Student Spotlight: Krystle Starvis

Mandisa Thomas
May 17, 2024

Krystle Starvis is an Executive student in our Social Impact Strategy ’24 cohort. She is the Chief Operating Officer at CLLCTIVLY, a place-based social change organization in Baltimore that centers on Black genius, narrative power, social network, and resource mobilization. At CLLCTIVLY, she leads the organization’s operations, contributes to vision and strategy, and manages key initiatives,

Before CLLCTIVLY, Krystle worked at The Aspen Institute, leading Weave: The Social Fabric Project program strategy and operations and learning culture activities for Aspen’s Leadership Division. There, she designed offerings for employees’ experience centered around belonging and ensuring positive employee experience.

Krystle talks about why she enrolled in the Executive Program

As my organization prepares for growth and scale, there is a great opportunity to refresh our strategy to meaningfully respond to our local context and ecosystem. As the first hire of the organization and in my position as the Chief Operating Officer, I have the opportunity to deepen our capacity and sustainability through effective strategy and systems design. The coursework aligns well with some of the strategic questions I am asking of myself, our work, and our vision for the future. Enrolling in this program is a commitment to myself and my team to prioritize time for skill building and the deep work of reflection, strategy, design and imagination.

Social impact area and current work

CLLCTIVLY is a Baltimore-based ecosystem builder dedicated to ensuring Black-led organizations have the capital, capacity, and community care they need to thrive. This materializes as the following support for Black-led organizations in Greater Baltimore: 1) a number of grant and fundraising programs to provide unrestricted capital, 2) storytelling campaigns to amplify the work, and 3) community gatherings that engage leaders in shared learning, relationship building, and collaboration. I am most proud of our most recent CLLCTIVGIVE, a 24-hour crowdfunding campaign in August, which mobilized $1.2 million for Black-led organizations.

I am passionate about the work we do because it brings together so many of my personal values. Not only do we invest in organizations harmed by historical disinvestment, but we also support leaders who are most proximate to their community’s needs and solutions and invite them into meaningful relationships and collaboration so that we can deepen our capacity and build the healthy and joyful future we want collectively.

Advice for future applicants
I know it can be challenging to carve out time for learning and development while managing what may be demanding roles both at work and at home, but the opportunity to deepen your praxis in community with other changemakers is invaluable. Fortunately, the course is very responsive to this reality, and there is both flexibility and a hyperfocus on practical application so you can immediately apply your learnings in the work you’re doing.

I also want to note that there are many people in the ecosystem of social impact who may not call it by that name. If you are working, in any capacity, to build a strong and healthy future for a community you care about or the world writ large, this learning opportunity may be for you and there is a unique wisdom you hold that the program also needs from you.

How do you envision this program impacting your career?
I’m only a few courses into the program but have already added a number of practices to my toolkit. I intend to use the program’s learnings to design programs, systems, and partnerships that can sustain and serve the Greater Baltimore community for the long term. In addition, the program has connected me to a diverse group of brilliant and compassionate leaders with whom I hope to continue learning and building long after the program concludes.