PKM Employee Spotlight: Kristina Lischke

Two years ago, life was a little different for Audit Manager Kristina Lischke. She wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary – just working from home and interacting with her clients just like every other day. You would’ve never guessed she was doing all of this from Costa Rica!

You read it right; from April 8 to October 8, 2014, Kristina was living and working remotely from North Jaco, Costa Rica. She was there with her husband, Matt, who needed to move for six months for work. And of course they brought their dog, Vegas, along too! The three of them lived at the Nativa Resort located along the Pacific Coast with mountain, rain forest and ocean views.

The typical day for Kristina in Costa Rica luckily wasn’t much different than one in the U.S. Being in a time zone two hours behind Eastern Time even worked to her advantage. Since the sun rose about 5:15 a.m., she was right on schedule with PKM’s main office! There would be clients that she was speaking to while she was there, who didn’t even know she was out of the country until months down the road. Not to mention, she used a phone device called “magicJack” that allowed her to keep an Atlanta number. “I was able to do what I needed without people knowing,” Kristina recalls. “I’m very appreciative of PKM working with me to allow this opportunity.”

About six months before she went on this adventure of a lifetime, Kristina met with PKM Chief Operating Officer Debbie Sessions to put together a plan to present to the partners. Immediately, everyone was on board and very supportive. Even more so, Kristina got promoted to manager while she was over in Costa Rica. It was pretty much like she never left!

Kristina described the resort they lived at as “quiet and peaceful.” She and Matt were among the few people living there full-time. They became close with the security guards as well as their neighbors. One of the neighbors had a 10-year-old daughter, and Kristina spent some of her spare time tutoring her in English. They made some great friendships while there and still keep in touch with them today.

Aside from working and tutoring, Kristina and Matt spent a lot of time traveling. Twice a month they would rent a car to grab some groceries and take in the country’s beauty. For starters, they went to a variety of beaches along the entire Pacific Coast such as Jaco, Hermosa, Esterillos, Bejuco and Manuel Antonio. They spent some time on the southern point of the Nicoya Peninsula and traveled inland to La Fortuna to see the Arenal Volcano. They, including Vegas, even took a quick 72-hour trip to Bocas Del Toro in Panama with some friends visiting from home because Matt had to renew his travel visa. “It was quite the adventure to get to the Caribbean side due to road closures, crossing the old railroad bridge on foot with our dog and luggage at the Sixaola border and catching the last ferry to Bocas Del Toro,” Kristina adds.

The wildlife of Costa Rica is also worth noting. Just steps away from their door lived howler monkeys, white-headed capuchins, spider monkeys, iguanas, lizards, sloths, coatis, macaws, toucans and tons of other birds. Needless to say, Vegas loved every second of that!

Although their time in Costa Rica was short-lived, they didn’t take one second for granted … and neither did their friends and family, who were frequent visitors throughout the 6 months. But Kristina looks back on her time spent there and the only words to describe it all are how wonderful of a life experience it was. It was the perfect opportunity at the perfect timing. And now this August, they are taking on life’s next adventure and are expecting twins!

Kristina began her career in accounting by completing an internship with PKM in 2008. After graduating with a Bachelor of Administration in Accounting and a Masters of Accountancy from the University of Georgia in 2009, Kristina began her career full-time with PKM in September of 2009. She primarily focuses in the financial institution and technology industry and is experienced in both public and non-public financial statement audits and other outsourced bank internal audits. We’re so lucky to have Kristina part of the PKM family!