Normally after completing an interview it is obvious to spot the passion of the individual.. Normally, however, simply does not apply in the case of Sharon Louise “Lu” Stasko, of the Stasko Agency. This lady appreciates and finds enthusiasm in everything and everyone.
Lu greets you with a smile and sincere, genuine enthusiasm. Ask her about her family, friends, work, non-profit involvement, or for that matter the weather in some far off place and you’ll find her completely focused and enthusiastic about the issue at hand. Looking for someone to put your business or organization on the right track and end each day feeling on top of the world? Lu’s your answer.
She grew up in Littleton in a neighborhood where “there were 52 kids that played together all summer, including doing little play productions. My parents would block off the street and we would have a block party. We’ve all grown up and moved on but we just had our 25th Annual block party and I’m still good friends with all 52 kids.” Perhaps that is what drove her to start the HUNI Hour (Highlands United Neighbors, Incorporated).
“Twelve years ago this was an unstable neighborhood; many of the businesses had bars on the windows,” she said as she sipped coffee while sitting at an outside table of one of the now many successful restaurants in the area. Well tended lawns, flower gardens and sturdy trees create a fresh air to the neighborhood. “I wanted to know my neighbors: Italians, Mexicans, Irish…we all live here together;” and so she borrowed an idea from the little neighborhood across the bridge, called Denver, and helped promote the HUNI Hour, “to promote the local businesses and create community among neighbors. In the first year I helped to grow membership by 400%.”
“We go to a restaurant or bar once a month for Happy Hour. It introduces people to establishments and encourages patronage. We get to know the neighborhoods great selection of restaurants and business flourishes.” Additionally, “through my work of promoting real estate, I was able to bring attention to the neighborhood. In fact, we were written up in the New York Times,” she said with a smile.
The Highlands neighborhood is now known for Sunday strolls in which neighbors set out just to take that Sunday afternoon walk and get to know each other, celebrating the Fourth of July with ice cream, pie baking contests, and other good-old fashioned fun, and in general behaving like a caring, friendly neighborhood.
Lu’s enthusiasm reached across the world when she was a part of the fundraiser to bring Oumar Dia’s thirteen year-old son to Denver; Mr. Dia was the victim of a senseless hate crime shooting. She also donated her time to support TARA Wellness, the Cherubim Foundation, 20/30 Polo Classic, Childhelp River Bridge Center in Glenwood Springs, Seeds of Hope, Lullaby for Columbine, Women’s Success Forum, The Denver Brass and Curious Theatre, among others.
Lu can’t help herself. Often organizations and companies that have hired her professionally through The Stasko Agency find themselves intertwined with community causes and events. She is someone that might need to learn to ‘just say no’ but when she sees a good cause that her talents can benefit, suddenly she finds herself knee-deep in guiding them to success.
This powerhouse of a woman not only has the foundation of growing up and now living in a neighborhood with strong foundations, but she also benefits from her experience of “working for the largest import of beef in Japan for six years and was the only American and female in the U.S. office. We exported beef from here to Japan,” she explained. She “worked with the U.S. Maritime Administration to use American Flag ships.” Lu proudly states this accomplishment due to the fact that seven cents of every fright dollar goes to the country that flies the ships flag. She laughs that for a long time many of the Japanese with whom she worked only knew her through correspondence. “They were shocked when they learned that “Lu” was a woman.” She acknowledges that in a fond farewell piece written about her they included a photograph and acknowledged her hard work over the years.
While chatting with friends one day an idea was born for cell phone technology. She started through the tedious patent process, “and six weeks before the patent was finalized we had to dissolve.” It’s a long story that is well worth hearing when you meet her; the point being, Lu is someone that is always considering possibilities.
Her sense of humor is humble as she laughs at herself when one time she found herself speaking with Bruce Springsteen. “He gave me four backstage passes and all the time I thought he was Rick Springfield!” She also once met Elizabeth Taylor and scratching her head said, “You look so familiar; I can’t figure out how I know you.”
She readily and proudly states that her drive to help others comes directly from her parents who both demonstrated ‘doing for others’ is the way you live your life. As for her future “I’m on a great path doing what I love to do. It’s much more than publicity and public relations; it is finding community with clients and helping clients become involved with community.” She stopped to consider where she is in her life and added, “You get so much more out of life than you give. I love helping the underdog; it never hurts to give a little. We only get so much time; it’s up to us to choose how we use it.”
Lu Stasko is a walking example of how to use it the best way possible.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sun, sand and sea – and a cold beer of course!
What is your greatest fear?
That I am not using my God-given talents to the fullest.
What is the trait you most admire in others?
Integrity – above anything else.
Which living person do you most admire?
My Dad – for the values he has taught his four girls, and how he lives his life to the fullest each day. He always has a joke to tell and a smile to share – he is a really funny man. His favorite saying is “Carpe Diem” (“seize the day”).
What is your greatest extravagance?
Spoiling my five nieces and one nephew – we have a lot of fun together!
What is your greatest trait?
Compassion for people.
What is the quality you most like in a person?
Self-confidence, a good sense of humor and being genuine
When and where were you happiest?
In my childhood – growing up on Powers Avenue in Littleton with 52 other kids.
Who are your favorite public figures?
Oprah – because she has used her wealth to help, encourage and ‘grow’ so many people. I think she has a refreshing and positive effect on our world.
Who are your real-life heroes?
The men and women who fight for our country and our freedom.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Owning BING.COM before Microsoft did! (My company sold it to Bench Mark Capital before MicroSoft bought it!) Also, surviving this economy – owning my own business for the past 12 years.
If you couldn’t live where you live now, where would you like to live?
I’ve spent some time in London and really enjoyed it because it is so close to so many wonderful places. It would be fantastic to have a place here and one in Europe some day!
What is your most treasured possession?
My photos of my family and friends – I am the family historian.
What do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty, honesty and non-judgment – I have great friends!
What is it that you most dislike?
What is your greatest regret?
That I didn’t sell BING.COM to MicroSoft!
What is your motto?
If you believe in yourself you have already won!/Live each day to the very fullest!