Behind the Haps

Looking to find out a little more about Happenstance? Read on! 

Happenstance was founded by Stephanie and some of her fellow graduate students at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in the summer of 2015. They were tasked as a team to create a new media product from scratch and as people who love learning about the unique history of the city, the idea was born! After graduation, the team decided to make Happenstance a reality. Kathy joined the team in 2017 as CEO. So far, we’ve had the privilege to be part of the 2017 TechMadness bracket, Pop!Con, a finalist for RedEye’s 2017 Big Idea Awards, attend the FUND Conference and join cohort 6 of 1871’s WiSTEM program! 

Learn a little more about the folks behind the Haps.

Stephanie Choporis

Co-Founder + Managing Editor

Stephanie oversees Happenstance’s story production. A city native, she has been involved in the Chicago journalism scene for the past seven years, when she began double-majoring in Journalism and Communication and Media Studies at DePaul University. She has since worked as an editorial intern, freelance writer and reporter/editorial assistant for various publications across the city. Most recently, she earned her master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she began dabbling in audio and video. While founding Happenstance, she polished her skills as a reporting intern at the former education watchdog publication Catalyst Chicago.

Little-Known Fact: During her senior year of high school, Stephanie was captain and anchor of her school’s women’s bowling team. She once rolled a 234, which is just 66 pins shy of a perfect game. It may have happened during a practice round, but it was still a momentous event.

Kathy Bartlett

Co-Founder + CEO

Kathy manages the nuts and bolts of Happenstance’s operations. With more than 20 years of entrepreneurial experience, she has held positions in a range of industries, from finance to restaurants. Among her accomplishments, she turned one financial storefront into 40-plus locations in multiple states, helped create a nationwide online lending program and developed procedures that positively transformed restaurant profit margins. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and an Executive M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Little-Known Fact: She comes from a family that spends its time building and flying hovercrafts. She built her first craft when she was 9 years old.

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