A Seasoned Professional: Theresa Boysen savors her role at Kernel Season's

Cinemas Features

Film Journal International enjoys saluting professionals in the cinema channel. This month, we hail a truly “seasoned” professional, Theresa Boysen, sales director, theatre/concessions at Kernel Season’s.

Born and raised in the outskirts of Chicago, Boysen still lives only a couple of miles from her original home in Hanover Park, Illinois. Building on her business and accounting proficiencies, she is a confident, accomplished and focused sales executive.

Theresa Boysen began her working career at age 14 as a hostess at IHOP. She boasts that she was promoted to waitress not long after she started. After graduating from high school, she attended community college, where she applied her energy to a degree in Art. However, to pay for school, she honed her skills in business management and learned office procedures at the local hardware store. Her know-how soon led her to a bookkeeping role at the accounting firm of Bezman, Hirsch & Associates. From there, she got the chance to reignite her passion for art and design when landed a job designing packaging for foodservice supplies, cups, vessels and tableware. The software knowledge she picked up in that role would later open the door to Kernel Season’s.

As a teenager, Boysen was a dancer extraordinaire. “I enjoy dancing, especially jazz,” she reports. “In high school, James B. Conant, I was captain of our school dance company and I started teaching children’s dance after I graduated.” She still maintains a connection to her dance colleagues, occasionally subbing when her busy travel schedule permits.

Theresa credits her family as the strongest influence in her life, citing “my mom’s creativity and patience, my dad’s work ethic and determination, and my sister’s bravery and incredible sense of humor.” She has a sign in her office that reads “Work Hard and Be Nice to People”—a mantra she applies to her efforts at Kernel Season’s.

Theresa Boysen earned a B.A. in Entrepreneurial Finance and Management from DePaul University in 2014. “I returned to college to finish my degree as an adult, while working at Kernel Season’s.” Brian Taylor, founder of Kernel Season’s, not only encouraged Theresa to get her degree but also served as her professional advisor in the program. She credits Krystal LaReese-Gaule, Kernel Season’s late, highly respected national sales manager, as her mentor. She has excelled in the industry with “hard work and a lot of luck,” but continues to credit “Krystal’s top talent” for her ability to stay on the right path.

Continuing education remains a priority in Boysen’s life, as she has multiple credentials from industry trade organizations. She earned her ACS appointment from NAC in 2016. Along with Michele Lewis of Sweet Bottom Cookies, she was the first to earn her CCM online accreditation in the spring of 2017. She currently serves as co-chair for NAC’s Outreach Committee and also represents NAC as a regional VP for the Great Lakes Area. Her accomplishments are a tribute to her tenacity in staying abreast of the latest trends, not only in the supplier/manufacturer segment but “ultimately, looking to reach the same customer as my customer, the theatre patron,” she observes.

Theresa values the opportunities in the cinema channel and believes in its culture. “It is clear patrons still appreciate the experience of seeing films in a movie theatre. Keying on the smallest details that really create the complete theatre experience for customers is the biggest opportunity for growth,” she advises. It is easy to see how this philosophy merges with that of Kernel Season’s, as “no popcorn is complete without the final detail, Kernel Season’s popcorn seasoning.” She adds, “It seems our customers’ attention span is shorter than ever. The challenge is to stay relevant, while not overwhelming customers to the point that they tune the messages out.”

She feels she can influence the presentation of food and beverages by “carving out enough product awareness that popcorn seasoning becomes a standard condiment in theatres and at home. Popcorn without Kernel Season’s is like French fries without ketchup. Just wrong!” she contends.

An avid moviegoer, Theresa loves the film Moonstruck, but cannot decide if it is better than Where the Heart Is or The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. Her favorite book is The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, since it portrays a certain vivacity and the challenges many families endure. Her favorite Kernel Season’s flavoring is White Cheddar or Ranch (but my guess is that anything with Kernel Season’s is her favorite). She is an avid fan of red wine, and while not an official sommelier, she enjoys studying its heritage. While she cannot teach dance as much as she would like, she still has one very important student, her niece Luna.

Theresa and her husband Terry have a 17-year-old son, Caleb, and one-year-old daughter, Eleanor Ellis Boysen.