Kristina “Kristi” Cruise is the proud Founder, President and CEO of LiVING LiBRARIES. She is also a loving wife and mother of 2 Superhuman LiLi’s named Nate and Vivianna. Cruise started her professional career in broadcast journalism. After graduating from the University of Florida Telecom program, she worked for more than a decade in news and weather for TV stations in Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina, garnering multiple awards from the Associated Press, Society for Professional Journalists and the Radio and Television News Directors Association.
During the recession of 2008, while covering a story at an under-stocked food pantry in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cruise conceived the idea for what became Promising Pages. With full support from her dynamite husband, Cruise left the broadcast world in 2010 to launch Promising Pages full time. From a single book drive with Classroom Central and distribution event at Crisis Assistance Ministry, Cruise paved the way to make Promising Pages the largest and most efficient book up-cycling distributor in the Charlotte region, one that uses volunteers to collect and process 30,000 books a month. These donations go to area children for free via 50 different non-profit partners and programs, changing lives every step along the way. Cruise retired as CEO of Promising Pages in early 2019 after winning numerous local and national awards and accolades for her innovation and leadership. Awards include:
Continual improvement and personal cultivation is an absolute must for Cruise. In 2014 Cruise received her certificate of Non-Profit Business Management from Wake Forest University. She also completed the life-changing Executive Leadership Course at the Center for Intentional Leadership. She was a member of Next Stage's first CULTIVATE cohort in 2018, and also successfully completed Deloitte and Flynn Health Holt's Women's Leadership CORP, Third Sector Leadership (TSL) and CREW Athena leadership models.
Cruise is a certified yoga instructor and teaches yoga, mindfulness and meditation at Life Time Athletic in Waverly. Cruise loves to travel with her family during her spare time and believes that work/ life balance is key to being a fierce female in the 21st century. She is active in the Junior League of Charlotte and Women’s Impact Fund.
Elizabeth McNamara is a veteran teacher of young children and an educational consultant. McNamara earned her M.Ed in Early Childhood Education from The Ohio State University and taught grades 1-3 in Union County Public Schools, outside of Charlotte, NC, for 9 years. While in Union County, she mentored Beginning Teachers and Student Teachers, developed 21st Century global curriculum for the district, and led professional development workshops for faculty. During this time, McNamara also traveled to Peru and Costa Rica to teach pre-school and lead workshops with local teachers, as a World Affairs of Charlotte Council Scholar and with the Global Educators Leadership Program at World View, UNC Chapel Hill.
McNamara then became the Director of Educational Technology for an Independent School near Charlotte, where she helped develop the school's iPad 1-to-1 program rollout and curriculum, and supported faculty, staff, and students in healthy digital citizenship practices and incorporating technology use into academic projects, while leading change in online coursework and adapting new Learning Management Systems. She was invited to join the Discovery Place STEM Fellows in 2015. McNamara now consults on STEM-related and literacy projects, and serves as an independent American Red Cross CPR/First Aid Instructor.
McNamara is mom to an awesome pint-sized LiLi, Kathryn, and enjoys traveling with her husband and family.