20 Under 40: Kirstie McPherson approaches business from multiple angles in busy but rewarding work profile
There are those that talk about investing locally, and there are those that do. Kirstie McPherson, owner of The Find on Yampa Avenue, and co-owner of the Wine Bar in the back of the store, felt a need to invest locally and has given locals a place to unwind in the heart of downtown.
The ability to adapt, and the mindset to never settle and always be involved has driven McPherson to new heights locally. Aside from her venture into business with The Find and the Wine Bar, McPherson also created Women in Rural, and Edeveco, all in hopes of creating a sustainable future for her and her family, as well as the employees at the businesses.
“Kirstie is the most business oriented person I’ve ever met,” said Mary Penner, who nominated McPherson for “20 Under 40.” “We always joked that she’d rule the world by 30, and she’s well on her way. She’s always been involved with city, volunteer work, and any business she could get her hands on.”
In your chosen career field, how has the job evolved since you first began?
My career has evolved in a variety of ways, primarily that I continually add new “careers” to my existing ones. I started out as a petroleum engineer, or planned to in college, when I decided to change my major to business my first internship was at an economic development organization. Since then I’ve worked in a variety of economic development related roles including positions with regional, state, and national organizations. Through this I have used the tools I’ve obtained to start a variety of businesses, and also consult with communities all over the world in their economic development, since going into my career I’ve undergone many different degrees and certifications including just finishing my master’s in behavioral economics with an emphasis in economic development research.
How do you feel your line of work is different from someone in a similar job a generation before you?
Well, first of all, I think many in the generation before me had just one job, I’ve made the conscious decision to adapt and take opportunities in a variety of ways by creating businesses such as The Find, 518 Wine Bar, Women in Rural, and Edeveco — all with the focus of creating a sustainable future for myself, my family, and my employees. Economic Development specifically has changed dramatically throughout the generations, just simply because of the tools and resources they had, same with running a local business, there are so many more options available now than what was ever available before, and that makes a huge impact on how generations now are operating businesses and their careers.
What kind of challenges do you feel like you and your coworkers will face in the next decade?
Change is happening so quickly due to industry changes, the overall economic landscape, and technology — how people operate and do business is also continually changing and new skills are needed. One of the biggest challenges that I feel like I will personally face in the next decade will be gaining new skills to help me address economic changes in the communities that I work in. Within my businesses I will also have to adapt my business practices to target consumers, and continually offer new experiences.
What is the most rewarding part of your job on a day to day basis?
The most rewarding part of my job is and will always be watching the communities that I work in grow, change, and adapt. I’ve also loved working with individuals on their own dreams and business creations, seeing how they grow and change is something that will always impress me, and that I’ve felt lucky to have a front row seat in watching.
If you hadn’t gone down your particular career path, what else would you have liked to do with your life?
This is such a difficult question for me, since I’ve changed my career into multiple avenues I fully believe that opportunity is out there for whatever you want to do. Me personally, I’ve been fortunate enough to craft a career that I wouldn’t ever want to change, however sometimes I jokingly say I’d like to cash it all in and be a dog walker in New York. All joking aside, if I had to do it over again I’d go into a skilled trade such as an electrician or plumber, those are the jobs we can’t do without and I have a deep respect for the individuals who work in those trades.
What types of jobs would you avoid at all costs?
I’d likely never want to be a doctor, lawyer, or vet…. I don’t have the patience needed to be in those fields, I’m so glad there are people who are called to this line of work, because it was never something I wanted to be when I grew up.
How do you feel your work-life balance differs from those of your parents/grandparents?
On average I work 80 hours a week, because I want to, I also take vacations and I make 100% of my own schedule which I don’t think my parents and grandparents had the opportunity to do. Work has dramatically changed in the last several decades, and while I struggle with work-life balance, my friends and family will agree, I still make sure to give myself needed breaks to be recharged for my work.
How do you feel everyday life is better or worse in 2020 with certain technology shifts?
I am always worried about being too connected, and too available. In college I had a friend, another university president, who didn’t have a cell phone. I remember asking her if she thought it was harder to do her job, I was answering my phone all the time for the same job, she looked at me and said, “I like being harder to get ahold of, it means people really want to talk to me by the time they tracked me down.” That’s a level I’ve tried and failed at being at ever since.
What kind of strengths or weaknesses do you believe your generation brings to your career field?
Millennials in general are adapters, we have a high tolerance for risk, and are aware of how sudden the economy can change, we’ve seen major technology advances in the last two decades, and are the generation most likely to start new businesses and innovations. With that said, I think it speaks volumes to what we bring to our career fields.
How do you feel your generation fits into Moffat County’s future?
With the investments that I see myself and others in my generation doing to support new business growth in Moffat County, I feel that our generation is innovating the next steps in our future.
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There may finally be some movement regarding the vacant Golden Cavvy building and the empty Spicy Basil restaurant in downtown Craig.