Location: Edwardsville, IL
Industry: Private Equity Real Estate
Big risks test the nerves, but they can come with big rewards, and Kristie Bailey is proof of that after founding Fireside Financial.
“My story is truly a story of stepping out on faith, being courageous, adventurous, a tad bit crazy and a whole lot of confidence mustered up from that place we all have deep down,” Bailey said. “Starting Fireside Financial was by far the biggest risk that my family has ever taken. Quitting our jobs, risking all of ourselves, our house, our finances while raising three children was sure nerve-wracking. It was not a risk for the faint of heart. By taking such a risk, the reward of our success is that much sweeter. There is not a day that goes by that I am not looking at my life and feeling so blessed.”
Fireside Financial, where Bailey serves as partner, is a real estate firm focused on acquisition and development of multifamily and self-storage properties in the Midwest. It was founded after the financial crash of 2008, when Bailey and her husband recognized an opportunity to launch a real estate endeavor. They researched the Midwest footprint and spent hours calling potential investors and building a team.
Bailey oversees the operations and asset management part of the company and is the public face of the organization. She also juggles human resources, insurance claim response, the company’s charitable efforts and all the details in between.
In the coming years, Bailey wants to add several more investors, and within five years she expects to have more than $2 billion in assets under management. She also recognizes her role in leading a company in a male-dominated industry and feels a responsibility to find and develop the next generation of female leaders in real estate.
“It is important for our woman-owned organization to grow, teach, inspire, and show a strong path for the next generation of female leaders in the real estate industry,” Bailey said. “I look to share my knowledge by continuing to speak to schools, women’s organizations and business about my journey in the business world. It has been a true ‘trailer park to a home of my dreams’ story, a ‘reinvent myself’ story, a story of true grit, determination and most of all ‘love what I do’ story.”
Bailey works with local groups including Edwardsville Neighbors, Boy Scouts of America and Window World Cares. Fireside Financial was awarded the 2020 Edwardsville Business of the Year for the development in Edwardsville where she has made her home.
“Since founding Fireside in 2008, she has been involved in every aspect of growing the business, (from) hours of planning, organizing, general office and administrative tasks to overseeing the operations of the assets we acquire,” her team said. “She is one of the biggest cheerleaders of the staff, the business and is proud of the growth (and) achievements her company has made in her community and the Midwest.”
She has a heart made of gold as she cares for all those in her life both personally and professionally. She enjoys being involved and brings an infectious energy to the room that encourages all to do their best. Lastly, her creativity stems from her original industry experience in marketing. While she is a number cruncher, she loves to dabble in the marketing and advertising side of the business as well.