Krista Heron Baroudi’s life has been surrounded with business and art from an early age. Born in Northern California, her parents raised her in the midst of the San Francisco art and antique world, where at age 5, she began working as a runner for Butterfields Auction House. Both parents were photographic hobbyists, so Krista’s love for photography began with her first box camera at age 7.
Krista attended La Jolla High School and worked in the family hotel, La Jolla Cove Suites, which her grandfather built in 1959. In the mid 1980s, she left the hotel to start her own business, The Nail Gallery of La Jolla. She also worked as a concert photographer for promoters, newspapers, and Kicks Magazine.
Krista has been CEO of La Jolla Cove Suites and managing partner for Universal Boot Shops since 2001, and still maintains a small photography business. She is the mother of two sons. Her philanthropic efforts have always been focused on area schools, and she hosts an annual Christmas event for the children of St. Vincent’s Shelter at the hotel. Krista is a member of the La Jolla Kiwanis.
What brought you to La Jolla?
I moved to La Jolla in 1976 with my parents. My mother and father were both native San Diegans, so when my father retired, we came down to be with the rest of our family. Once finished with La Jolla High, I never thought to leave. I wouldn’t want to call any place else home!
What makes the town special to you?
This area holds my family’s history. Even though I spent my childhood in Northern California, we would come down for all of our holidays and summers. As kids, we would always fight over who would get to run the switchboard at the hotel, which back then had all of the connecting cables. Today, I look out the window of my office and am reminded every day of how lucky I am to be living in such a beautiful area.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?
I would wish that every storefront was filled with successful family owned businesses. Those businesses are one of the things that make La Jolla the special village it is.
Who or what inspires you?
My mother has inspired me from day one with her approach to life. You never saw my mother without a smile or a positive attitude. Mom was always working for this organization or that school, yet she always made me feel like I was No. 1. She adored my father for almost 50 years of marriage until death separated them. Mom was the glue that held our family together. They broke the mold after mom. I miss her dearly.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
You might expect me to throw in some famous people … maybe Steven Tyler or Johnny Depp, but I’m a family girl at heart. My two sons, my grandparents on both sides, my mother and my father. My mother was the only one who got to meet my children; she passed away right after my younger son’s first birthday. My grandfather, who built the family business, was the only one I ever really knew. Having a little more time with my mother would be a dream come true. More importantly, I would like my sons to know firsthand what amazing people they are related to.