Vassar - B.A.
University of Michigan - M.B.A.
As a corporate investment banker, Anita Krpata built a successful, jet-setting career that was professionally satisfying. Yet as a busy mother, Anita's workplace success left her unfilled and disconnected. She faced the dilemma that has come to be for many modern woman: Do I focus on my career or step back and focus on raising my family?
It was while contemplating the intricacies of a move from businesswoman to stay-at-home mom that Anita's employer, Bear Stearns, became a victim of the financial crisis, and losing her job through conditions beyond her control effectively made the decision for her. Without much warning, Anita was the doting mother she'd fantasized about. Regardless, it only took a few short months for Anita to miss the professional side of her life. While staying home with her girls was certainly rewarding, it only fulfilled part of her desires. Anita's challenge was finding the perfect way to balance both family and career.
Luckily, fate intervened once again in the form of a Stella & Dot Trunk Show. Attending the event the week she began job hunting, Anita began researching the company and quickly realized it had a mission in keeping with both her professional and personal goals. With Stella & Dot, Anita found the opportunity to be fulfilled as both mother and business leader and — perhaps more importantly — bring that lifestyle to others.
...extraordinary things come through ordinary daily actions.
Stella & Dot Week: This interview is part four in a series of five interviews featuring Stella & Dot employees this week.
How did you discover your current job? Tell us a little bit about the path that led you to where you are today.
I started my career in marketing for the Estee Lauder Companies, which I loved for the beauty/fashion, and then switched gears to become a corporate investment banker, which I loved for the strategy/finance. After seven successful years as a banker, I found that my professional goals were satisfied, but I did not feel like I had it all. While I was jet-setting across the world to work on IPOs and acquisitions, I was missing watching my first born grow up. When I became pregnant with my second, the tug between my two lives became almost unbearable. How was I going to get out?
Fortunately for me, the financial crisis kicked off with my company (Bear Stearns) going down, and my answer was given to me. (I was probably the only one in that company celebrating.) I gleefully elected to take the severance package and be a stay-at-home mom. The life of a stay-at-home mom, which I had glamorized for years, was finally mine. And the glow lasted for about ... 5 months. I suddenly realized that while I loved, adored and worshipped my little girls, it also was nice to miss them a little bit! I realized that I had worked so hard to develop a professional career, and I was not ready to give up that independence. I liked being a contributor to the family, I liked feeling in control of my life, and I liked having a reason to get up, get dressed and go out and interact with adults on topics beyond kids! But, I wasn't ready to be a banker or go back to a working environment that didn't understand who I was and what I valued both at work and at home.
The week I started to look for a job, my girlfriend who was a Stylist asked me to host a Trunk Show. I started researching Stella & Dot, and once I learned more about the company and its mission, it was clear that this was a company that I had to contribute to. I became committed to making Stella & Dot the best opportunity for women, because I knew that it was the answer that so many women (like me) ultimately sought!
What is your typical day like, and what types of things do you do in your job?
I travel to visit Stylists one to two times a month, so when I'm on the road my day often begins with meetings with local area leaders to talk about their businesses, strategies and team leadership. We often have an opportunity session, which gives me a chance to speak with women interested in becoming a Stylist, and we spend the rest of the day leading trainings with local area Stylists. I love my travel days the most because I have a chance to help Stylists maximize their businesses and also have the opportunity to listen to their feedback about our programs, products and events and take it back to the home office so we can continue to produce the best business for them.
When I am in the office, I am leading the field development team who works on everything from national events, local training, regional support, training calls and calendars, as well as Stylist relations. We liaise closely with marketing, customer care, finance and strategy to ensure that we are innovating while making sure our Stylist's voice and perspective has a seat at every meeting.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I enjoy working with Stylists and listening to the stories of women whose lives have been improved by this business opportunity, whether it's tangibly through financial gain or intangibly through proving to themselves or their families that they are capable of incredible achievements.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
Ensuring that we create the best platform for our stylists and their customers that is easy to use, fun to experience and simple to replicate keeps me awake. This business is so simple and so much fun, and the key for me is to continue to innovate and grow while doing it in an uncomplicated way.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
I don't get to put my babies to bed every night physically (although I do get to virtually over the phone or Facetime).
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
Lead by example and know that extraordinary things come through ordinary daily actions.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today?
Because women have so many personal, professional and family commitments, I think there is often the feeling that their lives are unbalanced. Days are often feel filled with obligations/'have tos', which leads to stress over all the times they have to say 'no' because life is always 'too busy'.
I think the key for women is to understand that life balance isn't the goal, but personal fulfillment is. It's not about having it all. It's about wanting all that you have and knowing you have the power to choose.
Who are your role models?
Oprah of course! And the women I work with at Stella & Dot in the office and in the field -- I learn something from each of them every single day.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Wake up daily and think of five things you're grateful for.
Schedule time every week to do absolutely nothing.
What advice do you have for women who want to be in your industry?
By choosing to be an entrepreneur, you are choosing to believe in yourself, your strength and your ability to build your own business at your pace, with your plan, your way. Write down your goals and don’t ever forget them! Share your love and passion for your business daily, and you’ll move mountains.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
At Stella & Dot as I continue to build this brand globally!
What are three things you love aside from your job?
I LOVE spending the weekend carefree with my family in our little beach town -- hiking in the hills or playing on the beach.
I also love to entertain and connect with friends. We regularly have dinner parties with friends and their families.
I love to cook! It's my most relaxing activity.
What’s your favorite wear-to-work piece from Stella & Dot’s Summer Collection?
My favorite look this summer is thanks to Platinum Director, Alison Fuller -- the Bardot Spiral Bangle in gold with two sets of the Carrie Bangles. I love it! It's such a great statement look for the arm. I usually wear that with a long gold pendant necklace (rebel pendant, Cameron or snake orb) and small drop or stud earrings. Love! Love!
-Interview by Katrina Ball