Kristen Elechko is a leader, athlete, strategist, diplomat, philanthropist, and leading-edge feminist who is passionate about women’s leadership, politics, and social justice. She is currently the principal of Cascade Consulting.
Her career began in the outdoor industry with many recognizable household brands including The North Face, Marmot and Eastern Mountain Sports in product development, product management, marketing and sales. She has experience with budgets ranging from $4,000 to $40 million and has demonstrated the ability to grow financial portfolios in exciting and innovative ways.
After over 15 years of “playing with the boys”, Kristen made the choice to shake things up completely and really “make some change.” She recognized that her expertise and leadership is an incredible asset and is focused on creating sustainable social justice change, especially for women and girls. In 2011, she enrolled in a Masters in Nonprofit Management program through Regis University. The overall architecture of her skills from both sectors translates well into organizational development, strategic planning, development and fundraising.
A 2013 graduate and later director of the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI), Kristen has followed her purpose through political engagement. She has served as the campaign manager for a number of campaigns in Western Massachusetts, including women running for City Council, Mayor, State Representative, District Attorney, and State Senator. She has also been an active fundraiser and volunteer for a number of state and national level campaigns.
Previously, she served as an associate for Imagine Philanthropy, a capacity- building firm that supports foundations, grant making institutions, funds and social justice organizations that focus on women’s rights.
Kristen is passionate about developing women who seek positions of leadership, politics and civic engagement, and civil rights. She brings a background of entrepreneurship from more than 15 years of experience in the outdoor industry, another 7 years in nonprofit leadership, married with her desire to develop a more just, free, and equitable world.
Kristen applies the leadership, teamwork, ambition, dedication, hard work and tenacity that have made her a successful athlete to every aspect of her life.
A self-described lifelong athlete, she began playing soccer at age 4 and continues to play today. She played both soccer and lacrosse during her time at Mount Holyoke College, soccer, softball and basketball in high school (oh, and there was that time that she was on the ski team, too). Team sports are a way of life, as well as a tool for life for her. Yoga, running, and cycling are her most common activities now and are combined with a solid meditation practice. Her mind, body, spirit connection is incredibly important and powerful—great care is taken in each of the areas to live a balanced and fulfilling life. Some of Kristen’s proudest athletic accomplishments include the Seven Sister’s Trail Race, the New York City and Boston Marathons, VT50k Trail Race, Moab Marathon, Labor Pains Ultramarathon, and winning the gold medal in the sprint triathlon at the Gay Games in Cleveland in 2014.
“I like challenging myself on many different levels—mostly, working with a group of like-minded people and finding a route to success. Success can mean many different things to many different people. For me, it represents an experience where my values, integrity and personal growth meet a team’s ability to raise up and work towards a vision.”