Meet Playworks Milwaukee’s New Executive Director

  1. Updates

Kristina Olkowski is extremely excited to be a part of the Playworks family in Milwaukee.

Before joining Playworks, Kristina served as the executive director for Back on My Feet Chicago, where she had the honor of launching the organization and getting them entrenched within the Chicagoland market.

Prior to Back on My Feet, Kristina served as the community relations manager at Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA). In that role, Kristina conceptualized and designed the immensely successful CARA Road Scholars program, an innovative intervention program that challenges underprivileged teens to train for and complete a half marathon.

Kristina was also actively involved in building the CARA Charity Program, which enabled organizations of all sizes and interests to raise additional funds by taking part in CARA’s popular training programs. She also worked to secure sponsorships, grants and execute two major events for CARA, including CARA’s Ready to Run 20 Miler and the CARA Lakefront 10 Miler. 

Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Kristina served as the community relations and special programs manager at Chicago Event Management/LaSalle Bank Corporation working on some of Chicago’s largest races, including LaSalle Bank Shamrock Shuffle, Distance Classic, LaSalle Bank Open, LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. Among other noteworthy achievements, she grew and enhanced the LaSalle Chicago Marathon’s Charity Program from $4.7 million in 2004 to $9.5 million in 2006.

As community relations manager for Team ABN AMRO in the Volvo Ocean Race, Kristina also created a local sailing program that participated in competitive regattas in Chicago and Michigan. She represented LaSalle Bank as a crew member for the Race to Mackinac in 2005 and was featured in a CBS special that highlighted her team and LaSalle Bank.

Kristina received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from DePaul University in Chicago, IL and her Master’s Degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. She taught kindergarten and first grade prior to transitioning into a career in sports/event management.

Kristina participated in four consecutive LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathons (2000-2003) and has run the New York, London and Cincinnati Marathons. She has also completed eighteen triathlons, including Wisconsin’s Ironman and four half Ironman distances.

Kristina enjoys running, golfing and sailing her sail boat at Northwestern University and, as a White Sox season ticket holder, takes in as many games as she can during the baseball season. Kristina lives in Brookfield and absolutely loves her new home here in Wisconsin! 

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