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Kristen Dyke: Energetic Mentor to the Stockton Community

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When you think of a California girl, you think of sunshine, water and freedom. Kristen Dyke shines with all these characteristics, with one additional quality that sets her apart: an incredibly giving spirit.

This young mother of two active, adorable boys thrives on busyness, and the more packed her schedule is, the more productive she feels. When she’s not spending quality time with friends and boating with her husband, Gerrit, and their two sons, three-year-old Nolan and five-year-old Grant, she runs a successful marketing firm, Port City Marketing, and volunteers on numerous not-for-profit boards.

Entrepreneurial Creativity
“I like flexibility, the variety of clients and the challenge of solving their marketing issues. My business partner, Dan Natividad, and I like to strategize to come up with the best solutions for each customer, and we like getting out in the community,” she noted. “That’s how Port City Marketing came into being. Erin Giles and I started the business in 2010, Dan joined the team in 2016, and through it we’ve all made it a priority to be involved and give back to the community of Stockton.”

She and Dan work with many for-profit and non-profit businesses. They believe in word-of-mouth marketing and they’re proud to be a grass roots company. Kristen adamantly not only talks the talk, she walks the walk, by serving on several local non-profit boards. She is the immediate past president of the Child Abuse Prevention Council Executive Board; she serves on the Pacific Athletic Foundation Board and also sits on the Advisory Committee for The Eleanor Project, an organization focused on women in business and motivating women to succeed. TEP’s workshops, classes, dinners and networking events provide mentorship to women of the Central Valley; the group’s goal is to for members to lift each other up and help each other be successful in business.

Recognition for Selfless Service
“I’m in the Rotary Club of Stockton, and I recently received the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award, which is dedicated to recognizing the next generation of women leaders in San Joaquin County,” Kristen smiled. The annual ATHENA Awards honor individuals who strive toward the highest levels of accomplishment; excel in their chosen business or profession; have demonstrated support for the advancement of business and professional women; have devoted time and energy to their community; and have actively mentored others.

Kristen is the ninth recipient of the Young Professional ATHENA Award, initiated in 2009. “I was very surprised and definitely honored! I love what I do and being able to contribute to the community. I like getting involved and helping other businesses and working alongside them. There is a great network of people in Stockton.”

Her passion, clearly, is empowering women and helping children, and she has been singled out for her good deeds more than once. The Family Resource and Referral Center bestowed the Action on Behalf of Children Award, which recognizes her contributions to the children in Stockton.

Putting Down Roots
Kristen grew up in the Bay Area and attended college at University of the Pacific, where she earned her degree in graphic design in 2003. She met her husband as a junior in college. Gerrit is originally from Stockton, so when she graduated from UOP she wanted to stay in the Northern California area. “The company I was with moved to Reno, Nevada, and I moved with them for a bit. Then I got engaged and decided I wanted to come back to Stockton,” she noted. “I’m a California girl at heart.”

She and Gerrit married in 2010; soon after she decided to take the plunge and start her own graphic design and marketing company. She had previously worked for a number of companies with in-house marketing departments, yet her heart is in the agency life and the diversity of being able to work with many different types of businesses.

Kristen is involved with her children’s schools and with their day-to-day activities, and she notes that her mentor is Lindy Turner-Hardin, executive director of the Child Abuse Prevention Council, which has been a vehicle for her to give back. “The CAPC does amazing things in our county and Lindy’s passion overflows in everything she does.” She loves working with the CAPC team and contributing to their marketing efforts.

Choosing Balance
She admits that the work-life balance is something all women face and manage throughout their lives, and she acknowledges that it’s a constant work in progress. “I keep my priorities straight, and I try to separate and spend quality time with my children when I’m home. We cook dinner, do homework, draw and play games and I’m 100 percent in it. Then when I’m at the office I’m 100 percent into the business,” she explained. “My mom owned a very lucrative catering business and did the work-life balance perfectly, so I had an excellent role model. She attended all my softball games and was always there when I needed her, while still running a business.”

Kristen has always been around motivating people who never held her down or told her she wasn’t good enough. She credits her parents, family and peers for the wonderfully encouraging childhood she had. “My dad retired when my older son was born, and he moved here to help with the kids; also, my father-in-law lives in our neighborhood. These two men, and my husband and our sons, are my rocks,” she affirmed. “I’ve been very blessed in my life, now more than ever. It’s such a good feeling.”

Her husband is vice president of engineering for the international business Lindsay Corporation; he travels quite often, yet he is a huge support system for Kristen and her biggest cheerleader. He helps her power through everything and when she comes home to vent, he always supports her. “We do a lot of family activities and since Gerrit grew up here, we have a tight group of family and friends in Stockton. We have so many friends who help us constantly,” she reiterated. Her family enjoys many hobbies together, including boating on the Delta and anything active. Kristen played field hockey in college and she loves sports and being outdoors.

Her advice to young entrepreneurs is unequivocal. “I believe in being open and honest with people; difficult conversations often lead to the best relationships, and things always seem to fall in place. You have to keep your work-life balance in perspective, and always challenge yourself. I do that constantly. Keep things fresh and new and strive always to learn new things. I’m not perfect, so if I drop the ball I take accountability, and you can bet I will do better the next time.”

These are wise and inspirational words from a woman who has her feet firmly planted on the ground, yet reaches for the stars and beyond each moment of her life.