Forty Under 40

Kristen Hadeed

Written By: Scott Costello

Name:  Kristen Hadeed

Birthdate:  02-26-1988

Where were you born?  Gainesville, FL! Moved to Flagler Beach when I was 2 though and then came back for college.

What are your community activities? (church or faith-based involvement, local, regional and national professional organizations, non-profits, etc)  Chamber Board Member, Chamber Diplomat, Hackerhouse Mentor, Business Advisory Council Chair, Entrepreneur Resource Center Mentor, CIED Transition and Progression Planning Mentor, Guest Lecturer at the University of Florida, Leadership Gainesville Class of 38, Former Gainesville Area Women’s Network Board Member, Former NCF Builder’s Association Ambassador

List any awards you have won for community service:  13 Going on 30, 2012 Chamber Diplomat of the Year

What is your definition of success? Living your life in a way that makes a positive impact on the people who will come after you.  Don’t just “exist”—do something cool.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment? Opening Student Maid location #2 in May 2013—exciting when your vision starts to become a reality

How do you exemplify the spirit of a Forty Under 40 professional?  Well I am definitely under the 40 mark (25..hehe..), but on a serious note I think that because I am young I have a real interest in making Gainesville/Alachua County a thriving place for years to come. This is going to be my home for quite some time so I choose to be involved in the community and encourage other young professionals to do the same.

Businessperson who has most inspired you:  Tony Hsieh, CEO of I have followed the way he transformed and have implemented a lot of things he’s done at Student Maid—one of them being a true commitment to our core values. 

Best advise ever received:  My parents always taught me to follow my curiosity and not to do things if they didn’t interest me.  That advice has guided me throughout my life and is what made me turn down a dream job at graduation because it didn’t excite me.  Instead, I chose to stay in Gainesville and grow Student Maid.  Pretty good advice, thanks mom and dad J

Greatest professional challenge:  Being a young entrepreneur—it’s hard to get people to take you seriously when you are 21.  It was extremely challenging at first but I taught myself to be confident and with time my age no longer became an obstacle.

First job: Lemonade stand with my younger sister, Lauren.

What color crayon would you be? Why? Macaroni & Cheese. Weird name for a crayon and I love mac & cheese.

Favorite after-work drink:   After-work drink? Wish I had time for that!

If I had a magic wand, I’d: Freeze the clock—always so much to do, so little time!

16. What is your favorite Gadget? My car. Does that count? I’m not really high-tech.  As long as I can get from Point A to Point B, I am good.

How long have you been in Gainesville? I came to college in 2006 and have been here ever since.

What do you love most about Gainesville/Alachua County?  The people. We have such a unique ecosystem here—I find that everyone truly wants to help one another and it’s great to know that you have an entire community behind you. 

Three things people would be surprised to know about you: I danced at a professional studio for 18 years, I recently became a speaker with CAMPUSPEAK—an agency that exclusively works in the college market, I am absolutely terrified of roaches (I will burn my house down to kill a roach…not kidding)

Advice you would give a younger you:   Advice I would give to 21 year old Kristen: Don’t spend too much time trying to make things perfect—just get it out the door. You are going to change it a million times anyway.

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