VoyageDenver: Meet Kristy Judd of Spark the Change Colorado in Capitol Hill

Meet Kristy Judd of Spark the Change Colorado in Capitol Hill

Interview by: VoyageDenver

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristy Judd.

Kristy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My story began, after graduating from NDSU with a business degree, working in a family owned business. I honed my business skills and learned the value of community engagement, now known as Corporate Social Responsibility. Back then, giving back to the community in the form of in-kind products or services simply meant we sold more hamburgers. Additionally, as a board member of a dozen nonprofit organizations, I also learned how vital the nonprofit sector was to building and caring for a community. These experiences were the building blocks that created the opportunity for me to switch sectors and become the Executive Director of The Colorado Mountain Club. With years of experience as a volunteer, it was a natural fit to work with an organization whose heart and soul resided with volunteers. However, I needed a few Volunteer Management skills so sought training, advice and tools from Metro Volunteers. Eleven years later, how fortunate for me to have the privilege of leading the organization that represents my own heart and journey, and now called Spark the Change Colorado.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Competition for customers or funding, recessions, pandemics – are all obstacles along the way. I believe that when you are able to use the skills you’ve developed, are doing the work that you enjoy and are smart enough to surround yourself with smart and talented people, including staff, volunteers and colleagues, the struggles smooth out. No business, for profit or nonprofit, is perfect and without change. The key to success is to keep learning, experimenting with new ideas and not being afraid to make difficult decisions.

Spark the Change Colorado – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am currently the CEO of Spark the Change Colorado. Spark is a Volunteer Center that provides expertise, tools and strategy for communities, nonprofits and individuals to use volunteerism to build a more connected, resilient, stronger and equitable community. We convene and empower change makers in our community to ignite service and champion their work. Our work is exponential. One change maker, whether an individual, group, nonprofit or community can inspire the change needed for all to live in the best world possible. There is much work to be done, building the capacity of others to engage volunteers brings expertise, experience, resources and voice to the solution.

In addition to capacity building, Spark also operates a Mental Wellness Program and the Senior Companion Program. Both programs recruit volunteers as a strategy to address a community challenge. In these instances, access to mental health care and living safely and happily at home while aging.

We are proud to be nimble, whether we are supporting a pandemic, providing mental health care to those without service or assisting an older adult to remain living at home, Spark the Change Colorado is able to quickly adapt and provide services to those in the trenches.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is the Mother – Daughter lunch at my church. I grew up in church. It was the place where my family’s values were practiced. Not only was I one daughter that day but two! My very generous mother shared me with another woman whose daughter lived very far away. Bringing joy to someone was so easy. Who knew that volunteer act would impact my life and career?

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