Click For Hope

inspiring friends

Inspiring Friends | Karina of Metts Photo

Inspiring Business, Clickforhope, Inspiring FriendsJasmine LopezComment

Photos by Metts Photo

Who is Karina Metts?

I'm a wedding photographer with my husband in the Chicago area. I'm a homeschool mom to two pretty cool kids, and while it's not easy, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Share a bit about what you do. What is it? How long have you been doing it for?

 I'm a wedding photographer, but beyond that I'm a storyteller. My husband and I have been capturing stories together since before we were engaged. We have officially been a husband and wife team for 7 years. My husband started the photography business in Michigan when he was a teen. He always had a love of photography. He went to school for visual storytelling and interned at a newspaper in a nearby town. I started my journey with film photography in school. Michael bought me my first digital camera and taught me how to process photos on the computer. I started shooting with him and realized it would be so fun to be able to do this together on a more regular basis. My father is an entrepreneur so my entrepreneurial spirit comes from him. He's passed down his drive and ambition, and I love it


How can we stalk/follow you on social media?

I'm most active on Instagram I have a business one @mettsphoto and a personal one @karina_mettsphoto. I also periodically post on twitter when I'm feeling witty, or want to get something off my mind. @karina_metts  I also recently launched http://www.focusyoursocial.mettsphoto.com/ which has a FB page: https://www.facebook.com/mettsphotoworkshops/
 

What's your favorite drink?

I'm pretty vocal about my love of coffee. Mmmm I enjoy my daily cup in the afternoon. I also like to splurge on a mocha every so often.

What makes you laugh?
My kids. They're silly, and hilarious. 

What does a typical Sunday look like for you?
We typically start our Sunday at church. We then have a new tradition of going to Spilt Milk in Oak Park for a cup of coffee and a treat for the kids before we go grocery shopping for the week. If we don't have any photo sessions scheduled I sometimes spend time working or just gearing up for the week.

Motherhood, homeschooling, several businesses?!?.....could we chat about that for a minute.....can you share how you organize your day?
How do you get it all done?
How do you setup yourself up for a successful day?
How do you ensure that you have intentional time with the kids? Hubby?
 

Yes, I do a lot. Sometimes I have no idea how I manage to do it all. I am really intentional about being organized and strategic. I stick to a schedule and have a strict schedule for the kids too. We typically spend the morning together. I wake up, go for a run, and get back to wake up the kids before Michael leaves for work. I get them ready for the day, the morning is left to focus on reading and school stuff. Nap/quiet time is after lunch which is when I get started on work. Since I have a limited time, I'm very focused when I sit down at the computer. Michael comes home, we have dinner together (unless I have an evening meeting or event), and I finish out the evening with more work. I try not to go to bed too late since I get up early. Before heading to bed, I plan out the next day. I plan the tasks that need to get done so that I'm ready to go in the morning. It's worked for us so far, and as long as we are keeping lines of communication open with everyone it goes pretty smoothly most days. 
 

What do you love most about what you do?

I love being able to serve our couples. To go above and beyond. To get to know them and pour into them as a couple, and be an example through our marriage.

What keeps you excited about what you do?

It's so amazing getting to document a couple's most important day in a unique way. Every wedding is completely different with different situations. I love thinking through that and creating beautiful images for them to remember 50 plus years from now.

What are you most passionate about in life?
I'm passionate about empowering others to achieve their dreams. I love encouraging others in finding their passions and helping them figure out how to achieve their desires. I especially like to encourage other mom entrepreneurs that they can live a life where they are pouring into their children while building a successful business.

In what ways do you give back to the community?

We serve in the children's ministry at our church and volunteer our photography to them for special events. I really enjoyed photographing the children's summer camp last year and seeing kids just having fun and learning new sports, crafts, and making new friends.

What was the scariest part in deciding to start your business?

I'm not sure I even thought about starting a business as being scary. Like I mentioned, it was a normal lifestyle growing up, so I just went right into it. 

Can you share a time you wanted to give up, or a struggle that you encountered?

How did you overcome it?

Yes I come across these feelings often. Haha! Every day I'm like what am I even doing?! Seriously. However there are so many people depending on me, the fact that I don't want to let them down keeps me pushing through.

What encouraging words would you tell a Momma or soon to be momma who wants to start or already owns a business?

You're not alone. It's so important to find a friend or friends who you can talk

Photos by Metts Photo

Inspiring Friends | Amy of Lecoeur Watches

Clickforhope, Inspiring Business, Inspiring FriendsJasmine LopezComment

I'm so excited to introduce you to my next Inspiring Friend!!! Amy is just the sweetest and I first met her last year at our small group. I loved being in a circle with her, and learning all about her business, how she gives back through it, and her inspiration for the brand! Be sure to read her story, follow her on IG, and maybe even buy a watch!!!

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Who is Amy Mokris?
A creator, dreamer, believer, doer. 

How can we stalk/follow you?

My heart lives on lecoeurwatches.com, but I'm also vibin' on instagram, @amymokris + @lecoeur_watches!

What's your favorite drink?

Coffee

What makes you laugh?

Monkeying around with friends and family, dry humor, Aziz Ansari, other people laughing makes me laugh. I'm probably smiling more often throughout the day than not.

What does a typical Sunday look like for you?

I have tried to be better at honoring the Sabbath on Sundays -- resting, and spending time doing things that bring me joy (taking photos, being active, sharing ideas and meals with family, spending time intentionally instead of just passing it). I realize that when I spend time away from work, it actually helps my work grow. For me, it's much easier said than done

Please share a bit about your business, what you do, how long you've been in it?

I started Le Coeur Watch Co. in the spring of 2015 because I couldn't find a watch I really loved. Logistically speaking, the designs stemmed from that. But as I grew the brand, I incorporated elements that I felt were missing in the market: a minimalist design, a give-back approach, and a cult brand inspired by travel that stood for more than just consuming more product with no value. While my passions lie in the design and branding part of the business, I'm a creator first and a businesswoman second. Learning how to best be the latter and balance the two roles makes the business flow.

What inspired you to start your business? Does your personal story/journey somehow connect to it?

Absolutely. My background is in photography, product design and marketing, so Le Coeur has really always been this fusion of all the things I love doing. I've always said the love comes first at Le Coeur. A quote I love is, "We work from love, not for love." Le Coeur was never born out of the need or desire to make money; we have purpose first, we try to clearly communicate what we stand for, and the business works because of that. 

What do you love most about what you do?

Creating a community and having relationships with our customers who love what we stand for. When others' visions and hearts align with something you started, there's really nothing better. Our customers, and being able to create something meaningful with them, mean the world to us.
 

What's your favorite watch, timepiece, or design inspiration?

Anything classic, minimal, and meaningful. I think there's a really cool movement happening right now, where the consumer is moving towards having less things with more value, and that's right where we come in. Travel is what most inspires both me and the brand at large -- and the feeling of being so deeply connected no matter where one lives in the world. 
 

In what ways does your business give back to the community?

Every Le Coeur purchase helps charities in need both locally and worldwide.  By partnering with different organizations each month, it's our greatest goal and privilege to help create awareness for their cause and donate in ways that best support their greatest needs.

What was the scariest part in launching your business?

Le Coeur has always been fueled by pure love, so launching it was easy. Making it work is a whole other story. I think there's not enough conversation happening around that "middle" part that's so often full of tension; when you've launched something successfully and now you have to figure out how to make it scale in a meaningful and efficient way. We are constantly, and I mean constantly, learning and pivoting; We couldn't do it without Chicago's communities of entrepreneurs and mentors we seek out and try and learn from every day.

Can you share a time you wanted to give up, or a struggle that you encountered? How did you overcome it?

Something that has been a learning experience is trying to manage overseas manufacturers and ensure that their production timelines consistently align with your product launches and business cash flow. We source our watch components from all over the world, and because of retail being so seasonal, if you don't manage your timelines you could end up investing in a lot of product that doesn't hit the market at the right time, or too late for your peak seasons.

Photos by: Jazi Photo

Inspiring Friends | Ebele

Inspiring Business, Clickforhope, Inspiring FriendsJasmine Lopez2 Comments

Who is Ebele Onyema?

What does it say about me that my immediate reaction to this question is to tell you what I do?!  Haha!  I will say, though, that what I do for a living says a lot about who I am.  Or, maybe the reverse is more true.  Who I am has been the number one influence on what I do.  Sooo, without any more rambling (!), I am the Love Works Director at Soul City Church.  I oversee the strategy behind Soul City's local and global community engagement, which means I provide opportunities for people to be catalysts for change and love in Chicago and around the world. 

I love your name, can you share what it means?

Thank you!  Name love wasn't so strong when I was growing up and it was the first day of school roll call.  The teacher would inevitably get a look of consternation and nervously titter, "Well, this is an interesting one."  I wish I'd had the ability at 8 years-old to say, "Really?  No more interesting than your eight-syllable Polish last name that you managed not to look sideways at."  It's interesting how we're taught to otherize somethings, and not others. So, yes, it took a minute to get on board, but I love my name, too! My full name is Ebelechukwu.  It's Nigerian and means God's (Chukwu) mercy (Ebele.)

How can we stalk/follow you on social media?

Oh man, you'll be so disappointed if you do!  My social media game is sporadic at bes.  Facebook always left me feeling inadequate and jealous, which is my least favorite emotion to feel, so one day about five years ago it dawned on me - I don't have to engage with this.  It's like that cheesy anecdote, a patient says, "Doctor, it hurts when I do this," and the doctor responds, "Well, stop doing that."  Oh, duh!  So, I go on Facebook once a year on my birthday to be polite, but that's it.  I do like Instagram, and sometimes wish I was more consistent at it.  I take to it when I feel I have something interesting to share, and my feed makes me smile.  It feels like me.  You can find it at @bellauaswella

We're also getting the Love Works Instagram off the ground - @loveworkschicago.  We're still tinkering with what perspective we want it to have, what space we want it to take up in this world, but I feel a lot of excitement about its potential.

What's your favorite drink?

Tequila and wine!  Can I say that???  

What makes you laugh?

Um, funny stuff?  Haha!

I love going to improv shows.  I love dry humor.  I hate puns.  I like a story told with gusto.  

What does a typical Sunday or should I say Saturday look like for you since you work on Sunday's?!?

Haha, yes, Friday's are my Saturdays, which - it took a year - but I've finally gotten the hang of.  Weekend mornings I'm typically boxing or yoga-ing.  I love, love, love boxing.  It's no contact, but you are working with a partner, not a bag, so its dynamic and as close to being hit in the face as I want to get!  I love strong, powerful, brave women - I believe I am one - and boxing rewards you for being those things.  Women can't always say that about every sphere of our lives.    

What are you most passionate about in life?

Defining the shape of the space I want to take up in this world and then taking it fully, with integrity, humility, vulnerability, and pizazz.  And empowering others, particularly women and girls, to do the same.

Please share a bit about Love Works? What is it? How long have you been working at Soul City Church?

Love Works is Soul City's compassion and justice arm.  I've been on staff for fifteen months (ooo, I felt like a mom there!  "Little Scout is 44 months old." Which always sends me into a panic - soooo, what does that mean, she's 26?? I have no idea. I didn't realize our interaction was going to involve math.)  

The mission of Love Works is to educate, equip, and mobilize volunteers to transform the city and the world.  We send volunteers to our partner organizations (like preparing meals at Breakthrough or, very soon, working with churches in El Salvador), we create our own events to serve the community (like the Christmas Store and Back 2 School Bash), and we provide spaces for people to talk about social justice issues (forums on homelessness and immigration.)  In my opinion, what we do is interesting, but how we do it is everything.  We are all broken people, so there are no saviors at Love Works, just individuals who are guided by the example of The One who came to save us all.

You can learn more at www.loveworkschicago.org


What do you love most about what you do?

I'm deeply humbled by the people I get to meet.  The people we serve teach me that we are far more alike than we are different.  I think service can be intimidating for people because they're nervous they'll say or do the wrong thing or that the people they'll encounter will be so foreign from what they're used to.  But every time I serve, I'm reminded of our shared humanity, our shared identity as daughters and sons of Christ; and all the superficial stuff both melts away and recommits me to the cause.  When we meet people whom society has marginalized, and we see that the only thing differentiating their outcomes from ours is place of birth or skin color or some other superficial thing, it should make us angry.  It should make us question our seats of privilege, and want to use that privilege to make things more just.  Love Works has incredible volunteers who share that belief, so serving alongside them is also one of my favorite parts of the gig.

What keeps you excited about what you do with Love Works?

It's potential.  The people of Love Works are going to change the world.  There's no doubt in my mind.  We haven't even scratched the surface of what we can do to address systemic issues.

In what ways does Love Works give back to the community?

Love Works' sole reason for being is to engage in community issues.  We are in constant communication with our partners; they know what they need and we follow their lead.  We are also in a process of listening to the Holy Spirit to discern here we should focus.  There are so many issues in the world, we could spread ourselves very thin and not be effective anywhere.  We want to be intentional about two or three areas of focus so that Love Works can make the biggest impact possible.

What was the scariest part in deciding to be a part of Love Works?

Working at a church.  I carry a lot of church hurt from previous experiences, and it felt cruel that God would plant me in a setting that was the source of some of my most toxic self-beliefs.  But Soul City is exactly where I'm supposed to be and Love Works is exactly the thing I'm supposed to be doing, and even with that confidence, I can tell you that every inch of it is hard.  I'm uncomfortable, I'm not in control, I doubt my capacity, I'm constantly battling old stories about churches and church people that continue to surface, I'm comparing myself to an outlandish ideal, the list goes on.  Never has a job challenged me so much professionally and personally.  

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Can you share a time you wanted to give up, or a struggle that you encountered?

How did you overcome it?

I'm used to achieving on a high level professionally. Career has always been a large part of my identity, which I like, so being good at it has always been hard work for high self-reward. This new role, much to my ego's discomfort(!), has been hard work for high self-growth.

God is growing me by breaking me. I didn't catch on to His process at first. I started the job assuming, after a requisite acclimation period, I would start killing it straightaway. Well, that acclimation period is lasting a whole lot longer than I anticipated! There have certainly been wonderful victories, and there are parts of the job that come effortlessly, but I am having to rely on God more than I ever have before. It is not in my own power that Love Works is going to change the world - that has been made abundantly clear to me. I think about Moses a lot. His, "You got the wrong guy, God. I don't talk so good. I don't lead so good." And God's response, "Well I talk and lead perfectly, so when we do this extraordinary thing, all will know it's through My power in you that it was done."

I don't know how to change the world, but I'm coming to the realization that it's not my job to know how. That's God's job. My job is to dive deep into prayer and listen to where the Spirit leads. And then say yes - even if I don't get it, even if I can't imagine it. I get through struggles when I realize that I don't have to struggle, that God is capable of the super human when we allow him to be.

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What encouraging words would you tell someone who wants to work for a non-profit?

I've worked in both corporate and non-profit settings, and have loved them both. I actually like to bring a corporate mentality to my non-profit work. Measurement, analysis, processes are all music to my ears, and I think a commitment to those things are benefits a person can bring to non-profits, since often time you will be grant funded and will need to report on metrics.

I also think it's important to have boundaries and practice self care.  Because this work is values-based, we can lie to ourselves and say, "If I was truly passionate about this issue, I'd be willing to give it every area of my life." Don't do it! Hard stop.

That said, non-profits often afford you the opportunity to get your hands dirty across a lot of different areas. Get dirty! You'll be busy and maybe a little tired sometimes, but you'll be learning and hopefully really fulfilled.

Photos by: Jazi Photo