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BREAKING: Katie Cristol stepping down from Arlington County Board to lead Tysons booster org

County Board Chair Katie Cristol in 2022 (via Arlington County)

Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol is stepping down early to take a new job.

Cristol has been selected as the first permanent CEO of the Tysons Community Alliance (TCA), the organization announced this morning. TCA is the successor to the former Tysons Partnership, intended to spur the continued residential and economic growth of the Fairfax County community.

Cristol, who had previously announced that she would not be seeking reelection this year, will be stepping down on July 4 in order to take the new job, the county just announced. A new Board member will be appointed after she leaves.

Though she’ll be working to boost one of Arlington’s primary economic development competitors, Cristol says she’ll remain an Arlington resident.

From a county press release:

Board member Katie Cristol has announced that she will be stepping down from her role on the Arlington County Board, effective July 4, 2023.

“Though arriving a little sooner than anticipated, this transition is every bit the same opportunity to share my deep gratitude to the Arlington community: For the privilege to represent you and for the partnership in achieving new policies, directions, and plans for our shared future,” Cristol said. “In my nearly seven and a half years in office, I have developed an immense appreciation for the dedication of Arlington’s appointed and elected officials and its civic, neighborhood, philanthropic, and private sector leaders. Though I will miss our collaborative partnerships, I feel great optimism about the County’s future under their stewardship.”

Board member Cristol was elected to the County Board in November 2015 and served as the Board’s chair in 2018 and 2022. During that time, she led in advancing human services and sustainable regional public transit networks through partnerships such as Arlington’s Project PEACE, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, the Virginia Railway Express Operations Board, and the Virginia Municipal League. Cristol is ending her tenure early to become the Chief Executive Officer of Tysons Community Alliance, a new non-profit public-private partnership promoting equitable economic growth and community development in the Tysons area.

“My colleagues join me in thanking Katie Cristol for her tireless service and expert leadership as a Member of the County Board.” Chair Christian Dorsey said. “She has been a trusted colleague and a distinguished leader on regional bodies representing Arlington. Her contributions to our collective efforts to increase opportunities for all Arlingtonians to thrive, while dismantling and reforming systems that cause them harm, have been profound and will have a lasting impact on our community. We will miss her over the last half of this year, yet we wish her well in her upcoming leadership opportunity and are grateful for her service on behalf of us all.”

Cristol adds that, as she transitions from the County Board, “I am looking forward to continuing to serve our dynamic Northern Virginia region in my new role and to maintaining the title most important to me: Arlington resident.”

Pursuant to Virginia Code 15.2-705, the Arlington County Board must fill Board member Cristol’s vacancy by appointment within 30 days of her departure date of July 4. The Board will hold a public hearing to appoint a new member who will serve the remainder of Cristol’s term, which ends on December 31, 2023.

Cristol is in her second term on the Board, after first being elected in 2015. She previously worked as an education consultant.

In a statement released on social media, Cristol called her early departure from the Board “more than a little bittersweet.”

The Tysons Community Alliance press release is below.

Tysons Community Alliance has selected Katie Cristol to lead the organization as its first permanent Chief Executive Officer. Cristol will start with TCA on July 5, 2023, taking the reins from Acting CEO Richard Bradley who has been in the post since November 2021 leading efforts in the establishment and launch of the new community improvement district. Cristol announced in 2022 she would not seek reelection for another term on the Arlington County Board after her second term concluded this year. Cristol has served on the Board since November 2015 and served as its Chair in 2018 and 2021.

“We are thrilled to have Katie Cristol as the new CEO for the Tysons Community Alliance,” said TCA Chair Josh White. “Katie has a proven track record of championing inclusivity, collaboration and community engagement. She is a well-respected leader and consummate professional with experience in catalyzing communities and urban management planning efforts in transportation, sustainability and economic development. We are thrilled to have her leading the organization as we continue to progress our work at the TCA and for Tysons.”

“I am honored to be selected by the Tysons Community Alliance Board, and truly look forward to doing the work I love in our dynamic Northern Virginia region.” said Cristol. “I’m compelled by the organization’s focus on community building and inclusive, equitable economic growth, along with its vision for Tysons as a thriving regional downtown. Particularly exciting to me is how the TCA has already brought together the private and public sector and created a foundation of collaborative partnership on which to build. In the months ahead, we’ll be growing the efforts already underway in coalition building and strategic planning, while starting to deliver tactical results and improvements for the Tysons community.”

Providence Supervisor Dalia Palchik who championed for a community-based improvement district to be inclusive of residents, businesses and the public sector was equally pleased with the selection. She stated, “Katie Cristol will bring the necessary energy and broad approach to the TCA. She is an organized and strategic leader who knows how to move the needle to get key initiatives across the finish line. Her enthusiasm and ability to push projects forward within a collaborative environment will serve Tysons and the TCA well. We are thrilled to have her serve as the TCA’s new CEO.”

Cristol is a recognized leader in the region. In addition to serving on the Arlington County Board for eight years, she served on numerous boards including the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission where she also served as Chair. Additionally, she has served in leadership roles in the Virginial Municipal League, The Virginia Railway Express Operations Board and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Human Services Policy Committee. She is a strong advocate for affordable housing, racial equity and women’s issues. She holds a public policy master’s degree from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.

Cristol comes to the TCA as the organization is moving forward with key initiatives including a strategic plan, a market research study, and placemaking activation planning. The TCA has a full load of events it has already hosted with more in the works including its inaugural May Music Month at The Boro along with a planned summer music series and its popular monthly Connector Happy Hours.

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