In less than a year and a half, Stacey Speranza, a third-year student at the University of Toronto, and her sister Marianna Speranza, a senior at The Country Day School, were able to start their podcast and then get signed to a podcast network. What motivated the pair to start this platform? The lack of perspectives and mentorship from women in the business world.
An open conversation
Stacey is the host and co-founder of The Business Casual, where she finds and interviews incredible guests. Marianna is the podcast’s creative director: she manages the postproduction stage of editing the podcast, creates graphics for their social media accounts, and much more.
The Business Casual is an interview-based podcast, focused on helping girls around the world grow both professionally and personally. In an interview with The Varsity, Stacey said that the sisters’ goal for their podcast is to “provide mentorship, provide a space to highlight female trailblazers and to really showcase that there are so many careers out there. And [to] really promote finding a career that you truly enjoy doing, regardless of what that career is.” They have interviewed numerous women trailblazers in multiple industries and covered topics ranging from nonfungible tokens to imposter syndrome.
In March 2020, Stacey had a meeting with a career advisor, where she first got the idea of starting a podcast. The pandemic has isolated many individuals over the past two years, but it has also given many people more free time. Stacey reflected on her first-year experiences at the University of Toronto and realized that she lacked mentorship in a university with thousands of students and countless opportunities.
“There was a huge gap between finding mentors and advice and finding different career paths from the perspective of a young female,” Stacey said. Seeing this as something she could solve, Stacey pitched her podcast idea to her sister, Marianna. Soon after, they established their podcast, and they aired their first episode on July 4, 2020.
Signing with a podcast network
As of October 2021, The Business Casual is officially signed with GreenFresh Media, a podcast network and marketing company. Stacey and Marianna believe that GreenFresh Media saw and understood their vision.
“GreenFresh Media is a network for podcasts and podcast listeners. So they never really made it about them. It was always about what our brand [and] our vision was about,” said Stacey. With the network’s additional help, Stacey believes that she and Marianna can really focus on creating content that is even more engaging for their listeners.
This is a huge step in their journey, and just one of the many goals that the pair had for their podcast. In the future, they would love to extend their efforts to their community. “As our audience continues to grow, [we want] to continue to promote philanthropy and working with community organizations, and also continue to give back to our community with the greater platform we have,” Stacey said. In December 2020, the Speranza sisters helped fundraise for the Alzheimer’s Society of York Region, raising over $4,000 for the cause.
As of right now, Stacey said their next steps are “finding a more effective way to connect [women] industry leaders with young professionals.”
Embracing an entrepreneurial spirit
Stacey has always been someone who loves engaging in conversations with other people. “I’m definitely a people person. I just love people. I love working in teams, [and I] love working in groups.”
This could be attributed to the fact that she is surrounded by family members who are entrepreneurs themselves. “I had the pleasure of watching my grandfather, my mom, and my dad be very entrepreneurial, and start their own businesses or run their own business,” Stacey explained. This, in turn, has motivated her to study business herself.
Stacey is doing a specialist in management with a minor in economics at UTSG’s Rotman Commerce program. She has been a part of numerous extracurriculars and was a marketing intern at Nestlé. Stacey plans on working for a corporation before eventually starting her own business.
Even for someone as social and entrepreneurial as Stacey, being a co-founder of The Business Casual was a daunting and scary task. She wants to encourage others who are apprehensive about what their next steps should be. “Nothing you ever start is going to be perfect. So you just got to start it and see where it ends up. And you also never know where an opportunity or where a relationship can lead or what doors it can open,” she said.
The Business Casual is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.