Finding love in audio class: Aleksandra Lason and Chris Grubisa
For Aleksandra Lason (Media Arts, `11) and Chris Grubisa (Media Arts, `11), the best part of being partners in life, and in business, is the time they spend together during late nights at the office, or on planes when they jet off to film shoots around the globe. Lason calls time in the air ‘mini honeymoons’ because the couple didn’t get the chance to take one after their 2014 marriage. Just two weeks after the ceremony, the set off to work on a video shoot in New Zealand.
“Flying with Chris has become one of my favourite things to do,” Lason says. “It’s just him and I and there’s no distractions.” As owners of Chrilleks Productions, there’s plenty to keep them busy when they’re on the ground. They divide their time between Toronto and Los Angeles making promotional videos and social media content for companies including Red Bull, DC Shoes, Mountain Dew, Shopify and Canadian Tire. In 2016, Grubisa was named as one of Marketing Magazine’s Top 30 under 30, and it all began in class at Sheridan, when they leaned across the aisle to talk.
“It was an open environment, making it easy to interact,” Grubisa says of the class layout.
After graduating in 2011, working full time and freelancing, they wanted to start their own company. “It was fulfilling, that challenge we were looking for,” Grubisa recalls. “We worked for every client, every job we received, and we did it together.”
Lason says they quickly learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses. While Grubisa handles most of the film shooting, she runs the business. And she says whenever the stress mounts, they always fall back on a promise to put their marriage first.
“Relationships are everything to us, ours being number one,” she says. “We take care of each other and build each other up every single day, and I think that’s what has allowed us to achieve our goals.”
"At the deep down core of it all, if you’re disagreeing about something, love’s got to be there because then everything else falls into place."
Crafting a romance: Eva Milinkovic and Kris Gene
The sleek vases and elegant light fixtures Eva Milinkovic (Glass ’01) and Kris Gene (Glass ’02) craft in their Tsunami Glassworks studio in Windsor, Ontario have a love story behind them – one that started in the glass program at Sheridan nearly 20 years ago.
Milinkovic and Gene first met at a show for glass students in Montreal in the late ‘90s. Milinkovic was already a student at Sheridan, and Gene attended the show with his brother. Milinkovic recalls ditching her date that day to talk to Gene. When Gene decided to enroll at Sheridan the next year, they found each other almost right away.
“At the beginning of each semester you pick who your partner is going to be, so I jumped at the opportunity to be her partner. And she didn’t say no,” Gene laughs. “It was like asking her out on our first date.”
Milinkovic says they recognized early on that they made a good pairing – at the work bench and in life. “We’re building something together,” she says. “We’ve got two kids and 10 employees. It just stems from that first semester. He’s my best friend, and my business partner and my husband.”
Since starting Tsunami, they’ve ridden plenty of swells and dips of life. The found out they’d been approved for financing to open Tsunami on the way home from their honeymoon. Then they weathered the financial crisis in 2008, and they had two children along the way. No matter what they face, their love is still at the core.
“When we were having a hard time, my mom would also ask me, do you love him?” Milinkovic says. “At the deep down core of it all, if you’re disagreeing about something, that’s got be there because then everything else falls into place.”
Designing business and life: Nicole and Joseph Persia
Joseph and Nicole Persia (Smith) (Interior Design ’07 & ’08) had always wanted to have their own design studio and work alongside one another. They started an interior design/ architecture firm called Green Tangerine Design, back in 2006, while they were still students at Sheridan. Alongside their full-time courses, Joseph’s varsity soccer schedule and part-time jobs, they landed freelance design work for HBC and its licensees. Then, 2010, they decided to get married, resign from their full-time design jobs and turn Green Tangerine Design into a full-time gig out of their home.
Nicole says the best way to survive mixing family and work life is get an office space outside of your home. “It was challenging when we worked from home, because it’s so much harder to separate work life from home life.”
Joseph and Nicole first met in the library at the Trafalgar Campus in the fall of 2006, and a simple conversation there has turned into a marriage, two children, and a thriving business. Green Tangerine Design has won several prestigious design awards, including the Canadian Interiors Best of Canada Design Award and an ARIDO (Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario) Award of Merit. In 2012, Joseph was also awarded an IDC (Interior Designers of Canada) ‘Top 5 under 5’ award for designers with less than five years of experience. Today, their studio specializes in restaurant, retail and commercial design across the GTA, including projects located in Toronto’s Union Station, Brookfield Place, First Canadian Place and The Exchange Tower. Last year Green Tangerine Design relocated its Studio to downtown Oakville. For Joseph, having the office close to Sheridan was nostalgic, since that’s where the magic all began.
“Sheridan challenged us,” he says. “It was demanding, but fun and engaging at the same time – the professors and curriculum prepped us with both a design and technical skillset, a lethal combo.”