Julie Chrissis hasn't forgotten those along the way
Chrissis says she finds good deeds more fulfilling than good business.
"I think every day we are presented with opportunities to be a blessing to other people. It does not have to be anything big," said Chrissis, owner of Manchester-based Chrissis & Company Interiors.
Chrissis is a property stylist — an expert hired to maximize the visual appeal of properties on the market or headed there soon. Whether it's just some minor sprucing up or something more substantial, Chrissis has developed a reputation for her work throughout the greater Boston area and New Hampshire.
Chrissis is a successful businesswoman who hasn't forgotten those who have helped her along the way. That's one of the reasons that compels her to help someone who could use a boost, whether it's professionally or personally. She is a member of the board of directors for the Manchester Young Professionals Network and is co-chair of its business events committee, serving as liaison for the new Corner Office Connections mentoring program.
She says helping out an aspiring professional can be as simple as passing along a resume or making a few introductions to start the networking process. She also tries to hire an intern every summer, giving at least one student the hands-on experience and skills needed to get a start in the field of design.
"I didn't just want to live in a community. I wanted to be involved," Chrissis said.
Chrissis is also an active member of Manchester Christian Church, serving in its care ministry. She said one of the things she enjoys most is answering prayer requests with a card letting that person know members of the congregation are aware of whatever led to the request and praying for a resolution. Chrissis said the notes are usually to people she does not know, which adds to the reward she feels because she is reaching out beyond her own circle of friends.
"The church is huge. Most of the time I'm assigned someone I don't know. I have no idea what their reaction is when they get the note," she said. "I think that's the coolest thing."
After moving throughout the country as a child, Chrissis said her family moved to Nashua when she was about 12 and has considered New Hampshire to be her home state since then. She majored in economics at the University of New Hampshire and got a job in San Francisco with a software firm after graduating in 1997. She said it was a great job, but after about 18 months she felt something was missing. She returned to New England and ended up starting a new career in the world of design, working for a company on Newbury Street in Boston.
"I kind of fell into it," she said. I had no idea I was good at it."
She started her own company late in 2005 and moved it from Boston to Manchester about a year later. She said much of her work is still in Boston, but she and her small staff also cover the Granite State and taken jobs in other parts of New England as well.
Chrissis' work has been written up in a number of publications, and last year the Chrissis and Co. Interiors received a Best of Boston award from Boston Magazine in the category of home staging. Chrissis is proud of the award, but is not the type to dwell too long on a particular success. Chrissis' business and philanthropic efforts don't leave much free time. She says she spends most of it trying to stay caught up - and ahead - of the competition in the world of property staging.
"I constantly research my competition. read every publication to try and keep up with things," she said. "I'm always trying to challenge myself and be different."