Kim Hastings

Kim Hastings
President, CJ & Associates Inc.
16915 W. Victor Road, New Berlin
Industry: Interior design; office furniture; interior remodeling
Employees: 28
Family: Husband, Daryl; daughter, Samantha; and son, Zachary.

What was the smartest thing CJ & Associates did in the past year?
“We put in place a well defined strategic plan to achieve our two main business objectives: New business development and client retention.”

What’s new at your company?
“It has been an exciting year for CJ! We added new people to our team, invested in a newly remodeled design studio, rebranded our marketing material and upgraded our technology resources. We also increased our visibility in the marketplace by getting involved in and supporting various community events and fundraisers. We also participated in our first ever tradeshow – the BizTimes BizExpo – and had a blast there.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“Yes to both. I plan to add at least one and possibly two new people over the next six months. Also, we will be completing phase two of our master remodeling plan.”

What will be CJ & Associates’ main challenges in the next year?
“Integrating new technologies and processes into our current business model and holding employees more accountable.”  

How did CJ & Associates earn certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council? How has that certification benefitted your company and customers?
“The WBENC certification process is a detailed one, requiring a great deal of paperwork and a site visit. Annual re-certification is required to maintain our WBENC status. Though a time-consuming process, it has been beneficial. Many of our corporate clients have diversity requirements. With our certification, we assist them in achieving their diversity goals. We have also found that many companies, even though they may not have a formal diversity plan in place, they have a desire to do business with woman-owned companies.”

Do you have a business mantra?
“Good to GREAT! I enjoy Jim Collins’ perspectives and philosophies and have committed to taking our company to greatness. Why settle for ordinary when you can be extraordinary?”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“My parents. As the second generation of leadership for our family-owned business, I learned a lot from both of them. I watched them lead by example and work tirelessly together to build a business rooted with honesty and integrity, while never compromising their beliefs or their ethics. I am proud of them for being brave enough to take the risk 31 years ago to start a business that continues to flourish today.”

What was the best advice you ever received?
“This is a hard one to answer. I have been the recipient of quite a bit of good advice during my career. If I had to pick, I would say these three thoughts run through my mind the most when planning for the future and making decisions: Never let profit trump ethics; take risks, because without them there is no reward; surround yourself with good people.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
“When I turned 40, I threw myself a party at my house. Suffice it to say I had a great time. At the next companywide meeting, a slideshow of the event was shown. Without my knowledge there had been photos taken throughout the entire evening. Let’s just say table dancing is not my strong suit. I still watch the video when I need a good laugh.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“I enjoy spending time with my family, reading a good book, and recently I started a running program. I hope to complete my first ever 5K this fall with my daughter.”

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