Young Professional 2017: Krista Patterson

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Krista Patterson, Co-owner of Northwest Paddleboarding

Krista Patterson
Krista Patterson (Courtesy Rich Breshears of Breshears Photography)

Age: 24

Hometown: Tri-Cities

Describe the Company: Northwest Paddleboarding provides instructional classes, tours, rentals, retail and more. We are a mobile business serving the Tri-Cities along the Columbia River.

How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 24 years (born and raised)

Do you have any family? Pets? Yes, my handsome husband Dylan, my 4-year-old daughter Avery, my 1-year-old son Brantley and our dog, Jeep.

Tell us about your business and how you got started in it? I found my passion in 2014, when I first tried paddleboarding. I always knew I wanted to be a business owner and I had finally found a need for our community that matched with a passion of mine. I previously worked in the fitness industry and this company had the opportunity to make fitness fun and more accessible.

Tell us about your business philosophy: To bring people together, promote adventuring outdoors and keep our community healthy and active.

How do you stay competitive in your job/industry? This is a tough one for me because I don’t have any direct competition in our area. However, I always strive to be a resource, not a sales pitch, and I believe that mindset will always set me apart.

What are you future career goals? To continue to build our business. There are so many people to serve in our area, and in the Northwest overall. In the next few years I hope to build an amazing team to help expand our offerings, class sizes, sales, etc. Eventually, when the right opportunity comes along, we would like to see Northwest Paddleboarding settle down into a physical location (we are currently mobile) and have services to offer year-round.

Who are your mentors and what did they teach you? I have had amazing mentors along my journey, but the people who made the biggest difference in who I am today would be my DECA advisors from high school. DECA is an association of marketing students. I had the privilege to serve as our Area 6 president my junior year and with that, I worked very close with my local and state advisors. I learned and was given the opportunity to lead, and speak in front of thousands of my peers. My favorite classes were entrepreneurship and marketing and so much of what I learned, I use every day in my business. These mentors still encourage me and support me in all my endeavors.

What was the toughest business/career decision you had to make or obstacle you had to over overcome? The toughest decision was the first decision I ever made, and that was to leave my steady, reliable, paying job to venture into the life of a small business owner, knowing that I might fail, and knowing that I probably wouldn’t receive another paycheck for at least a few years. I am three years in and that decision still affects me every day. It is still the biggest obstacle I face. I haven’t failed, I won’t fail and I believe it is the best decision I have ever made.

What do you like most about what you do? Marketing. I love marketing, and as a business owner, I get to market however, wherever and whenever I want! It requires creativity and always being ahead of the game. Marketing changes daily, so there is always something new to research or test out and it keeps me on my toes.

I also really love to see the joy this business brings people, so that is a close second.

What do you dislike most about your job? Having to rely on the weather. Mother Nature can make or break me and not having control over that is the toughest part of what I do. Other than that there isn’t a lot to dislike!

What was your first job and what did you learn there? My first job was at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels in the mall. I learned about customer service and what a significant role it plays in any business. I also remember learning about upselling, and I definitely still use those skills today.

If you weren’t in your current field, what would be your dream job? This is my dream job. I’m here. I’m living it.

Tell us about your community involvement/community service: In 2015 I started Free Yoga in the Park. This event is a way to bring our community together, get everyone outside and stay active. The event has grown significantly and we had over 3,000 unique attendees in 2016. We have continued again this year and have an average of 200 participants per class. We have brought sponsors on to help with the costs of the event but it remains free to the community.

I am also a very active mentor/volunteer for our local and statewide DECA chapters. I have had the opportunity to judge marketing role plays at mini, area and statewide conferences. Last fall I also had the chance to be a speaker at the Western Region Leadership Conference. This fall I will work closely with the Chiawana High School DECA chapter and entrepreneurship class as we use my business as a role play for marketing and other business projects. As my business grows I will continue to support DECA with both my time and money. I truly believe in this association and the value it provides to students.

What word best describes you? Passionate

What is your biggest flaw? My emotions. I react too quickly, become too involved and take things more personally than I should. Being passionate can be both a pro and a con but I am and always will be a work in progress.

What is your biggest pet peeve? Bad customer service.

What do you do to relieve stress? Most people would think I do yoga, which I do, but, if I’m being honest, the best stress reliever is hanging out with my husband and friends around a campfire with a glass of whiskey! It is the perfect way to end a busy work week for all of us.

Dream vacation? Aruba

Favorite book? “You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth” by Jen Sincero

Favorite movie? “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

Favorite band? Granger Smith

Favorite gadget? GoPro. I don’t have one, but if I did I would use it a lot.

Favorite website? Social Media Examiner

Favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities? Other than paddleboarding, I love to enjoy the local restaurants!

What thing would people be most surprised to learn about you? I married my husband three months after meeting him and we have been married almost five years.