Coleen had a very successful commercial real estate firm (Kirnan Commercial, Inc.) in Los Angeles. Representing several top-tier private and public companies involved in multi-million dollar-real estate transactions for over 30 years.  Coleen also treasures her role as wife and mother and when her grown children left the nest, she decided it was time to align her career with her passions and sold her thriving business to become the owner of Tuscan Women Cook in 2016, making a major career change that was extremely rewarding for her both personally and professionally.

Every year Coleen hosts and creates a memorable culinary vacation experience in the village of Montefollonico in Tuscany.  Tuscan Women Cook’s program features the nonnas of Montefollonico teaching authentic Italian recipes that have been handed down for generations.  An avid entertainer and cook, Coleen provides everything for her guests, from shopping expeditions, spa days, and golf outings for those interested in venturing out of the kitchen.


Tell us about your business.

Tuscan Women Cook is a female owned business committed to helping the women of our tiny village in Tuscany. We are the original Tuscan immersive cooking and excursion experience since 2000.  Our nonne teach our classes at  differing kitchens  each morning,  which meals we enjoy as our lunch paired with wines of the region. In the afternoons we tour other medieval villages and delight in five star and Michelin dinners in the evenings.   The week also includes wine tastings, cheese and olive oil tastings. We take an historical walking tour our first day to acclimate our guests to the village. Our friends own the venues we visit and welcome us warmly, they become friends with our guests as well.

"tuscan women cook"

Our business is almost purely repeat and word of mouth. Our target audience are individuals who love to travel and love good food and cooking. Our guests have generally been to Italy prior and now would like to immerse themselves in our quaint village.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

I have almost always owned my own businesses.  I love being an entrepreneur and my greatest professional joy is watching people who work with me grow and thrive.  I had to start my own companies because as a working mother in the early 90’s, I needed the freedom to be with my kids on my own terms and schedule.  I gave up several high paying C suite positions knowing I couldn’t sacrifice being available for my kids for ego and money.  I just knew it work if I took the chance. I would like to think things have changed for working mothers…

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

Me! The people I surround myself with- I am attracted to creative people who are risk takers, thinkers and doers.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Starting my commercial real estate company on a wing and a prayer but having a vision about my personal life with young children.  I loved what I did for many years. And then, after almost 25 years knowing it was time to pivot and took a risk buying Tuscan Women Cook which has become my most fulfilling endeavor. I absolutely love working with the women of our village – we support them in any way we can, and it is very gratifying. The relationships we have with all the people and businesses in our village and throughout Tuscany are deep, rich and warm.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?

Keep looking ahead at the future. There will always be obstacles that you cannot predict (hello Covid). Some people can be envious of others’ successes so stay in your lane,  believe in yourself, and keep moving forward.

What is your relationship with social media?

I love the interaction it allows us to have with people and to showcase our cooking classes and village. We have so much to offer visually that we love to share and post our special piece of paradise and hear what people think about our posts.

What is your favorite app?

Google.  I’m an information junkie.  And any word game apps.

What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?

We are diligent about following up personally with our guests who inquire about our experience.  We regularly communicate through social media, monthly newsletters and blog posts reaching people who want to join us in Italy as well as those who have traveled with us and want to revisit. We are a small hospitality company and superior customer service, and communication is key to our success.

What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

Always keep moving and don’t be afraid of change.

How has your routine changed since covid?

We always keep our guest’s health and safety a priority, this has never changed.  We were able to navigate Covid and get through that as we always encourage excellent hygiene and safety.

Are there any resources/tools that have helped you run your business?

We run excel, quickbooks,, contact contact, and other tech services to keep the back of the house running smoothly.

Do you have any new projects coming up (or have you just completed a big project ~ reached a milestone, etc.)? If so, please tell us about it.

We are thrilled to be fully immersed in  our village and working on bringing their products to the wider consumer base.  We are also always researching new experiences and businesses to share with our guests.

How do you prepare for the next day?


And lists.

And lists.

What is the number one meeting you never miss (and why)?

Anything for my family or employees. Balance is very important.  We hear this a lot but in practicality, it’s quite hard to do.  Just make your priorities known and stick to them.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

Everything.  I love being with family, I love cooking and sharing a meal with friends.

How would you describe yourself in a single sentence?

One of my guests this Spring told me he was having a t-shirt made for me that says “Totally Irrepressible”.  So maybe that.

What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?

To grow the company. We built back successfully from Covid and now can take on the goals and markers we would like to hit.
What is the number one book you recommend to our readers? And why?

For business, I love anything by Prof G (Scott Galloway) at NYU but I prefer  historical fiction.   Beneath a Scarlet Sky and The Shepherdess of Siena are both set in our region and are wonderful reads.

What practices or boundaries have you implemented in your personal life to create more work/life balance?

 I’m ferocious about self-care for me as well as my team.  Make a commitment to yourself and stick to it. It will all work out.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Believe in yourself and your dreams, you can accomplish anything you set out to do.  Having been an entrepreneur most of my life I can say it has been so rewarding, hard at times but well worth it. Thank you for your time and we hope to see you in paradise soon.

What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you?

I can be reached through our website, ,  Facebook- Tuscanwomencook, Instagram – @tuscanwomencook, and

Trip advisor- tuscanwomencook