Kelly Fakhoury is a local wife and mom who spends her days as an attorney and her nights and weekends as the Operations Director for Gracie Barra Libertyville, a jiu jitsu academy she and her husband, Jamil Fakhoury, own and operate with their five children. Kelly is a Grand Rapids, Michigan native who has always loved to shop and support local. Read more to learn about Kelly and her family’s busy life and where they love to play around Libertyville.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?
I am from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I moved to Chicago after law school to pursue a career as a trial attorney. When I met my husband, we dated “long distance” from the city to Libertyville, as he had lived in the area for a few years. I fell in love with him and Libertyville and moved here after we were engaged. I am very fortunate to be able to work from home most days, allowing me more time to work and spend time with my family without the commute into the city.
Do you have child(ren)? Age(s)
I have five children. We are a blended family and four of my children are step-children – Lydia (age 9), Audriana (age 7) and Jamil and Salim (age 5). My husband and I had our first child in May of 2019 – Lucia.
What are your favorite things to do in the area with and without your kids? Family friendly restaurant? Date night?
Our family loves to visit Independence Grove for swimming, the playground, boat rides and picnics. We also frequent Dairy Dream (maybe too often) in the summer months. Jamil and I love to go to Mickey Finn’s and listen to live music. Our favorite restaurant is Oishi Sushi, where we eat all you can eat sushi at least once a week. We also love Casa Bonita, Hanakawa and O’Toole’s.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor or in the corporate world? Please share!
I am in the corporate world as a commercial trial attorney at Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP. My husband is an Evanston firefighter. Together we own and operate Gracie Barra Libertville, a Brazilian jiu jitsu academy on Route 176 and I-94. This business venture has been an amazing endeavor that has resulted in our marriage being stronger due to our evolving ability to be life partners and business partners. Jamil is the head professor at the academy, I teach barre classes there, and the discipline the program offers has become so important for our family. The academy and all of its members are truly an extension of our family and we cannot wait to watch it continue to grow.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Libertyville reminds me of home after having lived in Chicago for over a decade. The community has been instrumental to allowing me the family life I grew up with and have always wanted. I have been very lucky in meeting some amazing people in Libertyville. The ideals shared amongst the families – alike or different from ours – has provided a great support for us in raising our children and starting a business in the area. I went from city-girl to wife, mom and small-business owner in a short period of time and cannot imagine a better place to have made such an amazing transition.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Mom?
Oh my gosh…I don’t even know where to begin. I feel that our generation of mothers is so lucky given the support that exists for and between mothers. I think being a blended family makes things a little bit more interesting and can be hard for others to relate to at times. That being said, my mother has always guided me to practice self-love and love for your spouse as the best example you can set for your children. I think that is true for any family!
What is next for you?
I am excited to continue growing as a professional, wife, mother and business owner. Life continues to be busy and crazy and happy and hard. I hope to be able to take it all in as it comes and to be the best example for my children as I can possibly be. As Gracie Barra continues to grow, I hope that it and our family can become much more ingrained within Libertyville and expand our reach to the surrounding suburbs.
Photo Credit: Mila Memories