We define Pro as someone with exceptional style, grace and skills that shine through in everything they are passionate about. We are not talking just Pros in the field of fashion, because we aren’t solely inspired by fashion. We believe fashion is an extension of the fabulous person who wears the clothes. So we want to know, what fuels that person’s fabulousness because we think, all around, they’re a Pretty Rad Operator.To open our newest series we interviewed Kris Foate. As a patron of the store, active community member and Fort Wayne leader, we wanted to know more about her current role, her fashion inspirations, her drive to support her community and so much more.
What is your current career title as you’d define it?
I am instrumental in enabling individual and corporate support for one of the nation’s top ten zoos, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo (zoo). As Development Coordinator I engage the community in a variety of events and opportunities to help fund programs, exhibits and services provided by the zoo. The position affords me an opportunity to apply personal values to a mission to which I am deeply committed.
How has everything you’re doing today unfolded and is it different from what you initially pictured?
Though initially an attorney, most of my career has encompassed leadership to grow corporations and organizations. From broadcast CEO to President of the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, my success has depended heavily on organizational development through authentic relationships, visionary leadership and hard work. While my current work is different, it is no surprise. I have made a transition from working to build financial security and support a lifestyle, to working to pay it forward in my community. The same skills and strategies that served me well in a corporate environment are serving me now. I am at a point in my life when how I invest my time is becoming increasingly important to me. It is satisfying to be part of a team that sustains and ensures excellence for the animals and the patrons of the zoo while remaining accountable to our board and sustaining members.
Just through getting to know you when you visit us at Jophiel, one observation that resonates with me is your solidarity to lasting friendships and the connections you’ve made. How do you think those connections, and not just career wise, have influenced the directions you’ve taken to find yourself where you are today?
What I have done, and what I do, is all about building lasting relationships and making connections. I quickly became connected to the community through relationships with wonderful people in our community. People I have known through professional and personal roles are in my life for the long run and those friendships contribute to my happiness and sense of personal fulfillment.
I’ve been so inspired just hearing some of your stories of your experiences in so many different business fields. Looking back, have you carried the same style from occupation to occupation, or have you mixed up your go-to looks depending on the job?
I prefer a timeless look, almost “un-labelable”; not trendy, but edgy. I find that the more classic style has longevity, which allows me to change things up without changing over to something new or different.
For me, I can remember the moment I realized a convergence of fashion, photography and one of my many passions, camping. Can you share a time in your life when you were inspired by the mirror that fashion can sometimes place before us and what it was that that reflection showed you, which maybe you hadn’t noticed before?
Style is my artistic expression. For example, among the many arts that I have enjoyed, I love movies. One of the things that I notice in movies is the costuming of female characters and actresses whose looks appeal to me. In terms of self-discovery, I think my style choices reinforce and make overt my commitment to authenticity. I wear clothing that others admire but may be reluctant to wear. It’s me…I am going to be me. I wear it and enjoy it.
What do you think fashion and the act of shopping has taught you about life?
I shop as much for the experience as for the product. I enjoy the process when I work with someone who cares to know me, cares to know my style, and who respects my style. Shopping reinforces for me the value of the journey over the destination. While I want and intend to arrive in a good place, I am passionate about the journey.
We couldn't agree more Kris! We're all for letting your beautiful colors shine.