Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF) is excited to welcome our new staff member, Kristal Hance, to the team. We invite you to learn more about Kristal and how she developed her passion for ensuring excellent education opportunities exist for all students in Duval County.
Tell us a bit about your story. How did you come to be involved in this work?
I started my career in event management, and it was by total chance that I entered the nonprofit world. I have always enjoyed teaching and have a strong sense of service to others. Throughout high school and college, I taught dance and coached gymnastics; as a student of the performing arts, I truly enjoyed helping others pursue their interests and loved to share that moment with a student when they “got” something. After graduating from the University of Florida with a Tourism degree, I started working in my chosen field but a few years later, desired a change.
I decided to “shop” for a new job through a temp agency to determine what other fields may interest me. My recruiter suggested I interview for a position with the American Cancer Society (ACS), and I accepted a temporary position as an administrative assistant in the development department with the Duval County Unit. I thoroughly enjoyed the work, and I stayed with the organization for ten years in various roles in income development and office management. My previous experience coordinating events dovetailed nicely with the many fundraising events I worked on, and I enjoyed working with volunteers and donors to increase mission awareness and community involvement. It was during my time at ACS that I honed my skills for streamlining office processes and creating systems.
After ten years of service with ACS, I took some time off to travel and work on a few personal projects. Recently, I felt a strong desire to return to nonprofit work full-time. The Office and Fund Development Associate position with JPEF initially caught my attention because it combined all of my previous favorite nonprofit roles into one, and after learning more about what JPEF does, I was especially excited about the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives at the local level.
Who is the teacher, school leader or community member that inspired or helped you to reach this moment in your professional life?
There are so many people I could name! I am grateful to have had so many wonderful mentors and access to resources growing up. The two people that stand out in my mind are my first dance teacher, Mrs. Karolyi, and my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Herdman.
Mrs. Karolyi played a large part in instilling self-discipline in me. I was a naturally talented but lazy dancer, and she often called me out on it. She was tough but fair, and she taught me that it wasn’t enough to just have talent -- I also had to work hard to succeed. Ms. Karoyli taught me how to accept constructive criticism, and I credit my work ethic to her influence.
I spent my elementary school years in Naples, Italy. In third grade, I switched schools and the transition was difficult for me. I was shy and didn’t know any of the other students, so Mrs. Herdman went out of her way to make sure I acclimated. I remember feeling very at home in her classroom. I had a desire to please her, and I think it was in her class that I developed a servant’s heart. I always wanted to help her out.
These two women made me want to help others and encourage them to chase their dreams. My position with JPEF offers me the opportunity to combine this desire with my skills in nonprofit administration.
What makes you particularly excited to join JPEF at this moment in the life of the organization?
I am most excited to assist JPEF with its income development efforts to support teachers and provide a quality public education for all students in Jacksonville. The staff members at JPEF are some of the most dedicated people I have ever met, and I hope to add value to the team through my commitment to service to others and community needs.
Jacksonville Public Education Fund believes in the power and potential of great people to drive positive change. To learn more about our team, visit our staff directory.