As Chief Executive Officer, Kristen is responsible for formulating and ensuring the execution of Service Year Alliance’s strategy to make a service year a common expectation and opportunity. A leader at Service Year Alliance since its founding — most recently as Chief Strategy Officer and interim co-CEO — Kristen brings nearly 15 years of national service experience and an in-depth understanding of the sector to the role as national service launches into a new era.
Her vision for a new era of national service prioritizes the experience and outcomes of those who serve and focuses on how to make national service more equitable and accessible for youth of all backgrounds.
Kristen previously led the development of ServiceYear.org at Service Year Alliance and worked as a Program Officer at California Volunteers, California’s state service commission. Her nonprofit, government, and strategy development experience positioned her well to lead Service Year Alliance through the recent strategic planning and allows for a clear understanding of what the national service field needs to be successful, where the barriers lie, and how we can bring the next generation into national service.
Kristen is also a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum. As a VISTA, Bennett served on California First Lady Maria Shriver’s WE Connect campaign, connecting low-income families with valuable programs and resources to become more financially secure. While serving, built crucial community partnerships, trained and managed volunteers, and planned and implemented large-scale community events during tax season.
Kristen earned a Bachelor of Science in Planning, Public Policy, and Management from the University of Oregon and a Master of Public Policy and Administration from California State University, Sacramento.
“It’s one thing to be passionate about service, but it’s another thing entirely to dedicate your life and career to it — that’s who Kristen is and what she brings to her new role as CEO,” said Gen. (Ret.) Stan McChrystal, Chair of Service Year Alliance. “Her career-long commitment to national service and passion for system-level change will shape the national service field for decades to come. Kristen brings a thoughtful vision for the organization that aims to bring more people into the movement to heal our country through national service, and I am grateful for her leadership that is propelling this organization forward.”