As Vice President, Communications, MacArthur Fellows, and Partnerships, Kristen is the organization’s senior communications leader, managing a comprehensive strategy designed to strengthen MacArthur’s reputation, the impact of the organizations it supports, and the communities they serve. Kristen puts storytelling at the center of all of her work and is committed to identifying compelling narratives that amplify individual and collective voices.
She oversees the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation’s most well-recognized program, and manages institutional and executive communications. Kristen also leads MacArthur’s strategic thinking around institutional partnerships and collaborations.
Prior to joining MacArthur, Kristen served as Director of Corporate Communications at the global public relations agency Golin. Kristen developed strategic communications campaigns that enhanced the brand reputation and relevance of corporate and nonprofit clients, including Dow, Humana, Hyatt, and YMCA of the USA. She also provided strategic counsel, oversaw issues management, and crafted executive-level thought leadership for clients. Previously, Kristen worked as Director of Media Relations for the Cook County Health & Hospitals System, where as a member of the strategy and external affairs team, she raised awareness and credibility for the system as a medical provider, healthcare plan operator, and safety net institution. As Deputy Director of Public Affairs and Communications for Cook County, Kristen developed and implemented an issues management strategy that advanced the agenda of Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Earlier in her career, Kristen was a City Hall reporter for the Chicago Tribune and political writer for the Washington Post and Houston Chronicle.
Kristen received her Bachelor of Arts from Emory University and her Masters of Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
Kristen serves on the Board of Directors of Chicago Sun-Times Media Inc. and is a member of the Audit Committee. Kristen also serves on the Board of Directors of Forefront, Illinois’ statewide association representing grantmakers and nonprofits, and is Chair of the Advancing Racial Equity Committee. And she serves on the Board of Directors of The Communications Network, which connects, gathers, and informs a diverse community of foundation, nonprofit, and social sector communicators, storytellers, and strategists.
Kristen is a Leadership Greater Chicago Daniel Burnham Fellow and is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago.