FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Marlis Krueger
July 22, 2014
Five years on, two expansions of original premises, an expansion to a second location last year and a renewal … all signs of success, but who is she? And why is her business growing when so many in her business (that I have seen) are content with small rooms, a rocking chair and don’t care where they park? I set out to learn more …
“We are one-stop shopping for many of our families. Sometimes I sit in the waiting room – it humbles me to see what it feels like to be them. I ask if it is welcoming, how do I feel? To put you child in someone’s hands – I’m amazed all the time.”
Let me go back to the beginning – how we met. She found me wary – first time we met. She was inexperienced at leasing office space, genuine, careful, seemed to have a kind nature, and extremely smart.
My personal experiences with psychologists has made me skeptical … so when I met Marlis Krueger for the first time five years ago to discuss establishing her first little office (she was breaking out on her own after being with a group/clinic operation) of The Family Psychology Place – she was nervous about committing to bite off more than she could chew, careful with her numbers, and particularly fussy on having the parking stall she wanted. That seemed pretty solid to me. Plus, she was a child psychologist, so it seemed like a simple little assignment, which it was …
“Initially is was just me, and one staff. Now we are twenty-seven. I’m humbled by the faith families have put in our services.”
She’s still married to first husband Ben, two kids – 18 & 21 in university. Before all that – born in Winnipeg, parents were teachers. One younger brother. K-12 in Winnipeg, University of Manitoba (studied actuarial mathematics), Concordia College in Minneapolis - at one point considered 2 yrs. working in Africa with her husband (missionary work) - payroll work while in college, B.A. in Secondary Education (Psychology), M.A. (Educational Psychology) for University of Alberta. She opened her practice in Calgary in 1995.
Her work – “Always kids. Adults too, but always kids. Counselling and assessment. I enjoy what I am doing. I know I am helping people. When I was working with a family – usually counselling and tutoring were hard to find in one place. I’ve had a hand in bringing those together here. We’ve become one-stop shopping for families needing more than one thing. We deal with really personal life-changing things.”
I asked Marlis how she sees her business – psychology services – in Calgary, currently … looking forward over the next quarter?
…business is good. Summer is good. Pressure is off for families – breathing time, more flexibility.
And over the next five years?
… I have no clue. I’ve never has a plan. I expect there will be some changes in the regulation of our profession – good I think. Things have to be evidence based.
What qualities distinguish your preferred colleagues, collaborators and suppliers?
… for big things – I tend to be impulsive. I don’t shop around. For little things – personal things – I can be really particular. Sometimes I’ll shop around for a year to make a decision. In terms of people – do they know what they are doing? Are they nice, kind, respectful compassionate people? Would they be enjoyable to spend time with?
What distinguishes you that causes people/clients to choose Marlis Krueger to do business with, why have they hired you, over your competitors?
… because I/we have a good reputation. First hand recommendations. Referrals. They feel some of that trust without knowing us.
What do you lose sleep over, what do you worry about?
…I’m not a worrier. When I worry, it’s about my kids.
Who or what influenced you most – that has made a difference in your life, or that was a major turning point?
... nature. My grandmother on the farm – very engaging, warm, dealt with adversity. She taught me that people matter because they are people. Something more recent, 6 years ago – a rift within a group in our church. I took a stand on something. It was painful. I can be a little directive. I’m a small-L Lutheran, a big-C Christian. It was a ‘fun’ experience.
Work/life balance – do you have it?
…I used to have it! For a couple of years – with this growth - so crazy! I can relax when I’m, not here. Things have to be fun. I like to have fun every day. Keyboard – piano, organ. I’m partial to Hawaii. Love Europe.
What do you read?
… Lots. I always have a few books on the go. I’m a big fan of used book stores. Stephen King, Jonathan Kellerman, Nora Roberts, John Sanford.
… raising kids I always drove a mini-van. More recently, my BMW SUV – but it was crashed-into a few months ago. I’m still doing physio! Currently. A 2005 Mercedes SLK 350 2- seater convertible. It’s fun.
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