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.
Christi is our Inspirista of the month!
Christi’s been with us since the beginning, and has the delight of calling Inspiration Ministries her home. Whenever given the chance, Christi will tell you all about her beloved Bears team – the players stats, exciting plays, drama from previous games, etc. The Bears are her TEAM!
She also LOVES Mariah Carey, and has been to FOUR of her concerts. She’s hoping to go and see her in concert later this year to rope in her fifth time seeing her. So cool!
Christi is an awesome addition to our team here at the coffee shop. She is friendly, and so thoughtful in her conversations. She’s an awesome barista, and an even better friend. Thank you, Christi, for being here and working with us! We are so grateful for you.
Here are a few fun facts about Christi:
What excites you most about working at Inspired?
Meeting new people and working at the coffee shop.
What Inspires you?
Being there for people.
Who Inspires you?
My sister, Jess, and my parents.
What is your favorite Inspired drink?
Blood Orange Refresher.
What do you like most about working here?
Making drinks and getting to know people.
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.