Molly: Tell me about yourself.
Krista: I grew up in Ohio, but followed my sister to Boston in my 20’s. I am an avid traveler and have been working in the industry for a long time. I have 2 delightful children; my son Dimitri who just graduated college, and my daughter Olympia who graduated five years ago and works full time now. They keep me on my toes and feeling young.
M: Thinking back to your early 20’s, if someone were to ask you “where will you be in 5 years” what would you have said?
K: I honestly don’t think I would have had an answer. I was just having a really good time. I was learning so much at that age, and moving so quickly that everyday was a new experience. I never had a solid plan, and it worked out. The key was to be flexible and eager to learn.
M: What has your career in the travel industry been like?
K: It’s been fortuitous, it’s been challenging, and it’s been chalk full of good luck in terms of being at the right place at the right time. I found my space in the travel industry during the early stages of the Internet. I helped pioneer an Internet model known as metasearch. Metasearch is a web automated tool that sends consumer’s searches through several other search engines and aggregates the results into a single list. For instance, Kayak, now owned by Priceline is a travel site that uses metasearch. This model has been proven to be very successful. One thing led to another and the key for me has been a path that provided me with opportunities to work with really amazing, talented and interesting people, which I am grateful for.
M: What has your career path been like?
I started out working for a company called Gomez Advisors in the mid 90’s. We helped people navigate what the best online products and services were for them in terms of financial services, travel, retail, etc. because at the time, people were still trying to figure out this thing called the Internet. Through that role I was able to work with a lot of influential companies like Hilton, or Starwood as well as startups that would come to us for advice. One of those startup companies was called Farechase.
Farechase was made up of a couple of guys from the Israeli air force that were extremely intelligent. They had a great technology, but didn’t have a concrete business model to execute it. I helped them build a company that developed the first travel metasearch engine. The company was successful, and caught the attention of the New York Times Digital. The NYTd was very interested in buying Farechase because they loved the idea of using metasearch for anything on the Internet that could be aggregated such as jobs, cars and general classified ads. We ended up selling the business to Yahoo, but I had made some great connections at the NYTd. I went to work for the NYTd as the Head of Digital Travel. After being at the NYTd for a few years, I decided I wanted to make the transition back to Boston.
I met with Daniel Saul the owner of a company that was called Smarter Living. He hadn’t hired any senior talent before, but he wanted me on board. I advised him that we needed to change the name to Smarter Travel and from there we continued to look at different business models within the online travel industry. We focused our energy on building a product called “Booking Buddy” which we ended up selling to Trip Advisor.
After leaving SmarterTravel, I came across some other friends in the industry who were starting yet another metasearch company. That company was called Farecast. After the product was developed and fully functional we sold to Microsoft. From there, I went on to have a fulfilling leadership role at Microsoft as the Global Travel Industry Director for over 3 years.
After those 3 years I was taking some time off when I met Andy Levine the CEO at DuVine where I work today. DuVine is a company that creates the coolest boutique bike tours for travelers all over the world. We are unlike any other bike tour company because of the heart and soul that goes into organizing a trip of a lifetime. Coming to DuVine was a great opportunity because my goal was to find a position that would give me the ability to run and grow a travel company. We have an amazing team and product at DuVine and a very fun company culture that makes coming to work a pleasure each day.
M: What is the proudest moment in your career to date?
K: One of my proudest moments was when I was riding the elevator up at the Department of Justice on Capitol Hill. I was the liaison for the travel division at Bing, a Microsoft Company, and the DOJ regarding Google and Microsoft who were battling each other over competitive issues. It was surreal, and I felt really proud that they were leaning on me as the expert.
Not to be too cliché with Sheryl Sandberg and ‘Lean In’ but some of my proudest moments were the many times that I was the only woman in the boardroom and in the company of really smart and successful people. In the beginning it took courage to not be intimidated, and to claim my territory. There were times when I used to think that I had to speak loudly so that people would listen to me. What I have learned is that if you have something informative and constructive to offer you don’t have to speak as loudly, they’ll lean in to you.
M: What is a mistake that you see young people making in the workplace?
K: I think that young people put too much of an emphasis on making big money. I truly believe that if you are passionate and love what you do, and do what you love you will reap all the rewards and benefits from it. I get that you have to pay the bills, but young people’s notion of getting rich quick is a huge mistake. Find your passion, take risks, and be smart.
M: Looking back do you have any regrets or can you think of mistakes you’ve made in your career?
K: I have made many mistakes, but I don’t believe in regrets in terms of my career. If I could go back and change things, I wouldn’t be in the position that I am today. I hope I continue to make mistakes, because it only means that I am learning.