#InspireInclusion Spotlight - Kjersten Erickson

Amidst the vibrant tapestry of Tucson's community initiatives and nonprofit endeavors, Kjersten Erickson stands as a beacon of passionate advocacy and inclusive leadership. As the Campus Manager for the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA), Kjersten's journey to nonprofit steward exemplifies the transformative power of embracing one's unique strengths and perspectives. Her efforts are creating a safe, community space in the heart of Tucson.

Reflecting on her journey, Kjersten emphasizes the importance of authenticity, urging us to shun conventional molds and instead nurture our distinct leadership styles. Her advice resonates deeply in a world often fixated on predefined notions of leadership. Kjersten champions diversity of thought and experience, recognizing the pivotal role it plays in fostering innovation and progress. Above all else, Kjersten reminds us to "be yourself."

We need young women to step up, to be themselves, and to make their positive impact on the world. No matter what industry they are in. I would advise young women to take on leadership roles where they are able to be themselves (not someone’s idea of who they should be), able to enjoy the process, and exemplify their strengths.

Kjersten draws inspiration from the women leaders she's encountered throughout her career, particularly within CFSA. With an executive staff helmed by three female leaders, she witnesses firsthand the transformative impact of inclusive leadership. Their collective dedication and expertise serve as guiding lights, illuminating pathways for growth and empowerment within the nonprofit sector and beyond.

Reflecting on the benefits of diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership, Kjersten highlights its profound impact on communities, schools, and businesses alike. Drawing from her academic and professional experiences, she extols the virtues of learning from diverse perspectives, warning against the pitfalls of groupthink. For Kjersten, diversity isn't just a buzzword—it's a cornerstone of progress and collective empowerment.

A firm believer in the power of inclusivity, Kjersten underscores the importance of nurturing inclusive environments, particularly for younger generations. "Every child deserves to be inspired, have opportunities, and have access to resources." she states, emphasizing the role of kindness and understanding in shaping impressionable minds, advocating for a society where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued.

I believe that we are born with an inclusive spirit but the harshness and coldness of our societies quickly blur our natural inclination to include and support everyone equally... It can be easy to forget how impressionable young minds can be and those young minds need to be met with kindness and understanding if we ever want to have an inclusive world.

Acknowledging the ongoing journey towards gender balance and equity within the nonprofit landscape, Kjersten remains steadfast in her commitment to driving positive change. According to the nonprofit data organization Candid, while 62% of nonprofit CEOs or executive directors identified as women, larger organizations were increasingly likely to have a male CEO. Recognizing existing inequities, Kjersten champions open dialogue, empowerment, and advocacy as catalysts for transformative progress within the sector.

At the heart of Kjersten's role lies her unwavering dedication to supporting the nonprofits within CFSA's Campus. She relishes the opportunity to witness firsthand the transformative impact of these organizations, spanning realms from microloans to environmental conservation. Through her stewardship, Kjersten fosters a safe, welcoming haven for these changemakers to thrive and flourish.

In the bustling landscape of Tucson's nonprofit sector, Kjersten Erickson emerges as a guiding light—a fervent advocate for inclusive leadership, community empowerment, and positive change. Through her unwavering commitment and steadfast vision, she embodies the spirit of transformation, igniting a ripple effect of inspiration and empowerment throughout the Greater Tucson area and beyond.

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