Experiences in BIG: Kristen Boxman

As Vice President of Barton International Group, Kristen Boxman runs the internal operations within the organization. She ensures that, as a group, we have the necessary people, resources and protocol to make anything happen. Perhaps even more importantly, she has to know each of the people working within BIG on an individual level in order to guide them to work well on a group level. She needs to ensure that everyone is performing at their full potential and in order to do this, she must be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

BIG has been a humbling experience for Kristen. She learned that it’s okay to delegate tasks, because “you’re not always going to be the best at everything.” However, the most important thing, she told me, is to listen to others and learn from them. In doing so, not only do you learn about them and their abilities, but you also become self-aware and learn honesty. For Kristen, this was the hardest part of being in Barton International Group. She had to work hard in order to be honest with herself as well as with others because the organization itself “thrives on honesty and vulnerability,” which ultimately enables the group to work together cohesively.

My talk with Kristen reminded me that, apart from the consulting work that the organization does, Barton International Group is about partnership and camaraderie. This concept came to life for me when she told me about her favorite BIG memory from the past year, which she was only able to articulate in between several laughs. Jacob was sitting nearby, and she spoke to both of us when she relayed the story of him getting stuck at the U.S. border on one of the group’s trips and being prohibited from entering into the U.S. because he had forgotten to bring the correct documentation. Although probably somewhat traumatic in the moment, they both laugh about it now and cherish it as a memory from their years in Barton International Group.

The trip stories don’t end there, though. She went on to further tell me about BIG’s trip to Seattle and about how, at its core, there was “so much living on that trip.” It was a nice break from the routine of second semester, and she liked how it was business and vacation - and overall just taking in something new. She told me that “we experienced it, we lived it,” a comment that reflects not only on her trip to Seattle, but also on being a part of Barton International Group as a whole.

As we continued to talk, Kristen told me that she had found her niche in Barton International Group. That, even though they weren’t “the craziest college kids,” she loved them and their intelligence and hard work – which had never failed to challenge her over the past year. Barton International Group gave her a network that she has grown comfortable with and because of that, friends that will last a lifetime.

Kristen told me that, above all, she is going to miss the people of Barton International Group. However, she is going to miss Kate most of all – the group’s advisor, who is a business professor at Wichita State University. She claims that Kate knows the people in the group better than they know themselves, and if she tells you to do something, “then you should’ve done it five days ago”. In a way, Kristen’s understanding of people and authoritative yet approachable personality is reminiscent of Kate – serving as a nice reminder that, at its core, Barton International Group is, and always will be, a reflection of all of its members.

Written by Zaena Helm