Soulful Sunday is a weekly dose of inspiration from busy Chicago women who still manage to stay balanced, no matter what their career—or life—throws their way.
Soul Sister: Karen Stefani
After raising a family and owning a boutique women’s clothing store, it was a mere coincidence that 10 years ago Karen decided to get back into business by working at the catering division of the family restaurants. Since then, she has come to realize that, in planning important events such as weddings and working with a team of professional’s day in and day out, one develops a sense of a different kind of family. This year Karen teamed up with her daughter, Gina, to rebrand the company as Inspired Catering and Events, continuing the family legacy Phil Stefani started in 1980.
How she unwinds: "Unwinding has always been easy. My love for music and dancing is at the forefront of relaxation. It is not uncommon to catch myself dancing every morning as I am getting dressed for work. It is a great way to start the day. Traveling to our family home in Italy and looking at the mountains—or even taking an evening walk with friends to enjoy nature—renews my spirit. Family, food, and friends is the motto of my life. Being an Italian family, food has always been at the forefront of family gatherings. Being able to break bread with the ones you love gives warmth and comfort. Community around the table provides emotional strength and a family bond, which I translate to the business with a daily family meal."
Balance tip: "Balancing work and life can sometimes be difficult. Over the years I have discovered that a good Zumba class and going to the gym three days a week refocuses with new energy."
Soul Sister: Gina Stefani
Gina discovered her love for the industry at a young age while assisting at her father¹s restaurants during summer and winter breaks from school. As her passion for the industry grew, she secured an event internship at Jasculca Terman & Associates, a public affairs firm in Chicago, post-graduation from DePaul University. Gina’s internship provided her with experiential opportunities and some major accomplishments that led her to beginning a career in event consulting. During her tenure in the industry, Gina has had the opportunity to work with distinguished dignitaries, the NATO Chicago Host Committee, former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Obama and The First Lady, as well as executing events for Fortune 500 companies.
Since December 2014, Gina and her mom, Karen, have taken over the company’s catering division of 12 years, now called Inspired Catering and Events by Karen and Gina Stefani. They are working on becoming WBE certified and continue delivering unparalleled customer service, quality, and attention to detail—all traditions of the family's restaurants.
How she unwinds: "Getting together with family and friends, walks on the lakefront, and watching a great movie or one of my favorite TV shows are things I enjoy doing to unwind after a hectic work schedule."
Balance tip: "I often struggle with finding balance in my life, but lately I have tried to find time to go to a SoulCycle class or get a massage to rejuvenate me."
Know of a good candidate for Soulful Sunday? Email Rebecca@fw-chicago.com.