The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.
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Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!
Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.
Can you tell everyone your name, please?
Kristina J. Bouweiri, President & CEO Reston Limousine the largest limousine and bus company in Washington DC and the 8th largest in the USA with revenues of 27M.
Tell me about your education?
Middle School in Swaziland called Waterford Kamhlaba. Boarding School for High School called Westtown, in Westtown Pennsylvania. Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from George Washington University
Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?
I grew up overseas as a child of US Diplomats. I lived in Japan, Brazil, Portugal and then 10 years in Africa. My traveling overseas and moving every three years made me adaptable, curious, diverse and inclusive.
We all have entrepreneurs who we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.
Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?
The entrepreneur who I look up to is Sheila Johnson. Sheila was a music major and taught violin lessons before she co-founded Black Entertainment Television. This station was successful and focuses on African American audiences and was sold to Viacom in 2002 for 3 Billion dollars.
Today, Sheila is part owner of monumental sports including the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards and the Washington Mystics. She is also the second wealthiest black female in the United States. She owns many high end resorts. She is a documentary film producer. What amazes me about Sheila is that she stays very busy always working hard to make the world a better place. I am blessed to know her personally. I have been to her house for lunch and my company was a strategic partner of the Mystics for many years.
Thank you for providing background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.
What is the name of your company?
Reston Limousine Service, Inc.,
Where is your company located?
Sterling, Virginia a suburb of Washington DC.
What services or products does your organization provide?
We provide a variety of transportation and logistics solutions for individuals and groups, globally. We have sedans, vans, limousines, and buses. We are in 13 market segments including Universities, Government, Hospitals, Tourism, Weddings, Wine Tours, Embassies, Concerts, and Corporate Travel.
What problem is your business trying to solve?
We are providing individuals and groups the quickest, safest and most comfortable transportation. Whether it is an airport transfer, a wedding, concert or a Presidential Inauguration, we can handle a group of any size.
How is your business unique against your competitors?
Our competitive advantage is our service levels, our culture of a caring and our nationally recognized safety program. We own and maintain our own fleet, and we have the best training and safety programs.
How did the idea for your business come to fruition?
My ex-husband founded the company when he came to the US as an immigrant in the 80’s. I met him when I was selling advertising. Soon we were dating, and he asked me to quit my job and come work for him. When I did, I started to market to brides; which was a demographic he had shied away from, but I felt it was something we should peruse. I handled sales and ops and grew the business from 5 cars to 250 vehicles. I realized that this was my calling and after growing the business exponentially, I later went on to buy him out.
Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?
Final question. We would like to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.
What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?
- Be flexible
- Be a lifelong learner
- Work hard on growing your network.