• Kathryn Alldaffer

Designer: Kristy Janigo

Meet Kristy Janigo. Kristy has lived in Maple Grove for four years. She currently works in product design for Fun.com. She is a US Army National Guard veteran, and we thank her for her service. She is currently running for Maple Grove City Council; this is her first time seeking public office.

Kristy earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota’s College of Design with a focus on sustainability. She completed all of her coursework while working full time from 2009-2015.

Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?

A: I learned how to sew with my grandma, making Barbie doll clothes at a young age. In high school, I taught myself how to sew my own clothes and I even sold a few pieces to peers. I went to college to focus on clothing design and merchandising, but while there discovered an interest in journalism. I attained a dual undergraduate degree in apparel studies and mass communication, two fields you don't usually see together. And by the time I finished college, I was the News Editor and the Assistant Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper. I ended up pursuing product design and merchandising for my career. I've been a researcher, author, manager, and educator in product design and development for about 15 years, with my whole career working for Minnesota-based companies ranging in size and scope - including Target Corporation - for 9 years. I have always been interested in a wide variety of things, and my volunteer activities reflect that. I try to remain very open with the course of my future career. If I were not open, I would never have had the chance to pursue some of the opportunities I've had, such as founding the Fashion Design major at Ai Minnesota in 2011 and leading the School of Fashion as Academic Director. Some of my former students run their own businesses, and for sure one interviewed with Project Runway.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Maple Grove and what do you love to eat there?

A: Theresa's. I love their carne asada street tacos on corn tortillas. I am gluten free and have been for several years, so restaurant options are sometimes limited for me. I can consistently find something tasty on the menu but usually go back to the street tacos, or else combination platters (tamale, taco, enchilada). The customer service is amazing at Theresa's!

A: What volunteer work have you done or are you doing?

Q: I served on the Maple Grove Arbor Committee from 2017 to 2018. I applied because there was an open position and they needed someone to complete the vacated term. I had to go through an interview process to be appointed by the Maple Grove City Council. I enjoyed the work on the tree preservation areas, t-zones, and reviewing urban landscape for new developments. My favorite part was the annual activity of pulling buckthorns in the tree preservation area. I do not mind physical work, especially outdoors! I also serve occasionally as assisting minister at Maple Grove Lutheran Church, where I am a member. I love reading prayers and scriptures and connecting with my faith community through helping with the worship services.

Q: Are you on any board of directors or do you hold any positions others would find interesting?

A: Academic Peer Reviewer. Because of my Ph.D. and prior publications, I still occasionally serve as a peer reviewer for scholarly journals such as the International Journal of Consumer Studies and the Fashion Practice. Most people don't know that peer reviewers are unpaid volunteers. As a peer reviewer, you're expected to point out any weak arguments, examine the research methods for their soundness, and even get into the nitty gritty of grammar and sentence structure. It's an important service to ensure academics are not only engaging in ethical research but also research that will make a contribution to the current body of literature.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now (and it were safe to do so), where would it be? And why?

A: Italy. My husband loves to cook, especially home made pizzas and Italian sauces. We would enjoy the food journey. I also studied Classical Latin in high school and college so it would be fun to see if I still recognize any of the language on inscriptions and monuments.

Q: What’s your favorite quote or Bible verse?

A: 2nd Corinthians 12: 10 "Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." My dad wrote this to me in a letter while I was away at Basic Training for the US Army National Guard. My dad unfortunately passed away unexpectedly of sudden illness in 2014. He was a humble man whose faith in God was an example. I keep that letter taped to my vanity mirror.

Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Maple Grove?

A: I love the trail system in Maple Grove. There are so many options because we have Maple Grove city parks and Three Rivers throughout our city. I most enjoy Rice Lake and Fish Lake because I am a short distance runner and the perimeter of these two lakes are doable for me. The variety of homes and sights keeps me engaged during the entire run. I also regularly run from my side of Rice Lake up through the Arboretum and behind Maple Grove High School. On weekends, sometimes I run or walk through the trails near the Eastman Nature Center. The Monarch Trail and the Creek Trail are probably my two favorites. Being outside in the woods and close to nature is spiritual for me.

Q: What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

A: I am a US Army National Guard veteran, and I left for Basic Training at 18 years old on October 4, two weeks after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That is why 9/11 will always be a momentous day for me. I can remember where I was, at home packing my bags for training and getting ready. In the aftermath, Americans came together to support one another, mourn losses, rebuild, and heal as a nation. I was proud to serve in the military at such an important time in our country's history.

Q: What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?

A: Community, family, comfort.

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