Busy woman: Kerr enjoys balance of being entrepreneur, philanthropist

BY NEAL REID

When she's not contending for tournament titles, Cristie Kerr isn't sitting still very often.

Now in her 16th year on Tour, the 34-year-old balances her professional life with an active personal life that includes overseeing a women's health center, raising money and awareness for breast cancer and even producing a top-quality wine.

In 2010, Kerr teamed with LibertyHealth to create the Cristie Kerr Women's Health Center at the Jersey City Medical Center, Hudson County's first comprehensive breast health center. That facility fits well with her Birdies for Breast Cancer charity, which Kerr established in 2003 after seeing her mother, aunt and godmother battle the disease.

Birdies for Breast Cancer has raised more than $2 million for breast cancer research and treatment, and the Cristie Kerr Women's Health Center has helped more than 2,500 women receive treatment in the past year-and-a-half alone.

Kerr has been very pleased with the facility's impact in the New Jersey area.

"It's going fantastic," she said. "We're hoping in the next few months to add a stereotactic biopsy machine, and that will really make our center well-rounded, as far as diagnostic testing goes."

If that wasn't enough to keep her busy, Kerr has still found the time to create her own wine. In 2009, she partnered with the award-winning Pride Mountain Vineyards to create Curvature Wines with Suzanne Pride-Bryan, and the wine has been served in a number of prestigious locales, including The White House.

Through the California-based Pride Mountain Vineyards, Kerr and Pride-Bryan have developed a trio of Cabernet Sauvignon varietals and a pair of Chardonnays that are available in nearly a dozen states across the country. Kerr's passion for wine has inspired her to take it to the next level in the industry.

"I hope to be a sommelier one day, and I'm still studying," she said. "I hope in the next few years to at least get Level 1 done. Hopefully some day that will be part of what I do, along with the culinary arts. Who knows what's going to happen?"

Having other interests outside golf is crucial for any player, and Kerr is no different.

"It's very important, because if you're all about golf, golf, golf, you put too much pressure on yourself," she said. "I think maybe one of the reasons why I haven't won in the last year is that I've been focused solely on winning, and that's not how you win. You win by breaking it down to the simplest level and try to achieve success on every shot instead of measuring it only by winning."

Kerr was encouraged to pursue her outside interests by agent and husband, Erik Stevens.

"When he was just my agent and not my husband, Erik said, 'Golf stirs the drink, and you can do whatever you want, whether it's making wine or helping people by raising money.'"

Kerr has done just that, and continues to "stir the drink" of an immensely successful career, both on and off the course.


Topics: Player Feature, Kerr, Cristie

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