p14 HowardHowardBy ROBERTA CODEMO
    Kristina “Krissy” Howard believes the life choices that you make steer you in the direction that you are meant to go. She was pursuing a master’s degree in genetic engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville when her life changed.
    She got married and quit her job in the accounting department at the Holiday Inn to assist her former husband manage and grow his plumbing business. The business grew rapidly and became a successful venture.
    “It came naturally to me,” she said.
    She returned to school and enrolled in the MBA program at SIUE and graduated in 2009. While working as a personal trainer, she was training the wife of one of the partners at the law firm of Gori Julian & Associates, P.C. in Edwardsville, who suggested she apply for a position as office manager at the firm. She started in 2010 and has been there ever since.
    “I love it,” she said. “This is a good fit for me.” She attacks everything she does head on and is willing to work her tail off. To be a success in this industry, one has to be driven to succeed and not afraid to fail, she said.
    In her current role, she manages the day-to-day operations of the law firm and is the co-owner of Gori Property Management with Randy Gori. She can’t thank him and Barry Julian enough for putting their trust in her and giving her the opportunities that they have.
    “The experience I’ve gotten is irreplaceable.”
    She became a licensed realty agent in 2016. In 2017, she and Gori opened Gori, Realtors, LLC and currently have 12 brokers working with them.
    What she loves most about what she does is that she has learned it on her own. “You have to be willing to learn,” she said. “You can’t be afraid to try to figure stuff out.”  She credits the amazing people she works with in helping her along the way.
    There are days when juggling between different businesses and wearing different hats can be a challenge. She’ll come in with a list of things to accomplish and will look at the clock and its 4 p.m. and she hasn’t accomplished anything on the list. “Some days I need three of me,” she said.
    Since opening in 2008, the law firm has grown from about 10 employees to more than 200 with offices in seven states. “I’m proud to have played a part in that growth,” she said.
    She credits her success to her parents and watching them work hand-in-hand to build a business while raising three children. “It carried over into my life,” she said.
    She graduated from Collinsville High School in 1992 and received her undergraduate degree in chemistry and biology from SIUE in 1998. She lives with her daughter, Eden, on a farm in Brighton.