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Runner Keeping Business Career on Track

As a Northern Arizona University student athlete, Canadian-born Krista Stepa spent much of her collegiate career competing. Whether running for the university’s track and cross country programs or presenting business development plans she devised while participating in the BizBlock program at the W.A. Franke College of Business, she often was in a position to measure herself against others. After graduating in 2009, Stepa translated those experiences into a successful business career.

Stepa first visited NAU in high school, while training for cross country and track. When the time came for her to choose a college, she focused on schools known for both academics and athletics. She narrowed her choices to schools in Canada and NAU. In spring 2005, her senior year, she traveled to Flagstaff and met with NAU’s cross country team. “I instantly fell in love with the university and community, and on Mother’s Day, told my parents I had made my decision. I wanted to attend NAU!”

Stepa’s first year in Flagstaff was her best, athletically. Her emphasis was on the longer races, including the 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs.

“I had a Cinderella story freshman year.” She not only made the cross country and track conference championship teams, but traveled to “marvelous places” to compete. A favorite memory was competing in and celebrating the first time the women’s cross country and indoor/outdoor track and field teams won all three Conference Championships in the same season.

After that, Stepa suffered from several injuries, even though she continued running for two more years. By her senior year, she stopped competing on the field. “I turned my focus to what was to come after my university life.”

Stepa participated in a number of activities and programs at the business college. One of these led to a meeting and lunch with business magnate Warren Buffett, which remains a cherished experience and memory. Her LinkedIn profile picture includes him in it.

While free time was hard to come by during her university career, Stepa did enjoy exploring Arizona and the West with trips to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Las Vegas and California. Her favorite Flagstaff memories include eating at Dara Thai, having coffee at Macy’s and strolling through First Friday ArtWalks.

One of her activities at the Franke School of Business involved marketing for the Computer Training Center. Through a contact there, she met Flagstaff Business News/Quad Cities Business News co-publisher Troy Bix. After Stepa graduated in 2009 with a degree in marketing, Bix hired her. She worked with the newspapers for more than a year, mostly as the advertising manager, before returning home to Canada.

Stepa is now married, going by the name Krista Stepa-Ammeter. She has worked for the past six years at Pollard Banknote Limited in her hometown of Winnipeg, now serving as senior manager of sales and marketing. Yet, she still considers her college years in Flagstaff among the most fulfilling experiences in her life.

“I totally loved my time there and I always consider Flagstaff – and Arizona in general – a second home.” FBN

Keeping Up with NAU Athletes is an ongoing feature of Flagstaff Business News

By Kevin Schindler

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