Kristin Ekkens, Founder & CEO
Kristin Ekkens, MA, is a cultural intelligence strategist, speaker and consultant. Kristin is an activator, achiever and includer whose passion is helping organizations drive culturally intelligent innovation.
Kristin brings a unique perspective to global leadership and talent management specifically in multinational and domestic multicultural companies. With experience as manager of Inclusion & Diversity of an integrated healthcare system (23,000+ employees), TEDx speaker, executive director of a national nonprofit focused on closing the workforce skills gap, senior consultant and corporate intercultural trainer, and workplace language and literacy program director, Kristin brings a unique perspective to global leadership and talent development. Her area of expertise is bridging cultural and linguistic gaps in culturally diverse companies.
Since 2002, Kristin has provided cross-cultural leadership skill development, global team building, and global talent development (including customized English language and literacy training) to over 85 companies with diverse workforces. Her practical experience, passion for workplace inclusion and cultural intelligence, and her interest in evaluating ROI inspire Kristin as she works with clients to build a stronger, more competitive and innovative workforce.
In 2016, Kristin received the Building Bridges Award from the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, Kristin was recognized as a 40 under Forty Business Leader by the Grand Rapids Business Journal. She was also a nominee for Raising the Bar award from the Grand Rapids Young Professionals and the Bridge Builder award from the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In 2014, Kristin was recognized as a cultural entrepreneur in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, Calvin Spark, and a language journal in Taiwan. Her workplace learning initiatives have received multiple awards for quality and innovation including international exposure in a 2008 broadcast of ABC World News Tonight with Charles Gibson and recognition in 2011 as a best practice by Singapore Workforce Development Agency.
Kristin is a certified Cultural Intelligence (CQ) facilitator through the Cultural Intelligence Center. She earned an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Michigan State University and a BA in Spanish and Linguistics from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. She currently serves as interest section Immediate Past Chair (2015-16) for an international language teaching association. Kristin’s international experience includes living in Spain, studying at La Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao and La UNED in Denia, staying with host families in Mexico and Costa Rica, and traveling extensively throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Western Europe, and New Zealand.
In the media
Influential Women Q&A - Grand Rapids Business Journal (January 12, 2016)
Forty Under 40 Business Leader, GRBJ (pg 18) (October 2015)
English Career - TESOL Journal, Taiwan (June 2014)
Grand Rapids Business Journal Article (Dec 2012)
Click here to view a list of speaking engagements.