Women Who Mean Business

Krystal Simon is a Woman Who Means Business

Krystal Simon, one of Biz 417's Women Who Mean Business for 2024, is CEO of Care to Learn.

By Jordan Blomquist | Photographed by Brandon Alms

Mar 2024

Krystal Simon, is CEO of Care to Learn.
Photo by Brandon AlmsKrystal Simon is CEO of Care to Learn. Purchase Photo

Krystal Simon starts every day with gratitude and coffee—two things that make the world go ’round. “Where you focus your thoughts, that becomes your reality,” Simon says. “And just having a heart of gratitude is a game changer.” As the CEO of Care to Learn, she works to navigate each day with mindfulness and appreciation.

Prior to Care to Learn, Simon worked at the Great Game of Business as an intern in college and then full-time for six years following college. After a season of staying home to raise her three children, Simon started working in development for Camp Barnabas and later became their chief operating officer. In an effort to be home more with her family and have a better work-life balance, Simon transitioned to Care to Learn two and a half years ago.

If someone wrote a book about Simon, she says it would be titled Passionate Calling to Serve Others—proven through the remarkable success at Care to Learn since Simon stepped into the CEO role. “She has accomplished incredible things in her career,” Joselyn Baldner notes in her nomination.

The organization went from a $1.1 million nonprofit to a $4.8 million nonprofit in two years. In 2023, Care to Learn announced that they had hit their 3 million milestone—the nonprofit has helped meet the basic needs (health, hunger and hygiene) of students more than 3 million times. Simon credits the success of the organization to their incredible team, sharing the mission and impact of Care to Learn and the support and generosity of donors and community partners.

Simon’s vision with Care to Learn is to continue to provide support and resources to those serving children—teachers, school counselors, nurses, social workers—and meet the basic needs of children so they can succeed in school. “Long term, I see us not just being in the state of Missouri,” she says. “I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.” Right now, Care to Learn serves 45 school districts, but Simon sees them partnering with over 50 school districts and hitting the 5 million milestone “really quickly, just based off of our growth and projection,” she says.

One of the most important aspects to focus on as a business leader, Simon says, is the relationships you build throughout your career. “There’s a quote, ‘People won’t remember what you said, they’ll remember how you make them feel,’” she says. “Everything that we do at Care to Learn and any interaction people have with me—I don’t want to be that Debbie Downer—I want them to see the joy.”


Favorite Podcast
Dolly Parton's America

Favorite Book
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, Atomic Habits by James Clear and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson

First Job
An employee at Summer Breeze tanning

#1 Things on Your Bucket List
Family Trip to Europe

Who Are Your Role Models?
Debra Shantz Hart and Donna Coppock, Jack Stack, Peter Herschend and Jim Anderson.