the torch Summer 2016, Issue 2 - Page 21

STA FF profile KRISTEN KOUK I n joi n i ng Baylor Health Care System Foundation last summer, Kristen Kouk took over a number of important fundraising events for the organization. Chief among them: the Employee Giving Campaign — no small undertaking for a newly hired employee. Despite her relatively short tenure, Kristen helped Baylor Scott & White Health – North Texas employees exceed their goal, raising more than $1.7 million with 55 percent of employees participating. “Being able to hit these goals really shows how much employees love to give back to Baylor,” Kristen said, adding that she was impressed with the level of leadership involvement in the campaign. “There are 195 Baylor Scott & White Health leaders, and we had 90 percent participation among them,” Kristen said. “I think that speaks to the quality of the organization and the character of our leaders.” Kristen brings a wide range of event management and public relations skills to her role with the Foundation. After graduating from McKinney High School and later The University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in public relations, Kristen moved to California and worked on a political campaign for a mayoral candidate. She later worked at a boutique PR agency before moving on to Meeting Professionals International, where she managed PR functions. Before joining the Foundation in August 2015, Kristen spent four years with Back on My Feet, a nonprofit organization with local chapters throughout the country. Back on My Feet staff recruit members from homeless shelters and commit to running with them several days a week. Members who achieve certain participation levels can then qualify for other programs, including financial literacy courses and job skills training. “Working on the political campaign taught me about high-stress scenarios,” Kristen says, “but Back on My Feet taught me that we’re all living, breathing human beings who sometimes make mistakes. It gave me a new perspective: we all have struggles — and we’re all special.” Kristen recently discovered that she wasn’t the only one who had made a move from Back on My Feet to Baylor. One of the homeless men she ran with was recently hired by Baylor to help with the Faith in Action program in which Baylor ships older, but still functioning, medical supplies to both local and international beneficiaries. Kristen lost touch with the man but recently noticed him in the cafeteria. He was wearing scrubs and a pager, and she learned that he’d been hired to deliver linens throughout the hospital. “This man is homeless. He was offered employment and rewarded for his hard work,” Kristen says. “Baylor believed what I believed — that while he might be living in homeless shelter, that doesn’t mean he can’t be offered an opportunity to show his commitment though hard work.” Stories like this make Kristen excited about working at Baylor. “I get to interface with so many different types of people in my work, whether it’s the C-suite, nursing or food services. It means you have to be relatable to a wide variety of audiences,” Kristen said. “Working with all types of people — it’s what the Gospel is. It’s not just sitting with them — it’s walking with them and talking with them.” KRISTEN KOUK 21