24 November 2021
Earlier this month we announced our newly appointed and re-elected YWCA Canberra board directors. This year we received outstanding applications from highly qualified and empowering women within our community. Today we are thrilled to profile one of our re-appointed board directors Kristin Blume!
Kristin Blume was appointed to the YWCA Canberra board in October 2019. With a background in policy, program management, and public sector leadership, Kristin bring skills to the board including risk management and program evaluation, governance and policy understanding, and stakeholder engagement.
As an ACT Government employee since 2004, Kristin has worked in a variety of roles in social and economic policy, transport planning, and the ACT light rail Stage 1 project, where she led the project office team for the 12 months before services began. Since 2019, Kristin has led the development of the ACT Wellbeing Framework – Australia’s first wellbeing framework that is being embedded into budgets and other parts of government decision-making.
After returning to a leadership role following parental leave for her second child, Kristin connected with small social enterprise Lead Mama Lead to help other mothers returning to work or negotiating flexible work.
Kristin has lived in Germany and Peru and travelled extensively, but these days she loves the simpler joy of walking her labradoodle around Weston Creek with her two primary school-aged kids.
What drew you to contributing your skills on the Y Board?
I have volunteered since I was a teenager, but during university and in my 20s I found myself more and more drawn to causes that would help lift women’s voices. After I had my second child and had a pretty rocky return to work (my ambition wasn’t gone, but my then workplace couldn’t understand why someone working two days a week would want meaningful work!) – I came across Lead Mama Lead, a social enterprise that was designed to help women change the workplace structures that assumed part time or flexible work weren’t compatible with leadership roles. It gave me so much joy to share my experience and work with a committed group of local women to set up this community.
The impetus for me to join the Board was the YWCA Canberra conference in 2019. I had been to several previous YWCA Canberra conferences, and they were the feminist highlight of my professional year. In 2019, I was a tired, busy mum, having just finished working day and night to do an unglamourous but critical back office Executive role for the ACT light rail stage one – and going to the conference was a breath of fresh air. I love how each conference stretches my feminism and makes me conscious of those micro (and macro)-aggressions that are part of the lived experience of so many women and girls. I had met YWCA Canberra’s CEO Fran at a previous event, and when I mentioned what I had been working on, she encouraged me to apply for the Board. I didn’t realise that it was even a possibility to be elected without any prior Board experience but I backed myself and applied and was delighted to be elected in 2019.
What is one of the biggest strengths you see in the Canberra community, that makes you proud to be part of it?
I love the way the community steps up to support one another – from the multiple food pantries that sprung up in my local area during the current lockdown, to the high levels of volunteering, to the way we can still walk down a street and smile at a stranger (ok so I have a very cute dog which helps break the ice!). But I see in my work and on the Board that it’s not a level playing field – and when you don’t have the same starting line, a wealthy city is a very hard place to survive. I am proud to be part of an organisation that can see these gaps and do something about them.
What’s a favourite book or film that you think showcases the strength of women?
I’m going to nominate a podcast actually because work/kids/Board mean my reading is less feminist and less frequent than it used to be!
The Guilty Feminist (because aren’t we all more guilty than feminist at times): Deborah Frances White and the brilliant female comedians and activists she hosts make me laugh,and make me think – and I love how real they all are. My favourite co-host is Sindhu Vee, who never fails to make me snort with laughter.
Want to be on a board but don’t know where to start? Apply for a Board Traineeship. Applications for the Board Traineeship Program open in September each year, and you must be a YWCA Canberra member to apply. Subscribe to our Newsletter to find out first when applications open.
Think a Board Trainee Program would be good in your workplace? See our Bringing on Board guide available for download here.