Q&A: Amy Kraal
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.
Amy Kraal is an entrepreneur, problem solver and result-driven HR professional who’s passionate about helping the business community thrive.
Kraal founded her HR consulting firm, Zeeland-based HR Solutions Group of West Michigan, in 2007. The firm has a client base of more than 100 local companies that work with her team to help attract, develop and retain their employees.
Previously, she served in HR roles at BGI Consulting, Kforce, Haworth and Varnum Consulting.
Kraal invests in the community through her volunteer roles with the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Talent 2025 CEO Council and Society for Human Resource Management.
Biggest career break?
For me it wasn’t really a break, but a breakthrough. I was always taught to work hard, so I could control my own destiny. That’s only half of the equation. You also need to know how to work well with others. My greatest professional successes came when I learned how to lead and influence others to achieve common goals. This requires building relationships based on honesty, trust and mutual respect.
In 2016, WalletHub named Holland, Michigan as the number-one small city for launching a business. To highlight successful startups in our region, West Coast Chamber Connect magazine chose three companies to feature on the cover. We were one of the featured companies!
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Own your situation. If you want something, make it happen. If you fail, admit your mistakes, learn from it and keep going.
How did you make your first dollar?
Picking up ears of corn in the fields that the combine missed during harvest. We were paid 1 cent per ear. After paying my older brother half of my earnings to carry my bag for me, I would net . 5 cents per ear. Growing up on a farm, we learned how to work hard and not expect much in return.
Time. In February 2014, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 3C breast cancer. It was extremely terrifying. I am so thankful to be here. I have been blessed with more time to be a mom, wife and business owner. Life is precious, and we need to remember to capture and enjoy the moments we have.
I have it! I get to work with great people, learn, grow and help others reach their goals!
If I were president for a day, I would. . .?
Implement effective early childhood literacy programs. Reading is the foundation of learning. We all need to work together to help prepare the next generations for success.
Last book you’ve read?
“The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins
Last thing you Googled?
How to make beef stew. In our kitchen at home, we have a sign that reads: “Dinner choices: 1) Take it, 2) Leave it.” Many times, my family takes option 2.
Your worst habit?
There is always a lot on my mind, and I try to secretly multi-task at home. This can occasionally result in me starting to ask a question or say something and then trailing off and not finishing my sentence. It drives my teenage boys crazy!
To unwind, I like to. . .?
Ideally, I would say go out for a run or exercise. Realistically, I pour a glass of wine and binge watch a TV series on Netflix.
Take a European river cruise on the Danube
Anything made by somebody else. It always tastes better.
Person you most admire?
My sister, Sara, for her strength, faith and positive attitude through the most difficult situations