Kristin Sitova once had a therapist tell her to take all of the trauma she’s faced and imagine it as a seed she planted in the ground. And from that seed, she got to decide what beautiful thing she would grow in the world.
She’s a sales director in corporate America by day, and an animal rescuer by night. Her long-term goal is to open a foundation in Dallas that rescues animals and offers free equine therapy to support mental health in the community.
Kristin grew up with all kinds of animals—horses, cats, dogs, rats, birds, hamsters, and bunnies. Animals were her refuge as a kid. She lived in a white-collar family, but it was a physically and emotionally abusive household, and she still struggles with PTSD, insomnia, and anxiety to this day. Some of her earliest memories are of her calling her dad crying at 3:00 am during elementary school sleepovers because she was still awake, and him coming to pick her up in a cold car. As soon as they got home, she’d stumble upstairs in her pajamas, tired and with a pounding headache. But she would feel a flood of relief to find her dog and cat right there, reliably waiting for her on her bed. She’d finally be able to sleep with them lying next to her.
Ultimately, she’d like to be perceived as someone that has taken trauma and hardship and turned it into something positive and good in the world.
Kristin Sitova has searched for stability in all kinds of things. She was an alpine ski racer through college, practiced piano 3 hours a day from the ages of 10 to 22, was the drumline section leader in the best high school marching band in the state of MI, played the lead in the first-ever high school steel drum band, was on the tennis team, baked, rode horses, wrote plays, and studied philosophy abroad at Oxford. But nothing helped calm her anxiety like being with animals.
During one of the more humiliating memories in middle school, child protective services pulled her out of class to talk to her. She spent the next week pretending to be sick so she could avoid the group of girls that had been bullying her. Lying in bed with her dog, bunny, cat, and rat, they’d share Rice Crispy Treats and find comfort in each other’s company.
Call it adventurous, or maybe just unmedicated, but she lived in Japan after college for a year teaching English, then went to Madrid to do the same. She got a Master’s degree in business in AZ, then briefly took a corporate job in MSHE following the ’08 crisis that she hated. Kristin quit that to work on a startup for a corporate mindfulness program with her mom for a year, later opening a bakery on a small island in Florida where she made cakes for famous people.
The things she did to achieve success
The things Kristin did correctly are all learnings she internalized from the things she did incorrectly. For example, she hired cheap but inexperienced kitchen staff when SHE opened her bakery. Unfortunately, she had to fire many of them and man the entire kitchen alone over the holidays, running on 2 or 3 hours of sleep for weeks straight. She never went for the cheapest option again
She lost countless deals across the course of her career. Each time that happened, she picked herself up, checked her ego, and candidly evaluated what went wrong. What could she have done differently to improve the outcome? What things hadn’t she factored in that played an important role in this? What did she do right and shouldn’t change? That’s what has enabled her to consistently win deals in the present, and be a top performer in her company.
Connect with her on Instagram: @kristinsitova