Kristina Henderson, Brookdale graduate, was crowned 2020 Mrs. New Jersey and will go onto compete in the National Mrs. American Pageant.
After graduating Colts Neck High School, Henderson wasn’t ready for a four-year college; she wanted to see the world. She became a flight attendant but also wanted to continue her education. “Brookdale offered top notch professors, had a plethora of course offerings, and gave me the flexibility to work which was the school-work balance I craved,” Henderson said. “Plus, Brookdale’s financial advantage was a no brainer, allowing me to get my Associate’s Degree without taking out any loans,” she added.
A journalism major, Henderson excelled at Brookdale and received the Brookdale Distinguished Scholar Award. However, she did have some difficulties in her math classes. “Mathematics is a subject I’ve struggled with throughout my academic career,” she explained. “Professor Daniel Lopez took the time to help me understand the material even though I was working remotely and it was challenging not being able to assist me in person and explain the material.”
Today, with most of Brookdale classes being taught remotely, many current students can relate to Henderson’s struggles. “Professor Lopez did many online tutorials to help me understand the material step by step,” she said.
“Kristina always reviewed course materials on her own but also utilized the online office hours and review sessions to reinforce concepts that she struggled with,” Lopez said. “Kristina’s example of what it means to be a successful online student resulted in her being a part of a student panel at a Math Department Professional Development Day – where she was the best-dressed attendee, by the way. After Kristina’s impressive performance there, it’s no surprise she was name Mrs. New Jersey,” he continued.
“With Professor Lopez’s help in mathematics, I was able to maintain my high GPA that was needed to transfer to Boston University,” said Henderson. She graduated with her associate degree in journalism from Brookdale in 2014.
“Brookdale offered the perfect transition for me from high school to a four-year college,” Henderson said. “I was well prepared academically to succeed at Boston University.” In 2016, Henderson graduated from Boston University.
Currently, she is the CEO of Henderson Promos, a certified U.S. Women-Owned Small Business (U.S. WOSB) and Women’s Business Enterprise. “Henderson Promos is an international leader in the world of promotional product sales, particularly with printed apparel,” Henderson explained.
In addition to running Henderson Promos that she founded with her husband, Barton Henderson, she said being crowned Mrs. New Jersey gives her the opportunity to give back to the community, something she has always been passionate about.
“I have always worked with nonprofits, and being Mrs. New Jersey gives my platforms the visibility they deserve,” Henderson said. “Specifically, I am working to spread awareness about hunger and opioid addiction in our community. I work closely with Fulfill, formerly called The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, and Tigger House Foundation, an organization dedicated to combatting drug addiction,” she said.
Having been crowned Mrs. New Jersey, Henderson will compete in Las Vegas at the Westgate January 22-29, 2021 for the National Mrs. American title.
“I am honored to represent my great state of New Jersey, and I plan to make the most of my reign by empowering other women to start their own businesses and take their existing companies to the next level,” she said.
Starting at Brookdale certainly took Henderson to the next level and beyond.