Kaitlyn has known since the age of seven, when she tried to open a restaurant in her family’s living room, that she wanted to own a business. While her restaurant didn’t have a long shelf-life, Pristawa’s entrepreneurial spirit only continues to grow. She currently works at Planet Fast Pitch, a softball training company (she is also a softball catcher herself), and recently helped lead a donation campaign to collect softball equipment for girls in Ghana.
It was a learning experience not only in building out an awareness campaign but also in how business and personal passions can come together for entrepreneurs.
“I had to get the word out there, so I learned a lot about marketing and advertising,” said Pristawa. “There was a huge room of donations. It was so rewarding to look at and think about how this will be making people happy. That was a great experience because I was able to combine a lot of my passions and I hope to do a lot of that in the future.”
Business and social responsibility remain at the forefront of her career goals, but she’s not sure how they come together quite yet. She’s not worried about it though—she’s in the right place to figure it out.
“I know my passions are business, helping others, motivational speaking, softball, and working with children,” said Pristawa. “I’m not sure exactly what I want to do but Babson, I am sure, will help me figure it out."
What interested you in Babson?
When I was in my sophomore year, I had not heard of Babson but then I got a piece of mail from Babson. It said ‘100 percent of students start a business in their first year.’ Then my guidance counselor told me to look Babson up, and I instantly fell in love with everything about Babson. I would go on the website or the Instagram page during school and be like ‘wow, this is a cool school.’
When I visited campus, it had the friendliest vibe of all the campuses I visited. I also really liked the values Babson has, including the entrepreneurial mindset through all of their classes. I do want to start my own business, so that stood out to me. I also like how Babson emphasizes business for social impact and a better world because with my business, I want to, hopefully, make a difference in the lives of others, specifically donating to developing countries that need it the most. I want to make an impact in the lives of others for the better.
I also really like how Babson is globally minded and there are so many opportunities to get involved with study abroad and service trips. There are so many international students at Babson, so you can meet people from all different backgrounds and experiences.
What activities were you involved in during high school?
So much—I am someone who will join anything. I really love to play softball (she is a catcher); I am going to be on the softball team next year at Babson. Softball has affected me so much. I have been playing since second grade, from rec to school teams to travel teams. The most impactful time I had was when I started going to Planet Fastpitch, a training facility in Uxbridge, Mass. The aura and motivation there are just amazing, and it helped me want to achieve my goals.
I’m also involved in DECA, where we do projects and business role play and compete at states. It’s more than just competing. There’s so much leadership development you can get from DECA. I walked into DECA as a first-year member pretty shy and didn't talk to anyone. But I went to so many conferences, and now my favorite thing to do was to go up to other people at these workshops and events from all over the world and introduce myself and meet such amazing people.
How have your past experiences affected your future goals?
In seventh grade, my direction changed. I watched this video in class about a few men who went to a community in Guatemala and had to live on less than a dollar a day. It was impactful to see how different the lives of people who live in poverty are from us.
I realized if I am so passionate about helping out people who need it the most, why don’t I revolve my career around it? That is when I switched my goals from owning a business for myself to owning a business that will positively impact others.
Is there a specific global problem you want to tackle?
I just took AP Environmental, and there was a population unit that talked about the development of countries and how countries in development go through four stages and the steps that bring them through the stages. I would love to help, even in the smallest way possible.
Solving poverty would be number one, but it’s not that easy. Something related to that is sustainability. If we can connect trying to solve poverty issues and trying to make business more sustainable, it can make it easier for those countries to have access to resources and fewer natural disasters and pollution. I’m not sure how to do this yet, but I am determined to find a way. That’s why I’m going to Babson—there’s no better place to learn than Babson.
How do you view challenges?
I view them as opportunities and something that will help me grow in the future. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life is that you should always strive for improvement. I have a book where I write down quotes and thoughts I come up with after life experiences. One I wrote recently that I love is ‘Everything in life is a learning process, especially our failures. We have the choice to let our failures reflect who we are or let how we act upon those failures improve us as individuals.’ If there’s a challenge, I am going to step up to that challenge.
I know being confident is the most important thing because if you’re confident, you’re more likely to succeed at that challenge. If you don’t succeed, it’s not really a failure if you reflect on it. If you learn from it, you’re going to be able to tackle the next challenge a lot easier. Every night I write down some reflections from the day, including what I want to improve on and what did well that day as a confidence boost. It helps me keep improving every day, and for challenges in the future, I will be well-equipped because I know my past experiences will help me.
What does being a Blank Scholar mean to you?
It means a lot, I am so honored to be a Blank Scholar. I was so surprised. I’ll be able to grow my leadership skills and be someone others can learn from. I will try my best to help others be their best. It will also help me grow my entrepreneurial skills, which is a main component of the scholarship.
What does entrepreneurial leadership mean to you?
To me, entrepreneurial leadership means using entrepreneurial skills in everyday life to take opportunities and chances that will best utilize your passions while also helping others.
Of Blank’s six leadership qualities, which one do you most identify with and why?
The one I most identify with is Put People First. I have realized that the best leaders are the ones who gain the respect of others through respect for them. Something about treating others with such high regard is compelling and makes one into a leader who others want to follow and be like in the future.