Photo by Brandon Alms
Taking a public political stance isn’t in Kristin Carter’s nature. But the certified public accountant and youngest member on the City of Springfield Board of Public Utilities will make herself uncomfortable in the name of future progress. And Carter, 35, is determined to bring others along with her in the process.
“[My husband and I] moved to Springfield in 2011, and we’re never leaving,” she says. “I freaking love it here. When I moved here I didn’t know anybody, so pretty much everyone I know is through The Network. I just started going to a couple of the events. I was not a member for very long before I applied to be on the Leadership Council. I’m one of those people; I jump in like a thousand percent. I was on Leadership Council for a year before I applied to be the vice-chair, and I was elected. As the vice-chair, you’re just kind of waiting in the wings, and then when you’re the chair, which was for me in 2018, it’s a huge responsibility.
“I’m really proud of our work on the OTC ballot issue in 2018. That was our first real deep-dive getting involved in a campaign and affecting positive change on the community. I don’t know the final statistics, but I do believe we increased voter turnout, and we lowered the median age of voters. We’ve created all this positive momentum. Now, we have organizations that call on The Network to say, ‘How can young professionals support us in what we’re doing?’
“We need young professionals to step up and dig in and really get engaged in what’s going on in your community because this is their community, too. The current business leaders and the people who are making the decisions now, they’re willing to let us have a seat at the table, so we just have to show up and get out of our comfort zone and be willing to get involved.”
Big Picture: “I want to see us become more diverse, more accepting and more inclusive because diversity makes a community stronger. I think we’re starting to get there.”