Many people claim to be passionate about something in life. Whether it is work, a belief or a hobby, this passion often fuels a person to perform at his or her best, and to go above and beyond what is necessary to achieve success and happiness. For Kristen Allbritton, doing less than what is necessary has never been an option, especially when it comes to getting involved and serving others.
Growing up in Fayetteville surrounded by the University of Arkansas and its excitement, she believed it was the “icing on the cake” when she received a scholarship to attend school on the Fayetteville campus. Enrolling in the broadcast journalism program, she attributes her decision to “my love for sports. I remember watching games with my dad since I was 8 years old and enjoying the excitement. I carried that with me through college.”
Looking for hands-on experience, she wasted no time in displaying an interest in working for UATV. During her time with the college TV station, she served as reporter, producer, anchor and assistant station manager. Crediting professor Larry Foley for the experience she obtained while in school, she admits, “Foley reinforced why I wanted to pursue journalism. I enjoyed his classes and respect his work. He was my advisor at UATV and shaped my understanding of news as I know it.”
Graduating in 2004, she took that knowledge and moved to New York City to pursue a Master of Science degree in journalism at Columbia University. Given the opportunity to delve into print journalism, she served as the public relations and proofreading chair for the New York Review of Magazines. Although her time spent at the Ivy League school proved to be beneficial in “shaping the path I’m on now,” she holds the University of Arkansas in high regard for its educational status, saying, “Anything I learned in broadcast at the U of A, I would put up against what I learned at Columbia, and I would tell anyone that.”
The shift she made in graduate school from broadcast to public relations led her to where she is now, working as a marketing coordinator for VLK Architects Inc., in Fort Worth, Texas. Enjoying the print side of the journalism world, she manages market collaterals, writes press releases and articles, produces videos and manages the company website.
Though, a day consisting of just going to work and coming home could never be enough for Allbritton. Since her days at the U of A, her desire to be involved has never ceased. Admitting that at one point, she was a member of 13 different organizations on campus, it is obvious her passion for involvement and serving others runs deep. Serving as executive vice president for the sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, and as community service chair for Golden Key, she obtained strong leadership skills for which she uses in her everyday life.
However, the opportunity to serve as a member of the Arkansas Alumni Association’s Student Alumni Board was a priceless experience. “I went from Red Carpet Day co-chair to serving as vice president of programs my senior year,” she said. “SAB shaped and exposed me to the Alumni Association.”
This exposure as a student led Allbritton to where she is today, serving as president of the Dallas Chapter. A member of the chapter since 2008, she graciously accepted the position of president in June 2012. “I know the position requires hard work, but I am honored and blessed to have it and I hope that I can do it the justice that John Reap has done in the past,” she said.
Hoping to build on its foundations, Allbritton wants recent graduates moving to Dallas to feel at home and “to find comradery with the Dallas Chapter.” With a focus on building a stronger young alumni base, she continues her efforts in searching for ways to get young alumni active and engaged in the chapter. “We need to help cultivate that transition from student to adult and spread the message. In five years, I want to see an increase in young alumni involvement” she proclaims. An increase in involvement isn’t the only thing Allbritton hopes to see. “I want to see our chapter have an endowed scholarship. It is so important to help students in need. This scholarship would help provide a way for them to come to the U of A and achieve a great education.”
As a young alumna herself, her dedication to encouraging young alumni to become engaged can also be seen through her involvement with the Young Alumni Board. Only one month in, she serves as the Board’s secretary and hopes to “find the pulse of young alums.” By generating ideas, she looks to bring that knowledge back to the Dallas Chapter.
For Allbritton, it is all about devoting time to something bigger than herself. It is evident through her years of service that life is most fulfilling when she is serving others and giving back. “I can’t get enough of volunteering. I’ve always wanted to help those in need and provide for those less fortunate. I am so blessed to have had such amazing opportunities. Part of who I am, and my love and desire to help others, comes from my mother – she instilled that in me.”