As part of Saint Ignatius High School’s Women’s History Month celebration, we are proud to feature our fourth Wildcat Woman of the Week, Mrs. Debi Kinzel, Manager of the Saint Ignatius Bookstore.
Currently working her 6th year at Saint Ignatius, Debi Kinzel has continually proven to go above and beyond for the benefit of the school community. Day in and day out, she ensures that the bookstore’s retail environment runs like a well-oiled machine. Although her daily tasks include engaging with customers in-person and over the phone, keeping track of inventory, managing money, and making decisions regarding merchandise, this job description barely scratches the surface of what her role truly entails.
The Saint Ignatius Bookstore, located in the basement of Loyola Hall, is a one-stop-shop for members of the Saint Ignatius community. Serving as a hangout spot for many students between classes and during free periods, you can always count on the bookstore to be a lively space. Students may stop by to purchase spirit wear or grab a bag of candy, but they stay for the laughs, advice, and camaraderie. “I like to think the bookstore offers the community some levity for the day. We provide space for the kids to unwind a little bit,” said Kinzel.
“This is more than a bookstore. It’s part of many students’ daily routines to stop by to see Mrs. Kinzel to get some words of wisdom and motherly care. She is the epitome of Cura Personalis,” reflected Theology teacher and Head Soccer Coach Mike McLaughlin ’85.
But Kinzel’s influence on the Saint Ignatius community does not stop with our current students. Her role also entails interacting with both alumni and prospective families. “I always say this bookstore is like the shop at the end of a Disney ride. Take a tour first and then stop in the bookstore on your way out,” she laughed.
“What I love most about this space is that everyone who comes to visit has a story. Saint Ignatius is truly embedded in people’s hearts. Nervous prospective parents will come in and ask me questions or share their concerns. Current parents or parents of alumni will come in and cry about how Saint Ignatius has changed their kids’ lives. Alumni will come back and update me on their successes. I love hearing these stories. That is one of my favorite parts of this job.”
Kinzel credits her husband, Sean ’88, son Andrew ’16, and daughter Emilie for teaching her how to be a true Woman for Others. “I have been a part of Saint Ignatius since 1986, when I started dating my [now] husband. This place has shaped my family - I didn't realize how Jesuit our household was until I started working here.”
Kinzel is thankful that she has had the opportunity to create such a positive and loving environment on campus. She is especially grateful for her fellow bookstore employees for not only assisting with store operations, but also for their help in maintaining its upbeat atmosphere.
“I’m blessed to have the kind of job where I can learn things about people. We want it to be a happy place. Working in the bookstore is so much more than the merchandise. It’s all about the relationships.”