Photo Credit: Studio West Photography

 

Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?

Hi, I’m Diana! I was born and raised in Libertyville – my dad, Dr. Anthony Steplyk, was a dentist in Libertyville for over 25 years. My husband, Andy, is from Owosso, Michigan, a town near East Lansing, MI. We met at Michigan State University, and after we got married in 2009, we lived in downtown Chicago for about 6 years. In 2015, we bought my parents’ house (the house I grew up in) and moved to the area to be a part of this community and closer to family.

 

Do you have child(ren)? Age(s)

We have 2 daughters; Hannah is 5 and is a Kindergartner at St. Joseph Catholic School in Libertyville (where mama also went to school) and Samantha is 2 and has fun with her friends at Poko Loko Early Learning Center.

 

Photo Credit: Lacey Ellyn Photography

What are your favorite things to do in the area with and without your kids? Family friendly restaurant? Date night?

Libertyville has so many fun family activities year-round. Parks & playgrounds are our favorite hangouts during the warm weather months to help burn off all that little-kid energy, and we love wandering around the Farmer’s Market on Thursdays getting fresh produce and baked goods – specifically scones. Black Cat Yoga has been my sanctuary to find some “me time,” but I also love taking the girls to their Mom & Tot classes. We also enjoy the food, friends and activities at the Friday Lunch in the Park, picking out books to checkout for the week at Cook Library, and the seasonal MainStreet Libertyville parades & events. O’Tooles has a great kids’ menu with fun “cocktails” (plus those Wiki sticks to play with for the win!) For date night, we head to Shakou for their black widow roll, or Main Street Social for their Main Street Social & Bright Angel wines, the crispy brussels sprouts salad & flatbreads to share, and the zeppole for dessert. Since Andy is a big fan of Scotch, Firkin is one of our favorite spots because he enjoys their vast selection. We try to spread the love around all the downtown restaurants and try the seasonal specials & menus.

 

Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor or in the corporate world? Please share!

Last year, we founded Friess Financial, Inc. – Tax Preparation & Accounting Services. Andy has worked in the accounting and tax world for 13 years and wanted to share his experience and knowledge with the residents and business owners of Libertyville and Lake County. He prepares tax returns for individuals and small businesses, along with doing consulting, accounting, and payroll. We serve many different types of businesses, including consulting, health, retail, and rental property owners. I help him with the daily tasks of running an office along with the marketing, advertising, and social media aspects of the business since that’s where my expertise lies, working as a Marketing Manager for Hilton Hotels for the past 5 years. We are continuing to grow our business, so if you or someone you know is in need of tax services, feel free to reach out for a free consultation.

How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?

Growing up in this community, going to school at St. Joseph’s & Libertyville High School, and being immersed in this neighborhood where my mom and dad built their business has shown me the power of community and inclusion.

Our office for Friess Financial, Inc. sits across the street from where my dad practiced dentistry; when I look out the window, I remember the times my sister and I took the bus from school to their office, walked to the White Hen Pantry on the corner of Winchester & 21 for an after-school snack & treats, did our homework in the break room, helped the hygienists with developing x-rays, and built forts in the basement with the big cardboard boxes that would come with new equipment or supplies. Seeing their work ethic coupled with the immense support and sense of belonging in this community shaped me into who I am today. I knew there was no better place to raise my family and start our business than here. As a brand-new business with just a year under our belt, we are so grateful that the residents and small business owners here have welcomed us and helped us grow and achieve our dream of owning our own business. Now that we are getting established, we hope to get more involved in community service so we can volunteer our time and talents to give back to this amazing community.

 

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I earned a full-ride athletic scholarship to play volleyball at Michigan State University. Go Green! After graduating from MSU, I moved to Cambridge, MA to be the Assistant Coach of the Harvard Women’s Varsity Volleyball team and completed my master’s degree in Business Management. I hope to get back into coaching if my girls take up volleyball when they get older. (Fingers Crossed!) I haven’t given up on volleyball yet either, and you can find me playing in various indoor & outdoor leagues around town.

 

For Andy, he is an avid gardener and loves tinkering with growing all sorts of vegetables for us – tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, etc.! When tax season is over and the warm summer weather moves in, you can find him plotting out our garden in the back yard and tending our harvest! He is also the chef in the household and loves creating meals without a formal recipe. I am the baker. Together we get savory and sweet!

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Mom/Dad?

Treasure each stage of your kids’ lives. You may feel stuck in the day-to-day of crying, feeding, and constant demands for attention, but make sure you soak it up and be present with them because they are not going to stay this little forever. One day they will be able to (and want to!) take care of themselves, feed themselves, and drive themselves. You may not even see them or speak to them for a whole day. Find gratitude in each day and the season you’re in so you can be present and share in life’s experiences together!

 

What is next for you?

Tax season is upon us. It makes for long days and longer weeks and a longing for Spring, which is right around the corner. We are looking forward to helping our neighbors with tax preparation and tax consulting. We’re eager to answer any questions people may have to ultimately help them lower their taxes and plan for their future. We are happy to schedule free consultations to evaluate your needs or answer any questions you have.

 

We also look to continue to volunteer at St. Joseph School & Church and with MainStreet Libertyville. Please say hi if you see us around town!

 

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