Gena Bruner Alulis
RN nursing '74
Gena Alulis '74, founder and CEO of Philadelphia-based Superfit, Inc., has had tremendous success taking her business from a start-up custom-fit jewelry designer to a high-growth ring manufacturer. Alulis and Superfit, Inc.—the industry's top-selling specialty ring, whose patented hinge-and-latch technology alleviates the difficulty most of us endure in getting a ring over the knuckle—have garnered recognition from the Women's Jewelers Association (2009 Award for Excellence) and Pennsylvania's "50 Best Women in Business" (2005).
The jewelry industry is deeply rooted in her family, and though Alulis seemed predestined for this career, she initially set out to pursue a different path—a career in nursing.
"As a child, nurses always impressed me," says Alulis. "They were so capable and kind, and they seem to make everything better. My family was always in the business of jewelry, and I wanted to do something different."
A graduate of Hahnemann University, Alulis chose the school because of a pivotal experience she had growing up. She underwent surgery at Hahnemann.
"I was touched by the nursing staff there. I always knew I wanted to study there and be one of them. I believe there are people in life that help shape who we become."
After graduation, Alulis worked in a semi-clinical situation with eye doctors before working in a variety of OBGYN disciplines as a registered nurse.
The skills she gained as a nursing student and in her nursing career have served her throughout her career. "I always felt in business that whenever I was preparing to negotiate with someone, I could draw back to a moment in nursing," Alulis says. "If I could manage, when I was 20-years-old, to help people more than twice my age make peace with the surgeries they were about to face, or accept a difficult diagnosis, then I could confidently work my way through anything."
Alulis looks back on her time at Hahnemann fondly. "My roommate, Patty (Balzano) Bell, an amazing pediatric nurse and one of my best friends, and I still get together, and l reminisce about all of our stories."
But ultimately, Alulis pursued a passion for jewelry, starting with a neighborhood jewelry shop she owned and operated with her husband. She began planning and developing the concept on which Superfit, Inc. was built in 1992.
"Everyone has the struggle of getting a ring to fit properly. The knuckle is the largest part of the finger, but that’s not where we wear our rings," she says.
With the concept in mind—a ring to be clipped into place at the base of a finger, rather than slid over a knuckle—they began retrofitting rings and soon, manufacturing rings with the Superfit technology.
Alulis continues to maintain her nursing licensure, using it to do volunteer work and earn credits in the field of elder care. She applies this know-how when caring for her elderly mother and says she is better equipped to manage her care.
"Nursing is still part of what defines me and it always will."