It’s only fitting that we wrap up this week’s International Women’s Day series with one of our own. Kristyn Roth is Co-Founder and CMO of KoaWare. She is a strong leader who brings a wealth of marketing and business knowledge to our company. Kristyn is the brains behind the KoaWare brand, the organized half of the two Co-Founders and much more. Outside of KoaWare, Kristyn is President of The Roth Family Foundation, a nonprofit committed to empower and support youth and adults with autism and neurological disabilities.
*Disclaimer* Nothing in this post was written by Kristyn, other than her answers to the interview questions below… because that would be weird if she interviewed herself.
Well that’s a loaded question! First, I never imagined myself cofounding a tech company focusing on real estate software. Through high school and college I fought to work on the business side of the Sports & Entertainment industry, eventually earning my dream internship with the Red Sox. That was my first taste of what it meant to be an ambitious woman in a male-driven industry, a theme that became more apparent as I continued down my career path. I always knew that I would run my own company because entrepreneurial traits are literally in my genes; for me, cofounding a software company happened very naturally, as the opportunity presented itself.
When Alex and I started KoaWare, we knew that our strengths, skills, and weaknesses would complement each other, allowing us to agree, challenge each other, and ultimately grow. My gender is a non-issue when it comes to conducting day to day business; sometimes it becomes apparent when a person is surprised to hear I’m a cofounder – or when at a conference, I’m asked if I’ve found time to work on my tan by the pool while “all the boring people work” – and especially, when I’m called “sweetheart” during a business conversation. These are “trivial examples” because we’ve made them so. They are ingrained in our society so that it becomes unnoticeable to the do-er, and grudgingly accepted by the receiver.
So what does it mean to me? International Women’s Day symbolizes that it’s okay to be the minority, because we know that one day that will change; it allows us to rise above uncomfortable moments with the hope that we’re inspiring the next generation of women to believe in their self-worth and achieve their goals. Ultimately, it means that there are so many women doing badass things in this world, and we need to celebrate and acknowledge that everyday.
Balance. Sometimes it feels that there are more challenging days than good, and if you can’t find a moment to breathe, and step away from the madness, it can consume you. I need to work out every morning to clear my mind, release endorphins, and start the day with a positive attitude.
It’s impossible to start a business, if you don’t believe in what you’re doing, and are confident in your attempt – there are just too many road blocks and potholes that pop up along the way. As an entrepreneur, you never have a sick day, an email-free weekend, nor a true vacation day – even if you’re in an area without cell service! So finding these moments to disconnect are essential to maintaining a clear, focused mindset, and allowing you to find peace amidst the chaos. We also make sure to celebrate every little win along the way, recognizing our successes helps power through the more challenging moments.
I like to run, practice yoga, cook, have beach days, surf, chase sunsets, be an unofficial party planner, stalk puppies in the park, and paint. I’m also always up for a good happy hour to decompress too.
In March 2016 I founded Make Waves, which began as a fundraising campaign in support of Autism Speaks for Autism Awareness Month. What began as a small idea with a realistic fundraising goal of $5000 in 30 days, snowballed into a wild and fun initiative where we held 7 events around the country, had 25+ corporate sponsors, over half a million impressions on our blog posts, and donated $40,000 in support of Autism Speaks.
In September, I joined the board of directors and became President of The Roth Family Foundation; now Make Waves is an official charitable fund within the organization. Our mission is to empower and support youth and adults living with neurological, intellectual and physical challenges to defy expectations. We invest in organizations focused on career development and independent living, proving that everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their potential.
I would love to develop a charitable initiative for KoaWare as part of our longterm business model, as well as mentorship program for kids on the autism spectrum or with neurological disabilities. For now, our nonprofit website is built on the KoaWare platform, and will continue as a sponsor for Make Waves events and The Roth Family Foundation initiatives.
Check out our other interviews with inspirational women in the real estate industry – and if you’ve enjoyed this series, let us know! We love highlighting our customers, partners, and admirable people doing cool things. Connect with Kristyn on LinkedIn, or give us a follow on Facebook & Instagram.
This week’s #KoaWareSpotlight shines on this beautiful escape at Lloyd Harbor; boasting spiral staircases, an indoor pool, beach access, and expansive outdoor living space. The grounds are perfect for a family