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Life and Work with Krystle Messano

Today we’d like to introduce you to Krystle Messano.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Krystle. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My work and family life have always been very important to me, as well as finding the right balance between the two worlds. It has long been my goal to run my own business while at the same time making a difference in my community.

At the age of 22, I moved from San Jose, CA to sunny Tempe, AZ. I started out as a receptionist for a computer kiosk company making minimum wage. Over the last 15 years, I organically grew into various roles in that industry In 2017, I became a COO of a different kiosk company and while I enjoyed that role, I knew there was more I wanted to accomplish.

Coincidentally, that same year, my family and I became vegan in an effort to try alternative methods for treating our oldest son’s ADHD. This was a different journey we had been on since 2014 trying everything from Ritalin to therapy with not much success. Within four days of the new vegan lifestyle, his teacher noticed a drastic change in his behavior. For us, this was enough to keep our family of five on the vegan path. Over time we realized the stigma around this lifestyle was just that and we set out to share our way of living with friends and family. While we surely don’t expect everyone to convert 100% to this lifestyle, we love the idea of people giving it a chance to see it’s not all that different.

The Life is Green online marketplace as well as our upcoming restaurant in the East Valley, the Green Fork, will hopefully raise even more awareness about a plant-based lifestyle.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Is it ever a smooth road? She said with a chuckle. Over the years, I used to be ashamed to admit that I was discriminated many times for being a woman. I was always afraid of being referred to as “that girl” who had it all in her head that men were out for her.

As I have matured, I realize that my lack of sharing these stories or moments is what cultivated the fear that you feel are the only one. I don’t even think I could count the number of times I was treated differently for being a woman, even as a COO, there were times it was assumed by customers that I was the admin only there to get coffee orders. My advice to other women is to not be afraid to speak up and share your stories with others, and not just women. Men and children need to hear these moments as well to be made aware that these things still occur in 2019.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Life is Green – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
My background is in operations, and my love is specifically project management. I am known for my ability to multi-task and stay calm in stressful situations. I would like to thank my three children for helping me hone in on that skill!

As a brand, The Green Fork is most proud of our ability to make plant-based comfort food. Vegan can be fun and just as flavorful as any other type of cuisine.

We are very excited for our restaurant to open later this year in the East Valley and spread the plant-based word.

There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
I have been very blessed to find mentors through past jobs. I think putting yourself out there and not being afraid to share your story and your goals is so important. You never know who will be key to your success if you don’t open up and be confident in yourself. My family and friends all know my motto “Gotta have goals” while I am sure it annoys some, I hope that everyone understands that no matter how old you are, you “gotta have goals” it is key to always pushing ourselves to be our best. Never settle.

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