Stephanie Williams Creative Director, White Triangle Agency
Posted: 03 August 2022
Stephanie Williams (née Caller) is a 2002 Box Hill alumna who thrives on adventure, opportunity, and creativity. Her love for competition and her drive for success have established her as an international wakeboarding champion and the successful company owner and director of White Triangle (a mountain-based, design agency located in the French Alps). Although Stephanie spent her 20s traveling, competing in international competitions, and building up her design company, she has settled in Chamonix, a mountain town located in the foothills of The Mont Blanc Massif. There she can indulge her passion for wakeboarding, continue to build her business, and enjoy her newest and most exciting adventure to date, being a mother to her young son, Kyffin Roe.
Joining Box Hill School was not a choice Stephanie would have made. She was settled in a traditional girls’ primary school in the south of England and was apprehensive when her parents wanted to transfer her to a different school, one that they felt wasn’t as driven by grades and one that focused more on offering students a well-rounded education. Enticed by the exciting menu of after-school adventure activities (drama and climbing being two examples she remembers), Stephanie reluctantly agreed to begin her secondary schooling at Box Hill.
Box Hill was a small school with few students in each year group and Stephanie quickly realised that relationships were not bound by age or grade level. It took a while to adjust, but she soon adapted to the welcoming and kind environment at the school and feels grateful to have spent time there. Stephanie says, “we had so many opportunities at Box Hill. Everyone was encouraged to do something that they were passionate about. I feel grateful for that. I feel that Box Hill is really good at giving everyone confidence.”
A European exchange to another Round Square school, Schule Schloss Salem in Germany, at the age of 12 was one of those occasions. “It was really fun to try boarding for a term and be away from home.” A few years later, Stephanie seized the opportunity to travel to Australia and attend the Round Square International Conference hosted by St Philip’s College in Alice Springs. The theme of the conference was “Footprints in the Sand”. Stephanie still feels the impact of that conference and how fortunate she felt at the time about being able to connect with people from all over the world.
“My takeaway was about how important community is and how important our international community is. I remember thinking how lucky we are to be involved with Round Square and to be in an international school.”
It was during her homestay that she met Megan. A student at St Philip’s College who would remain a close friend, travel companion, and fellow adventurer. “We became really good friends. She met me and my friend when we were traveling in New Zealand during our Gap Year. I have met her in so many different countries around the world.” Megan supported Stephanie in her world championship competition in Argentina, she stayed with Stephanie during her training on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, and they both travelled across continents to attend each other’s weddings.’
At school, Stephanie loved being involved in theatre and was able to throw herself into the drama productions. The buzz she felt before stepping onto the stage was one that came back to her when she began competing in wakeboarding. She thrived on the nervousness she felt beforehand and the thrill she felt afterwards. The adrenaline that came with each performance and competition inspired her to get better. She remembers the connection between performances and competitions.
“You are really putting yourself out there. You are super nervous beforehand. I remember thinking that this was how I felt in the school plays. You ask yourself why you are doing this… It’s horrendous… but the buzz afterwards makes it so worth it.”
Her adventures with wakeboarding began at university. Quick to say yes to new opportunities, she signed up for wakeboarding even though she had never heard about the sport before. Once at the lake, she remembers feeling cold and nervous. She started out on a knee board to get used to the feeling of being towed by the cable. It was then her competitive spirit for adventure kicked in.
“I remember seeing this girl doing laps on a wakeboard and thinking that was so cool. I really wanted to be able to do what she was doing!”
From the moment she signed up for an activity she hadn’t heard of before, her adventure in sport began. Driven by her determination to improve, she practiced relentlessly.
“I don’t think I’m the most talented sports’ person, but I’ve worked very, very, very hard. I will repeat, repeat, and repeat the trick until I’ve perfected it.”
Stephanie was encouraged to compete for the UK in wakeboarding. Between 2008 and 2018 she was the British Wakeboarding Champion an incredible 5 times. She won the Master’s World Championships in 2016 and in 2019.
Stephanie’s determination extended beyond her sport. Her adaptability, sense of adventure, and her willingness to try anything supported her as she juggled competitions, trainings, and jobs.
Relationships and connections remain extremely important to Stephanie. “So many opportunities that I’ve had have just come from having a conversation and networking and meeting people.”
It was another chance opportunity that introduced Stephanie into the world of design, a professional world that she would develop alongside her sporting world. When she was asked to create some flyers for a charity, she quickly called upon her friends for advice on how to use design software. The project was successful. Stephanie realised she could continue to travel for competitions and work on design projects at the same time. It was then that she set up her company, White Triangle, which she continues to manage with her husband.
Stephanie recognises that her drive and determination have pushed her to achieve and be successful both in the sporting world and the professional world. She remembers how her father would encourage her to take breaks from studying and taught her to manage her time, to shift her deadlines to create balance so there was always time for work and time to play.
Since becoming a mother, she has thought deeply about the balance of enjoying the moment and maintaining the drive and determination.
“I have sat at the cable park and cried because I haven’t managed to land a particular trick. I look back and think that’s so ridiculous, but at the same time, that determination is sometimes that you need to have if you want to achieve something.”
When asked what advice she would give her younger self, Stephanie talks about being kind – both to yourself and to others. She also talks about patience and how important it is to see the bigger picture.
“It is easy to be critical and to compare yourself to others. When I look back, I put a lot of pressure on myself. None of those things matter when you look back, so you can take the pressure off a bit.”