Legacy-Leaders Feature: A World-Changer with a Heart for the Community – Meet Kristin Shymoniak
NAME: Kristin Shymoniak
JOB/ PROFESSION: Student Support Coordinator
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!
A native of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Kristin Shymoniak is currently a Student Support Coordinator and Commissioner on the Mayor’s Commission on African American affairs. Kristin has dedicated her life to serving her community. Some of her community activism efforts include being a board member for Black Millennials 4 Flint, a grassroots civil-rights and environmental justice organization; the Darrelle Revis Foundation, a non-profit striving to end childhood hunger; and being a D.C. Commissioner on Mayor Bowser’s Commission on African American Affairs. In addition to being a community leader, Kristin is an educational advocate. She received her Master’s degree in Special Education with a specialization in autism from the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently a Student Support Coordinator in Arlington, Virginia. Kristin is the 2017 AASA and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Women in School Leadership Award recipient and 2019 National Urban League Emerging Leaders Fellow. Kristin is a world changer and has a heart for the community and future generations
YOUR GENERATION DEMOGRAPHIC:
Millennial (born between 1980 – 1994)
DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE WORKFORCE?
It has been a great learning experience. I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of elementary-age children with varying needs. I have also had the opportunity to use my position as an educator to cultivate and plant seeds in my student’s lives. While as a student support Coordinator, I have the opportunity to work closely with families and help them understand and become comfortable with the special education process.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR POSITION?
I love working with families and seeing parents’ eyes light up when we share their child’s strengths and abilities with them. Often times in special education, a student’s weaknesses are the topic of conversation which can be very discouraging to parents and teams. When we share what a child is capable of accomplishing, it creates a more positive narrative.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN BEING A MILLENNIAL IN THE WORKPLACE?
The stigma of the title! lol Everyone thinks that we (millennials) possess a sense of entitlement and are lazy. It is offensive to me when someone makes those generalizations. I think with every generation, you have the good and the bad apples. I’d like to consider myself one those good apples that defy that stigma.
WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS MANAGERS AND CEO’S CAN ENERGIZE THEIR EMPLOYEES?
– Be present and listen
– Provide incentives to let them know they are valued
– Create opportunities for growth
HOW DO YOU SHOW UP FOR YOUR TEAM & ORGANIZATION?
I make it a priority to be accessible to my teams, allowing them to feel comfortable to approach me with questions or concerns. I try to help my team come to their own solutions using cognitive coaching so that they do not become dependent on me to provide them with solutions. I also provide reinforcement as much as possible to let the team know they are seen, heard, and appreciated.
WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?
I plan to work in educational policy or civil rights one day. My passion has always been to advocate for those that are marginalized and in turn teaching them how to advocate for themselves.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS TO BE A “LEGACY-LEADER”?
To me, to be a Legacy-Leader means to create positive change and power that transcends generations and grows exponentially. Being a Legacy-Leader means being eternal and being that catalyst that helped create legends.
HOW CAN WE KEEP UP WITH YOU KRISTIN?
Facebook: Kristin Shymoniak