We had the good fortune of connecting with Joyce Kristiansson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joyce, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
A lack of work-life balance was the primary reason I left my corporate job. My son was entering kindergarten and my daughter was just two years old. I wanted it all – mom at school, and professional at work. Initially I only worked part time so I could do that. I can still remember the feeling of joy and gratitude as I traveled the back roads, taking my son to his first day of school. Even though he is now 23 and my daughter is 20, that drive still evokes those feelings. Over the past 18+ years, the balance shifted from part time to full time work, and the company has grown significantly. Although a sole business owner never really stops working, it seems so much easier now and I can spend more time outdoors in the naturalist and conservation activities that bring me joy, as well as with my family.
What should our readers know about your business?
It’s exciting to help companies improve their environmental performance by reducing risk, streamlining systems, and decreasing their air, water, waste and chemical footprint. We have all the credentials of a big box environmental consulting firm with none of the overhead. As a result, we move quickly and efficiently, and as a consequence, we provide more value. The client gets to talk directly with the owner! In 2017, I found a tumor in my right breast. After my surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, we took a quick trip and came home to Hurricane Harvey. My company suffered and I almost lost my team. I learned the hard way that I had to be more intentional about business development. Luck favors the prepared, and there are always more ways to prepare for the next crisis – whether it be cancer, a hurricane, a pandemic, or a super freeze event. I took advantage of all the coaching I could get, including a client’s supplier diversity growth initiative and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program which I am finishing up now. 2021 looks like it will be our best year ever, and I’m excited about learning hot to grow my business.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The NASA Johnson Space Center is always a hit with visiting friends and family, and of course after touring Mission control you take some time for seafood at the Kemah Boardwalk. On the other side of town, there is nothing that says Texas more than dining on authentic barbeque at the Swinging Door Restaurant in Richmond. Everybody wants to see alligators, and the best place to do that up close is Brazos Bend State Park. Finally, we would take them to the beach – the beach on the Brazos River that is. We have 50+ acres with beachfront and a mile of trails to get there. There’s no place in Fort Bend that has elevation changes like from one side of the Brazos to the other. One day it’s a mighty, roaring river, and then another it’s so low you can see the sandbars. Signs of wildlife are everywhere, from egrets to alligators to bobcats to coyote and wild pigs. This is authentic Texas.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many who contributed to my success: from high school science and English teachers to my supportive husband and two amazing children, our team at Kristiansson and of course our clients. When I first left my employer, I provided consulting services to Starcrest Consulting Group, an air quality consulting company. Bruce Anderson had worked for me as a consultant while I was in a prior job, and he took a chance on me. Even today, we are doing a project together to develop a goods movement emission inventory for Port Houston. Another former colleague, Casey Davis, hired me to help with environmental compliance and management systems in 2008, and through that work, I was able to hire staff for the first time. Casey is retired now, but we still do work for his successor. The best part of my workday is interacting with our team, and Nicole Hausler has been with us since 2012. Work is fun when you get to work with a super star like Nicole. My husband, Lars, and kids, Nic and Kait, have been super supportive of my efforts at minimizing the family environmental footprint, even though sometimes it disrupts the house a little bit as we try new things. Authoring the book, “The Last Straw, Change Your Life and the Planet – for Good,” helped them understand their crazy wife/mom a little bit more, and brought us closer.
Joyce Kristiansson, Lars Kristiansson