My consulting practice focuses on strengthening the capacity of individuals, networks and communities to address such complex challenges as access to healthy food, equitable youth and family outcomes, health and economic disparities and the fragmentation of out of school time enrichment opportunities for students. I have ongoing relationships with an exceptional cadre of consultants and assemble teams to get the best results for my clients.
My areas of network expertise include: coaching, training, facilitating peer-learning models, designing effective and fun engagement strategies, and helping others get excited about using data to mobilize, plan and take collective action.
Prior to starting my consulting firm in 2011, I was a Senior Consultant at Search Institute and over a 10-year period of time worked with hundreds of multi-sector collaboratives in North America, Australia and the United Kingdom on influencing community and social change. I had the primary responsibility for supported large-scale systems to adopt innovative practices in community and youth engagement.
From 1988 – 2001, I developed, discovered and spread innovative community change models through YMCA movements and non-governmental organizations in a dozen countries. I was recognized for my abilities to design and support learning networks of practitioners experimenting with community leadership, engagement and revitalization efforts.
Examples of recent projects include:
Evaluating the Minnesota Food Charter Network
Client: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
Project team: Kristin Johnstad, Pat Seppanen, Gale Mason Chagil, Bill Richmond, Donte Curtis
Synopsis: Launched in 2015, the Minnesota Food Charter Network (“the network”) is a major vehicle in Minnesota for encouraging cross-sector collaboration to implement Food Charter strategies. The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, in collaboration with the network, contracted Johnstad and Associates to document the network launch and develop an evaluation framework and data collection tools for local, regional and statewide food networks. The intent of the evaluation is to assess network effectiveness focusing on three interconnected areas: Network Vibrancy, Network Connectivity and Network Effects. Kristin’s role is assembling and working with stakeholder teams, introducing and support the utilization of all assessment tools for learning and improvement.
Coaching leadership through the Rural Health Initiative
Client: Reach Healthcare Foundation
Project Team: Kristin Johnstad, June Holley, Adena Klem, Scott Witnick
Synopsis: In 2012, the REACH Foundation created the Rural Health Initiative (RHI) with a goal of breaking through persistent barriers to health care access for rural residents who are low income and medically underserved. The initiative focused on three rural counties and was organized to encourage and develop leadership capacity to implement solutions that can remove barriers to health care in rural areas. The goal was to develop a systematic and coordinated approach to community change that would increase the potential for substantial improvement in health. Kristin’s role with on the ground network coaching and training.
Training on Network Building and Leadership
Client: University of Wisconsin Extension
Project Team: Kristin Johnstad, Bill Richmond
Synopsis: Designed and delivered 5 regional training workshops on “Building Networks for Impact and Influence” for University of Wisconsin Extension county-based staff. The goal was to introduce new concepts and amplify existing network skills and approaches used in the state. Over 500 staff were involved in the day-long workshop session and follow-up. Kristin’s role was training design and and lead trainer.
Facilitating a Community of Practice for the Summer Learning Network
Client: Summer Matters Campaign
Project Team: Kristin Johnstad, Deborah Meehan, Miriam Presley, Ari Saughen, Beth Kanter, Kiara Nagel and June Holley
Synopsis: In the summer of 2015, the Summer Matters Campaign partnered with the Leadership Learning Community to: 1) understand the potential of the current summer learning network that has emerged from the work of the Summer Matters Campaign and 2) explore the potential of a network approach to engage new partners that expand the reach and impact of organizations working to improve summer learning opportunities for California youth. Kristin’s role was facilitation of multi-session community of practice, network coaching to leadership and innovation fund awardees.
Developmental evaluation for Creative Placemaking
Client: Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC)
Synopsis:In 2014, LISC launched its Creative Placemaking Initiative to help identified neighborhoods across a number of local LISC offices produce tangible community development and creative placemaking results. In doing so, LISC has married three types of creative placemaking to its overall approach to comprehensive community revitalization: 1. Community cultural development, 2. Culturally-relevant physical transformation, 3. Creation or strengthening of arts- and culture-based economic clusters. As part of this initiative, Johnstad & Associates worked closely with national director and her team across a dozen cities to provide “real-time” data and information to inform decision-making using an evaluation approach that is developmental and formative. The goal is to embed evaluative thinking in the innovation process so that it becomes a key element of the initiative design. Kristin role was design of a peer learning network, writing up case studies and introducing and utilizing network performance tools.