Determination, drive and personal commitment to pursue a singular goal from inception to fruition has allowed Kristi Dreistadt-Bloedorn to operate one of the most successful insurance agency’s in Bolingbrook.
Born and raised in Bolingbrook, Bloedorn graduated from Romeoville High School in 1989, and credits the example set by her mother, Joann, for much of the tremendous strides she has made.
"My mom was the head of the Federated Women’s Club way back when," Bloedorn said. "She was an original supporter of the recycling movement. In fact, she was the one who organized the local pitch in campaign."
Failure was never an option for Bloedorn, for whom self sufficiency is not only a personal mantra but the cornerstone upon which she built her agency.
"My personal philosophy is take care of yourself," she said. "I don’t believe anyone owes me anything. And I don’t feel like I’m at a disadvantage because I’m a woman."
Bloedorn’s climb to small business ownership is inspiring to say the least. To earn extra cash while attending high school, Bloedorn worked part-time cold-calling for a local Allstate Insurance agent.
With a grasp of telemarketing that far exceeded both her age and experience, it didn’t take long for Bloedorn to realize she had found her niche.
After she turned 18, Bloedorn earned both her insurance license and a promotion.
"I graduated that same year and would have liked to go away to college," she said. "I had my heart set on Penn State but I didn’t have the money. I had to keep on working in order to pay for my education. I started out at Joliet Junior College and was able to transfer to Lewis University on a partial scholarship."
In 1994, Bloedorn’s hard work paid off with a newly minted degree in business management as well as a double minor in marketing and philosophy. To add to an already stellar year, Allstate immediately recruited Bloedorn and assisted her in the establishment of her own agency.
"I have to give a lot of local people credit for helping me get my agency off the ground," she said. "Roger Teeling, a business banker with First Chicago, helped me get my first loan. I always paid my bills, so it helped to start out with great credit.
"On my breaks, I used to have coffee at Phil and Barb Engstrom’s office—he was an accountant and she was a real estate agent and we all occupied space in the building at 684 West Boughton. When she heard I was looking for a space, she introduced me to Bill Palmer."
Bloedorn said Palmer gave her a fair price and she moved into a small space that she still resides in today.
No longer confined to a small space, Bloedorn business expanded exponentially. Today Bloedorn’s office occupies the lion’s share of the office building at 281 South Schmidt.
Especially during women’s history month, Bloedorn serves as an excellent example of all that can be accomplished when one woman maintains a laser focus that points in the direction of success.