What are some of your most memorable moments with your dad?
Definitely traveling to Africa with my dad has been the most memorable. Being able to experience that together for the first time was invaluable.
In what ways did your father prepare you for the role of CEO?
I believe that my upbringing has been the best preparation for this role. Faith, honesty, integrity, and hard work were all instilled in me from an early age from both my parents and grandparents. Those values and guiding principles are always at the forefront of my mind, and I believe they are essential to being a successful CEO.
What are five business ‘lessons learned’ that were passed down from your father, and how have they impacted you as a business woman?
One thing my father always tells both my sister and me is he can teach us about being in construction but he can’t teach us about being women in construction. Here five pieces of advice from my father.
1. Don’t ruin Thanksgiving dinner. This was also a directive from my grandmother. This means that, no matter what, the family unit must be protected at all times.
2. Don’t hurt yourself to hurt somebody. Remembering this has kept me in check when I consider how I will react or respond to different situations. Being vindictive or quick-tempered never gets you the desired results.
3. I can live with my mistakes better than I can yours. As a newly appointed CEO, I take this lesson to heart. I’m very conscientious of my actions because I am ultimately responsible for the company’s well being. If I make the mistake, I have no one else to blame.
4. Stuff happens. This lesson is one that helps me refocus when things go crazy, as they inevitably do. We (women) tend to get a bad rap about being more emotional than our male counterparts. This lesson keeps me on an even keel.
5. Give 110% in all you do. As a company, we aim to go above and beyond what our customers expect. We want our reputation and work to speak for itself. As a female, I take a considerable amount of time reflecting on this. I am very passionate in my belief that if the negative images and stereotypes of women – and black women, in particular – are going to change, it will have to be done by us. We have to change the narrative that says we don’t work well together, or that we are not as capable. I aim to give 110% when I think of how important it is for us to put forth a positive view of what we can do.
Dr. Krystal Lynn Conner is the CEO of ENVIRO AgScience, Inc.