Krysta Collins – She made it to the top; all she needed was a chance.
Krysta Collins has never had anything handed to her.
Every job and every promotion she received in the RV industry was hard-earned by proving herself from the bottom rung and working up.
And that is what has made her career success so sweet.
When she was first beginning her career, she knew she had an interest in finance and she knew RVs were sort of in her blood since her father sold RVs while she was growing up.
But she didn’t have any real experience in either field – just a desire to prove herself.
On a whim, she applied at a dealership in Indianapolis.
“They said, ‘OK, we’ll figure out how to get you there if you’re willing to move and to start at the bottom. You have to learn everything. You’ve never sold RVs. If we’re going to do this quickly for you, you have to commit,’” she said.
She applied herself and worked from being an appointment setter to being on the sales floor within three months. Next stop was as a finance intern followed by a full-time finance position and whirlwind move to Pittsburgh.
“I got married on a Saturday and we were in Pittsburgh starting that job on Tuesday,” she said. “It was a bit chaotic, but it was fun. We went there for two years and about a year and a half in I became the General Sales Manager there for about six months in that location.”
But destiny was calling.
A job at Bish’s RV in Kalispell, Mont., opened.
That job not only aligned with Collins’ career aspirations, but she said the ethics and values of the company matched those to which she likes to hold herself.
That distant move led to her current position as General Store Manager of the location, one of 21 Bish’s around the country.
Although the journey was long and arduous from the beginning of her career, she sees the benefits of that experience in her current position.
“Every part of the sales process I have been a part of,” she said. “It’s helped round out my knowledge, but also for my team the expectations get a little high sometimes because I’ve worked in their positions and I know what we can do. Let’s go a little bit further.”
Collins said she enjoys the fast-paced nature of the RV industry and how the industry constantly presents new challenges.
She said that with that in mind, leaders have to go into every day trying to be a little better and trying to move forward.
She said anyone considering a career in the industry should keep an open mind when it comes to opportunities.
Working at the dealership is fun and fast-paced and Collins said she truly enjoys working with the customers she meets.
“We sell one of the few things that nobody ever has to buy,” she said. “Customers walk in because they want to. It’s hard to have a bad day with them.”
The self-professed lover of tater tots (“Just plain old tater tots with some ketchup”) especially encourages women to not be afraid to follow their dreams if they lead to a job in the RV industry.
She points to her own experience working her way up from the bottom to the top as an example of what can happen for a woman who takes advantage of opportunities presented to her and who isn’t afraid to learn new skills on the way up.
“Don’t be afraid to take up space,” she said. “If you’re in a position, you’ve been put in that position and it’s OK to voice your opinion and to want to help the team grow bigger and want to move forward. It’s OK to take up space when you first get somewhere.”