SPU staff members of the month are nominated by their peers and selected by Staff Council. If you would like to nominate a person for this recognition, proceed to the nomination page.
Meet the SPU Staff Member of the Month for September 2013
Campus Program Coordinator
Office of Student Programs
Kristen Voetmann is a beacon of light to students, staff, and faculty, who work with her in various capacities. She approaches her work with a happy heart and a smile on her face. When challenges arise with projects, processes or people she works with, she finds joy and excitement in meeting them where they are and working side-by-side to elicit change and growth. Anyone who interacts with Kristen will quickly come to find that family, friends, faith, and education are her anchors, and that she lives her life in a way that has a profound effect on those around her. The fact that she is tasked with directing Welcome Week and advising Leadership Conference is no coincidence – her talents, education, and passions make her the perfect fit for these roles. And people across campus noticed the outstanding job she did with these two events this year .
Hometown: Edmonds, Washington
Job Title: Campus Programs Coordinator, Office of Student Programs.
This means that I direct Welcome Week, co-advise the Student Leadership Development Committee, coordinate the Collegium programming (commuter student lounge), advise two ASSP Officer Core members, and act as a hearing officer for off-campus conduct.
Time at SPU: 2 years
How would you describe yourself?
I love a challenge and would describe myself as someone who is driven, determined, tenacious, and strategic. But I also have a high value for relationships (despite personality and behavior assessments always telling me that I have no heart and no fun!) and many of my closest friendships began in childhood—so once you are in, you are in for life! I try to always seek the best in people and find the good in a situation, so I think I would self-describe as an ideal-realist. Learning is also a core value of mine, which is why you will often find me traveling or reading in my spare time. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was blessed enough to travel to six of the seven continents. I knew then that engaging in different cultures and experiences helped push me outside of my comfort zone—and when I reflected on those experiences, I found I learned and grew the most from those experiences.
What is your favorite thing to do when not at work?
School? No, I am just joking. Although I am currently enrolled in SPU’s Industrial/Organizational Psychology PhD program. It actually depends on how much time I have. When I have a day to myself, I deeply enjoy getting out of the city to go for a hike and connecting with nature. One of the pulls back to Seattle was the fact that all of my family lives in the area, so I definitely take advantage of time with them—particularly with my two little nephews, who live just down the street. I try to build in time to journal regularly because it is how I process, but if I have more time, I will definitely choose to travel and explore – it’s all about the adventure.
What is something few people know about you?
Not many people know that I am musical. In high school, I was in an award-winning jazz band that toured internationally. I play piano, flute, tenor and alto saxophone, and sing. Since returning to the Northwest I have had a number of opportunities to sing and play with my dad’s band, which has been a lot of fun.
What brought you to SPU?
God. I firmly believe in what I call God-nudges and about one month before I graduated from my master’s program in Southern California, I felt a gentle but distinct presence say, “It’s time.” I argued with myself saying it was not time, that I had a job offer here and why would I leave that in this economic climate…but when I came to Seattle next, I went on a number of informational interviews to figure out what university was the right fit. When I officially moved a few weeks later, I left California without a plan and was actually headed in a different direction, but God made it clear that He wanted me at SPU and I started in my role three weeks after I moved. SPU is a place that I did not know I needed, but truly did. I believe SPU is a place of opportunity and I have loved being a part of this community and watching the growth and change.
How does your faith impact your work?
One of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis is, “If ours is an examined faith, we should be unafraid to doubt.”
Early in life, my family experienced a difficult loss and although I grew up in a strong Christian home, my father supported my exploration of faiths as I sought to find meaning in the situation. In consequence, my faith deepened and gave me the courage to live out what I believe and to be who I am based on those beliefs. I firmly believe that I need to live out what I claim and support others wherever they are at in their faith journey. No matter what has or will come, I know that my faith will see me through it.
What does September look like for you?
September is loaded to the brim (and beyond) with Leadership Conference and Welcome Week. All summer, both the Welcome Week leadership team and the Student Leadership Development Committee (SLDC) plan and prepare for their respective events. By mid-September, the final members of the different staffs return to campus and kick into full gear. This year, SLDC developed a unique program that utilized campus experts and was tailored to the needs and interests of 250+ student leaders and their particular organizations. Concurrently, uPod leaders and other support groups for Welcome Week began training as we rolled out the red carpet for new student move in and Opening Welcome. It takes a village (also known as SPU faculty, staff, and students) to run Welcome Week and we could not do it without everyone’s engagement and support. We do our best to design experiences and events for students and their guests that induct them into the community academically and socially, educate them on the resources and activities available on and off campus, and foster healthy relationships with family and friends during this time of transition. These first few days are crucial for our diverse population of new students, so we do everything we can to meet them where they are at and to help them transition as smoothly as possibly to make this place their home.
What do you love most about your job?
My favorite thing about my job is the ability to innovate. I live for both the journey and the destination, which for me professionally translates to both the work and learning. I feel very called to focus on asking the right questions rather than giving the right answers, especially when it comes to student development and growth—and that is ultimately why I do the work I do: the students. Executive coaching is something I am passionate about, and I am energized by being challenged, facilitating projects, educating others (in and out of the classroom), and juggling roles simultaneously.
Please join Staff Council in congratulating Kristen Voetmann as Staff of the Month!