Women Entrepreneurs Interviews: Kristin Holmes
By Colin McEvoy on October 21, 2014
Over a 12-year career in civil engineering, Kristin Holmes had been involved in the design and management of numerous residential, industrial and commercial projects, providing everything from site design and construction cost estimating to feasibility studies and earthwork analysis.
But after working at Doylestown-based Langan Engineering since 2001, Holmes became enticed by the challenge of owning her own business, and in March 2013 co-founded Holmes Cunningham Engineering along with her partner Rob Cunningham.
Kristin is one of four panelists the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp.’s (LVEDC) Innovation, Talent and Entrepreneurship Council will spotlight on November 19 as part of their panel event “Creating Space: How Women Entrepreneurs Succeed.”
As the event approaches, we will be asking each of the panelists a few questions about their backgrounds and experiences in the business world. Here is what Kristin had to say:
LVEDC: What inspired you to go into business for yourself?
Kristin Holmes: New challenges and opportunities were my inspiration. The thought of leaving a stable job to go off on my own to essentially restart my career was a scary thought, but a thought that I began contemplating. I was used to putting in long hours to meet deadlines and maintain client relationships and I realized that I could put this hard work towards something that was my own, and it would be a lot of work but could be extremely rewarding.
LVEDC: What do you think is the biggest challenge for women who want to start a business?
Kristin Holmes: I believe that confidence is often a challenge for women. Especially for me, working in a male-driven industry where most leaders are men and it is typical to be the only female in a meeting or job site. It is important to have confidence to be able to succeed in different settings and continue to take on new challenges and feel confident that you are able to handle the job, whatever that may be.
LVEDC: What do you believe are the top qualities of a strong female business leader?
Kristin Holmes: A strong female business leader excels at building relationships and trying to help others. Whether you are dealing with business or personal relationships, it is important to have and maintain these relationships to understand each person and how to interact with them. It is also important to try and help others and not always just look for how someone can help you. As your relationships grow, so can your opportunities.
LVEDC: What advice would you give to women who are considering starting their own business?
Kristin Holmes: Do research on the different facets of running a business to get an understanding of what will be required once they are ready to start. Specifically, it is good to understand the legal aspects of a business, the accounting, checking options for starting a business entity, and also how this business will affect your personal life. Once you are able to wrap your head around what you need to do, it becomes easier to make that leap.
LVEDC: Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently when you first established your business?
Kristin Holmes: At this stage in my company, I don’t think there is anything I would have done different when we were first established. I wouldn’t say my partner and I had a complete understanding of everything involved in this business, but we were able to learn and adapt as new things came up.
Click here for more information about the upcoming panel, which celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week, an international celebration of innovators and job creators running from November 17 to 23.
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