McMINNVILLE, Ore. – At age 14, Kristine Oller’s idea of fun was to clean her sister’s room. Some things never change. Oller, a 1993 Linfield College graduate, organizational expert and career strategist, now spends her professional life organizing others. She uses her efficiency skill set to not only assist professionals in their careers, but to also help Linfield College. For her efforts she has earned the Alumni Service Award.
Oller is continually thinking of ways to help those who are farther from the college to feel connected. She has coordinated Los Angeles-area welcome to the alumni parties and meets with recent graduates in her area. At Linfield, she has presented programs on “Finding Your Focus” for both students and alumni, and also advised theatre students who are considering careers in that field. She and her husband, Sean Inman ’92, have represented Linfield at college fairs.
“We both love Linfield and we could stand there and passionately say that,” she said. “I think that everyone should serve by using their skill set. Linfield was such an important piece of my foundation and it seems utterly natural to express that.”
As a career strategist specializing in the arts, Oller helps clients boost themselves to the next level in their careers and artistic pursuits. Her passion is teaching people how to thrive by offering them efficient and effective plans of action that transform their environments and shift their perspectives.
“I help them figure out how to best leverage the time, energy and money that they have right now to build the career they want so they can start moving forward faster,” she said. “People need a plan of action so they can be very efficient and effective at creating more with less effort. Some do the right things but in an ineffective order.”
A native of Glendale, Calif., Oller came to Linfield without even visiting the campus. She said multiple personal calls from Linfield representatives, coupled with campus photos, drew her in. She quickly became a theatre department devotee and a proponent of the liberal arts education, which she says forces students to take courses they might not normally take and, as a result, discover talents and skills they might not know about. For Oller, who did not draw or sew, the idea of taking a costume design course proved unappealing at first.
“I realized I had an aptitude for costume design,” said Oller, who went on to serve as costume designer and stage manager during “Cabaret” for her senior thesis. “The realization that I may still have skills that I have yet to discover has made me brave enough to be self employed. I’m going to bet on myself that I can do it.”
Oller also valued her relationships with faculty and staff at the college, some of which continue today. She came to know former president Vivian Bull during Bull’s cameo role in “The Mad Woman of Chaillot.”
“I’m glad I picked Linfield,” said Oller. “People there knew I existed. At a bigger college, you don’t get that. I felt like I was seen and heard. It’s lovely.”
Looking back, she realizes her Linfield experience directly impacted her career.
“I learned how to learn, which is so much more important than learning a subject,” she said. “I am not afraid of taking things on. It’s given me the confidence to ask, ‘What else am I capable of?’”
After graduating cum laude from Linfield with degrees in theatre and communications, Oller earned membership in SAG, AFTRA and Equity during a decade spent as a working actress. Since founding her business, Personalized Organization, in 1999, Oller’s organizing services have been in high demand. As word spread about her ability to boost the marketing results and momentum of entrepreneurs and performing artists, the career strategy segment of her business grew to include clients nationwide.
Oller is the author of Feeding Your Focus: How Creative People Can Move Forward Faster And Achieve Sustained Success. She writes a national column on organizing for BackStage and career strategy for The VoiceOver Insider. She has appeared on DIY Crafts on Scripps’ Do-It-Yourself Network and on Before and After’noon Movies on the USA Network. She was a Special Guest Speaker on career strategy at the 11th Annual International Radio Creative and Production Summit and a recurring guest speaker at The Actors’ Network in Los Angeles. She is a Golden Circle member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and has served on the board of the Los Angeles Chapter of NAPO. Kristine received the Volunteer of the Year Award at the 2007 Los Angeles Organizing Awards.