10 Questions With...

March 20, 2009

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your role at KS&R.
Kris Fischer, Principal at KS&R. I've been with the company for 10 years and lead the team that supports AT&T, AutoTrader and a few other clients.

Why did you decide to join KS&R?
This is my second career. Prior to KS&R, I worked in the hospitality industry for about five years and then took a year off to get my MBA. My masters program had a thesis element and I really enjoyed every aspect of the research process it involved. After graduate school, I moved back to the Syracuse area and there was an opening for an analyst at KS&R. It sounded perfect to me - conducting the research I enjoyed in a client-facing environment.

What is unique about KS&R as a company to work for?
I get that question a lot when interviewing new analysts. First, it's the smartest group of people I've ever worked with, I learn something new every day. And I've never worked in an environment that has such strong, cohesive teams. I've worked in team environments before and it was really just a way of structuring the organization. The teams at KS&R are very strong. It's very motivating to know that there are others to support you; we work as a team to get the job done.

What changes have you seen at KS&R in the 10 years you have been with the company?
When I started, there were only six or seven of us on the analytic staff supporting the founding partners. As we've grown, processes have been formalized, streamlined and in some cases automated. We also have a lot more staff than we used to. So how we go about things is a little bit different, but the overall goal is the same - serve the client to the best of our ability.

What book are you reading?
I'm taking a break from anything serious right now. I'm in the middle of two books, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris and Pride and Prejudice. It's my third or fourth time through Pride and Prejudice, I'm a big Jane Austen fan.

What historical figure do you most identify with?
Julia Child. Some may argue her historical significance, but I believe she made a big impact on the modern history of women in the US. My sister and I used to wake up every Saturday morning, turn on PBS and watch her program. She was a strong, intelligent woman with a wonderful sense of humor who served as the face of an industry for many years. She introduced us to new food, cultures and possibilities, elevating our thinking but never losing sight of the basics.

What is the quality you most admire in a person?
The ability to keep an open-mind. I admire those who are completely open to new experiences, opinions, ideas and question conventional wisdom.

What is your pet peeve?
Complacency.

How do you keep your Zen-like cool under pressure?
I have my days, trust me. What usually calms me is accepting that there are a lot of things that I can't control, change, or influence. So I try to focus on the things that I can.

What would your advice be to aspiring women entrepreneurs?
That's an interesting question. I'm not sure my advice to aspiring women would be any different than to men. Given the time and energy it takes to succeed, do something that you truly enjoy.