One might expect Kristina Bouweiri, the CEO of Reston Limousine, with its 300 employees and an extensive fleet of vehicles that qualifies it as the largest limousine and shuttle service in the DC region (20th largest in North America), to sound like a New York City taxi dispatcher—gruff, indifferent, and impatient. Her voice, with its even cadence and soothing tone, quickly dismantles that expectation. It moves through a conversation confidently like water returning to a dry creek bed, uninterrupted by “ums” or other suggestions of indecision, and its current is most strong when she talks about the important people in her life. And while she relates the particulars of her work and family, the timbre of her voice reveals unique warmth that undoubtedly contributes to her success on both fronts and is at the essence of the woman herself.
Bouweiri’s husband, William, started Reston Limousine in 1990 while the two were dating. She left her advertising job to work for the fledgling company. The two were married in 1991 and ran the business together. After ten years of working together, the increasing demands of four kids and construction on their western Loudoun home led the couple to decide that Kristina would run the business and William would retire and attend to the family and house.
Since then, Kristina has gotten the company involved in government contracts which now accounts for 80% of their business. They run buses for agencies like the Department of Justice, the FDIC and the Federal Reserve who have various branches around the area. They also provide transportation for celebrities in the area like Anne Hathaway during this year’s inauguration and Sarah Jessica Parker when she was here scouting for places to film her new HBO comedy series “Washingtonienne.” Reston Limousine also works with the Make-a-Wish foundation and the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health. Bouweiri believes that a Modern Mom “has to juggle everything” in order to do whatever works for the family. She has four healthy and thriving children—thirteen-year-old twins, a twelve-year-old and a ten-year-old. All are involved in a wealth of activities from tennis to figure skating to Girl Scouts. With the house done and the children older, her husband has been able to feed his passion for landscaping and carpentry, designing the plantings and improvements on their property. Technology has been integral to her success; her laptops and Blackberry allow her to work from home and stay in touch with her family, wherever she is.
Balance, for her, comes from selfdiscipline and a support system she can rely on. She gets a massage once a week. “I’m at the disposal of my employees during the day and of my family at night and on the weekends. It’s my one hour for myself.” Regular exercise has kept her stress levels down and contributed to her losing nearly 40 pounds in the last year.
She praises the quality of the people around her, knowing that it is their support and competence that allows her to excel. “You can’t focus on your career if your kids aren’t safe,” she says and she is grateful for the quality of people who are involved with her kids.
In the same way, having excellent employees at work allow her to attend to aspects of the business that energize her like public relations and marketing. Her participation in Leadership Loudoun, a nonprofit group that develops leadership talent from various areas of the community, allows her to network with other professionals and keeps her abreast of innovative business practices.
By her own admission, Kristina Bouweiri receives a lot of attention because she works in a man’s business. It seems, though, that it is not being just a woman in a man’s business that garners her that attention; she is a successful woman in a man’s business. This Modern Mom demonstrates that a cumulative success—one that rests on the personal, the familial and the professional—is indeed within reach.
|NAME : Kristina Bouweiri
PROFESSION : CEO of Reston Limousine & Travel Service, Inc., metropolitan D.C.’s largest luxury and shuttle transp ortation company
How do you define Modern Motherhood? Balancing work, family, health, social life, hobbies and having it all!
You are a highly successful career woman and a mom. Did you ever contemplate not working after having children? No, I never had the urge to quit my job. I am a workaholic and am very driven. My children are more important than my job, but I feel I can do both with the support of my husband.
Did you ever regret your decision to continue working? I have never regretted my decision to keep working, but I feel terrible when I have to miss an important event in my children’s lives like a chorus concert. I try and make it up to my children if I miss out on something. I schedule a special day with each of them over the summer where they get to do whatever they want. Last summer, I took one to Hershey and we spent the night at Hotel Hershey, I took another one to a high profile tennis match and the other two I took on a weekend shopping trip to New York.
What is your life motto? To treat everyone how I would want to be treated.
What is your dream job? I would love to be a spa critic and travel writer, visit exotic places and write about my travels.
How do you strike a balance in your personal and professional life? It is always a challenge to balance personal and professional life. I had to establish a support system for myself that gave me the ability to trust that my children were taken care of before I could concentrate at work. My husband is the primary foundation for this support system. When my children were babies, I had a live-in nanny, my mother-in-law came every weekend and I had a personal assistant at work. This strong support system enabled me to concentrate and focus on the business.
What has been the biggest challenge in your life? The biggest challenge so far was September 11, 2001 when our business came to a standstill. Reston Limousine lost a million dollars in cancellations, our bank dropped us and we lost our Small Business Administration loan to build our new facility.
What is your guilty pleasure?I feel as if I have two jobs: running my business during the day and coming home to four children at night. It is exhausting and draining. I started having a massage once a month then I moved it up to twice a monththen once a week. That one hour each week is just for me. It is the only hour during my week that I am completely pampered and my stress floats away!