By Sue Erwin
Boca Grande Realtor Krista Potthast-Haynes has been a professional Realtor with Michael Saunders on the island since 2014.
She is also a board-certified informatics nurse and a passionate advocate for the state of Florida, helping to bridge health information technology to support safer patient practices.
Krista is active with both the American Nursing Informatics Association and the Health Information Management Systems Society, where she was the vice president of education and regulations for the Florida Chapter of the ANIA and the co-chair for Advocacy and Public Policy for the Central North Florida chapter of HIMSS.
“I believe in the value of health information technology to transform safer and efficient health care delivery for people, and my focus has been on advocacy in our state,” Potthast-Haynes said. “Health information technology is aligning with personal monitoring devices as well as technology is affording people to live in their homes for longer periods of time. Health information technology is affording people like me who have long distance relations with parents to interact with the use of technology such as facetime and webex.”
Krista holds a graduate certificate in Health Informatics from the University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine and a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree from St. Petersburg College. She earned her nursing degree at Polk State College in Winter Haven.
Krista said her passion is advocacy at the state level. She frequently travels to Tallahassee to speak with legislators.
“I have been a registered nurse for more than three decades, working in specialties such as critical care, the operating room, medical device sales and education as well as a consultant for the design and implementation of health care technology software for hospitals throughout the nation,” Krista said.
Krista is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Healthcare Informatics.
She said this will also help with her real estate career because she works with many baby-boomers who would prefer to stay in their homes for as long as possible rather than resort to a long term care facility.
“Patients now have wearable technology and have smart devices in their homes which allows them to report their findings to their doctors right from home. The future is coming fast and that’s where I see all my skill sets aligning, so I’m very excited about it.”
Krista said she became interested in real estate in 2014 after experiencing many personal property transactions in Florida and California.
“We would sometimes have excellent experiences and then some of them were not so excellent,” she said.
Krista has a passion for architecture and wanted to obtain more knowledge of the real estate transaction side of it.
“I’m a life-long learner so educating myself in various categories of real estate is important to me,” she said.
She is currently working toward obtaining various designations and certifications to grow her real estate business and enhance her knowledge for new and existing customers.
Krista said her alignment with Michael Saunders & Company on the island is a perfect fit.
“Michael and Drayton Saunders focus on best practices for Realtors who support excellence in client/customer satisfaction and giving back to the communities. The incredible leadership and support is reflected with our office manager, Mary Smedley, who is at the elbows ensuring excellence with our customers, which allows us as real estate professionals to shine,” she said.
Krista added that here in Boca Grande, Michael Saunders supports the community through the Michael Saunders Foundation, including support such as grants for The Island School.
Originally hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, her family moved to Florida in the 1960s.
Krista comes from a family of artists, craftsmen and clinicians.
In 1892, the Potthast brothers, William, Vincent, John and Theodore, four German immigrants, founded Potthast Brothers, Inc. The firm’s copyrighted slogan, “The True Antiques of Tomorrow,” reflected the Potthast’s handmade furniture. The pieces boasted period style, design and craftsmanship.
“My father decided to move to Florida and when we came here the point of his passion became photography so he opened a studio, Potthast Studios, in central Florida in 1964. My brother eventually took over the business,” she said.
Krista graduated from nursing school in the 1980s and then moved to California to work at Los Angeles County Medical Center.
She met her husband, John, in Los Angeles. John was a well-respected homicide detective and bomb technician for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“That led him to an association with CBS Productions and he became part of the CSI team. He used his real life experience as an expert in homicide. The couple has been married for more than 30 years.
Krista and John lived in California for many years, but she always had it in her mind that she wanted to move back to Florida.
“I wanted to be back in the beauty of what I knew Florida to be, and my family lives in St. Pete and I wanted to be near them, so we bought a place in St. Pete.”
Then John went on a fishing trip in Boca Grande with a friend and had a fantastic time.
“He caught a 40-pound Kingfish and six Pompano. We ate well that night,” Krista said.
John went home and told Krista how beautiful and quaint the island was. Not having spent a lot of time on the island in the past, the couple went on another fishing trip, and during that experience, Krista was hooked on Boca Grande.
“The first time I visited the island I thought it was pristine and special, but that second visit just took it to the next level for me – being out on the water, taking in the beauty of it all – it was truly where we both wanted to be,” she said.
“We feel very fortunate to be here, it’s a wonderful place to be — it’s just a great community with outstanding people who are passionate about living here. I love being involved in the community here and I really enjoy giving back to the community.”
Krista recently became a new volunteer for Hope Hospice.
“I am very excited about it. It’s going to be a very purposeful way to give back. It’s a way to really utilize what I know in my skill sets of nursing. I really raise my hat to Hope Hospice for bringing the awareness for the need of more volunteers on the island.”
Krista and Jon currently live in Placida.
When the busy Realtor and volunteer is not working, she enjoys spending time outdoors. Her hobbies include boating, paddleboarding, kayaking and shelling. She also enjoys cooking and doing pilates.
“I love being out in nature and feel so fortunate to live in one of the most special areas on the southwest coast of Florida. We have so much at our fingertips. My husband and I have a Willy Roberts Classic flats boat and that’s my baby. We love to take it out on the back waters as well as explore the areas locally from Stump Pass south to Gasparilla Pass where I do a lot of shelling. We also like to explore Cayo Costa, Cabbage Key, Useppa and Pine Island.”
Krista and John enjoy fishing as often as possible.
“I hooked my first catch and release tarpon this past season. In fact, I landed it on my birthday with the help of a dear friend and superb guide, Captain Van Hubbard.”
She also likes to fly fish but admits that is a work in progress.
Krista holds memberships with the Barrier Island Parks Society (BIPS), the Boca Grande Art Alliance and the Boca Grande Garden Club.
You can reach Krista by calling 941-964-2000.
HOMETOWN: Baltimore, Maryland
OCCUPATION: Realtor/Health Care Technology Advocate
HOBBIES: Volunteerism, boating, kayaking, paddleboarding
FAVORITE BOOK: “Good To Great” by Jim Collins
FAVORITE TV SHOW: The Big Bang Theory
FAVORITE MOVIE: Chinatown
THE PERSON I ADMIRE MOST: My husband and Florence Nightengale
LIKES: Compassion and Kindess