33, Senior Graphic Designer & Marketing Coordinator at Parari Group
How do you see your generation (millennials)? How do you think older generations define millennials?
People who I find within the parameters of my generation are, in my opinion, innovators and collaborators. We have a sense of self that is often defined by masses, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As we innovate, we are collectively incorporating the knowledge of those around us, and we are very happy to share. I’m sure older generations see millennials through a different scope. I’ve heard my generation called the me-generation and the we-generation. Either way, people will always identify differences with those who they just don’t understand, and that’s OK.
In what ways does having younger employees add to a company’s success?
I think having a wide age range within an establishment is important. The young bring a tenacity to innovate and a willingness to take a risk while the more seasoned staff offer experience-based wisdom. The unification of these traits fosters thought diversity and growth opportunities for all generations within the workforce.
What have been a few keys to your success so far?
The most valuable assets I have found in my own success are being versatile, assertive and community-connected. I am no stranger to taking risks. Without taking them, I would have never made my way to Hampton Roads. As an art director from Savannah, Ga., I made a bold decision to leave my position, friends and family to work for myself in Virginia Beach during the first few years as a resident. It was the community here that changed my life and gave me the opportunities to succeed with that choice. The Wahine Surf Club, Backyard Sport Club, Hampton Roads Runners and Virginia Beach Jaycees all have helped create who I am and continue to mold my life both personally and professionally. Being able to embrace risk and cultivate relationships in the community has opened so many doors.
What do you look for in a job/company?
When I consider a company for a career move I tend to look at the culture and environment. I spend more waking hours working than I do anything else, so I want to be sure I’m not going to loathe my quarters or colleagues. I also want to be sure there is flexibility, and when I say flexibility, I mean in being able to have an active role in the direction of the company just as much as having the ability to enjoy a healthy work/life balance that is beneficial for the company as well as myself. Sometimes that means being able to work remotely, and sometimes that means coming in three hours early to work on a priority project. Being able to make a work schedule that moves organically with the twist and turns that occur in both personal and professional realms is really important.
What do you feel are some of the biggest perks of living in Coastal Virginia? What changes do you think the region should implement to continue to be a draw for millennials?
Coastal Virginia has a little bit of everything to offer. We have the beach and all its glory, as well as the offerings of a big city without the hassle of actually living in one. The only shortcomings I see in our area is the disconnect between the cities. I think a better emphasis on connectivity, diversifying our industry and expanding public transit could really impact this region in a positive way.
Tell us about some of your favorite ways to do worthwhile networking.
Social sports. I don’t want to meet you in a corporate setting; I want to learn about your passions and enjoy an untainted conversation first, then let it organically find its way into a conversation about our profession. In Hampton Roads, I have found the most valuable clients and vendors in running groups, wiffleball teams, volleyball teams, crossfit communities, paddle board and surf communities.
How are you contributing to life/community outside of the workplace?
The past two years I have been a volunteer for YEA!, a Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce program, which offers students an opportunity to learn the process of building a business and becoming a successful entrepreneur. I work with students on establishing their brand as they prepare for regional competitions. I am also on the City of Hampton Placemaking Committee and an active member of the Wahine Surf Club. All three strive to make the community bigger and better for Hampton Roads residents.
What advice would you offer to other millennials or recent graduates about getting their careers to take off?
Don’t forget the community. Go out and find a cause that makes you feel good or that you enjoy, and invest in it. The people you meet through that cause will be your biggest advocates.
There is no standard map to success, so don’t try to force your career path to fit the same confines and rigor of your parents’ path. Do what feels natural and fits your lifestyle; everything else will fall into place.
From her nomination:
“Kristi is a Rockstar at marketing and design. She truly cares about this community and its citizens. She is a true self starter and also really cares about the environment. She is extremely dedicated to physical fitness. She makes it a point to support local small business and truly believes that economic development begins in her own community.”
—Steven Barker, coworker