January 1, 2012
Email Kristen
Kristen Zimmerman

Photo: Xiomara Castro

“Transformation is a dance between collective, generational and individual change. We leverage and build upon the work and lessons of those that came before us. Other things we have to experience and learn for ourselves. Together we write the story of the future.”

Kristen loves to bring big, audacious ideas to life. She has two and a half decades’ experience as innovator who launches and nurtures groundbreaking work in social transformation. As a movement maker, artist, storyteller, strategist and trainer she has helped groups open to new ways of thinking and being, align around purpose and move towards action. She is committed to bringing about a world that recognizes our fundamental interdependence.

Kristen’s work was shaped by the youth-led, racial justice, queer and intergenerational movements of the late ’80s and early ’90s, and a passion for international indigenous movements. As a young adult this led her to South Asia where she co-founded and directed the Intercultural Oral History Project with Tibetan exile leaders. This grassroots, national project and curricula trained Tibetan youth to explore exile community history, politics and identity through action research with their elders. On returning to the US, she co-founded and directed Youth in Focus, an organization dedicated to increasing young people’s power and leadership through youth-led action research. This ultimately sparked and inspired a whole new body of work in youth-driven community engagement. As a public radio producer and journalist Kristen launched Full Circle, a weekly cultural and public affairs show, which also served as training ground for new women producers and producers of color.

For the last 15 years, as a co-founder and senior fellow at the Movement Strategy Center, Kristen led the development of MSC’s movement building practice and methodology, focusing on the integration of transformative practice with movement strategy and organizing. She served as a designer, strategist, trainer and faculty on many groundbreaking initiatives, including MSC’s own Transitions Imitative and projects with Forward Together, the Center for Media Justice, and NoVo Foundation’s Move to End Violence. Her writing [which includes Love with Power: Practicing Transformation for Social Justice (2016); Out of the Spiritual Closet: Organizers Transforming the Practice of Social Justice (2010); ReGeneration: Young People Shaping Environmental Justice (2005); and Making Space, Making Change (2003)], has catalyzed and re-framed innovative work in multiple sectors.

Currently, Kristen provides graphic recording/facilitation, research, writing and storytelling, program and curricula design, and strategic thinking support to groups. She is especially interested in work that focuses on catalyzing deep cultural shifts and the work of generating new stories to shape our future. She is committed to tapping into art, creativity, play, story and mind-body practice for social transformation.

She is a proud parent of Jonah, her eleven-year-old son with Down’s Syndrome, and an enthusiastic parent organizer around special education issues in Oakland. Her spiritual practice, Zen, and painting keep her grounded and whole. She holds a B.A. from Brown University.

All content © 2013 - 2017 by Movement Strategy Center Credits