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Cris Kristofits: 'I admire Barcelona's spirit of collaboration'

Cris Kristofits: 'I admire Barcelona's spirit of collaboration'

Cris Kristofits, consultant at LaGroc Solutions

Born in Pennsylvania, Cris Kristofits is American, but she feels she has been adopted by Barcelona, where she has lived for 16 years with her husband and daughter. Before coming to Barcelona, she lived in various different cities, both in the United States (Allentown, Denver, Newark) and in the United Kingdom (Manchester). She is a consultant at LaGroc Solutions, a "boutique" consultancy specializing in gender and diversity, an issue she has been passionate about since taking up her professional life again after a career break to care for her daughter. Cris sees her wide network of contacts as one of her greatest professional successes; her specialty is networking, innovation, and the search for new markets.  ,               

What do you like most about Barcelona ?

Besides being a safe and welcoming city, Barcelona is a knowledge hub. Few cities can offer so many prestigious congresses, universities, and research and innovation centers, and such a wide range of events. This makes it easy to keep up to date with any topic of interest and to build up an excellent professional network.        

What aspects of the city need to be improved? How?

For me, Spain needs to offer better opportunities to achieve a good work-life balance. Some companies are now running “returnships” (a type of internship after a professional break), job-sharing (two people working part-time), flexible hours, and a range of other practices that encourage a healthy work-life balance before the Covid-19 crisis. There are many companies, however, that still hadn’t implemented teleworking. I must say, though, that I admire how quickly they were able to do so.          (           

What are the strengths that will help the city overcome the COVID-19 crisis?

The city was able to respond to the crisis very quickly: within a few days our life went completely online and the fiber optic network held up perfectly. Barcelona is a smart-city, and with bike lanes covering the whole city, it was easy for citizens to get around without any trouble in the middle of the pandemic. The collaboration between the public and private sectors also helps. Barcelona has very good infrastructures, large well-known hospitals, and leading research centers, as well as being a center of technology helping thousands of start-ups to get going every year. I admire Barcelona’s spirit of collaboration and its survival instinct.         . 

What challenges do you think the city will face once the health emergency is over?

Women were center stage during lockdown: teleworking, teaching their children, and doing a lot of other unpaid work. One should also remember that most of the people working in health and residential care are also women. I believe one of the great challenges we face is enabling women to achieve a good work-life balance.      

What do you think of the city’s plans for the summer?

There is a lot of activity in the streets in Barcelona, and to avoid people becoming infected and give a boost to the hospitality sector, the City Council has increased the space for street cafés and restaurants. In addition, numerous cultural events have been adapted to the new situation, so we will be able to enjoy open air shows this summer.    ,       

What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?

I’d like to see more women in decision-making positions, both in the private and the public sector. According to Forbes magazine, the countries that have managed the crisis most successfully are led by women and have gender-equal governments. There are numerous well-educated and experienced women who are more than capable of occupying positions of power, so I am counting on the 21st century being the women’s century.   

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