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CJ Krueger is the owner of TripTych Planning, an American Indian Minority Enterprise, Marine Veteran, and Woman-Owned business. CJ is a Haida Indian and was an active-duty Marine for six years, working as a radio operator. Now, she specializes in negotiating worldwide group hotel room contracts for both corporate and government clients. TripTych has successfully positioned itself during the COVID-19 pandemic, picking up four federal contracts, and moving towards a model of education and consulting on new post-Covid fees and charges in hotel contracts.

We hope you enjoy our interview with CJ Krueger and learning more about TripTych Planning and how CJ’s connection with her Haida community compares to her time as a Marine!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your business

My name is CJ Krueger and I am a female U.S. Marine and Haida Indian based in Louisiana, but residing in South Carolina for now. I negotiate group hotel room contracts worldwide. I have been in the hospitality industry since I got out of the Marine Corps in 2003. Sprinkled in that time is also some advertising and marketing experience. I have a wide range of knowledge and would say I am an expert at connecting to and networking with people and companies.

2. How has your business been affected by COVID-19?

More successful than expected! We were awarded four Federal Contracts during COVID.

3. How has the pandemic changed your business   model, if at all?

Our primary focus changed to government. Moving forward in 2021 we are working as more of an educator and consultant for corporate clients on new Post-COVID fees and charges in hotel contracts.

4. If you were to tell any small business owner about starting and growing their own business what would you like to share with them or what advice would you give them?

Be an expert at what you DO and ALLOW experts in other fields to support you. You don’t have to understand what or how they do what they do – that’s why you pay them. Just remember, it is sometimes more costly to use your cousin, even if he or she is free! Stay Organized. And FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP!

5. Advice specific to Native entrepreneurs?

Now is the time. You have to follow the system; you don’t have to like the system.

6. Have you attended any of our trainings via webinar or in person, if so, what was helpful for your business and as a business owner? What was your main takeaway?

I can’t wait to attend #RES2021 in July. I’ve also virtually attended the Native Edge Institute focused on Economic Resilience: How to Maneuver and Build Your Business During Unprecedented Times. This training was helpful to my business because it showed that I was not alone. There are people out there willing to help and so many opportunities for companies like mine. The issues and concerns I have had are not special— it’s not just me having these issues. That is very reassuring to my mental health to say the least. There were insights that I can use in future planning.

7. Where and how can our readers purchase your products or services?

My Services don’t cost my Clients anything. We are compensated by the hotels. They can learn more about what we do at https://www.triptychplanning.com, or by calling and we can talk through it.

8. Anything else you want to add?

I love being a part of the National Center’s community. Growing up, we knew we were Haida Indian (an Alaska/British Columbia area Tribe). I thought it was just newspaper clippings and a few stories from my Maternal Grandmother and that was it (oh, and my super long middle name, that’s for another time)! I had no idea the Native American Indian community was so alive and well and living in the present with honor to the past.

I connected with my tribe in San Jose, CA, at an annual picnic I randomly saw on Facebook! From there I am now a card-carrying member of MY TRIBE. I have completed a Cedar Hat, woven in my people’s way. I thought I had pride being a Marine, that is nothing compared to the pride I have being a Haida Indian! My soul is warmed knowing that there is a community that I belong to.