Kristin Van Busum

Coffee, Farming, youth in South America – Project Alianza (Boston, MA)

Big Idea:
Why allyship is the new leadership – Kristin Van Busum left her corporate job to provide access to education for kids living on coffee farms in Nicaragua. In her attempt to make a difference, she failed multiple times. In this talk, Kristin explains how being an outsider taught her that allyship rather than traditional leadership yielded life-changing results for kids eager to learn. By embracing her role as an ally, she was able to spark a movement – led entirely by local women – toward education equality.

About Kristin:
Kristin Van Busum believes that every kid on the planet, no matter where they’re born, has the fundamental right to education. Kristin is a native Hoosier, Fulbright Scholar, and founder of Project Alianza, an organization that builds and develops robust primary schools on coffee estate farms. The woman-led organization capitalizes on the potential of education to increase social mobility for kids of coffee laborers often called “the most vulnerable actors” in the coffee supply chain. Prior to founding Project Alianza, Kristin worked at RAND Corporation, a global policy think tank that provides objective research to policymakers. She holds a Master of Public Policy and Administration from New York University and Bachelor of Arts from Butler University.