At Kraft Business Systems, we pride ourselves in offering not only the best IT and Software Solutions but also top-tier customer service to our partners through our Partner Success Group. Today, we’re excited to sit down with Traverse City’s Partner Success Manager, Colleen Gerace, to discuss her experiences with colleagues and customers since joining the Kraft team.
What is your career and educational background?
I come from a varied professional and educational background. I received my BA in International Relations in 1994 from St. John Fisher University. I also have a Master’s in Humanities and Linguistics from Central Michigan University along with my Secondary Education certification from Ferris State University. I spent the better part of my 20s in Washington, DC working for the federal government, handling US foreign policy issues. I spent 17 years as a secondary educator here in Northern Michigan: teaching Spanish, Government, Economics, World History, American History, Eastern Hemisphere, Geography, and Political Science for grades 7-12. I am also a professor of Spanish at Northwestern Michigan College here in Traverse City. I had the opportunity to do marketing and advertising for the Traverse City Record-Eagle and was the Learning & Development corporate trainer at 4Front Credit Union before coming to Kraft.
What is your role at Kraft Business System and what does your job entail?
My role is to seek out, create, and develop relationships with Northern Michigan businesses to support their business technology needs. I spend most of my time researching businesses and their contacts, creating relationships with them, and introducing their team to the variety of business services Kraft offers to help make their business more effective and efficient.
What inspired you to pursue the career you have today?
I have spent much of my 30-year professional career helping students and team members prepare for whatever path they choose. That said, I enjoy being the person who can provide solutions to problems, and the go-to lady for ideas to expand someone’s vision.
What led you to work for the Kraft Business Systems team?
I started with Kraft at the beginning of 2023. While I’m new to Kraft, this is not my first rodeo! I was looking for a professional opportunity that would allow me to work for myself while still being part of a stable, energetic, and supportive team. After my conversations with Kendra Beckman, I decided that Kraft fit that bill.
I enjoy representing Kraft’s standards of excellence and quality support within my local community.
What is the most unique part about working for Kraft?
Kraft is an enriching and driven work environment where the main goal is to support our business partners in becoming the most effective company they can be. For me, it’s fun being the sole person in the Greater Traverse City area representing Kraft. I’m able to use my familiarity with Northern Michigan and its people to make Kraft a name in the business community.
How have you grown professionally while working with the Kraft team?
In the time I’ve been here, I’ve learned how to refocus the skills and abilities I gained in the classroom to ensure my business partners are successful. There is something empowering about helping others find their strength while encouraging your own.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I truly enjoy going into businesses and creating relationships with the folks who live in my community and surrounding areas. It’s fun to figure out how we know each other. Usually, I taught them or their children, our kids know each other, or I have met them through one of my other professions.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know.
I am the resident mother runner! I recently ran my 30th half marathon and my 8th Bayshore half marathon in Traverse City since my daughter’s birth in 2014, making 5 marathons by age 50! Besides running, I was once allotted the good fortune to train with the U.S. Special Forces, in particular Delta Force, Green Berets, and Navy Seals. However, my most enlightening experience was going through full airborne training with the 82nd and 101st Airborne. There is nothing more invigorating than a morning jump from a turbo-propped DC—47 Skytrain (military version of the civilian DC-3) from 1,500 feet using a parabolic chute and hoping that the wind, or your stick mate, does not change the flow of air while you prep for your perfect parachute landing.