Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hi, I’m Kristiana! Mama of 2 (Kosette 3 yo and Luka 6 yo), East Coast native turned West Coast local, media exec turned social entrepreneur.
Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
Nope, I just knew that whatever I did, it needed to be creative and collaborative.
Were you scared to start the process?
As it pertains to launching my own business, oddly enough, no. I had been manifesting The Cause Bar for months, perhaps even years. Three weeks before my 40th birthday, I attended a charity event and listened to the founder share her story on how she launched her charity on her 40th birthday. My husband looked right at me at that moment, and I said “I’m launching The Cause Bar on my 40th Birthday.” Three weeks later, I did.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
Not the most fun memory, but I was held up at gunpoint walking home to my apartment one night 10 years ago. Quite the out of body experience, needless to say. I vividly recall going into an immediate state of calm, yet totally prepared for the fight or flight moment. Obviously, we came out unharmed, but let’s just say my radar and instincts remain on high alert when walking anywhere alone since then.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
There’s never the perfect time to start or do something – you just do it and figure it out along the way. This has held true for me as it pertained to having kids, moving across the country, starting a business…basically every major life decision!
What would you say to 16 year old you?
Funny you choose that age because I actually look back at the 16 year old me with huge respect. It was that year that I attribute becoming fully and unapologetically my true self. It was that year that I began branching out of the comforts of my small home town, familiarity and the confines of “my norm”. I was creating my own style and heading into NYC often to check out vintage stores, listening to new bands that weren’t really on the grid just yet, meeting new friends with different backgrounds and interests…I was so energized by life and future, and completely comfortable in my own skin. So to that girl, I’d say “Don’t ever lose touch with the person you are today.”
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
Of course! Still do, probably always will…and to them, my motto goes a little something like this: Sometimes I feel like giving up. Then I remember I have a lot of motherf*ckers to prove wrong.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
Stop listening to the so-called “expert in the room” and start listening to your own true inner wisdom. She will always know better.
Have you always had confidence in yourself?
For the most part, yes, despite that damn imposter syndrome trying to work her way into my conscious. It’s a daily practice of mental and physical energy work to shove her back to where she came from.
What do you love most about yourself?
I have a stellar BS detector. It’s been my secret weapon to being effective and productive, and surrounding myself with people and experiences that are genuine and authentic. No time or place for the other stuff.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
Yes, very recently, during our family of four cross-country NYC to LA move early last year. Leaving lifelong friends, family, roots, memories, a career, and my beloved NYC behind was not easy. Add onto that, starting a business and the rollercoaster ride of highest of highs, lowest of lows. It all required me to dig really deep from within to trust my journey, and to find comfort and community in sometimes the most unexpected places, people and forms.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
In those times of adversity, I slip back into the mindset of that 16 year old me, and remind myself to be energized by what this challenge, adventure, opportunity is offering to me.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
I don’t apologize for working – it fuels me personally and makes me a better mom and wife. My kids (and everyone) see that. So in that regard, I say that work is a part of my life, not something I try to balance or offset.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
My rituals! They keep me grounded. My husband thinks I’m insane, but they actually keep me sane. In the morning, I start with breathwork for a few minutes, followed by my affirmations and saying “Thank You”…not to anyone in particular, just showing gratitude for the day ahead. At night, I stretch (important to get the kinks out from the day), I spray lavender on my pillow, and end the day with gratitude again by writing 3 things I’m grateful for that day. I also reflect on this mantra: Trust that I am exactly where I am meant to be at this very moment.
Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
I have “muses,” and they change often. The constants are my kids, and since I’m extremely fortunate to meet trailblazers and changemakers through The Cause Bar literally every day, I’m constantly inspired by those that just DID something on a gut intuition. The people that didn’t think too hard or too long – they just felt something needed fixing or attention, and started something. People like Justin Dillon, founder of FRDM, and Elsa Marie Collins, Yolanda Walter Meade and Zoe Winkler of This is About Humanity.
Where do you find inspiration?
Travel and Music. They both take you places.
What are your biggest passions?
My kids, travel, social impact, my culture (I’m 2nd generation Ukrainian)
For two decades, Kristiana has been immersed in the social impact and lifestyle sectors, providing strategic guidance and marketing for global brands and movements. With this knowledge and foundation, Kristiana launched The Cause Bar in 2018, a platform integrating digital and in-person touchpoints for social giving. Winter 2019 marks a powerful shift to a new offering from The Cause Bar – Set The Bar: a highly-curated program designed to cultivate personalized, authentic and high-impact giving plans for aspiring philanthropists.