It is with great pleasure that we share the good news that Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) is welcoming Kirsten Foot, PhD, as our new CEO and Executive Director. Kirsten’s extraordinary experience—as well as her commitment to preventing human trafficking—shows that she is uniquely qualified to lead BEST through the next phase of our journey as we continue to educate employers on how they can prevent human trafficking and create more pathways to employment for survivors.
From early in her career, even prior to earning a PhD in Communication from the University of California San Diego, Kirsten has been passionate about preventing human rights abuse. In her role as the Dart Endowed Professor of Trauma, Journalism, and Communication at the University of Washington, Kirsten has provided consultation, training, and coaching for a wide variety of organizations concerning human trafficking as well as conducted expansive anti-trafficking research across the United States and in several other countries. She has advised several ethics committees and helped establish social change to counter human trafficking. Kirsten specializes in fostering collaboration between diverse change makers in the public, private, and civil society sectors to halt the exploitation of vulnerable people.
“Kirsten deeply cares about the mission of BEST, which is extremely important, and she also has a deep understanding of the many partners and people behind it,” describes Mikaela Kiner, President of BEST’s Board of Directors and Founder & CEO of Reverb. “The Board of Directors knew we needed a leader who could bring many groups together in their effort to prevent human trafficking. After an extensive search, it was clear that Kirsten was the right person for this role given her experience facilitating collaboration that results in positive, concrete solutions for survivors.”
BEST is thrilled to have Kirsten lead us in our next chapter of growth. As the new CEO and Executive Director for BEST, Kirsten will help guide business leaders and equip them with the tools they need to implement socially responsible strategies for halting human trafficking and ultimately preventing it. Kirsten is strongly committed to ending exploitation, and she excels at identifying and cultivating effective organizational and collaborative practices for countering human trafficking. Kirsten has engaged in action-oriented research to counter human trafficking for over 15 years, leading international teams of experts from academia, government agencies, businesses, and nonprofits to coproduce practical knowledge and implement it. She created and taught courses on multisector collaboration, organizational communication, and technology in society. Several of her mentees now lead cross-sector collaborations for social change themselves.
Kirsten is the author or editor of four books, including the award-winning Collaborating Against Human Trafficking: Cross-Sector Challenges and Practices. She curated a collection of publicly available tools for collaboration and led the multisector team that produced the Toolkit for Hope-Based and Solutions-Oriented Journalism on Human Trafficking.
We invite our partners, donors, volunteers, and neighbors to join us in welcoming Kirsten Foot to BEST! We are excited to carry on our mission and to expand our impact so that no survivor feels disempowered in our community. Together, we can advance our shared vision of creating a world where all people are free.