to raise money to create a community that other people can join without financial burden or concern of being accepted.
I cannot properly describe the feeling I get from being able to do that, but suffice to say it keeps me connected to the community and reminds me to stay grounded. I’ve been extremely privileged in my life thus far, and so I see it as a responsibility to help whenever and however I can.
OV: Do you have one contact in your phone that you were really excited to add? Who and why?
SF: I recently had the chance to add a Tony Award-winning playwright to my phone contact list. He reached out to me because he read my article in OutSports and wanted to tell me he felt my writing was “forthright and articulate” and that he loved my story.
To hear that someone who has won one of the world’s most prestigious awards for writing not only liked my little article but also wanted to get to know me was a feeling of humility and gratitude I won’t soon forget.
OV: How do you like to relax, rejuvenate and have fun?
SP: I’m a big believer in self-awareness and mindfulness, so that for me a big part of rejuvenation. It’s when I remind myself to be kind to myself, congratulate myself on my victories and hard work, but also take a critical eye to how I can do/be better in the future. It cleanses my mind in such a nice way; I try to do this mental exercise for 10 min at the end of every day (sometimes I forget, but I’m getting there).
I also find that any activity that gets my mind off of my work completely, but it not totally mind-numbing, is extremely relaxing. Whether that’s watching TV, going for a walk, seeing a friend (and talking about everything but work)… anything, really. It’s like a mental reset where my brain re-boots so the next time I think about work, I’m fresh.
That being said, some of my favourite activities are:
- Swimming (after sports injuries, it’s one of the only activities I can do)
- Walking (you see a different perspective of the city. I love walking in downtown Toronto and staring at Osgoode Hall – it’s one of the most stunning examples of Victorian architecture I’ve ever seen, and its grandiosity is somehow quite peaceful)
- Watching TV (sometimes you want to pay attention to someone else’s drama for a couple hours, right?)
- Singing (my poor neighbours in my building must hear me belting out my favourite songs at all hours of the day (and some of the hours of the night). I work from home most days, so they get full concerts regularly)
OV: What would someone be surprised to know about you?
SP: Depends when someone met me! But most people are surprised to know that I used to do stage acting and runway modeling for a short time when I was pretty young.
Though, most people in Toronto that I know met me after I retired from track and field, so many people are surprised to hear that I had a 10 year athletics career before they even knew me!
OV: 3 words that your best friend would use to describe you!
SP: Resourceful, Understanding, Passionate
OV: Stefan, thank you for taking the time to share so much of yourself with us! We loved getting to know you and wish you the best. Please keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing and what you’re up to next.
Check out www.ziversity.com for more info on the company, and follow Stefan on Twitter @stefanpalios.
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