Krithika Prashant is all about living a balanced life. When she’s not working as senior communications specialist for the City of Colorado Springs, she operates her own performance academy and loves to sing and dance. Prashant came to the Springs five years ago — after receiving three master’s degrees and living in places including India, New Orleans and Detroit — searching for an environment in which to develop as a young professional. The 35-year-old wife and mother told the Business Journal how much she loves her job, why she chose Colorado Springs over Seattle and what she has learned through the challenges she has faced.
Can you tell us about your professional background and how your career has developed thus far?
I have a bachelor’s degree in electronics, and I have three master’s degrees: One is in computer management, the second is in communications and the last one is in business. … Ever since I was in college and high school, I’ve always loved public speaking, which is what drove me to get a degree in communications. I’ve been the emcee of numerous news conferences, events, shows, and I’ve loved writing. (I was the editor of high school and college magazines). When I finished my first two master’s and it was time to apply for a job, I worked as the assistant marketing director for a mall in New Orleans. Through that job, I had the opportunity to work with the mayor and with the city of New Orleans on programs that led to the revamping of eastern New Orleans. … I also worked with a lot of small business owners within the mall and in the region. I decided that I liked what I did there and that I needed the MBA to push me into leadership roles. I felt like I needed those skill sets, and that’s how I ended up in business school. My first job after that was with the Chamber of Commerce in Colorado Springs, which is now the Regional Business Alliance. There, I was the promotions coordinator for membership and events and handled a lot of media relations. … And from there, I am now the senior communications specialist for the city of Colorado Springs.
What brought you to Colorado Springs?
When I was in my final year of business school, I knew I didn’t want to settle in Michigan. So I did a tour of the whole country and narrowed it down to two places: Colorado Springs and Seattle. I wanted to be in a place where I knew academics was strong, because that is an important priority for me. I’m into the arts — I’m a dancer and a musician myself — so I needed a community with those opportunities as well. … The most important selling point was that I felt this was a good place for me to go professionally. I had all these degrees, and I wanted to apply what I had learned. I think [Colorado Springs] provides a perfectly balanced lifestyle: You can work and be a hardcore professional, but at the same time there are opportunities for recreation and outdoor activities and arts … and 300 days of sunshine.
How does it compare to the other markets in which you’ve worked?
I think this community is not saturated, and it allows for growth. Colorado Springs is a community where if you are really networking and using all of the opportunities that are offered to you, the sky is the limit. There are so many opportunities to volunteer because this is such a tight-knit community, you can sit on boards and commissions, and you can make a real difference.
How does work for you change from day to day?
Everything is about telling the story of the city, and I get the lovely task of doing that. … Each day varies in what kinds of stories. My two big roles are strategic marketing and target advertising. We have no marketing budget, so that is where I have to be extremely creative. … The third important part of my job is civic engagement, which is trying to manage the flow of communication from the city to the citizens and from the citizens to the city.
What do you do in your spare time?
I have a degree in dance, music, violin and another Indian instrument. So when I am not working, I am teaching students dance and music. We perform at different festivals — in fact, yesterday we performed at the Everybody Welcome Festival. We are slated to perform at the What if? Festival. Part of my goal for the future is to expand my arts center: I love spending time with kids, and teaching helps me to develop what I have learned and be able to make a difference. I also volunteer a lot with Care and Share, the Diversity Forum and the American Heart Association. I love doing that.
What challenges have you faced in this role?
One thing I realized after coming to this job is that days are not finite anymore — you just have to be working constantly. But me personally, I thrive in a fast-paced environment. I like the unpredictability and I know to a certain extent that … there is always an element of surprise. … I also feel that I am one of those fortunate individuals who can work for my own city — who can work for my own community. … I like coming into work every single day. And yes, there are challenges, but the best lessons learned are those that you learn from those challenges — you make it positive and it makes you perform even better than you expected yourself to. That is what I really love about my job. nCSBJ