Women's History Month 2019 Profile: Lt. Colonel Krista Klein
Krista M. Klein, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) U.S. Army
How would your peers describe your personality?
My peers would say that I am “determined” with a strong sense of wrong vs. right, that I am tough when I need to be yet can be considerate and generous. They would say that I am extremely patriotic. I have been told by my boss that others are intimidated by me. I would say that is because I am passionate about what I do, whatever it is and will speak my mind.
When did you consider yourself a success? How did this make you feel?
Although I had “little” successes throughout my military career with each promotion I received, I don’t believe I REALLY felt like I was a “success” until I was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. When I first became an Army officer I looked at the Lieutenant Colonels and hoped that I could one day make it that far. When I finally did, I felt that I’d “made it”. Even if I didn’t make it to the next rank, making it to Lieutenant Colonel was the most important. In the Army, I felt that others wouldn’t really take me seriously unless I was at least a Lieutenant Colonel. I also felt like I was a “success” when I was selected twice to work in the Pentagon, once when I was a Sergeant/E5 and again as a LTC.
What is the biggest challenge you have come across in your career and how did you handle this?
I would have to say that being taken seriously by male Soldiers was always one of my biggest challenges because it was continual throughout my military career, when I was a young enlisted Soldier and even now as a Lieutenant Colonel. The way I handled it was to always do my very best by being very knowledgeable in my field and not backing down when I knew I was right. I worked very hard to ensure I was as good as they were.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
This is a tough one for me because while I am extremely patriotic and LOVE being an Army Soldier, at my current rank and position it is not always the most interesting of jobs, despite being at the Pentagon. Ultimately it comes back to my love of the Army and the military that keeps me motivated. Always wanting to do what needs to be done to support Soldiers….
What are you most proud of?
While I am VERY proud of my service in the Army, I am most proud of my two sons! Not only are they both serving in some capacity in the military (Marines and Army) but, they are both very intelligent, well-grounded, well-mannered young men that are not afraid to work hard and take the hard right over the easy wrong. I am extremely proud of them and can’t say enough about how fortunate I am to have them as my sons.
What inspired you when you were younger?
This question made me really “think” as that was quite a while ago. I would have to say it was my father that inspired me to always be the best I could be. To always strive for more. When I got an “A” in school and was proud of it, he asked me why it wasn’t an A+. He taught me about hard work, not “handouts”, he taught my sisters and I values like, “when you borrow something from someone return it in better condition than when you borrowed it”. He showed us that you don’t have to have a lot in life but to take care of what you do have and that family is always most important. My parents had an amazing marriage and I couldn’t have asked for a better upbringing!!
What nail color makes you feel most confident?
I feel most confident with a good manicure and a "french manicure" with a clear topcoat instead of pink. This is probably because being in the Army we cannot wear much in the way of color with our uniforms and even a french manicure has to be subtle and not a stark contrast, almost natural looking. Having a good manicure makes me feel most confident because it makes me feel like I'm looking my best, all the way around........ all the way to my fingertips! :)
What is a piece of advice you would give to young women?
I don’t envy young girls and women today! It was tough enough growing up when I did without social media. I would tell young women to always have a positive attitude and to not judge a book by it’s cover - yes, an old saying that is still true today. Despite what some say about perception being reality, it really isn’t, do not rush to judge and give the benefit of the doubt. Always do the “right” thing. Take the “hard right” over the “easy wrong.”