With 2020 marking the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s passage giving women the right to vote, Pacific Beach resident, keynote speaker and author Cath DeStefano created a way to salute women and help them get their new year going in style and on schedule.
DeStefano told Point Loma-OB Monthly she’s been creating themed calendars for 25 years, and this year’s sports the theme “2020 Visions through Women’s Eyes.”
“Women are moving into more powerful positions and, you know, we’re gently taking over the world,” she laughed.
DeStefano explained that her calendars began in 1995 when a friend suggested she try her hand at one: “I was so poor (at that time) that I couldn’t afford to print it in color, so I hand-colored each calendar.”
She said she only skipped making her calendar one year. (She tried to skip others, but her customers wouldn’t hear of it.) And when she omitted a calendar that single year: “I missed my own calendar.”
Each page features a drawing of a woman with thought bubbles revealing her perspective on the world, equality and “humankind,” a phrase DeStefano has been particularly keen on promoting. “I just cringe inside when I hear the term ‘mankind,’ ” she said.
She and her husband add their own touches to the calendar by creating holidays: Jan. 11 is “Pay it Forward Day.” Jan. 19 is “National Popcorn Day.”
“On Jan. 22, I was in a head-on car crash, so I always make Jan. 22 ‘Glad to be Alive Day,’ ” she explained. “I know paper calendars hanging on a wall are getting kind of out-of-style ... I’m aware of that ... but I use mine as a means of figuring out, ‘What the hell happened? What went on this last year?’ ”
At the closing of 2019, DeStefano examined her full calendar and was pleasantly surprised. “I realized, by going through my paper calendar, I had a couple of dreams that came true.”
Though her customers are mostly friends and family, she said she acquired some unexpected new clientele this year, when one of her customers gifted her calendars to comedian Stephen Colbert’s staff at CBS in New York City, due to some work the customer’s company had with “The Late Show.”
In addition to calendar-making, DeStefano is a public speaker and the CEO of Human TuneUp Company, a business that boasts a reputation for engaging training sessions tailored to help those who work with the public learn how to be leaders, exercise quality customer care, and practice people skills and stress management. The calendars are sold as part of the company’s products, which also include framed prints, greeting cards and flip books.
During her time with Human TuneUp, DeStefano has traveled the world delivering keynote messages in front of more than 2,100 audiences. “Humans are much more similar than we are different,” she noted, citing in particular the core desires of being loved and safe.
After tiring of life on the road, DeStefano said she settled into the position of executive director of San Diego Diplomacy Council from 2005 to 2012, during which time she taught leadership skills to women from 18 different African countries.
“A great way to do a life, is to help other people have good lives,” she said.
Today she works full time with Human TuneUp, and is writing a one-woman-show about the past, present and future of women. She anticipates a March 1 premiere.
— To buy a calendar for $18, visit humantuneup.com and for information on the upcoming performance, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org