Inspired is a premium coffee shop, a neighborhood place, located in downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin employing people with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities where they are celebrated, job trained, coached and, over time, placed into a fully integrated work setting.
Empowering people with disabilities to live with greater purpose and achieve their individual best in a thriving environment.
Meet Our Leadership Team
As the General Manager of Inspired, this position is the culmination of my work experience and my educational background. Before my time at Inspired, I was a store manager for Starbucks and worked for the company for 6 years. Previous to that I studied Social Work at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater.
Inspired is a place where adults with disabilities learn skills to be successful in their own lives, but it is also a place where people from our county, and beyond, will experience something special. Coffee is a culture, a way of life. It connects people of all different life experiences. Our store culture challenges the status quo of society and raises the bar to what it means for a society to be its best. As General Manager, it is my pleasure to welcome you to Inspired!
Talent Development Coordinator
My name is Ryn and I was very excited when I heard about Inspired. What an amazing opportunity for people with disabilities to gain the knowledge and skills needed to have a rewarding and successful experience in the workforce.
I have been honing my skills working with young adults for over 10 years. Early on, I worked at Easter Seals of Wisconsin as a Camp Counselor making sure the camper’s time was spent having fun and making memories. I have also worked at Wisconsin Independent Learning College as a support staff member where I further developed my skills working with young adults to prepare them for life in the workplace. Along the way, I perfected my skills as a barista and I am known to make one mean latte!
I am inspired to help people reach their full potential and achieve their goals.
Talent Development Coordinator
Joining the Inspired Team as a Talent Development Coordinator has been an incredible opportunity and something I look forward to being a part of every day. I have worked in the Human Services field since 2018 working mostly with adults with disabilities. I have an Associate’s Degree in Human Services and am currently attending George Williams College for my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. Job development and coaching has become a passion of mine over the past few years and working with people to find their strengths and build their skills in order to reach their fullest potential fuels me to keep trying my hardest every day.
Dameon is our Inspirista of the month!
Dameon, you are a true joy to have here at the Inspired Coffee Shop! Dameon is kind and thoughtful, and is always full of excellence. He loves what he does and does it with everything that is in him. He’s the PERFECT addition to our coffee shop team!
Dameon absolutely loves music. He taught himself how to play the piano, drums and guitar – WOW, what a rockstar! He won gold and silver medals for swimming, snow shoe, and basketball. Dameon has TWO tortoises as pets.
He hopes to go to Shepherds college someday and enter their tech program. He’s independent and outgoing, and enjoys connecting with others. Dameon also cooks ALL of his own food.
Dameon, it has been our pleasure welcoming you in to our coffee shop, and we are excited to see all the things you do and accomplish in life! You have amazing talents and awesome people skills. Keep up the good work!
A little more about Dameon:
What excites you most about working here?
Taking orders and making drinks.
What Inspires you?
Music, video games, being a student, sports and learning new languages.
Who Inspires you?
My family and friends, and teachers at school and work. My favorite artists and bands.
What is your favorite Inspired Drink?
Vanilla Cream Frappe.
What do you like most about working here?
Being a cashier and a barista
Between 2017 and 2018, Inspiration Ministries administration embarked on a quest to understand the needs and preferences of people with disabilities today, trends, service gaps and organizational best practices. After countless meetings and gaining critical insight from state agencies, legislators, schools, non-profit organizations, churches, families and other organizations that serve the population, several themes emerged:
- Community Inclusion and Integration – Due to state and federal legislation such as Home and Community Based Services Waiver (HCBS), community integration and inclusion for people with disabilities of all ages continues to evolve and take root.
- Transition Services & Vocational Training – There are lacking services and public/private sector collaborations, limited funding and opportunities for public school students with disabilities to adequately prepare them for life post-graduation (21 years old).
- Employment for people with disabilities – The monthly jobless rate for people with disabilities in 2018 was 8%, down from 12.6% from 2014 (Wall Street Journal). This is evidence that federal legislation such as Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) are gaining traction and that diversity and inclusion in the workplace is increasingly becoming embraced. People with disabilities represent a viable and reliable labor force that employers can’t afford to overlook.
To discuss, process, and discern Inspiration Ministries’ potential responses to these themes, a committee made up of IM administration and community leaders was formed. After much deliberation over the course of several months, it was determined that a coffee shop in nearby Lake Geneva would provide the most ideal setting to accomplish three key objectives:
- Change the conversation about the potential of people with disabilities, and the place they should have in our community.
- Meet a need by providing training, coaching, jobs, income, opportunity, and transition services for people with disabilities.
- Capture a segment of the coffee market in Lake Geneva that has been untapped after Peets Coffee made the strategic decision to cease operations in Wisconsin in 2016.
In the summer of 2019, Inspired was given its name, a mission statement, vision statement and core values were adopted, a location in downtown Lake Geneva secured, and a campaign launched to raise startup capital. In early summer 2020, renovations were completed on the space.