Inspiration in the Face of Adversity

by Careen Yacoub

An Interview with Stephanie Stevens,  Owner of Bell Gate Farm

When faced with challenges or difficulties people are often too willing to give up. It is so much more rewarding to instead, take on the challenge as a call to action to make a significant change in your life.

Stephanie Stevens, the CEO, and Owner of Bell Gate Farm in Coopersburg, PA. has faced more than her fair share of challenges. Dealing with the loss of a parent, the birth of a child, the end of a marriage and moving, all register as the most catastrophic and psychologically emotional challenges in someone’s life. Stephanie experienced them all within a six-month period. The death of her mother, her best friend, and last remaining parent meant she was forced to serve as executrix of the family estate. Stephanie lost her father, Richard F. Stevens, a prominent Lehigh Valley Attorney, at the firm Stevens and Johnson, seven years prior.  She managed all of this as a single parent, without a support system, and a beautiful baby girl to raise.

The epiphany of turning the Bell Gate Farm into a state of the art events center came to her after delivering her Mother’s eulogy. Stephanie had stepped outside to compose herself when she overheard guests talking about the fact that there was no way she would be able to save Bell Gate Farm and its 268 acres of land. She heard people say that she would fail, she was hopeless, and it would be a tragedy to lose the land. At the perfect moment, her baby kicked so hard it brought her out of the sabotaging thoughts of others. It was then that the vision to transform a farm into something remarkable came to realization. She envisioned a massive estate renovation while remaining true to its historic Pennsylvania Barn charm, and delivering every amenity possible, with another goal to preserve the other 130 acres of farmland of which were being farmed by the Gehman family, who counted on that land to retain their livelihood.

Take an Inventory of What You Know

Stephanie was reminded of all the tools she had at her disposal.  She brought 16 years of experience working at some of the best marketing firms in the country. Her portfolio included both above the line and below the line advertising as well as traditional advertising and events. The perfect marriage and she was standing outside of a venue that had just been handed to her.

For most of her career, Stephanie was in the production field, which gave her an exciting new twist as an event producer. Her experience producing “Never before done Events” for Fortune 500 companies like American Express, Verizon Wireless, and Microsoft to name a few was extensive. And now she was standing in the most beautiful venue that she could imagine, her family’s home and barn.

Make a Plan and Know Your Goals

It was important to Stephanie to save the land, the house, and provide financial support for her family. Bell Gate Farm served as the perfect backdrop to do just that. And she did! During the renovation process, Stephanie already had 24 clients ready to make memories happen before the scaffolding had even come down. Her vision, design, and flair to make the impossible, possible, brought her dream to life. The idea was simple: create a beautiful venue to hold any type of event, from weddings to corporate retreats to movies under the stars, and do it all at a price point that would fall below the industry’s standard for such occasions. That was the key. Her knowledge of the market and the competitive landscape allowed her to create ideal pricing that would allow clients to have the most amazing times of their life, but without breaking the bank, and that’s unusual in the events industry. She was meticulous and organized but most importantly honest and open with any person who was in a position to help. Her goal is more philanthropic than a profit center, but the catch-22 is that she has to have both.

Be Vocal and Use Your Resources

Stephanie worked in NYC, but when she wasn’t traveling for work, she returned to the Valley and spent time with her parents. She grew up here, and her affinity for this area never waned. Like her parents, Stephanie has always used any resource at her disposal to help others, and she always retained the connections she had in the area. These relationships helped her forge partnerships to get the project off the ground. She was very vocal about her new business and what her mission was.

Be Open Minded

Even the best-laid plans will have their kinks. Stephanie is equipped with every contingency, but the most important takeaway is that no matter what happens in life, you have to keep going and have faith in yourself. Put one foot in front of the other and just move. Everything else will follow.

Related Articles