Kitsap Strong Backbone Role
Creating a process and environment in our community where agencies can come together to discuss complex social issues - homelessness, intergenerational poverty, ACEs, mental health issues, substance use, criminal activity - and develop innovative solutions is hard work. We must all be patient while holding each other accountable.
Kitsap Strong's role as the backbone:
Have a dedicated staff
Have a high level of credibility within the community
Serve as neutral convener - create a space/process for agencies to learn together
Build key relationships across agencies involved in the initiative
Focus people’s attention & create a sense of urgency
Frame issues to present opportunities & difficulties
Use evaluation as a tool for learning & progress
Ensure coordination & accountability
Establish collective ownership
Meet the Backbone Team
Cristina Roark joins the Kitsap Strong team as the Innovation Network Manager. The Innovation Network is working with a diverse group of community agencies to promote and expand trauma-informed practices and services to individuals in our community. This network consists of agencies across the life span (birth to 5 service providers to hospice care) and across numerous sectors (health, housing, education, justice, human services, etc.), and all the agencies are exploring new strategies, policies, practices, and services to support employees and clients from a trauma-informed perspective.
She supports the collaborative learning efforts that bring diversity of thought and methods for data-informed reflections of what is working and for what areas could benefit from improvements. Her role is to serve as a resource to the Innovation Network and help facilitate strategic partnerships and connections.
Cristina is recognized by her peers as a someone who cares deeply about developing meaningful and supportive relationships. She believes that the ability to influence system change begins with looking inward.
Before joining Kitsap Strong, Cristina served as a Senior IT Business Analyst at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Alumni for ten years on IT-related change initiatives. She was a culture contributor, building employee communities for greater impact and personal fulfillment. She holds an MBA from the University of Kansas and a BA in Economics from the University of California, San Diego.
Alyson Rotter (pronounced r-oh-t-er) currently works as the Network Manager for Graduate Strong Network (formerly Kitsap & Mason) within Kitsap Strong. Her education background includes an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a graduate degree in Public Affairs from Washington State University. She has worked in the field of education for over 20 years in various capacities within higher education, college access, outreach and training, program management, expanded learning and behavioral health.
She strongly believes all students can and will be successful when they have the right opportunities, resources, and support systems. Ensuring equity in education is not only a professional passion, but a personal mission as well. Alyson currently serves a School Board Director in the community she resides and is involved in several other community volunteer efforts related to education. She enjoys spending time outdoors and attending sporting events with her husband Chris, and two children, Brennan and Macelyn.
Graduate Strong Manager
Marlaina Simmons is Kitsap Strong’s Networks Coordinator. In her role, she provides support and coordination between all Network Managers and community partners. She acts as the primary contact for Kitsap Strong; managing presentation/training requests and scheduling for the Olympic NEAR Speakers cohort.
Before joining Kitsap Strong in 2016, Marlaina spent 6 years working as the Program Manager for a regional early learning coalition. During this time, she built relationships both within the communities of the Olympic Kitsap Peninsula region as well as at the state level with Thrive Washington and the Department of Early Learning. Marlaina holds a Bachelors Degree in Human Services from Western Washington University.
Kitsap Strong is funded through a blended funding model that includes local core partners, other philanthropic organizations, in addition to local, state and national grants that support both general operations and programming within Kitsap Strong.