Stefania Okaka, from volleyball to women’s empowerment…always around the world!

Stefania OkakaStefania Okaka, after a career as a professional volleyball player and traveling the world realizing her dream, is now a Mental Coach & Personal Trainer. With the Italian National Team she won the Under-21 European Championship in 2006, and a World Cup qualifying in fourth place in 2007. In addition, she was a member of the Official National Team and one of the 30 players in the running for a place at the 2012 London Olympics. Unfortunately, she had several injuries, but she has always been able to get back up. Stronger than before. Sicilian Secrets interviewed her.

Q: How did your sports career begin?

A: I started by chance, in my hometown Castiglione Del Lago, in the province of Perugia. I used to do dance, actually I used to follow my classmates a lot, what they did I wanted to do as well, but when I was 10 years old I was already almost 6 feet tall! I liked all sports. I also tried basketball, swimming and finally I threw myself into volleyball, and it went well.

Stefania Okaka
Stefania Okaka

Q: Sports and travel, your job has taken you around the world. What is the experience you remember most fondly?

A: I have traveled so much that it would be difficult to recount one particular experience, I am nicknamed the girl with the suitcase, I feel at home when I am around the world. With the national volleyball team I was away often and for long periods, this allowed me to get in touch with different cultures, languages, traditions. But apart from volleyball, I have always traveled -even now – and I gladly do it as soon as I can. The funny thing is that over these years, as I discovered various customs and traditions more pertinent to my way of being, I eventually created a culture of my own. I call myself a citizen of the world.

If I can describe an exciting moment, it was in Paris, where I had organized a gathering with former teammates from all over the world and it was wonderful to sit at the same table: some from Finland, some from Ukraine, some from Canada, some from Argentina, some from Brazil, etc. All from different places and with different cultures but with the same denominator: the same heart .

Stefania Okaka

I believe that traveling is the greatest wealth, and thanks to volleyball I was able to do that. Travel if you can and you will become rich…in spirit!

– Stefania Okaka

Q: You said goodbye to volleyball and you are now a Mental & Fitness Coach. What does your job consist of?

A: I had to officially say goodbye to volleyball 4 years ago. It was not a choice but almost an obligation because of 23 injuries. They no longer allowed me to continue pursuing my dreams, which was not easy to process because it was everything to me, like oxygen. After years of darkness, I found the strength to get back up and decided to do one clear thing in my life: to help other people ‘make it’ as I did. I was able to find my new path doing good to others gives me joy. I did a three-year master’s degree in Coaching, a two-year Fitness course, and I am in my second year of university at the Faculty of Psychology. Today I am a Mental & Fitness Coach, my goal is to combine mindset and sports to help women overcome difficulties, achieve set goals, and smile again.

Q: Women’s empowerment, how come this choice?

A: Throughout my career I have not seen much female solidarity, so I decided to shout to the world through my business that woman can be another woman’s wingman and that if we all helped each other we could really be a force and we could do great things.

Stefania Okaka
Stefania Okaka

Q: Stefania Okaka and Sicily, have you ever been to the island?

A: Yes, I have been to Sicily but I still have so much to visit. I have been to Messina, Catania, the Aeolian Islands , Noto, Taormina, Syracuse, Marsala and Troina in the hinterland of Enna.

Q: What are the places you carry in your heart the most?

A: I can’t say definitively yet because I would like to visit more! At the moment I am most impressed by the Aeolian Islands, Noto and Ortigia.

Stefania Okaka

Q: Is there a place in Sicily you haven’t seen yet that you’d like to visit?

A: Of course! I would love to go to Palermo, San Vito lo Capo, Agrigento, Lampedusa, Favignana and go on adventurous excursions to Mount Etna.

Q: Can you tell us an anecdote related to your experience in Sicily?

A: The first time my Sicilian boyfriend took me to Sicily I thought he was by the sea instead he took me to his house but at an altitude of 1,200 meters! (laughs) My boyfriend is from Troina….

Stefania Okaka

Q: Let’s look forward:  what is one of the Stefania Okaka’s professional dreams?

A: I keep my dreams secret, and I don’t reveal them otherwise they lose their magic. But I can say that I have a lot of projects that I hope to realize soon.

Stefania Okaka
Stefania Okaka took us into the world of travel and sports. Our news do not end here. Sicilian Secrets always tells you about some new stories on this blog. And if you wish to stay updated about our news and read our next articles, follow us on Sicilian Secrets’ Facebook page and Instagram.

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