No stranger to eastern North Dakota, Kristi Hall-Jiran began her philanthropy work at Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC) in Grand Forks as an intern and never looked back. In 1995, she was appointed President/CEO and served on Altru’s Board of Directors for several years. When she realized she had the opportunity to be a part of Altru’s journey in a new and creative way as Chief Philanthropy Officer, she jumped at the chance!
We sat down with Kristi to get to know her better—as a driven, authentic and committed woman.
Why Did You Choose to Work in Healthcare?
I have always had a strong interest in holistic health, probably in part because of my family background. My dad was a hospital CEO and my mom was a nurse and nursing professor which made health and healthcare a part of our family culture. The more involved I got in studying psychology and eventually practicing as a counselor, the more convinced I was that our overall health is really driven by the intersection of physical, emotional and spiritual health.
What Is Your Educational Background and Career History?
I did my undergraduate work at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, graduating with a double major in psychology and health. Then, I moved to Grand Forks to go to UND for my master’s in counseling. My original plan was to go on for my doctorate in clinical psychology, but I ended up doing my internship for my master’s at what is now known as the Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC) in Grand Forks.
What Is the Best Thing About Your Job?
The best thing about my position is the joy that comes from helping donors to connect their passions to the needs of the world. As we think about holistic health, one of the things we are learning is that generosity is actually healing for both parties. We typically just think about the person whose life is touched by generosity, the one who is helped by resources given, but the experience can be just as helpful and healing for the donors. We have a human need to give and being part of helping others through generosity can be a huge part of our overall emotional and spiritual health.
How Do You Measure Success?
I don’t have just one definition of success. I am a very data-driven person, so I am always going to be setting measurable goals and tracking metrics that way. One of my gifts is the ability to dream and vision about how things could be – so I do tend to set high goals and dream big. In my past work at CVIC, we knew every saved life was a priceless success, but not always so easy to measure. The same is true at Altru. Helping a sick child have a better day because a donor provided modest funds for a needed piece of equipment is a huge success, but isn’t always going to show up on a financial report as the “biggest” monetary success. It’s important to look at both.
What Are Your Hobbies Outside of Work?
I love running and try to get out for a run most days. I also love reading, traveling and spending time at the lake in the summer. I am very close to my extended family, and we spend many weekends together at the lake. Paddleboarding and kayaking are high on my list of fun things to do there.
Who Is Your Career Mentor/Role Model in Your Life?
Both my parents have been and still are incredible role models for me. My mom did the whole work/family balance thing back in the day when that wasn’t the norm. She totally inspired me with her ability to go after her educational and career dreams. My dad and I have always bonded over our shared interest in nonprofit work, board governance and healthcare, and I have learned so much from him. Dave Molmen has also been an incredible mentor to me over the years, especially in the areas of servant leadership and evidence-based leadership.
If You Had an Extra Hour Every Day, What Would You Spend It Doing?
I would absolutely spend it with my husband, Brent, and our three girls, Annabel, Kacy and Zoe. Since two of them are in college now, it would require Verizon’s involvement!
What Has Been the Best Moment of Your Career So Far?
One of the things I am most proud of from my time at CVIC was the intense work we did in building our Safer Tomorrows Road Map, which is a comprehensive community plan (involving many partners) to virtually end violence in our community in two generations. Being part of the team that developed this plan over several years, and then being recognized for that work and attracting major investments into the plan were mountaintop moments at CVIC.
Three Words That Describe You?
- Positive/optimistic/joyful (I laugh a lot!)
- Dedicated (I don’t give up easily)
- Genuine (I love people and “real” relationships)
What Excites You the Most About Altru’s New Era?
I am most excited about the way the bold new era is going to allow people in our service region to live their healthiest lives! We are entering such an exciting time of preventive medicine, and I am excited to see how we can begin to reach out in a bigger way to reach people before they develop chronic diseases and all the tough outcomes associated with them. I think the role of philanthropy in the new era is going to be transformative as well, and I am so excited to be a part of it!
To learn more about Altru’s executive leadership team, visit altru.org/leadership.