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Elena Kapintcheva’s Story

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Elefant-Grand-Opening I had just moved to USA and could be profiled as a sad, nostalgic, bordering depression teenager not letting go of the past memories and unable to see the marvels of the future. The once called “sunshine” had become an array of sadness with no traces of the once wide smile. Until I met Laurie.

At first, the energetic and loud greetings early in the morning by the Winning Futures team where received as goofy and over the board (seen through the filtered teenage perspective). The enthusiastic “How are you today!” required an equally responsive “Great!”. It took time, accumulation and the patience of the WF team. But it happened. And it was truly Great!

I still remember the spark in Laurie’s eyes, the belief, confirmation and affirmation that she believed. That she believed in me. In everybody else in that room. Through guidance and various goal-setting exercises that belief had slowly transferred into us, into our eyes.

Uncertain of the future, lost in translation and overwhelmed by the vast new world I was living in, my only outlet of accumulating fear and culture shock was journaling. Though unloading and slightly relieving it had no true transformation or direction. The Winning Futures 5 Year Plan essay however became a self-sustaining energy transforming visionary machine. With Laurie’s encouragement and persistency in self-belief, the creation of a potential future was, to say the least, an epiphany! It didn’t matter what I wrote, what mattered was that I wrote it. I created it. The realization of the potential and mind blowing power of our own thoughts and actions was an awakening slap. I could see. It perpetuated to infinity. Laurie believed, now I believed. I believed in me!

The belief was put to the test. Laurie pointed me to a secretary job interview in a real estate office near our school. Not more than a year later I was on my way to becoming the youngest real estate agent in the area at the time. With all courses and tests passed, I only had to wait a few months till I turned 18. And that mini goal was only a step towards achieving the bigger one. Another year later I was accepted with a good scholarship to the best art school in the area. The next big-turned-mini goal achieved. It perpetuated to infinity! Laurie believed, now I believed. I believed in me!

While in college, I was recruited by Lear Corporation as a graphic design intern, which turned into a full time job where in 2006.   I was a part of the team designing Lear’s elaborate booth for one of the largest supplier expos – SAE International. Another goal achieved, another one set! It perpetuated to infinity! Laurie believed, now I believed. I believed in me!

Heading my own company was always somewhere in the chain of goals. Precisely as written in the Winning Futures five-year plan, shortly after graduating college that dream became a reality. Setting goals continuously along the way – daily, weekly, monthly… Every step leads to the next, the sooner we take it, the sooner we learn to walk, then run… and eventually fly!

I graduated from College for Creative Studies in Detroit and moved to Bulgaria where I opened up my own design studio, working on graphic design projects for non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. Ironically, in Bulgaria I met American actor, filmmaker and humanitarian – Michael Cory Davis. Within a couple of years my US based clientele had expanded drastically and I moved back to the States. Expanding my design reach, I worked on various projects between Michigan and California. Locally collaborated with great designers on creative projects and ideas.

About a year ago my business partner (and husband) and I decided to expand the design studio and created Elefant, Design & Strategy. Located in Troy, MI we strive to prove that good design makes a difference, concentrating on user experience in any visual communication piece.

I often think of my Winning Futures days and apply what I’ve learned in my everyday life. Any humps on the road are mere challenges to make us better. We never stop learning and growing but Laurie and WF were the igniters. I hardly remember the sad teenager. She comes up only when I want to pay forward the spark of belief. Laurie’s spark!

It is quite astonishing how a caring mentor can inspire and empower someone to write his/her own essay of a winning life.