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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
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Christine A Toson

President/CEO

The Tribute Companies, Inc.

Location: Waukesha County, WI

Founded: 1973

Industry: End-of-life care (cemeteries)

Christine A. Toson had plans to go into psychology. She graduated with her undergraduate degree from Marquette University and knew there were still years of school ahead to achieve her goal, but she was also eager to start earning a living.

That’s when she turned to the family businesscemeteries. She was the fourth generation in the family to enter the . Her father put her into commission-only sales, launching a career that now has her in the role of president and CEO of The Tribute Companies, Inc.

The Tribute Companies owns and manages cemeteries, designs and builds cemeteries and the facilities within them and provides precast concrete products for cemeteries throughout the country.

In 2016, Toson bought the company from her parents and they fully retired, requiring her to form a new leadership team and create a board of directors. She has grown revenue and income every year since the purchase and aims to double the size of the company over the next few years.

Toson found new revenue by offering caskets — a product typically sold only by funeral homes — through her cemeteries. This created competition for the funeral homes, “forcing a product with a tremendous markup to be adjusted to align margins with other products, saving the consumer hundreds of dollars while creating a revenue source for her cemeteries,” the company said. The result has been several millions of dollars in caskets presold to the customers that Tribute serves.

“When you feel like everything is going well, that is the exact moment to expect another disruption that eventually will make you a stronger, more confident leader,” Toson said. “This is a natural push to not accept the norm. Leaders know how to navigate those times, others do not and see it as being terrifying. These disruptions are what create greatness.”

Toson was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Lake County Rotary Club and received a Trailblazer Award for Women in Business from former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Hall of Fame Trailblazer Award from her high school for being an industrial leader and entrepreneur and The Keller Graduate School Kagan- Rollhaus Award for her master’s degree business plan.

“Having served on many boards and in leadership roles in association and volunteer organizations, it’s important to help replace myself when those terms are up,” Toson said. “This requires recruiting and mentoring the next generation of people, and I hope that I can continue to find them and help them contribute. Finding new ways to contribute in leadership roles continues to be important to me, but now more than ever, I need to have true passion in where my time is spent, so giving as much as my heart, time and ability can is the focus for the second half of my life.”

Presented by:

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Did you know?

Christie only wears heels unless she is participating in one of her many sports/activities that keep her moving or if she is riding her Harley Davidson.

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