Kristin Honz, Volunteer Iowa
2013 Innovation & Leadership Awards – Outstanding Commission Staff
Kristin Honz is the Senior Program Officer at the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service (ICVS), where she has worked for nine years. Prior to joining the ICVS staff, Kristin served as a commissioner for ICVS. Her previous work experience includes directing the volunteer center in Council Bluffs, Iowa and working at Boys Town in Omaha. Kristin is a proud graduate of the University of Iowa, where she met her husband Tom. They have two daughters and they also serve as foster parents. Kristin is the daughter of a military service member and grew up around the world.
Kristin has led the ICVS efforts to implement new national service programming, such as helping Iowa become one of the first states selected for the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF). Kristin has helped the VGF be a force for improvement in Iowa’s already-high volunteer service ranking. When Kristin first started working at the commission, she completely reorganized the program management structure and policies. Her leadership led to a plan for program development that has helped Iowa become one of the top-functioning commissions in the nation. Kristin’s innovative side is exercised to benefit Iowa national service programs, by helping them to navigate the system to use CNCS and ICVS resources in new or more effective ways.
Kristin exemplifies ‘grace under pressure’. She is able to simplify a broad range of complex matters quickly, adding her wealth of knowledge, and catalyzing innovation in others. She also is great with ‘big picture’ issues, like distilling broad concepts of volunteer management down to the office/member level; in that capacity she has helped me find ways to improve my project’s understanding of ways to evaluate what we do, create evaluation tools, and expand our capacity. She is a key player in Iowa’s success in the service and volunteer sector.” — Gail Klearman, Managing Attorney at Iowa Legal Aid and director of Iowa Legal Aid AmeriCorps
Kristin’s unique insights have helped the ICVS, and by extension all commissions, to better communicate the needs and concerns of local programs to CNCS leadership and to come up with creative solutions for Iowa. One of Kristin’s greatest strengths is her ability to build strong relationships with others in the national service sector.
Kristin has been active in ASC, providing her experienced input to efforts to grow ASC membership. She also serves as a mentor for other state commissions’ staff, from Kansas to New Mexico and beyond. She has become a go-to person in the state commission field, helping others learn to maximize their resources and implement effective program monitoring practices. At a time of tight budgets and high staff workloads at state commissions, Kristin’s assistance has been crucial for ensuring that Iowa and other states can take advantage of the opportunities available to them.
Kristin’s collaborative efforts on behalf of her fellow commission staff have not gone unnoticed at CNCS. James Stone shares, “Kristin has taken the initiative to provide technical assistance and support to fellow commissions in South Dakota and New Mexico. The South Dakota commission faced the challenge of starting up this past year and Kristin was able to assist the new staff. Similarly, Kristin reached out to New Mexico and provided them support during a staff transition. In both of these efforts Kristin provided critical support that allowed these commissions to meet deadlines and ensure continued funding for the states. There are numerous other examples of Kristin’s efforts to support her commission colleagues throughout the country and furthering the aims of national service.”