Krista Cartee, 35

0 Posted by - October 15, 2015 - 2015, Lee-Collier

Director of operations and account services, Priority Marketing

Krista Cartee is so organized she set a Guinness World Record.

Cartee, the director of operations and account services at Priority Marketing in Fort Myers, organized the largest number of people blowing a duck call at an event featuring the cast of the popular television reality show “Duck Dynasty” last year. And she only had a few weeks to plan the event.

Cartee corralled a group of more than 100 volunteers and got 3,028 people to blow a duck call for two minutes at an event at Germain Arena in Fort Myers last year, setting a Guinness record. The event, dubbed “The Call: Faith, Family and Facial Hair,” was a fundraiser for the Salvation Army of Southwest Florida.

“It was a major, major production,” says Cartee. Besides the world record, the event included three bands, videos and VIP receptions.

But this is nothing new for Cartee. “I’ve been hearing from my parents that I spread myself too thin,” she laughs.

Even at a young age Cartee was an organizational maven. At age 16, she ran an emergency operations center for the Red Cross in her native Orlando when tornadoes hit the area. “I was delegating and managing adults with that situation,” she recalls.

Cartee doesn’t dither. “As soon as I see something in front of me I can make a decision right away,” she says. “It’s never been intimidating. I make quick decisions and trust myself.”

When she’s not working, Cartee is up at 4:30 a.m. for boot camp and later in the day she’s coaching her daughter’s soccer team. On weekends she competes in running events, including an urban challenge in Miami recently that included jumping over barricades and sliding on the hood of police cruiser. “There’s no shortage of things,” she says.

— Jean Gruss


Name: Krista Cartee

Age: 35

City of residence: Fort Myers

Twitter handle: @KristaBell17

Employer: Priority Marketing

Title: Director of operations and account services

Birthplace: Orlando

Years on the Gulf Coast: 10

Marital status/children: Married, two daughters (Charlotte, 7, Dani Kate, 3)

Alma mater: University of South Florida

Best place to network: Fundraisers, community events

Coolest business experience: I was lucky enough to be the event coordinator for The Call: Faith, Family & Facial Hair fundraising event that benefitted the local Salvation Army in May of 2014 at Germain Arena. The event featured eight members of the Robertson Family from A&E’s hit show Duck Dynasty, as well three musical acts including Switchfoot and The Farm and multiple guest speakers and multiple pre-show VIP receptions. At the event, we also secured a Guinness World Record for the most duck calls blown simultaneously with 3,125 people participating. Executing the Guinness World Record required significant logistics and the recruitment of more than 150 volunteers to act as stewards for the official record. I had the opportunity to work with celebrities and a top-notch production company, but the event was one of the true challenges and successes in my career not only because of sheer scale of the event with multiple events taking place during the actual show, but also because the entire event was planned and executed flawlessly with only 60 days of planning, creating a success for the client in what seemed an impossible feat to them. I think I gained more experience in those few months than in years of event management.

The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Be resourceful. You can almost always find the answer to anything if you just look hard enough. When you are solution-driven and utilize team members and the resources available to you, you exponentially expand the capacity of what you can accomplish.

One website that makes your job easier: Google… you can learn to do anything on Google.

One community group you’re most involved with: Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida

Favorite off-hours activity:  Running and enjoying great wine – not at the same time though.

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: James Taylor: I am such a huge fan and love his music and outlook on life. Florence Nightingale: When I was young, I read a book about her probably 200 times and her caring heart and diligence to take care for those in need really made an impact on me and stayed with me for many years, especially when I was a volunteer for the American Red Cross in my youth.

What you would be doing if you could pick another career: A doctor or nurse. I have always admired health care professionals and really enjoy helping people in any way I can.

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: Well, a few months ago I would have said skydiving, but then I went parasailing in Turks and Caicos and I think that may be scarier and more dangerous!

What’s at the top of your bucket list: Art history (and maybe wine) tour through Italy.

What new skill would you like to learn: I wish I could speak another language. I understand limited French, but Spanish would be especially helpful. I think it is so impressive when people can speak multiple languages. Italian would be good for my bucket list trip to Italy!

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Cameron Diaz, since I get to pick! Maybe because of short hair and a spunky attitude.

If I had a magic wand I’d: It may sound trite, but I would end all the hunger and suffering of children in developing countries. In working with the Tumaini Fund USA, I have been exposed to the dire situations that face hundreds of thousands of children in Africa and other countries around the world. They experience incredibly limited or no access to fresh water or food, and many are left as orphans to take care of their baby siblings as their parents die from AIDS, malaria and other preventable causes. It is heartbreaking and truly puts things in perspective, helping to reinforce how blessed my family and I are and not to take that for granted. I get so much joy helping organizations that serve these deserving children in the small ways I can, but I only wish I could do more.

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