TheBlackManCan: You go by the name The EDUTAINER which is Educator + Entertainer. I love this name and it is very creative. What inspired you to put the two together?
RWS: My teaching style dictated the moniker, EDUTAINER. I am an educator who possesses the ability and the wherewithal to make learning exciting. My non-traditional teaching methodology is considered entertaining and engaging. I make it a point to know my audience, make the lessons relevant and fun.
TheBlackManCan: When did you realize that you possessed an exceptional speaking gift?
RWS: I realized while sitting in a pew at church as a teenager that speaking was in my future. It was something about the way the preacher used words and phrases to convey the message that intrigued me. From that day forward, I could be found reading and meditating on God’s Word. During my time of study, I stumbled across a profound discovery. My name, Rehema, is one letter short of the word Rhema, which means: the Spoken Word of God. A Rhema Word is a specific, tailor-made word from God directly to you. And that word is typically sought after to give daily guidance to the life of the Christian. That small, yet significant coincidence led me to accept my calling into the ministry some years later and consequently preach my first sermon. And I’ve been “preaching” ever since.
TheBlackManCan: Your second gift is that of a teacher. You say it is your passion and purpose. When and how did you come to know this?
RWS: I have been around education all my life. Both my parents were educators (retired), and they made a point to stress the importance of education as it related to creating future opportunities for me. It wasn’t until after I retired from athletics that I realized I had a knack for teaching. I started as a basketball coach and I quickly found success and a client base of young girls who aspired to play college basketball. Over time, and upon recommendation of one of my client’s parents, I landed my first full-time teaching job. I always tell people that I didn’t find teaching, teaching found me.
TheBlackManCan: How did you ultimately decide on teaching in higher education?
RWS: It was a family emergency that called me out of the State of California to Phoenix, Arizona where I stumbled upon my first opportunity in higher education. There was an ad in the local newspaper seeking college admissions representatives, and one of the incentives was an all-expense paid education. It just so happened that I had been contemplating going back to school to earn a graduate degree, and here was my opportunity to get it.
After being hired, I quickly found myself at home in the admissions department. It brought me great joy “changing lives” through higher education. I felt an instant connection with the adult learners I served. After awhile I found myself following up with students after their enrollment to check on their academic progress, which was above and beyond what was required of me. It didn’t take long for me to begin researching opportunities to teach at the college level, all I needed to do was complete my graduate degree. And that opportunity presented itself exactly two years later.
TheBlackManCan: You have international as well as WNBA experience. Can you share what a day in the life is like as a professional athlete?
RWS: As a professional basketball player, GAME DAY, was the best day ever. Typically, I would sleep in as long as I could before shoot around. Whether we were playing at home or away, we would always have a light practice at the arena to go over the game plan one last time. After shoot around, I would have a light lunch to hold me over till after the game. My pre-game meal consisted of a garden salad, grilled chicken breast with fries or a baked potato. A pre-game nap was next on the agenda, so I could be well rested and fresh for the game.
I’d always head over to the arena a few hours early to get treatment and my ankles taped. I usually headed out onto the court early to get a few hundred shots in before everyone else, to break a sweat, and stretch real good. Thirty minutes before game time, we met as a team in the locker room to get our matchup assignments, say a prayer, and make our way out onto the court. There is no greater rush than running out onto the court, of a packed home stadium, full of screaming fans.
Practice days were definitely a lot more laid back. I would go to practice in the morning for three hours, hit the weight room for a light resistance training regimen, and maybe watch a little film in the locker room. After practice, a hearty lunch was always the first thing on my mind to replenish my body, then a nice long nap. The rest of my day would consist of any appearances I was scheduled for, handling personal business, shopping or just relaxing.
Life on the road is expected as a professional athlete. I spent a lot of time in airports, nights in hotels, and living out of a travel bag. My laptop, cell phone, and MP3 player were my best friend and kept me connected to family and close friends while gone for days/weeks at a time. I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to just about every State in the Union because of basketball. I have met people from all walks of life, and been in the presence of some of the most sought after people in the world.
TheBlackManCan: You represent the essence that is a Scholar-Athlete. How important is it to be a Scholar-Athlete and not just an Athlete?
RWS: It is very important. No matter how great an athlete you may be, never lose sight of why you’re attending college in the first place. No one can play sports forever. I always saw athletics as means to pay for my college education, a platform to showcase my athletic talent and an opportunity to engage in the highest level of athletic competition. But, my proudest moment was earning a college degree. Having earned my undergraduate degree holds more significance in my life than any of my athletic accolades. Those accolades come and go, records are made to be broken, but the fact that I’ve earned my college degree is FOREVER!
TheBlackManCan: You have accomplished many accolades on and off the court. Who and/or what is your inspiration?
RWS: My inspiration comes from what God has ordained me to do with the life He has given me. I’m in total awe that He called me to speak into the lives of other people; particularly young people…young adults.
I have lived a blessed life. My resume speaks for itself. It has given me a platform to share what is possible in anyone’s life, if they put God first. I know God is no respecter of persons, so what He has done in and through my life, He will do for others as well. I want as many young people as possible to discover their passion and find their purpose.
I’m also inspired to know that the words I speak, the books I write, and the Christ like lifestyle I choose to live has made/is making a difference in the lives of those I have had the privilege to come into contact with.
TheBlackManCan: Rags 2 Riches is a self-published book that you have written and is available for purchase. Can you give us some insight into your book?
RWS: Rags 2 Riches is a Diary of a Christian Athlete. I share my athletic exploits from the time I picked up a basketball as a young girl, to the time I retired as an accomplished professional athlete. I bare all as I share life lessons I gleaned over the course of my journey. I wrote blending together actual events, poetry and the Word of God. This book was written to INSPIRE all that read it. Below is one of many poems I wrote that exemplifies the underlying theme of the entire book…
RAGS 2 RICHES
I’m not talkin bout MONEY, POWER, RESPECT…
Cause for most, what you see is what you get.
But I’m talkin bout the treasure that lies within
deposited through the Savior’s death that freed mankind from sin…
So you don’t have to stand on the outside lookin in.
Just know that it’s JESUS whom you must confess…
He’ll take off your filthy rags and robe you in His righteousness.
Freedom from sin, sickness, pain, and strife…
whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
Right now, I pray for every man, woman, boy, and girl…
to no longer be consumed by the cares of this world.
But to pursue LOVE, JOY, and PEACE
that only the Most High God can give…
testifying to every man
that Christ died that we might live.
And like disciples, you’ll desire to catch men and not fishes…
that’s when you know you’ve gone from…RAGS 2 RICHES!
Rehema W. Stephens
TheBlackManCan: There are going to be young girls who read this feature, what inspirational words would you like to leave with them?
RWS: First, I would say to my young sisters to enjoy your youth. Don’t be in a hurry to grow up. You have your whole life ahead of you. Take your education seriously, dream BIG, and go after those dreams while you’re young.
Second, I would affirm them by saying, “you can do anything you put your mind to”. Develop your gifts and talents, because they are the “key” to you unleashing your Passion and finding your Purpose. Because when you operate in your Purpose, you no longer look without, for what already lies within.
And lastly, surround yourself with the BEST people. Choose your friends and acquaintances wisely. Iron sharpens iron. In other words, befriend those who make you better and stronger because of their presence in your life.
Exquisite Women is where we at TheBlackManCan highlight Black Women who are making positive and remarkable contributions to society. Nominate a Black Woman today on the contact page or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line: Exquisite Woman!