Kristina Wilfore has more than 20 years of political experience and mastery of virtually all aspects of grassroots organizing. She is a global change agent helping to create a more vibrant and accountable democracy worldwide. As an international political consultant she regularly trains, speaks, and writes about issues that impact people’s participation in politics, parties and parliament.
She brings vast experience in campaigns and elections, policy development and civic advocacy in the US and abroad to her consulting toolkit. Kristina helps teach grassroots organizing, political party development, and how to run and win campaigns. She focuses much of her work on strategies for increasing women’s political participation. She is also an expert on campaigns and election monitoring. She works across a wide range of countries in Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, Southern Asia and the Caucasus. In 2011 she was awarded expat of the year by the Kyiv Post for her work to defend democracy in Ukraine.
As a political scientist and communications professional by background Kristina has advanced the use of public opinion research on democratic freedoms and gender. She was the architect of focus group and survey research on the right to peaceful assembly, human rights under attack as well as a sophisticated project to examine the existing barriers to women’s participation.
As Director of the Ukraine office of the National Democratic Institute, from 2009 to 2013, Kristina worked with civic activists in the led up to EuroMaidan, helping provide training and support to strengthen their advocacy and leadership skills. She also launched a multi-faceted women’s program for the first time in NDI’s history in the country. The “Women Lead” program resulted in creating the first ever equal opportunities caucus in Parliament. She trained women candidates and helped establish women’s departments within leading political parties, which resulted in a two point increase in representation of women in the 2012 Parliamentarian election. This success created a sense of positive competition among other political parties. Since 2010, political parties are starting to understand that to expand their base and appeal to a new generation it is necessary to invest in developing a talented pool of women candidates and activists.
Campaigns & Elections Expert, NGO Leader
In the United States, Kristina served as Executive Director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC), turning a little known research shop into a powerhouse nerve center for direct democracy. Beginning with a budget of only $15,000, she planned, managed and implemented the Center’s growth, turning it into a multi-million dollar politically influential NGO, which was awarded the most valuable think tank in Washington, DC of 2009 by The Nation magazine. Kristina consulted with an average of 40 campaigns a year over an eight year span.
Over her career she has worked in 35 of the 50 states to encourage cooperation among civic and party organizers and elected officials at all levels of public office. Her career has spanned from being the developer of innovative policy strategies on child care, taxes, labor, renewable energy and civil rights, to creating one of a kind networks of legal experts, while also training hundreds of elected officials and grassroots activists a year. She has spent years mobilizing public support for “kitchen table” issues that provide people with greater economic opportunity. She was the architect of the campaign to increase the minimum wage in targeted states, which increased voter turnout in the 2006 midterm election, helped several candidates win closely contested U.S. Senate races, and led to a federal increase for all workers in 2007.
Thought Leader & Spokesperson for Social Change
Kristina works as a speaker and trainer (refer to talks recently given to schedule a consultation). She has been featured as a guest on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, as well as national news networks and public broadcasting. She has been a regular source for publications on grassroots organizing and direct democracy in publications such as Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and a contributing writer for Ms. Magazine and Huffington Post.
Kristina is listed in SheSource, an online braintrust of female experts on diverse topics designed to serve journalists, producers and bookers who need female guests and sources (organized by the Women´s Media Center).
She was recently selected for a prestigious foreign policy fellowship, as a 2015 Political Partner with the Truman Project for National Security. The Truman Project unites veteran, political, and policy leaders to develop and advance strong, smart and principled solutions to global challenges Americans face.
She is Vice President of the European Association of Political Consultants and is chair of the 2017 conference in Brussels. She serves on the Board of the International Women of Istanbul as Social Responsibility Coordinator where she directs donations to women and children’s welfare organizations in Turkey. Resources on the NGO sector in Istanbul and social welfare organizations Kristina works with can be found here.
Personal Tid Bits
Kristina holds a Master in Public Administration with honors from the University of Washington as well as degrees in journalism and political science from Washington State University. She is from the American west, born and raised in Kalispell, Montana, which provided her with the rarely used skills of horseback riding and shooting guns (although not at the same time). Her passions are photography, anything food related, being a sous-chef for her husband and a good Aunt to her four nieces. After working for seven years without a vacation at one point in her career she recommitted herself to travel and global change making. Over the last 10 years has lived in and out of a suitcase – working across the Former Soviet Union, Latin America and Asia.
When not traveling for work, she can be found photographing Turkey, working on various pro bono projects in Istanbul with women and girls, acting as a food and wine taster for her husband at their restaurant in Sultanahmet, entertaining her rescue cat, and of course, plotting her next move.