Kúkátónón Welcomes Our New Executive Director, Ms. Krystal Ngene!
Krystal Ngene (pronounced n-ghen-nee) embraces her culture, authenticity, and life challenges to bring about learning opportunities and growth while using her passion, experience, and expertise to serve as a catalyst for positive change. She has spent her career in service at organizations in various stages of growth, including start-ups, nonprofits, governmental, established, and turnaround settings. Krystal will bring her understanding of the interconnectedness of the lives of people, and her strength in facilitating the connection of diverse groups of people that allows for the cross-pollination of ideas and unlikely sparks of enthusiasm, to foster an environment of unparalleled creativity and community for Kúkátónón.
Krystal comes to Kúkátónón from the City of Portland’s Bureau of Development Services, where she was responsible for program development and project management of the Bureau’s recruitment and hiring program from trainings and outreach strategies, to the coordination of new employee hire processes. In that position, Krystal used an equity-focused lens and led the development and implementation of proactive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Prior to her work at the Bureau, Krystal worked at Ronald McDonald House Charities in Portland; Roger Williams Medical Center and The Therapy Collaborative in Providence, Rhode Island; and as a teacher at Sunshine House and a youth soccer coach in Marietta, Georgia.
Kúkátónón’s search for a new executive director was an inclusive, intentional quest that relied on the experience and feedback of its Board of Trustees, teaching artists, parents of Troupe members, and the greater community. This highly competitive search and collective review process led us to Krystal, a leader that embodies the values, distinct organizational personality, and passionate desire to embrace and recognize the African roots and cultures that exist in our community, and a commitment to bring awareness and a clear understanding of the interconnectedness of our communities and the future, to our children.
Krystal has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Portland State University (specializing in community-based practice and racial equity work), and a B.S. Ed. in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University. “I’m excited at the chance to utilize my past and recent skill sets on a broader scale to fulfill my personal and professional vision to: 1) become part of an environment with a strong mission, that is positive, innovative and growth-oriented; 2) apply my strengths in successfully executing strategies that fulfill the goals of both the community and organization; and 3) deliver on my passion to create a positive, diverse and inclusive environment every single day. I am eager to become part of a team that is accountable and truly wants to be the best, while sharing in my passion to provide the best atmosphere for organizations, community and society.”
Joining Kúkátónón is also a personal commitment for Krystal and her family. “We understand that the African and African American communities have a need that society in a larger context has not been able to meet. It is important that our communities and children have a safe place that encourages and instills a great sense of pride, confidence and education of our culture. Kúkátónón is critical in addressing this need. It also allows for our communities to create their own narrative and tell our own stories to counteract and educate mainstream society. This will help to create a more informed society that will benefit generations to come.”
Krystal enjoys spending time with her husband, David, a designer at Nike; 2 year old son; and mother, Lisa. She loves sports, especially fútbol, hanging with her ‘Mamaz’ group and is a self-proclaimed ‘foodie’. She is also a member of the international, historically Black sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.