The People Behind the Purpose: Kristen

Written by Plant With Purpose on November 30, 2015 in The People Behind the Purpose

2015-11-13 11.48.19From administrative assistant to business manager to director, Kristen has been with Plant With Purpose  through a lot of growth over the past eleven and a half years. As we reflect in this season of Thanksgiving, we certainly are grateful for Kristen’s years of expertise, dedication, and the many gifts she brings to Plant With Purpose.


1. Job title?

Director of Finance and Administration

2. How long you’ve worked at Plant With Purpose?

11.5 years

3. Favorite tree?

Pine trees. They remind me of all the camping trips my family went on in the Sierra Nevadas (California) during my childhood. I love their smell and the songs of the pine needles as the wind weaves through a forest—they feel a part of my soul.

4. Favorite non-traditional must-have Thanksgiving food?

I have spent so many Thanksgivings in the last 10 years eating non-traditional items that these days I crave the good ol’ traditional dishes.

5. Place in the world that gives you the most joy?

Any place where I can be experiencing life with my 4-year-old daughter and sharing with her the beauty of creation—both God-made and human-made. It is also impossible to not feel completely elated (though slightly fearful) when swimming in the ocean.

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6. Your greatest Plant With Purpose adventure?

My trip to Africa in 2013. What makes it my greatest adventure is not the traveling in and of itself, although there were near-daily mini adventures—being “stranded” alone in a very deserted Bujumbura airport with no clock, phone, hotel name, or contact information of hosts; in Tanzania, watching a tire bounce past our jeep on a winding dirt road seconds before realizing it was our tire; sudden plane drops causing men and women alike to scream in sudden fright. This was my greatest adventure because I went there during a very difficult transition in my life, and the trip was a moment of both personal challenge and deep insight—to feel the full weight of being alone and yet to know that being alone is okay and is survivable; and, when we embrace it, we see that God intentionally plants people (even complete strangers) at strategic moments and places in our lives to remind us that we are in fact never truly alone.

7. Describe Plant With Purpose in 4 words:

Empowerment, Transformative, Harmony, Inspiring

8. What inspires you to do what you do every day?

I draw great inspiration from our mission and our core values (Faith, Empowerment, Collaboration, Innovation, Sustainability, Stewardship) but not in the ”what I do everyday is for a greater purpose” way. What inspires me is seeing the impact on the lives of our partnering families and on the environment, and drawing on this to influence the same impact with our U.S. staff. Almost daily I ask myself, “How do we live our mission and our values here in our office (and remote hubs)—in how we operate, how we interact with each other, in the systems we create? What is the organizational culture that these promote and does it align with our mission and our values?” Some have called Plant With Purpose’s methodology a movement. In the same way that the farming families we partner with are influencers of their surrounding environment, I desire that we are a movement here at home—to likewise be influencers of our surrounding environment.

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