Family Matters – Paul & Stephanie Zafarana

At American Solutions for Business, we love the family ties that make up much of our sales force. These dynamic teams of siblings, spouses and parents/children all have their own stories and backgrounds that result in a strong, creative and balanced approach to business.

Paul and Stephanie Zafarana are new to the American family and have been finding growth, success and a sense of true belonging with the company’s culture and mission. They’ve been married 19 years and work together as a sales team in Dearborn, MI.

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How did you meet?

Paul: We actually met at a Coney Island restaurant 24 years ago. She stood me up the night before and our mutual friend suggested we meet for breakfast. We still visit there on our anniversary. Fun Fact…I proposed in a Hot Air Balloon, it was either yes or  get out.

Stephanie: Coney Island Restaurant (it’s Detroit’s version of a diner).

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Paul and Stephanie have two boys, Gavin (age 16) and Liam (age 13) 

What quality or trait do you love most of your partner?

Paul: I love the fact that Stephanie is so upbeat. I mean, when things go south, she is still upbeat. I have no idea how to relate to that, I just know that it helps me knowing I have someone who can see through the tough times.

Stephanie: I love his sense of humor, how he can relate to the kids and get them to do what we ask – especially when they don’t want to.  He does the same thing with clients.  I think he is a Jedi.

Do you work on many projects together?

Paul: This is the fun part. She is way more organized and keeps me on task, I am more shiny object and the creative side. I try to be organized, but that does not always work out. I dream about marketing in my sleep, her not so much.

Stephanie: Yes. Often times, when a client is looking for something unique that doesn’t exist yet, we will brainstorm until it gets too crazy and then assess what we’ve got. Then Paul and the client create it out of thin-air. It’s fun to see it go from idea to finished product and then understand the impact.

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What have you learned from each other (work and not work-related)?

Paul: I have learned that we are a team, and we as husband and wife and co-workers/business owners, have to have each other’s back. When things go right, we celebrate. When things go south, we look at how we can improve. The first real test of any marriage is remodeling a kitchen or room together. This will show your real colors and strengths and weaknesses. We both agree that dating shows should really have them work on a project together to see if it will last – not fancy vacations. We all can get along on vacation, right?

Stephanie: We are both “1st borns”. So, it is always about compromise. I think we learned early on (when we remodeled our house) that there is more than one way to get from A to B and you need the right equipment to do the job right. Most importantly, Paul has taught me to be patient and to breathe.

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What are the pros and cons of being in the same industry?

Paul: While we are in the same industry, we each bring different backgrounds to the business. Stephanie brings her financial planning background into the mix and her organizational skills, while I bring my marketing and print production background to the show. I really think that we compliment each other more than anything. The cons of working together are the fact you really need to focus on getting away from the business, otherwise it will consume you. I joke that I have the same boss at work as I do at home.

Stephanie: I think this business gives us control of our destiny (for better or worse). We watch friends worry about corporate cuts and question what comes next. We could not live this life working for someone else.

What is your perfect vacation?

Paul: Not working. I like being outdoors and taking hikes. Being away from the connected world is ideal for me. We like to vacation all over the world. Fun fact: I have been to every state in the US except Hawaii, Alaska and North Dakota. Let’s just say we like to explore. We usually are busier on vacation than regular work life. We get out and check out where we are at. Particular favorites are Yosemite,  Zion/Bryce National Park, and Bar Harbor. We have a hard time just sitting down.

Stephanie: I agree with Paul. Vacation is about unplugging.  It is not always easy to let it go, but it is important to be present at that moment. We love to explore, either at a national park hiking or in a city looking at museums and the uniqueness of that city. He is right, we can’t really vacation with friends because we haven’t found any that can move at our pace (is that bad?). However, if we have been somewhere you want to go, I have all the itineraries, notes and travel info you could want (just ask!). I think that is the organization thing Paul mentioned.

Least favorite food?

Paul: NEVER offer me Celery….

Stephanie: Liver & Onions

Favorite book or TV show at the moment?

Paul: I have one of each. My favorite show right now is Songland, it really shows the creative process to me in a different industry. My favorite book is Everything is F*%@ed, it really summarizes where we are at and that we are not that alone in our endeavors.

Stephanie: I read a ton. I just finished The One Thing by Gary Keller. It’s about goal setting. When I read for fun, I currently like Historical Fiction. The last one was Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Also, we don’t watch a ton of TV, but everything I like is on Netflix.

To learn more about American Solutions for Business, visit http://www.americanbus.com.

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