PURIM Unmasked

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By: Ellen Geller Kamaras

“I love all things creative. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a sketch pad and pencils with me.  When a creative idea hits, or something sparks my imagination, I literally take note, initial doodles have turned into logos.  Whether I’m producing a coffee table book for a publisher or a promotional piece for a community business, I invest the same passion and excitement.” - Stacey Gindi

Please meet Stacey Gindi, wife, mother, accomplished graphic designer, and owner of S. Gindi Design Studio.  In today’s fast-paced and digital environment, graphic design is a vital tool any business owner or organization can utilize to communicate and market their brand, services, and mission.   

I first connected with Stacey in 2016 when I was writing a profile article about Eileen Mizrahi of Treats by Eileen Gourmet Granola and I needed Stacey to send over Eileen’s logo.  Recently, I clicked on Stacey’s website, sgindidesignstudio.com, and saw her wonderful portfolio, which featured reviews from successful community entrepreneurs and professionals.

Let’s get to know Stacey as a child, teenager, and young woman, and see how her experiences helped to shape her into the woman she is today.

Growing Up

Stacey is the daughter of Stella and Morris Sitt.  Stella was born in Brooklyn to Anna and Michael Mansour, a”h. Morris came to Brooklyn after a daring escape from Aleppo, Syria.  At age nine, he hid in a car that crossed the border from Aleppo to Beirut, Lebanon. With him were his parents, Selim and Sophie Sitt, a”h, the daughter of Rabbi Yitzchak Dayan, whose lineage is traced all the way back to David HaMelech.

Stella and Morris met in Bradley Beach, New Jersey, married, and moved “out of town” to New Haven, Connecticut, where Morris owned two stores.  They had three children, Stacey, her brother, Sammy Sitt and a sister, Alyssa Tawil.

There were six Syrian families living in Connecticut, and being among this close-knit group is what gave Stacey a strong sense of community. When Stacey was eleven years old her family moved back to the larger Syrian community in Deal, New Jersey. Stacey is happy to say that she’s been a “Deal Girl” ever since.

“My love for color and design began in childhood,” Stacey relates.  Growing up she could either be found coloring or in ballet class!

Stacey was selected to the yearbook committee in both elementary and high school.  Stacey has been creating flyers since the ninth grade when she first drew one by hand to promote a teen event. She moved on to designing playbills and newsletters for the original Deal Sephardic Youth Center. Stacey studied fine art, design, and photography at New York University (NYU).   

Family Connections

Stacey and her husband, Michael Gindi, have five children, three sons and two daughters. Stacey lovingly proclaims that her parents have been her life mentors, teaching her the importance of family, hard work, and the ability to see the good and laugh through all of life’s ups and downs.  She also recognizes the love and support from her in-laws, Tootsi (Sylvia) Gindi, and Irving Gindi, a”h.

Stacey’s family and friends describe her as artistic, positive, honest, and organized.  She manages to juggle family life with all her work responsibilities and somehow appears so calm.  Stacey runs her business as she runs her life: with gratitude to Hashem first and foremost.

Striving for Work-Life Balance – A Graphic Designer is Born

A passionate designer and entrepreneur, Stacey declares that along with running her own business, her priorities are being a dedicated wife and mother, and lovingly raising the next generation.  “I’m a big believer in family first.”  Stacey maintains that wives can work and partner with their husbands to earn a parnassah for their families without sacrificing their responsibilities as mothers.

Her drive, positive energy, flexibility, and love were evident in Stacey’s story, particularly when her children were young.  She nurtured her kids as well as her creativity by attending art classes and even launching a hand-painted baby gift business called Confetti.  Confetti became another creative outlet for Stacey while opening her eyes to becoming an entrepreneur.

A few years later, Stacey was recommended to a local magazine looking for a designer.  “Knowing I was the creative type, the owner handed me a computer design program called CorelDraw, and told me that if I could learn it, I could design his publication, The Source of Deal.”   Stacey accepted the challenge and taught herself the software tool, eventually moving on to becoming an expert in other professional design programs.  She studied and worked many hours at home while her children were sitting on her lap or playing underfoot.

Stacey found her real calling in graphic design, and it allowed her to bring in some money as well. She was proud that she was able to be home when her kids came off the school bus.  Stacey hopes that her children have learned a strong work ethic from her example, while balancing the priority of family.

Stacey is very grateful for her husband’s encouragement.  “Michael has always been my biggest supporter in being a working mother.   He’s also my role model in developing bitachon and growing closer to Hashem.  Through all of life’s challenges, we constantly work together on being better Torah Jews.”

That first magazine was the stepping stone to other magazines, books, flyers, and more.  Stacey formed S. Gindi Design Studio over ten years ago, and her business continues to grow, mostly through word of mouth.  S. Gindi Design Studio is now a graphics communication company and the go-to source for people and businesses looking to express information in a visually pleasing manner. Stacey’s years of experience have made her an expert in book and magazine design and layout.

Stacey’s Creative Spark

Albert Einstein said that “creativity is contagious, pass it on.”  Well, Stacey loves all things creative, including fine art, photography, needlepoint, DIY decorating, and more!  She shares her inspiration with the clients who hire her, including small businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and service-based businesses.  She uses her design and marketing expertise to help her clients reach their target audience and grow their businesses.

“I thrive on having opportunities to be expressive through communicating information, designing a new book, brochure or catalog...the possibilities are endless.”

Her favorite work projects are brochures, magazine and books, specifically The Jewish World of Wonders “Exploring” series, and the most recent “It’s Amazing” by author Efraim Harari.   Recently Stacey developed her own line of custom invitations geared towards the Jewish consumer. This new division, Lime Green Paperie, offers beautiful and affordable wedding and party invitations.

Stretching Beyond Her Comfort Zone

Stacey acknowledges that achieving a work-life balance is always a stretch.  “At times I feel like ‘Superwoman.’  There’s a lot of juggling, focus, and self-motivation involved with being your own boss.”   Stacey also fessed up that she is a very private person, and proceeds carefully in marketing herself.  “In this new world of social media, we always have to strive to find the balance between privacy and self-promotion.”

What does Stacey do for fun and relaxation?

“Relax, what’s that?”  Stacey quipped.  She tries to take a dance or yoga class on occasion, or perhaps a Torah class.  Her favorite hobby is oil painting when she has the time, and she is looking forward to taking some interior design classes.

Sharing Stacey’s Wisdom

Career and business advice?  “Believe in yourself, do something you love, and always strive for a healthy work-life balance.

I conclude with Stacey’s parting hizuk to women:

“There is so much to accomplish in one day, working or not.  As women we need to give ourselves credit for the lives we are developing, the marriages we are growing, and the dinners that mostly get made on time!”

You can learn more about Stacey on her website SGindiDesignStudio.com or connect with Stacey on Instagram @sgindidesignstudio, and LinkedIn. And Stacey invites you to stop by her new office in Long Branch, New Jersey!

Ellen Geller Kamaras, CPA/MBA, is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach.  Ellen helps people find their passion, purpose, and positivity in life and relationships, and conducts personal growth workshops throughout the year.   Ellen can be contacted at ellen@lifecoachellen.com(www.lifecoachellen.com).