President & CEO, Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia
Kristin Williams is the President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia. JA is one of the world's largest youth serving NGOs. Under Kristin's leadership, JA of Nova Scotia has become the fastest growing charter in Canada, tripling program offerings, expanding core program delivery, student reach and impact. Kristin is also the Project Lead for the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame's Legacy Project; a $1.5M initiative involving two capital installations celebrating the business history of Nova Scotia. Prior to joining JA, she was the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia SPCA, where under her leadership the organization won 8 industry awards for game-changing programs.
Kristin is an active volunteer. She was involved at the grassroots level to form the first labour market council for the non-profit sector, and subsequently served on the newly formed Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia for six years. She currently serves with the Inaugural Advisory Body of the Centre of Employment Innovation.
Kristin is a PhD Candidate and part-time university instructor in Management at the Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary's University. She is also the Editorial Assistant for Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal. Kristin is a Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Graduate Scholar (2015-2019) and the recipient of the 2018 Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada Award of Merit. Kristin's dissertation research focuses on overlooked historical female leaders and proto-management theorists and one of her recently published co-authored papers received the 2018 Emerald Literati Award for Outstanding Paper published in the Journal of Management History.
What are you most proud of professionally? And who or why?
I am proud to have had the opportunity to grow the reach and impact of socially innovative programs and organizations that serve to build healthy and engaged communities.
What’s your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?
The youth of today are tomorrow's leaders. Our opportunity lies in providing mentorship, education and support to build workforce capacity and leadership potential.
What was your greatest stage of growth? What made it a shift for you?
Transitioning from corporate to the non-profit sector allowed me to activate a commercial skill set within the non-profit sector and grow as a community leader and social innovator.
What’s your favourite or most read book or podcast? Now or at each of your greatest stages of growth?
I am an avid reader of all sorts of writing. Some classical favourites include: Bell Hooks, Margaret Atwood, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie.
What’s your deepest learning from this past year? How did/will you apply it?
This past year, I finally accepted that you don't have to choose a single path. I can continue to enjoy the stimulation and challenge of being many things. I can be a mom, a partner, a CEO, a teacher, a mentor, a volunteer, and a scholarly writer.
Who’s inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?
I have had the best of luck with fabulous mentors in both business and academia. They have supported me, given me chances and challenged me. I have been trusted with immense responsibility and thrived under the pressure of intense learning. I have been made to feel safe in my musings and explorations.
Women who are fiercely authentic and bold, and who lift each other up inspire me. I have met countless women leaders, academic superstars and community advocates who have challenged my thinking and made me a better and smarter person.
My children: they inspire me to be the very best version of myself. They remind me to slow down and be "in the moment".
What would you have done differently?
Nothing. Life's ups and downs are part of who we are.
What were your priorities and how did they help you overcome some of the struggles you’ve faced? What motivated you to make the choices you’ve made? What are the principles you live by?
When I became a mom, it inspired me towards a new career path. This is when I transitioned to the non-profit sector. I wanted to do something important and I wanted to set a strong example.
Everything I do is through a feminist lens: my leadership, my writing, my mentoring and my mothering.
What uncomfortable truths have you learned about yourself in those experiences?
I have had the opportunity to work with great people. One of the hardest truths that I learned is that even when partnerships are exceptional, it doesn't always mean that two people are on the same path. Sometimes these wonderful moments are only meant to last a little while.
Non-profit leader, feminist scholar, university instructor, youth mentor