A 140-pound King Shepherd isn’t the normal accessory for a glamorous, jet-setting philanthropist, but where Kristi Schiller goes so does Johnny Cash, a long-hair Lothario with an eye for protecting his human pack and an appetite for chicken fried steaks and the occasional landscape rock.
“He has logged more private plane hours than most pilots and blows me away with his superhuman abilities,” laughs Schiller.
In addition to Johnny Cash, Schiller is almost always accompanied by two tri-colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and the most recent addition, A Belgian Malinois “bomb dog” named Daisy. From her River Oaks home in Houston to the ranch in Millican, Texas, just south of College Station and her husband’s alma mater Texas A&M University, her rowdy, but well-mannered K-9 entourage is just one of the many things that set Schiller apart from the stereotypical socialite.
Schiller is a social entrepreneur with a fashionable flare and cowgirl grit.
A true Texas woman, Schiller grew up “where the pavement ends and the Gulf of Mexico begins” in Freeport, Texas, just southwest of Houston. Her parents taught her early on that self-worth comes from within.
“I grew up on a shipyard along the Texas Gulf Coast, where there were oyster shells in everyone’s driveways” she relates. “I was raised to be resourceful and make your
own path, not sit on the side of the street as the parade drove by. I started serving on my first board of the local orphanage at a mere 18 and from this I launched a toy drive for birthdays and holidays for these children, who were not yet placed in foster homes. My parents never explained to us someone had less than but rather how much more you can help the next person, whether it be with knowledge, sweat equity or through monetary involvement. I was raised to
see a broader side of charity than most. Realistically, we exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give. I was instilled at a very early age by my parents, ‘If you have…then you DO.’”
Armed with a degree in broadcast journalism, Schiller spent ten years in broadcasting from early stints on national radio to E! Entertainment Television and Hard Copy. She later found a new voice as internet entrepreneur, earning the title of “Queen of the Internet” from Forbes Magazine in 1997.
In 2001, Schiller met John, Chairman and CEO of Energy XXI, one of the largest independent oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico…