Meet Eileen Kahana of Room2Improv and Featured Business Owner
by Peg Corwin
Meet Eileen Kahana, owner of Room2Improv and Featured Business Owner at SCORE Chicago this week. Learn how she started and what tips she has for your success.
What is your company’s elevator pitch?
Room2Improv is dedicated to raising the self-esteem of students and veterans and ultimately empower them to live enriching lives.
What inspired you to start your business?
After a 35 year successful career with Chicago Public Schools, I pursued a new challenge of taking an Improv class at The Second City. That one class turned into a life changing two-year experience. While taking Improv classes at night, I also was a substitute teacher during the day. I recognized the value of the skills learned in Improv and began to use them with my students. Immediately, I witnessed students become more engaged, happier, able to make better decisions and capable of recognizing the metamorphosis in themselves. I am building a business to help others build self-esteem.
Who are your clients, and give an example of how you served that person or business?
At Circle Urban Ministries of Chicago (“Transforming Chicago’s Westside through faith in action”) we provided 16 weeks of improv. We worked with 7th and 8th graders. The classes fostered collaboration, promoted creative problem solving, developed leadership skills and provided mechanisms for coping with bullying. We created an environment where ideas are valued, judgment is removed and mistakes are gifts.
We also worked with Hope Manor, helping veterans change and improve their lives over the long-term and integrating veterans more positively into community life. Also YPO, the Young President’s Organization, which unites 20,000 business leaders in more than 120 countries around a shared mission, we conducted workshops.
What is your biggest business challenge?
The biggest challenge is accomplishing goals with limited resources. These challenges transform into opportunities that ultimately transform lives.
Mentor name, and how they have helped you in your business?
Both David Kirshner and Mark O’Brien have given me guidance, support, contacts, ideas and equally important, provided patience and direction to help me succeed. They both have shown a genuine concern. Their talents have been priceless, valuable and valued.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs?
Listen to others, respect knowledge, ask questions, keep going, make it happen.