Orieta Kristo, a business woman who made the American dream come true



 Orieta Kristo emigrated from Albania to the United States at the age of 14, with no knowledge of English at all. Today she is the CEO of a successful insurance company that she founded five years ago, Horizon Insurance. Ms. Kristo has been selected by Uster Business Magazine in the State of Massachusetts as one of the 40 most successful professionals under the age of 40 for 2019. In an interview with Voice of America, Ms. Kristo spoke about her career, balancing her personal life commitment and dedication to the Albanian-American community in her hometown and in the state of Massachusetts.

For Orieta Kristo, the decision to open a business of her own was not an easy one. She had a stable career at one of largest insurance companies - Liberty Mutual. But…

"If my intuition tells me that this is a good thing, this is a right thing and that you will succeed, I go head to head, let's say. And I really liked the idea that I could do something for myself, to create some kind of culture or people who would surround me, to be people like me, positive, who want to help the Albanian community. "

Ms. Kristo founded Horizon Insurance in 2014. Today, she serves to 3,500 clients in the state of Massachusetts, meeting their auto, home, life and business insurance needs. Her company has secured nearly $ 5 million in sales.

60 percent of the company's clientele comes from the Albanian community in the Uster and Boston area of ​​Massachusetts.


"I have a weak point in this community because when I first came with my family I was only 14 years old and it was a very small community, there were 10 or 15 newcomers from Albania and I'm not talking about Albanian-Americans," she says referring to the second wave of Albanian emigration that came to Uster after the 90s. The first wave was that of the beginning of the last century.

“The insurance branch, especially for newcomers Albanians is very complicated and we try to explain to them in a way that they understand and choose the product they want when it comes to car coverage or home coverage."

Gentian Andoni, who owns a used car dealership, says the Horizon Insurance team offers the best plans for family and work needs.

"The good thing is that almost the whole team are Albanians, making it easier for us to communicate to our Albanian clients who want insurance from this company, for their work, for the cars they buy from me and everything is perfect," he says.

Another special of Horizon Insurance is the young age of the team: 33 years on average. Almost the entire team is made up of women. The light-colored atmosphere, open plan, cheerful decor, and inspiring expression is a reflection of Ms. Christo's own team and worldview.

"I always look at things with great optimism and life is like that when you have the sinking and the uplifting. And always if I was in the sinking part let's just say, I haven't seen myself as a victim, but I've seen it ... 'OK, this part of life that is making me learn and sometimes I say' barely get out of this place (this situation) and I want to see how strong I can come out," she says.

At work and in life, she starts from the premise that everyone, after all, wants to be as happy as possible and everything he or she does comes from a desire for life.

“Relationship with people, especially in this business is very important. Clients come here for some kind of trouble and we always expect them openly, that this person needs some help and make them feel very comfortable when they come here and for their questions ... ”.

Although most employees in the insurance industry in the United States are women, the majority of executives are men. Ms Kristo says she doesn't see herself at work as a woman or a man but as a business person.

“The woman is very strong, not only at home or raising children or helping the family, but the woman is very strong in business as well. We have the kind of intuition that - and it's not that I'm downplaying men at all - but we do have that intuition, maybe even being a mother, the baby may have something that gets sick, hit, we feel it and in business, this helps immensely in many decisions."

She founded the company when she had young children, but today says she has found the key to balance.

"When I am at work, I am at work, I am someone who is giving direction to the company and I am not a mom, I am not a woman and I am not a girl or a sister and that makes me very focused without thinking about what is going on".

And then there is the rest:

“And when I'm at home I'm mother Ori, I'm a wife, I'm a sister, I'm a girl and I don't get the work at home. I decided from the beginning that I wouldn't mix business with my family life, because at the same time I wouldn't be the right mom, I didn't want to hold a phone in my hand so that the child would remember me with a phone in my hand. This decision has made me walk both in family life and in business,” she says.

Part of the balance in her life is taking care of herself not only physically but also mentally and emotionally, choosing positivity.

"At the same time I allow myself to have bad days, and I never say 'Orieta why, or speak ill of myself.' We have a lot of bad days, but we also have good days, because a flower that grows will love both the sun and the rain."

Ms. Kristo assists the Albanian-American community by volunteering, or by donating funds to various activities not only in Uster, says Mark Kosmo, president of the Global Albanians Foundation in Boston.

“Shee is one of the community members who has always helped us, not only with donations but also with the Albanian Association of Massachusetts. She has helped us with the insurance we need for the Albanian school in Boston, he has done all the work for my company, for my personal insurance, for 5 years and for thousands of Albanians,” he says.

Included in the list of 40 successful professionals under the age of 40 from Uster Business Magazine was the crowning of an unusual journey.

"It was a big deal for me, not only coming here to America at the age of 14, we didn't speak any English, but a woman in business and I did by myself everything in my life."

One of Mrs. Kristo's pledges was that her mother Valentina failed to see her bloom in this manner as she died of cancer three years ago.

She attributes the success to her mother, saying she feels her presence every day.

"'40 under 40 'I dedicate to her, to tell her' Mom, thumbs up, you did a great work me. '

The family is Mrs. Kristo's main motivation in life.

"I want my kids to be proud of me and I always get up in the morning and think 'OK, I want to do two or three things in the first place, I want to make myself proud and secondly how can I give a smile to a person."
Orieta Kristo, a business woman who made the American dream come true Orieta Kristo, a business woman who made the American dream come true Monday, January 20, 2020 Rating: 5
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