Q&A: Kris Spaulding
Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.
Kris Spaulding manages the people and planet aspects of Brewery Vivant’s triple-bottom-line focus.
Her husband and business partner, Jason Spaulding, concentrates on the company’s product and profitability.
Kris Spaulding was the driving force in the pursuit of Brewery Vivant’s LEED and B Corporation certifications and is an advocate for businesses engaging with their communities in meaningful and impactful ways.
She plays an active role in building the West Michigan B Corporation Network, is board chair of Local First, is on the sustainability subcommittee for the national Brewers Association and was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan by the Business Journal.
Biggest career break?
While at Herman Miller, I applied for a job in the product management department, despite not having product knowledge. Luckily, the person who hired me saw as much possibility in me as I saw in myself, so she took a chance on me. It worked out great! She is now one of my mentors and best friends, and I’m grateful for the immediate connection we had.
Personally, it’s every time I see my two children (ages 6 and 3) visibly learn something new. Professionally, I’d say becoming a certified B Corporation. The process is rigorous and challenging and constantly inspires us to always be looking for ways we can become a stronger business as a force for good.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
My dad is known for reminding all of his kids and grandkids to “always be kind.” I try to follow this advice every day.
How did you make your first dollar?
Photos of my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents when they were young. I love looking at these irreplaceable pieces of family history and look forward to sharing them with my kids as they get older.
Though my current scenario is pretty amazing, my dream job is to start a company that purposely hires those with more barriers to work and helps them realize their true potential.
If I were president for a day I would…?
Make our elected officials spend 24 hours with someone in their district who can’t get ahead, despite how hard they try. Hopefully, that human connection would impact their perspective on the reality that many face.
Last book you’ve read?
“Same Kind of Different as Me,” by Denver Moore, Ron Hall and Lynn Vincent
Last thing you Googled?
Your worst habit?
Being so busy talking that I forget to listen. That’s a tough one for me every day. I need a constant reminder to stop thinking about what I’m going to say and start truly listening to those around me.
To unwind I like to…?
Go for a walk with my family through the Aquinas campus, which we are so lucky to live near.
A month in the Italian countryside with my family and friends
Just about anything home cooked and shared with loved ones
Person you most admire?
Fred Keller has been an inspiration for me, since I learned about the amazing and impactful work that Cascade Engineering has been doing in our community. Developing a relationship with him has been one of my favorite things about becoming a certified B Corporation.