Social Studies: Terri Vitale

 

Social Studies: Terri Vitale

 

Date: September 4, 2013
by: Stephanie Hannum | Diversions Managing Editor

 
 

 

 

If you think women can’t have it all, then you have yet to meet Terri Vitale. Wife to Dr. Chris Sforzo and mother to Sydney and Ryan, Vitale keeps her entire family in line.

I worked in advertising at Leo Burnett, in Chicago, which was an unbelievable experience. I learned that creating a work environment that recruits smart and creative (people) with an effective system for nurturing talent and creativity among its employees can produce great results. They had no regard for majors; they simply wanted “smart thinkers.” Everyone added value to the conversation, and it made it a great place to work.

I’m really involved with Notre Dame’s Board on Athletics — with current student athletes and people like myself. I’m forging mentoring relationships and doing things for scholarship funds. Having been out of school for so long, it’s amazing to be around these kids who are so talented.

Chris and I got married in 1998 when he graduated, and we started our married life in Gainesville. He spent five years in residency, and I ended up working at Shands Children’s Hospital in corporate development. Working with kids really opened my eyes.

Chris was offered a faculty job in Gainesville, so we bought our first house there and had our kids there. It was a learning experience for me, personally, because I had a set vision and was thrown into a situation that wasn’t what I thought I wanted, but it ended up perfect. Gainesville is such a special place for us.

Because of my father, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people and spend time with them — people I could not have had the opportunity to meet. I’ve had an unbelievable exposure to people and places, especially people so impressive with what they’ve achieved in life.

My dad still works; he has a busy life. We have had the opportunity to see what cancer research is doing through the V Foundation. My dad likes people — he connects with fans and is always out there. He would be that guy no matter what his job. He loves fan interaction. Social media has given him the ability to connect like never before. Who has a grandpa who tweets all the time?

Our company, Tandem Enterprises, developed years ago out of the need to manage all demands of my dad’s career. Between his on-air commitments with ESPN/ABC; speaking engagements with Washington Speakers Bureau; his newspaper columns, radio shows, book signings and publishing obligations; corporate appearances and endorsements with large corporations; his relationship with IMG broadcasting (his long-time agent); and, of course, his charitable and philanthropic efforts across the country with The V Foundation and other worthy causes, he needed a team around him that he could trust that ultimately was communicating effectively with all parties. We began in this capacity, and it has evolved over the years to help manage all business endeavors my dad has an interest in.  

I still wanted to work but also wanted to be a mom. It was the perfect marriage.

All the money from The V Foundation goes to cancer research. Because Jimmy V was my dad’s best friend, my dad has made this his personal mission. The event benefiting The V Foundation started as a party for 30 people and has evolved to packing the Ritz-Carlton, which has been good for Sarasota. The Dick Vitale Gala takes more than a year to organize; 100% of its proceeds is donated to pediatric cancer research.

Charity work for me has become important in the last eight years since I have become a mom — I see things differently and all the needs around me.

I’m definitely more like my mom, more reserved. My dad needs to be surrounded by people — he’s larger than life, like a corporation. My mom was always the calming figure — she balances my dad.

My sister, Sherri, and I are always mistaken for twins, and we do have similar names. It’s ironic that she ended up having twins because we grew up like twins.

Sports is just part of the conversation in our family, all the time. It is so interwoven with who we are.
We are big tennis fans — last year my daughter and I went to Wimbledon, and this year we are taking Sydney to the US Open.

People would be surprised to know that I am obsessed with reality TV on HGTV— I love “Property Brothers,” “Love It or List It” and “House Hunters.”

My perfect day would be spent with family doing something athletic. We like experiencing new things, always with some fun and humor in it, like watching a movie or trying a new ice cream flavor. It’s never fancy or complicated, but just about being together.

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