A few weeks ago, we had the chance to sit down and talk to Krystal Burrell, the Executive Director and President of Cascading Krystals. Cascading Krystals is a Detroit based Non Profit Organization that promotes academic success for disabled students. Additionally, this phenomenal organization was the presenter of the Lift:Detroit Black Tie Gala that took place in 2011, of which we attended (The second annual Lift:Detroit Black Tie Gala will take place May 18, 2013 at The Detroit Historical Museum). This event featured a breathtaking array of hundreds of Metro Detroit Entrepreneurs, Educators and Activists that shared a powerful evening of engaging networking at its best. We look forward to the next Lift:Detroit event.
Why did you start Cascading Krystals?
KB: I started Cascading Krystals’ because I saw from first hand experience a void that needed to be filled. I was the child that missed school and had a limited social life due to my illness. I wanted to comfort others in that position and help them succeed through their circumstances to become as successful as possible.
How would you describe your management style?
KB: Participative, meshed with organizational culture!!! As the President, I’m accountable for the final decisions on all aspects of Cascading Krystals, however; I’m very considerate of all of my board member’s ideas and suggestions. I have a strong regard for the work that must be completed by my team and I, as well as achieving the expected outcomes of the organization. I’m sensitive to the needs of the board, volunteers and of course the youth benefitting.
How is your organization prepared to handle growth in the Detroit market and other demographic areas?
KB: We’re prepared to handle growth like any other business, involving the necessary people from an internal perspective and external perspective, educating ourselves as much as possible, acquiring funding and working hard to bring in as many volunteers as we can. A new nonprofit’s start-up phase lasts about 3-5 years, so we are still learning, but will continue to grow as Detroit grows and eventually expand to other areas.
What are the biggest challenges that you face professionally?
KB: The biggest challenge that I face professionally is also the biggest challenge that I face in my personal life. I am still dealing with health and kidney issues myself and sometimes it hinders me from being as productive as I would like too, but luckily I have a team that believes In my vision as much as I do and they offer all of the support that I need so that a beat is never missed.
How does your leadership team mesh, and where does it need development?
KB: Currently, Cascading Krystals is in the startup phase, so as far as our leadership team, everyone is still gelling, but gelling well. All of our board members share the same purpose, goals, and values, and everyone understands that we must work collaboratively as a unit with a high degree of trust and respect.