Our mission to add value to the people and businesses who call Chicagoland home begins with a new approach to community. Through our platform and podcasts we're able to feature professionals who truly represent our city's best in their business and/or personal lives.
Connect with them as they share their stories of successes, failure, hardships and triumphs. It's real, it's vulnerable and it's the dialogue needed to build meaningful relationships and communities.
episode 0062 | Stephanie Welter
Stephanie Welter is a Chicago girl through and through. Growing up in Jefferson Park with her siblings and neighborhood friends, everything about her upbringing, according to Stephanie, was pleasant. Her mom had a saying that always seemed to bring everything into perspective: “I know a bad day and this ain’t one.”
“She completely formed my mindset, which I call the deathbed theory. It's everyday I picture if I was on my death, I would look back on today and, I’d just want one more normal day. One more day of my toddler crying and getting syrup on my good couch, you know?”
Stephanie has taken this positive approach she’s learned from her mom and applies it to all aspects of her life. Everyone has challenges, but for Stephanie it’s about maintaining empathy but not letting emotion control her and always coming up with a plan.
She also shares the beautiful story of how her and her husband came together. From growing up together as kids in the Northwestern side of Chicago never thinking they’d ever end up dating, to getting married, having kids and creating a beautiful life together.
As a person who has dealt with anxiety and panic attacks, Stephanie shares her own personal journey of how she’s been able to constantly remind herself in those moments to take a step back and shift her mindset in that moment. She calls her process identifying her three gorillas: black, blue, and pink or as she translates it: worry, guilt, and dopamine.
“If you give it a name, it takes away its power, but I gave it more than a name. I made them into gorillas.”
Tune in on this episode of The Face of Chicago Business podcast to hear more about Stephanie’s story from family, to her career journey, to her advice on how to manage the tough things in life.
episode 0061 | Edgar Montiel
True unsung heroes are few and far between and Edgar Montiel is toward the top of the list. Growing up in Cicero as the oldest of five boys in a low income family, Edgar and his brothers found their after-school safe haven in the Boy’s Club of South Cicero.
Currently the last standing Boy’s (only) Club under the Boys and Girls Club umbrella, it still only charges families $10 a year for their kids to be members. As someone who benefited greatly from the club as a youth, Edgar now is the CEO helping to give countless kids the same safe haven experience he coveted when he was their age.
A neighborhood that’s often plagued with drugs and gang violence, the Boys Club of South Cicero gives them an opportunity to get their homework done, play sports with their friends, and participate in a variety of activities under the supervision of safe adults.
The eldest son of a Mexican family, Edgar often had a lot of responsibility and restrictions put on him growing up. But, ever the explorer, as soon as he got the chance to try something radically different, he decided to attend SIU six hours away from home. The experiences he’s had both as a student and travelling the world by himself since has uniquely equipped him to support the kids he works with and their families.
“How can we get help in every aspect? You know, it's not just here at the Club. We're going to help you with your application, this and that. We're going to keep in touch when you're in school. We send care packages to students at different campuses. It's for them to understand that we're still there for them. It doesn't end when you turn 19 years old.”
On this episode of The Face of Chicago Business Podcast, hear more about Edgar’s stories from solo adventures to helping the youth of Chicago and learn how you can get involved and help the Boys Club of South Cicero.
episode 0060 | Andis Combi
From a small town in Albania to Chicago, Andis Combi shares his story as an Eastern European immigrant turned businessman.
Moving to Chicago from (at the time) communist Albania when he was 13 was no easy transition for Andis. Culturally, he talks about how the openness of Albanians made him very receptive to learning and understanding the culture of the U.S. However, there was still so much for him to learn and at the time, business was the furthest thing from his mind.
He went from wanting to live a life in the Criminal Justice world based on what he would see on TV to finding a true passion for technology.
Andis was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and started taking risks and achieving success by following his passions. One of the most important things to him, though, is giving back:
“When you come from a place where you don't have anything and when you've been poor and you learn what it takes to achieve certain levels of success, it's a different satisfaction that you get when you give to people.”
For Andis is not about handouts but about giving people the opportunity to achieve whatever their dreams are.
“We just want to provide a resource or a path for someone that doesn't necessarily have that Ivy league school experience or that fatherly figure at home.”
Learn more about Andis’ story, how he marries his love of technology and real estate, and how he’s helping mentor the future generation of entrepreneurs on this episode of The Face of Chicago Business Podcast.
episode 0059 | Cory Warfield
Cory Warfield’s incredible story begins with witnessing the St. Helens volcano eruption from Oregon at the age of two. Knowing from an early age he wanted to "be a boss," he immediately told his family he didn't want to live there anymore. That brought the Warfield family to Chicago in 1980.
Traumatic life events in his teens led Cory to the streets of the West Coast where he was homeless for a few years starting at the age of 18. Over the next few years, his life was riddled with living off of scraps and run-ins with the law that eventually led to his ‘wake up’ call. After getting the crap kicked out of him, enough was enough. Working his way up from dishwasher to Sommelier over the course of a few years, Cory then went onto manage a celebrity hot-spot steakhouse in downtown Chicago.
Only five years ago he waited on his last table to start his first tech company. Since then, he has helped raise over 15 million dollars and continues to not only build up his own companies but also help others build theirs. Corey’s story is one of fierce determination and humble inspiration.
episode 0058 | Calvin Boyd
Calvin Boyd may be a Michigan native but he knew from a very young age that he was destined to move to Chicago one day. After graduating from Michigan State University with his Doctorate of Law in 2015, Calvin realized that dream and established himself as an attorney in the Chicago Legal Network. He has worked across various firms over the years eventually starting his own, Boyd Law LLC in 2017 specializing in Employment, Real Estate, and Entertainment law.
Over the past year or so, one of the most important aspects of his life has been his spiritual journey. For Calvin, that journey reflects itself in every aspect from work to family. In order to provide ethical counsel, he feels you need to be in that realm of connecting with your spirituality. In his personal life, it has brought him closer than ever to his 4-year-old son,Caleb, allowing him to be truly present and it has given him a deeper understanding of his son.
When he works with people, he leads with his multi-faceted personality. In his words, he’s not “just an attorney.” The sentiment he echoes to everyone he meets is: “Be true to yourself and the things that are meant for you will be there for you.” Throughout his years so far as an attorney, one thing that has changed the most for him is his definition of wealth. While it was once defined by how much money he could make, he now creates his wealth by the impact he makes and the legacy he’s leaving behind.
episode 0057 | Rene De Coning
After growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa, living in the UK and across the US, Rene de Coning and her family settled in Chicago. As the first one in her family to obtain a college degree, Rene is not only financially supportive but she’s the emotional, cultural, and spiritual glue that holds them all together.
From humble roots, she has dedicated her life to supporting others on their journey to live their very best life. She’s currently the President and Owner of MustardSeed Insights, Inc. putting all her years of acquired knowledge from Corporate positions to work by coaching others in life and leadership. She’s a Certified Professional Coach and works on in-depth leadership programs through a collaboration with LMI-Chicago.
Rene offers pro bono coaching for those who can’t afford it and is constantly blown away by the successes her graduates share with her after they finish her program. After her own kids graduated from school and left home, she and her husband, excited to start the next chapter as empty-nesters, moved into a beautiful 4-story townhouse while she was busy building two businesses and taking classes to get her coaching certification. Right after moving into their home, her husband suffered a devastating fall, fracturing his C2 vertebrae and was paralyzed from the waist down.
The emotional and physical challenges have been overwhelming but through their combined passion, drive, and optimism, her husband continues to improve his dexterity. And throughout it all, Rene continues to provide her utmost support to others on their journey of discovery and growth and build her business.
Rene will be the first to tell you she is blessed beyond measure.
This podcast sheds an amazing light in Chicago, and the business people that it consists of. I love the wide range of topics that are touched on.
Very informative and well put
Very well put podcast, and informative for the Chicago audience and the people making a difference!
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There’s nothing wrong with getting a little uncomfortable in order to elevate. Tony has helped me more than he can even understand! The podcast actually helped me feel more confident and allowed me to really see myself personally outside of being an entrepreneur. If you’re considering this podcast., join the mission! You will be so happy you did!!!