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Meet Kristin Sullivan of Fort Worth Housing Solutions

meet the communications pro and mom of two boys

Kristin Sullivan’s Fort Worth ties run deep. She’s been a resident since 1995, she has a personal and professional interest in the city’s success, and now (as of 2021) serves as communications manager for Fort Worth Housing Solutions. As the former founding executive director of Read Fort Worth, Sullivan was a crucial part of a literacy coalition—which also includes the city of Fort Worth, the Fort Worth ISD and philanthropic and business leaders—all working to ensure that 100 percent of Fort Worth third-graders are reading on grade level by 2025.

A Southern Methodist University alumna, Sullivan, 49, studied journalism and political science (and also met her husband there), then worked as a reporter and editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for nearly two decades before shifting gears to work in strategic communications.

Mitch Whitten, her husband of 20 years, is vice president of marketing and communications for the Fort Worth Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. And the couple’s two boys—John, 14, and Scott, 10—are students at Paschal High School and Lily B. Clayton Elementary School, respectively.

One-on-One with Kristin Sullivan

DFWChild: Did you always want to be a mom?
Kristin Sullivan:  I was raised by an independent woman, who was divorced in the ’70s. The most important thing my mom taught me was that to be a good partner and to be a good parent, you have to be able to stand on your own. So early in my life I was really working on education and my relationship with Mitch. But I find children to be the most interesting project God gives us. I’m humbled by my kids. Regardless of ethnicity or economic or educational status, each of us is struggling every day and trying to learn from each other.

C: Have you struggled with balancing career and motherhood over the years?
KS: I don’t think I ever considered not having a career. My husband and I are both in challenging jobs. The reason it works is because my mother functions as a third parent. She picks the kids up after school and does her darndest to get homework started. But if I wasn’t working in a paid position, I’d be working in a volunteer position. It’s my nature. I’m a better mom to my children when I’m engaged and thinking and learning about other things.

C: What’s your top advice for new moms?
KS: If you’re going to go down this path of parenthood, choose your partner well. My husband is an equal and sometimes a greater parent than I am. I had a good life and think my mom did very well by me, but parenting is all hands on deck. Mitch and I are very blessed by a strong faith community. We go to Broadway Baptist Church, and our friends within the church environment are the ones who help us raise these kids. I think it’s really important for young parents to know that you’ve got to have that safety net. You can’t raise a child all by yourself.

C: What’s most challenging about motherhood? 
KS: If you think you know what you’re doing, you won’t tomorrow. My ninth-grader is very stressed out right now because he wants the driving experience, and that’s freaking me out. My youngest is struggling for independence. As soon as you know what you’re doing with a child, things change.

C: What do you do to take care of yourself?
KS: I’m not as good at self-care as I should be. But I think exercise is everything. At this stage in my life, I don’t care what type of exercise it is. I will do Zumba, yoga, kickboxing, cycling. I get on the treadmill when I can. Also, I teach Sunday school. Not that I’m particularly well qualified, but I do have a commitment to attend and learn weekly. That keeps me grounded.

C: What do you love most about Fort Worth?
KS: The extreme diversity and the city’s history. I love the fact that Van Cliburn’s from here. I love that we have a history in the rails but also in cattle. Michelangelo’s first painting ever is at the Kimbell Art Museum. And people here are just incredibly warm and kind.

C: What’s your favorite way to spend a date night?
KS: We really like Press Cafe in Fort Worth, but if we get to choose our own TV program, that’s a big deal. We like to have wine and cook dinner with friends.

C: What are your go-to spots around the city?
KS: We orient ourselves around food. I love Velvet Taco. Spice is one of our weekly places. The Near Southside is amazing. We’re close enough to ride our bikes or run on the Trinity Trail. It’s a really fun time to be in Fort Worth.

This interview was originally published in November 2017.

Photo courtesy of Eric Priddy