Our first People of Woodland post is finally here! Today we’re meeting Kristina Fong. She is a Woodland native, who is giving back to the community through her coordination of downtown events. If you see her at one of the many events she works or walking around town, say hello!
Tell me your name and occupation.
My name is Kristina Fong, and I am currently the Community Liaison for Yolo Eats, representing BlackPine Catering & Events, Maria’s Cantina, and Morgan’s on Main. I am focused on connecting Yolo Eats event and artisanal food services with local businesses and organizations to bolster their events and social gatherings.
What has been your career path to this point?
It’s been a process. I worked in the music industry for over eight years in advertising before deciding to pursue a degree in art. While I was in school, I took on a part-time position with the Alzheimer’s Association assisting with their annual fundraising event, the Memory Walk. While studying Studio Art and Art History at UC Davis, I went to work at the Pence Gallery (which I still work part time). Which then led me to a position with Solomon Dubnick Gallery in Sacramento. Organizing art exhibitions, promoting artists, and working with my community brings me joy. It is what drew me to work with YoloArts in Woodland. In that position, I was able to coordinate the First Friday Art Walk with downtown businesses. Through coordinating the Art Walk, I met Brett Gardenhire, the general manager of Yolo Eats. Brett allowed YoloArts to utilize buildings that the company owned to host monthly art shows. When I left YoloArts, Brett and I wanted to bring unique experiences to Woodland together through BlackPine Catering & Events and the Yolo Eats umbrella. Now, not only am I able to represent our company to the community, but l also coordinate art exhibitions in our catering showroom and for downtown Woodland through the Historic Woodland Downtown Business Association. I couldn’t ask for a better position.
What are some events you’ve coordinated and helped organize?
While at the Alzheimer’s Association I took part in organizing the Memory Walk fundraising event (now called Walk to End Alzheimer’s) which I served for two years as their Team Builder. I have provided event support for the California Ag History Center, which is one of Woodland’s most valued historic museums. During my time as Exhibitions Coordinator for YoloArts, I worked with downtown businesses coordinating art and live music for the First Friday Art Walk. At the Pence Gallery in Davis, I currently organize figure drawing sessions (via Meetup.com) which run twice a month. In addition to the Pence Gallery, I am also currently lending support through the HWDBA to organize Woodland’s First Friday Art Walk in collaboration with downtown businesses and regional artists.
What keeps you motivated to do your work?
With BlackPine Catering & Events and Yolo Eats, I am motivated by the truly unique experiences we provide our clients and guests. If you have ever tasted our Yolo Eats food, seen our event venues, or attended a BlackPine catered event, you will want to savor the food and capture that moment. I can’t tell you how many people come up to us at public events to share their personal experiences with Yolo Eats. People genuinely appreciate the history we create with them and for them through our services. That is something that I enjoy being involved in creating everyday. I love being able to meet so many individuals and organizations in our community that are sharing in our vision of making Woodland a special place to be.
Do you volunteer?
Currently, I am a board member and on the events committee with the Historic Downtown Woodland Business Association.
How does it feel to organize an event that is welcomed by the community?
It feels great! Especially when I’m in Sacramento and I overhear someone say that they’ve been to Woodland. It’s happened several times when I’ve been out in midtown. It’s fulfilling when you hear strangers mention they have been to an event you have helped put together, such as the First Friday Art Walk. I took our small town for granted while growing up here. Now I’m actively working towards furthering Woodland through Yolo Eats and the HWDBA. I’m able to help coordinate events that people want to be a part of which means a lot.
Is your work satisfying?
Yes, absolutely, my work is very satisfying and fulfilling. I work with an amazing group of people that are as dedicated to growing our company as I am. My team of co-workers are all very talented and driven, which in turn keeps me inspired. I meet new people every week and am encouraged to continue meeting new people as often as possible. I find ways to bring all of my passions together with an entire network of support. It is rewarding to see the growth of our community working with Yolo Eats and downtown Woodland business owners hosting events. I meet artists and music acts to host art exhibitions and live music monthly.
Do you see Woodland as a destination?
Right now Woodland is on a huge upswing because there are so many new businesses opening and in development that make Woodland exciting. In this past year alone we have seen some very creative and unique restaurants, retail shops, and fun community events flourish in Woodland that gives people a reason to visit. The SF Chronicle is working on a special section featuring Yolo County and Woodland will be a prominent feature. There is interest in Woodland right now as a destination and it’s exciting to be a part of it.