Denise is an educator, motivator, inspiring mother, daughter, friend, mentor, very resilient, smart, and survivor: A Sheen exclusive.

Who is Denise Maupin?

I am leader who is  dedicated to my craft within my community, helping others be successful and push for excellence. 

Please tell us more about yourself and what’s your specialty? 

I come from a truly diverse and traumatic background that included, in short, incarceration, addiction, homelessness, abuse, and loss of all hope. I dropped out of school at age 13 and left home at 14, thus, leading me into a life that people only read about or see in movies. At the age of 27, I decided that my life needed to change in all areas. I was encouraged and guided by a mentor that made me understand that without an education of some kind, it would be exceedingly difficult to maintain a productive standing in the community given my traumatizing background, so at 30 years old and pregnant with my 4th child, I enrolled into a junior college. I, at this time, faced all the fears that came along with being so behind in life, older in life, and uneducated and work as hard as I could to maintain this direction. To my own amazement, I graduated from a junior college as a first-generation college graduate. However, my mentors did now allow me to stop there and encouraged me to continue the educational pursuit. I was shortly accepted into 5 universities with distinction and began pursuing my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology at California State University, Fullerton. Again, they continued to push me and begrudgingly as I still had many doubts about my worthiness or capabilities. I applied to more schools and got accepted to USC’s Master of Social Work program, from which I also graduated. I am now an Associate Clinical Social Worker waiting to take my National Licensed Clinical Social Work exam. I currently work in private practice as a therapist and specialize in addiction and trauma and an EMDR therapist.  

I have also started a new Life Coaching/Mentoring program called H.O.P.E.- Honoring Our Personal Experiences and Never II Late, a non-profit, and building it into an outpatient treatment program and community resource center.  

What is self-leadership from your perspective? 

Self-leadership to me is authenticity and focusing on being the best self that I can be. I am clear that many others can inspire me, but true motivation comes from within. Without this combination, I am unable to lead myself nor anyone else.  

What are some of your greatest accomplishments?

My greatest accomplishments have been overcoming all obstacles that have confronted me and never being a quitter. In any area of life, whether it be parenting, career, self-development, etc., if we do not fight to be a survivor, then we are left with being a victim, which leads us to many unsecured paths in life.   

What sense of purpose do you draw from your culture and community?

With the things that are going on in the world, our nation, and our communities, it isn’t easy to draw purpose from these areas. But what I can be to draw from the idea of purpose, therefore I live my life with the understanding that my purpose MUST be bigger than me, and what this does is assist me in looking at my culture and community see how my purpose and evoke change in my culture and community, as they are both bigger than me. I believe that being the community activist that I am secures one of my many purposes in life.   

How do you deal with some challenges as it relates to the pandemic? 

Interesting question; I would have to ask which pandemic you are referring to as there are many happening in this country. However, I will assume that you are referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, I have made it my business to self-educate and research the pandemic’s true events so that I am always aware. I have also made it my mission to take this time to build while the country is at a standstill in many areas. Thus, I have looked at this pandemic as a positive and how it has allowed me to network, build and grow.  

Please leave us with some encouraging words.

I will leave you with a short story if I may.   

After overcoming so many obstacles and getting accepted to USC to the master’s program, I fell ill to cancer twice, 6 weeks apart and unrelated. I was in a very dark place, and I was given 6 months to live. Out of that dark place, I began talking to my higher power and asked many questions. I knew that I was not afraid to die as I had faced it so often in my younger years, but I was terrified to leave my children. A thought/voice or feeling came over me that made it clear that God was the father and I, only the guardian of HIS children, and that he had them covered. And then I realized that my true fear was that I would die without helping enough people and vowed that there would not be a day go by that I would not help someone somewhere, and again, my PURPOSE was indeed bigger than me. It has been 6 years, and I am still here.   

At this time, everyone, including doctors, school, and family, encouraged me to take a break, leave of absence, etc. Again, it became clear that my purpose is bigger than me, and it was clear that if I was to beat this and survive, I had to be as resilient now as I had always been. People ask me how I always do it, my answer is simple; “Whatever happens in my life, even when facing death, I DO IT MOVING, I do not stop no matter what.” All in those reading this and within the realm of my voice, always make sure your purpose is bigger than you, and no matter what emotion you are going through, a problem needing to be solved, walls you run into, always do it moving.  



All images by William Scales