September 29, 2023
FUSE Executive Fellow Kristin Vogel (2022–23)

As a FUSE Executive Fellow, Kristin Vogel (2022–23) worked with the Milwaukee County Office of Equity to increase coordination of the County’s ecosystem of equity initiatives and build enterprise-wide and regional capacity to strengthen its internal and regional racial equity infrastructure. She launched a Racial Equity Toolkit to support teams in applying a racial equity lens and engaged with resident and community organizations to design a Resident Voices Portal prototype to increase the effective use of community engagement data.

Since the conclusion of her fellowship, Kristin has continued to work with Milwaukee County as its senior advisor, focusing on strategy development, implementation, and impact evaluation. Additionally, she joined The Equity Equation, LLC as an executive coach for corporations looking to advance inclusive leadership and psychological safety. Kristin is available for consulting in strategy and innovation for mission- and purpose-driven organizations, as well as inclusive leadership coaching for teams and individuals.

What was the impact of the FUSE Fellowship on you (professionally and personally)?

I had been in the higher education sector for many years and was trying to figure out the next step for my career, but I hadn’t found it, and FUSE found me. The Fellowship opened up doors that I could never have imagined before. It felt like absolutely the right next step to bring the expertise I have in enterprise-wide innovation, continuous improvement, strategy, and aural and organizational development into work that strongly aligned with my convictions and passions. My Fellowship experience brought my expertise together and enabled blossoming and flourishing exploration. I feel like the Fellowship was absolutely the right path for me. I’m just now continuing to take these next steps post-Fellowship to do more of the same of developing as I can and contributing where I can, a deep value of mine.

The Fellowship’s impact on me has brought me to a place where I feel like my work is in strong alignment with my values.

Personally, jumping into the government sector while not having had that in my background previously enabled me to test my strengths, expertise, patience, resilience, and persistence. Having to test those qualities, I feel like I grew tremendously over the year and was coming into my own, which added to my self-assurance and the convictions of the passions and purpose guiding me.

What are the big challenges on which you are working now, what are you hoping to achieve in the next 6-12 months, and how has your FUSE experience prepared you to approach them?

I’m continuing to work on the Racial Equity Toolkit I started as a FUSE Executive Fellow with the Milwaukee County Office of Equity. The toolkit is intended to be capacity building for County employees. The County has a strategic priority that everyone applies a racial equity lens in all decision-making, and there’s been a tremendous amount of implicit bias and inclusive leadership training around that. The County is in the next step: “What does it mean to apply racial equity tangibly?” One of the challenges I’m working on is implementing the toolkit within a large organization and having the toolkit socialized, used, tested, evaluated, and the impact measured. 

The second piece I’m working on is strategy within the Office of Equity. It’s another capacity-building project where I bring innovation, continuous improvement, strategy, and results orientation to the Equity team. We’ve been doing strategic planning, and we’re in the process of moving into implementation and alignment, areas that I have loved working on for years. We are putting the plan in service to something really important. We intend to achieve a demonstrable impact in six to twelve months. We’re trying to identify compelling qualitative and quantitative ways to gather stories of what we’re doing and how we’re helping the County gain and achieve more momentum going forward.

FUSE helped me by building connections and networks. The people aspect of FUSE is fantastic, so I know I have people I can reach out to who can be thought partners through all of this work, and that’s invaluable. Expanding the resilience and persistence skill set is also how FUSE is helping me prepare for the following pieces of my work.

Related work and news:

Milwaukee County Office of Equity: Racial Equity Toolkit