The Amaaazzing Accidental Entrepreneur | Kristina Bouweiri

LWMNovDec2014small_Page_23CEO Reston Limousine and Founder of Sterling Women “Co- Founder” of VA Business Women’s Conference. Shares Her “not so accidental” Life Journey and Success Story

The first thing people always ask me is “How did you get into the limo business?” I always laugh and say,“It’s a great story because I am the Accidental Entrepreneur!”

I was born in Japan to parents who were teaching English in Japanese schools.Soon after our tour in Japan, my father joined the Foreign Service. I then spent my childhood in Brazil, Portugal and 10 years in Africa.It was a great childhood with many exotic experiences!

I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps so I studied International Affairs at George Washington University.My senior year I was working as an intern at the Overseas Education Fund and when I graduated they  offered me a job. I went back to Africa and worked in Somalia to uplift the status of women!

After two years in the nonprofit world, I decided it was not for me.I returned to the United States and the only job I could find was a sales advertising job. It was cold-calling through the yellow pages that introduced me to Reston Limousine.I sold the owner an ad and soon after we started dating.Within one year we were married – and that is how I got in the limousine business.

When I joined Reston Limousine it had five cars. I diversified the business, first into weddings and then government contracting.By the time my four children were born, we had 100 vehicles and we were doing $5 million a year in revenue.It was at that time that we decided that the founder of Reston Limousine would stay home with the kids and I would take over as CEO.

Since then, we have diversified into hospital and university shuttles, wine tours, brew tours, NYC shopping trips and more! Somewhere along the way we realized that 85% of our customers – or at least the person booking the reservation – were women. It was usually the CEO’s executive assistant, the HR manager, office manager, wife, sister or mom.Let’s face it, women are the event planners in the family and groups!Because of this, Reston Limousine has always aggressively marketed to women.

In 2008, I founded Sterling Women, a monthly networking lunch for women.After 10 years of networking I felt that I had created the perfect networking experience for women: We shop, we eat and we enjoy an inspirational speaker! If we are lucky, we win a door prize!This concept is so popular that it is now licensed and being duplicated in other cities.

When I saw how strong the need was in our community for women to come together and grow together, I partnered with JP Events & Consulting to produce an annual women’s conference right here in Leesburg. It is becoming just as successful as our monthly event, with more attendees coming every year.

I am grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way over the years and that I have had the network of support to create yet even more opportunities … not bad for an “Accidental Entrepreneur!”

By Kristina Bouweiri

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