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 Lisa and I am a Talent Development Coordinator with Inspired. When I heard about Inspired I was very excited and wanted to be a part of this mission. I have been delighted to work with all of my trainees. Watching them share their individual talents, strengths, love of learning, and excitement is why I love my job so much. Oh, and the Chai Tea – it’s so good!
For the last nine years I worked with adults with disabilities as an Employment Specialist. I worked in the greater Milwaukee area as a job coach and job developer at various different venues. I felt the need to reach out and help individuals in Walworth County have the same opportunity and gain the necessary training for working in the community. That’s what led me 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.
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.