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Crystal Fairley is a veteran who joined the US Air force at the age of 19 in 1991. She served for 4 years, during which she worked with the crews on their equipment—survival equipment, helmets, etc.—in North Dakota, where she learned several survival techniques.
Today, Crystal is celebrated as a woman who has touched the lives of people through a number of ways, including relationships building, events planning, and more. She obtained her CMP (Certified Meeting Professional certification) and MBA in Management and Strategy from Western Governor’s University (WGU), USA. Before becoming a business owner with her husband, Keith (a retired Navy Chief), Crystal worked as an Onsite Meeting Manager for the Meetings and Events Industry. In that position she learned the value of building relationships, reaching target markets through events and providing an over-the-top experience.
Crystal and her husband (also a veteran) had always wanted to give back to the community in a meaningful way. They then put their service skills together, and with a passion for wholesome foods, a family business was born in 2015—Uncle Keith’s Gourmet Foods, which is affiliated with numerous reputable organizations, including Specialty Food Association Member Candidate, Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, Asian Business Association. V-Wise (IMVF. Syracuse), Rosie Network (RosieList), San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Senior Planners Industry Network, North San Diego Chamber of Commerce, and more.
When asked how the company Uncle Keith’s Gourmet Foods came to be, Crystal Fairley said, “My husband started growing peppers in our backyard, and that led to him making sauces, and then it led to an opportunity where he gave a sauce to a friend who had a store. That person was actually going out of business and wanted to know if we wanted to take over that location, and we decided we would take over the location. So Uncle Keith’s Gourmet Foods was born.” The company has online presence on the Rosie Network, Amazon.com, and Walmart.com.
As Director of Operations at Uncle Keith’s Gourmet Foods, Crystal believes that no one is in business for themselves; hence she has used her current affiliations not only to help grow the family business but as a resource to be connected to her community. Crystal believes that she can help encourage and inspire women veterans to reach for the stars. She wants to be an inspiration to future veteran entrepreneurs to step out of their comfort zone and take the leap to entrepreneurship. “There are a lot of veteran-friendly organizations … people are wanting to help veterans right now—to help them with their business,” Crystal added.
This Spring, Crystal Fairley, will share her knowledge in the compilation book, Fields to Boardrooms: Conversations with Veteran Business Leaders. Fields to Boardrooms is a great book that features conversations with peers—veterans of the United States Military—who have chosen the path of business ownership or the corporate path. It focuses on bringing more guidance and clarity to veterans prospecting business ownership or working within corporate America and also to encourage veterans to reach for the stars. The book is published by T&S Publishing, LP, and is scheduled to be released on Amazon.com in the summer of 2019.
For more information about Crystal Fairley, please visit www.unclekeiths.com.
Tera Jenkins is a Best Selling Author, host of Business Innovators Radio and contributor to Small Business Trendsetters and Business Innovators Magazine covering Influencers, Innovators and Trendsetters in Business, Health, Finance, and Personal Development.