Kristy Sherlund is an executive mom, employee, and Caledonia community member. In her role as vice president of product and merchandising at Baudville, she helps managers to connect with their employees, and she's learned a little about making connections herself along the way.
Kristy's interior design degree brought her to the Furniture City in 1987 without a job, but with a lot of hope. She was hired right away and got her feet wet with Interface Fabrics, now True Textiles. Kristy isn't shy to admit that this first job, in customer service, wasn't her true calling. But it was from that starting point that she began to build a foundation for people skills that lead her to thrive in her current career.
"It was an interesting time in my life. In my mid-20s, I was managing fifteen people, but I just wasn't very good at it to be honest," she says. "As I matured throughout the years, I got better at dealing with people and really understood product management."
Kristy was promoted through the ranks during the twenty years she worked at True Textiles, but life took some unexpected twists. Kristy lost her job at the same time she was picking up the pieces in her personal life after her divorce. But Kristy found a calm in the storm that made the whole experience come full circle.
"I was at a huge cross roads, and I stumbled across Baudville. It was so different for me–the pretense of the company being about engaging with employees and finding a way to connect with people on a level that makes them feel valued," Kristy says.
Kristy's corporate experience lured Baudville's executives to her; Baudville's model of employee appreciation drew Kristy to them. Baudville's chief objective is to create products and incentives that "bridge managers with their employees" and help co-workers connect. In doing so, the workplace can draw out the positives in everyone. Baudville believes in more constructive management, better productivity, and an overall increase in employees' happiness index.
"It's all about making that human connection. People work for managers, not for companies, so if your manager can connect with you, you will see a higher level of engagement," she says.
Kristy's professional life has been enriched by her personal life and community involvement. With a hockey-obsessed 19-year-old son in college at Colorado State University and another ArtPrize-loving 9-year-old son making his way into upper elementary school, she's always running.
"I have raised two incredibly different children," she says.
Kristy has weaved herself into the fabric of life in Caledonia through her participation in every organization from the Junior League to the Caledonia School Board. While she grew up in Bay City, Kristy has found her true home in the little Kent County town.
"I've really grown to have a huge respect for what that town stands for. It represents the kind of person I am, both socially and economically," she says.
Written by: Erika Fifelski is the West Michigan Woman magazine editorial coordinator. She was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys gardening, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses. Photo provided by Kristy Sherlund.