Kristin Giebler, Owner, and CEO of MAC Flooring, Inc. & MAC Remodel, Inc. effectively leads her Team with both empathy and strength. Although these qualities can be perceived as contradictory characteristics, it is possible to project both and has been the largest reason for Kristin’s success. It is imperative for her to understand each Team Member’s talents, goals, and personality to best support their efforts in the company. “They need to be heard and respected before you could ever expect to be fully heard and respected in return as their leader.” She adds, “I have always told my staff that I would never ask of them something that I have not or wouldn’t be willing to do myself. With that practice, I can effectively support growth in the company with staff who are inspired and driven towards achieving personal and established company goals.” This is a process that Kristin followed throughout her career, and this has resulted in more female employees wanting to be a part of her team as her leadership style feels “comfortable” and “secure” compared to other trade companies they have worked for.
As a young woman in the construction industry, Kristin’s priorities have focused on changing consumer perception by highlighting the benefits offered by a female led construction firm and overcoming dated marketing tactics.
“80% of buying decisions in my industry are made by women, and therefore opened the door for me to create a female focused shopping experience different from that of my dominating male competitors,” says Kristin. “Instead of being intimidated by the fact that I was a rare statistic of female ownership in construction, I looked at it through a different lens and just went for it. I put myself through design school, decided to make the showroom inspiring, “pretty,” and homelike instead of simply displaying racks and racks of samples.” She didn’t want to transact with the next buyer but provide them an experience they had never had before. “I trained my staff on how to provide an exceptional 5-star experience from start to finish with “soft approaches” focusing on education, design and over the top care. My branding and marketing messages mirrored this effort.” The customer feedback she received was incredible, with sentiments applauding the different, refreshing approach.
As a woman, Kristin never wanted to be seen any differently than her male counterparts. She made it a point to be treated equally, which made her work more intensely to counteract the perception that she was simply handed it by being a woman. “My advice to future female leaders is to not get caught up in gender dialogue. Just get out there and do it.”
Before entering the construction industry, Kristin had owned an insurance brokerage right out of college. She carried the insurance business while creating MAC Flooring. “MAC Flooring, Inc. was started in my garage in 2011 and business was fostered through networking groups I was a member of. Business growth was curated from the desire to help other businesses in similar stages of start-up,” she says. “The unselfish efforts of supporting other business through referral came back to me 100% and we just took off running. The next stage was selling out of the swap meet, then into our first real location and so forth. The wisest advice I was ever given was to not make business decisions based on ego, but to grow at an organic pace. In other words, maintain your current position until you are busting out of the seams and then make a jump. It was a lesson in minimizing overhead without stagnating growth.”
MAC Flooring, Inc. is dominantly a reputation-based business, and one of their biggest business drivers has always been online review platforms. Their marketing strategies have always been to the “to the times,” which differentiated them from competitors from day one. “Our industry, though changing, has always been led by outdated marketing efforts so this really set us apart. The biggest blessing and also the biggest hardship of my businesses has been maintaining our online image,” says Kristin. “We all strive to be the best every day, but there inherently are customers that can never be satisfied regardless of those efforts. It is a double-edged sword and it can be painful.”
Kristin believes the biggest achievement of the company is the Company Culture that has been created.
It has taken many years of hard work, but it has always been the steadfast leader’s priority to keep the staff uplifted when they are at work. “I expect a lot from them, but have made best efforts to support their personal goals and wellness. We all spend a huge chunk of our life at work, why not be happy? I have always supported my employees to enjoy this time of their life, and provide opportunities to improve,” she adds.
Throughout her professional journey, Kristin has learned that actions scream louder than words. When she started to build her dreams into reality, whispers of her young age and gender were all around, but she ignored them and kept surging ahead. “Now that my business is securely established and growing, what I was disparaged early on about are the same qualities that now offer me praise by my customers and colleagues. I can’t identify the exact time that this transition happened, but it has in fact,” elucidates Kristin. “I am reminded of what I have accomplished and it feels very satisfying to have pushed through the hard times and the so many moments that I doubted myself and my place in this industry community. There were many years that I told myself to keep climbing up the mountain and one day I might reach the top, but when my confidence was finally established, I simply pushed the mountain out of my own way.”