#KeepIntheLoop with Mary Iusso!
Ms. Iusso is a proud mom and President of Cristina’s Tortina Shop. She bakes to advocate!
Quite awhile ago when we were taping In the Loop in the Rogers TV studio we came across Ms. Iusso’s shop. We eagerly thought about bringing her into the studio to speak with us about the venture she founded that had such a profound impact on the community.
As I learned more and more about what Mary was doing I knew that In the Loop had to capture the positive and empowering moments on site of Cristina’s Tortina Shop.
At that time we didn’t have a camera crew that had the capability to shoot on site.
The dream to highlight individuals in their element such as Mary stayed very much alive. So much that the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction reconnected me with a family friend who happened to know Mary personally. One day he called me up and said, “Nina, there’s someone you have to meet. Actually, you met her a long time ago however, you may not remember her.”
He gave me Mary’s phone number and the address to the shop. Bright and early on Monday morning I drove to the shop to meet Mary.
The timing was perfect. We now had the capability to capture stories like Ms. Iusso’s on site.
Cristina Tortina’s Shop is no ordinary cup-cakery business. Cristina’s Tortina Shop is a unique bakery that showcases the capabilities of individuals with Down Syndrome, Autism and other exceptionalities. Through Cristina’s Tortina Shop, equal employment opportunities are created. The logo you see above is an animated drawing of Cristina.The 3 cupcakes & 21 polkadots on her apron pay tribute to Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome).
I am so proud and elated to showcase this unique and inspiring story.
Ensure that you keep in the loop with Ms. Mary Isso! After you’ve read her story.
We’re keeping you connected and #InTheLoop.
Stay tuned and Happy Monday!
Name: Mary Iusso
Our readers want to keep in the loop with you. To get acquainted tell us who you are?
My name is Mary I am 47 years old and 8 years ago I found out why.
How long have you been operating your business?
This December we will be celebrating 4 years that we opened our doors to the public.
What is your area of expertise?
I am currently working with high school students to ensure that their interests are acknowledged.
We ADVOCATE for people with Down syndrome. We ADVOCATE for people with exceptionalities we ADVOCATE for EQUAL opportunities at school, employment and in society.
Was there something or someone that inspired you to start your own business?
I started baking from home for friends and family as Cristina's Tortina Shop when Cristina was just a couple of months old.
My daughter Cristina inspired me and everyday I am inspired by people with exceptionalities.
When Cristina was born a social worker at the hospital told us to "have no expectations of our daughter"… Cristina wasn't even 24 hours old and this world we live in didn’t think she would ever amount to anything. This was hurtful to me.
When doing my research about Down syndrome I realized that there is nothing for youth with exceptionalities once they left high school. In fact the majority don't even graduate with credits to go to College. Adequate employment and independence is not expected for these youth.
I knew I had to do something. So I thought what better way than to celebrate all our differences through cupcakes!
We bake to ADVOCATE!
What is your vision for your business and your clientele?
My vision is to have a chain of shops that continue to provide equal employment opportunities while showcasing the capabilities of individuals with exceptionalities.
We want to lead by example, teaching people that we all deserve the same opportunities. Everyone matters! Society may have no expectations for individuals with exceptionalities however; Cristina’s Tortina Shop is a catalyst that shows otherwise.
What motivates you daily before you start your workdays?
My motivation is my WHY.
What is your definition of success?
Watching my staff shine, seeing their smarts and talents. For me that is success.
Being witness to change is also success for me. Some parents truly do not believe their children will amount to anything because their child is born with an exceptionality. When I see that parents begin to fight for their children’s rights regarding equal education and employment, I feel good knowing I had some input in that. To me that is success!
What makes you stand out from the rest?
I am not afraid to stand up for what’s right. I have no filter and don't hold back to express my passion for advocating.
How do you balance your personal life with your professional life?
This is personal. Everything I am and do.
What do you do for self-care?
My self care is escaping to my church, lighting a candle for each one of my hopes and troubles. Prayer is powerful.
I also love watching all of Oprah’s old shows and her new'ish show Master Class and Super Soul Sunday. Listening to people’s stories, learning how they too kept the faith trusted and overcame.
I have recently begun working with a life coach. I get pretty worked up at times and Jacqueline is teaching this hotheaded advocate mama how to chill... it's a work in progress! lol
Keep us In the Loop with the best advice that you’ve been given that you’d share with other entrepreneurs?
Stay true to your WHY! This is your life your passion don't expect people to understand why you want to do something... it's not their why it's yours. Stay in faith and trust that God has a plan for your life.