Not many people can manage to serve the needs of others, keep their families organized, cheer her children on in multiple sports, stay involved in her community and corral a farm of cattle, goats and chicken. Yet Kristy Goldenberg does all of this and more with ease. There is no secret recipe or formula, just generations of hard work, determination and commitment to family.
Goldenberg’s impeccable work ethic began at a young age when she began working at H-E-B. While most kids her age were consumed with video games and shopping, Goldenberg was already focusing on her future and laying the groundwork for a management position at Central Texas’ premier grocery store chain. She now works at Baylor as assistant director of undergraduate career management for the Hankamer School of Business.
Wacoan writer Elizabeth Oates recently sat down with Goldenberg to find out how this small-town wife, mom and career woman finds balance amid life’s daily chaos.
WACOAN: How long have you worked at Baylor?
Goldenberg: I started working there June of 2014.
WACOAN: You work in the Baylor business school?
Goldenberg: Yes, ma’am.
WACOAN: Were you a business major?
Goldenberg: I actually was. I graduated from Baylor University with my [Bachelor of Business Administration] in management in 2003.
WACOAN: OK, you and I were there around the same time — I graduated in ’99. I was a business grad as well, except I was terrible at business so I moved on and pursued writing. I saw that you grew up in McGregor?
Goldenberg: I did. I’ve lived there my entire life once we started school, which is why my parents moved us there, to start K-12. I still kind of stay involved in some of the sports even though my kids go to Crawford. I have family — my aunt Becky and a niece — who all go to McGregor as well.
WACOAN: Do y’all live in Crawford now?
Goldenberg: We live in McGregor actually. We’re like on the border of all the school districts: McGregor, Crawford and Midway. We kind of live out in the country right in between those three different school districts.
My kids, we chose to send them to Crawford — sort of that small-town feel. We love it. It’s been a great decision. And I have an almost seventh grade daughter named Addison and a son going into the third grade and is 8 and will be 9 in October.
WACOAN: Those are fun ages.
Goldenberg: Oh, yes. It’s busy, but in a fun way.
WACOAN: What’s your son’s name?
Goldenberg: His name is Theo.
WACOAN: What sorts of activities are they involved in?
Goldenberg: Well my daughter is definitely more involved just because of the age. She’s played select softball pretty much year-round since the age of 8.
This year she started playing club volleyball, so that was new. And we do private lessons and tumbling when we can squeeze that in at D1. And during the [softball] season we’ll do some private hitting lessons. And then we do some small group or privates in volleyball as well.
But this will be a new adventure: we’re starting junior high athletics. So we’re excited about volleyball and then basketball, cross country and track through the school.
My son, Theo, plays football, basketball and Little League in Crawford. As you can see, we definitely have to divide and conquer at times
WACOAN: Wow! That’s a lot. So I’m assuming at a smaller school like Crawford the kids can play every sport, is that correct? They don’t have to make a decision.
Goldenberg: Yes, they actually encourage it. Being a smaller school, you know, you gotta get out there and help make the team sometime. But it definitely improves the camaraderie. It’s a very special group of girls.
WACOAN: That’s so nice at that age that they don’t have to pick one sport.
Goldenberg: Yeah, I’ve always encouraged my kids to do everything. Try it and we’ll see. If I had to pick one it would probably be volleyball.
WACOAN: Did you play volleyball or any sports growing up?
Goldenberg: Yeah, I actually did. I played a little bit of everything. You know, coming from McGregor — back when I was coming from McGregor, when it was still a 3A, a small 3A — we did it all. We didn’t have volleyball though.
We got softball my eighth grade year, and I remember that because I actually traveled with the high school team and kept their books. So, we were very lucky we had just gotten that. But we did not get volleyball. We didn’t have that.
But McGregor always had, it was called ‘Summer Blast’ I think. And it was when they opened the pool, and they’d always have sand volleyball tournaments, four on four. They were co-ed, so they would always need a girl. I’d typically get recruited to play with three of the guys, and it was always fun. The boys loved the sports.
WACOAN: OK, so after high school you went to Baylor. Now, I did not grow up in Waco, but I have heard that sometimes when you grow up in Waco you might not want to go to Baylor because you want to get out and spread your wings a little bit. Did you feel like that or were you excited to go to Baylor?
Goldenberg: Well I went to MCC as well. I actually took some dual credit classes in high school because I was one of those eager beavers — I wanted to be out making money.
I was a nontraditional student. I actually had a full-time job and helped put myself through school. Mom and Dad helped where they could, for sure, but I’ve always kind of been more of that independent individual and didn’t want to ask for help even though I knew I would have it if need be.
So one of my reasons for staying was actually because I already had a management level position at H-E-B and liked what I did, loved the people I worked with. So it made sense just to stay here and attend Baylor. And with it being here locally, it just kind of felt more of a comfort zone anyway. But if I would have left I’m sure it would have been [to Texas] A&M.
I’ve never had a problem staying, and I like the fact of knowing that Mom and Dad were right down the road. I just never saw myself leaving the Waco area. I’ve liked it, I already had a successful career going on and several scholarships from Baylor. I just thought staying here wouldn’t be anything that could hold me back from my future endeavors or success.
WACOAN: So, now you work at Baylor in the Hankamer School of Business. What is your exact title?
Goldenberg: I am the assistant director of undergraduate career management.
WACOAN: What does that position entail?
Goldenberg: We work with students in the business school working toward a bachelor’s in business administration, and we literally help them prepare for career readiness. How do you get ready now to transition into that successful career after college?
So we have a student aspect at work. And we also work directly with recruiters to bring them on campus to set up on-campus interviews, maybe they want to do an information session, attend a career fair. We are that point of contact, and [we] kind of bridge our students and our top two recruiters and ultimately try to impact, in a positive way, a placement at the school.
WACOAN: What would you say is the biggest difference between the Baylor you attended and the Baylor where you now work?
Goldenberg: The amazing new facility we have. The Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation is state of the art! And that alone has been a big transition, but I would say also the size has grown. The staff internally that they have, the resources.
I, as a student — there’s always been resources there, but [I] really didn’t feel the need to tap in because I already kind of knew my plan with me being in a management role at H-E-B. I knew I wanted to stay there anyway. So I would say throughout the few years with the growth of the school, they’ve done an excellent job of putting more and more resources for students to utilize.
WACOAN: Transitioning a little bit to your husband. How did y’all meet?
Goldenberg: I’ve known Adam since high school. We kind of ran around with different crews. He was a little bit older than me, so he had gone off to A&M. He was back from A&M, and we ran into each other. I was working at H-E-B at the time in the customer service department in bookkeeping and where you do your money orders and everything, and he was at the bank — First National Bank of Central Texas.
He would come in from time to time to take care of client transactions, so we kept running into each other. And then we would see each other out in town and started hanging out again and one thing led to another.
WACOAN: Is he still with First National Bank of Central Texas?
Goldenberg: He was there for several years, and now he’s with Lone Star Ag Credit. He’s a vice president there. He loves his job, very good at his job. He does a lot of agricultural lending.
We also operate a farm and ranch as well. So we have a lot of responsibility. We run cattle, beef cattle, and another activity we do is we show dairy cattle and local FFA projects, typically goats and rabbits as well.
WACOAN: Oh, wow! That’s a part-time job by itself!
Goldenberg: We get very busy around show season, and as the kids get older, they’ll start showing at a national level. My in-laws and my husband and myself even attended a world dairy expo in Madison, Wisconsin, which is a huge stage for the dairy industry.
WACOAN: Since you both work, and you have your cattle, your goats and your children to manage, how do you communicate? How do you divide up the responsibilities? How do you make this whole family unit work?
Goldenberg: Well it’s definitely a partnership. Without that we wouldn’t be able to do everything we do. Adam is a great dad, very involved as well. Lots of times we do, you know, divide it up. Divide and conquer.
We like to touch base. When school starts, lots of times it will be the night before, and I’m sitting here saying, ‘Addison, you have this. You have this. Adam, I’ll take him here, you take her there.’ A lot of times we organize it on a day-to-day basis and touch base with our calendars through Outlook or sometimes it’s just a phone call around lunch ‘OK, did anything change in your schedule?’ Just having that follow-up.
Plus, it’s great to have that support system on a daily basis. We’re very lucky that we have my mom, which the kids call MiMi, and my in-laws — they call her LoLo and him Pa. Between all of them we’re very blessed because they live very close and are always willing to pick up and transport or cook dinner or whatever it may be.
WACOAN: That is a huge help. So was your mom a working mom when you were growing up, or did she stay home?
Goldenberg: Yes, my mom worked full time, as well as my dad. My mom worked at M&M Mars and was actually rotating shifts, so very hard on her. But she was able to manage. And I don’t ever remember her missing anything, whether she would go without sleep to come and see my basketball game or whatever that might be. Softball on a Friday night and then have go to work first thing in the morning or even go in for the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift sometimes.
She would always balance that and put us first, so I definitely learned at an early age it’s all about work ethic. What you put in, you’re going to get out. My dad has always worked two jobs (sometimes more than that) to take care of us and still found time to run the concession at the Little League field and the high school field. He was always very involved.
WACOAN: That’s awesome. What a great example for you. So when you were growing up and you saw that example of your mom working and your parents working as a team and pitching in to do whatever it took to make things work, did you always think in the back of your mind that you would be a working mom?
Goldenberg: I always knew I would be one to work. Motherhood is an amazing thing, and I think it takes a very special individual to stay home though.
I’m very involved. I’m at my kids’ everything I can be, but I, as an individual too, have to live a very fast-paced life and feel like I’m contributing to the bigger picture to where not only taking care of my family but what other lives can I impact and change can I bring about? So I knew from an early age that I wanted to work and be independent and be that contributor and work outside the household as well.
WACOAN: Since you’re running in a thousand different directions on a weekly basis, how do you keep yourself organized, your family organized, your animals organized — how do you keep everything aligned?
Goldenberg: Well, I make lists. I try to keep both my calendar at work integrated with my personal calendars so I see those reminders right before I get off. But in my office I probably see three to four sticky notes on any given day just so I don’t forget anything.
In the real busy season we’ll get a little portable calendar and keep it on the bar and list all the kids’ activities so it just sits there so even the kids can glance at it so they know what we have going on this day or the next day.
WACOAN: That’s good. Kids like to know what’s coming.
Goldenberg: They need structure, and we’ve just always been that way. And I want them to be independent too. You know if you have a game at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday night, ‘OK, come right home after school Thursday. I want your book read and your homework knocked out. We can go to the game and not have to rush and do homework afterward.’
WACOAN: Yeah, that’s good. When you’re not running around, going to games and such, what do y’all like to do for fun?
Goldenberg: You know, I would say the number one thing is just relaxing on the farm. I love to fish, my kids love to fish. And we’re also not avid hunters but getting into hunting. Recently got added on to a lease, a deer lease.
It’s really just riding on the ATV or going to down to the creek, checking the feeders and throwing some cast out in our tank. To me, that’s the perfect day.
WACOAN: That does sound very relaxing and peaceful. Last question: Since you grew up in McGregor, you’ve probably seen Waco from what it was 20 to 30-plus years ago and now you see it today, what is your reaction to those changes?
Goldenberg: If I had to describe it in one word, I would just say growth. It’s amazing to see the growth downtown, the revamping and the revitalizing efforts.
It’s just amazing to see new programs that encourage your involvement in giving back to your community. It’s so easy here in Waco to connect and stay involved. Being a part of that, paying it forward — it’s a big small. And I think that’s why I like it so much. It’s not too big to where you get lost. Anybody can do anything. We can’t all do everything, but everybody can do something.
There’s something here for everybody. My husband and I both serve on the HOT Fair & Rodeo committee. I’m involved with PTO and Little League; you know those are just both great organizations. You can do that in a smaller town but still have a lot of diversity. You can do a lot in a small town.