COA Accreditation Volunteer Spotlight: Katrina Harrison Peoples
Through COA Accreditation, a service of Social Current, we seek to empower organizations to implement best practice standards to improve service delivery and achieve better outcomes for individuals and communities. COA Accreditation provides a framework to help organizations manage resources, incorporate best practices, and strive for continuous improvement.
We believe there is rich expertise in our field, so we ground the COA Accreditation process in our human and social services community. Our volunteer peer reviewers conduct our site visits and finalize accreditation decisions.
We are proud to spotlight the latest Volunteer of the Quarter: Katrina Harrison Peoples.
About Katrina Harrison Peoples
Katrina Harrison Peoples is a native of St. Louis and has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience. She earned her bachelor’s from University of Missouri in human development and family studies as well as her master’s in professional counseling from Lindenwood University. She also has certifications in organizational development and leadership from the Institute of Organizational Development.
Katrina has led program operations in a diverse array of youth service settings, including 24-hour crisis center and helpline services, street-based outreach and drop-in service centers, psychological testing, in-home and office-based counseling, as well as transitional/independent living, school-based, afterschool, level 3-4+ residential, and mentorship programs. After serving in the highest level of operational leadership roles, Katrina shifted her work to funding and providing strategic consulting services to community-based organizations. She currently serves as vice president of school age initiatives at Area Resources for Community and Human Services (ARCHS). In this role, she manages a funding portfolio of contracts totaling over $3 million that serve youth in development and out-of-school programs.
Katrina learned about COA Accreditation during her tenure in the nonprofit sector while working for several COA-accredited organizations. She participated in both initial and several reaccreditation processes prior to serving as a peer reviewer.
In her spare time, Katrina is a fitness professional with several certifications and teaches group exercise classes.
What led you to become a COA Accreditation Volunteer?
My desire to become a COA Accreditation volunteer was sparked after participating in my organization’s COA committee as we were preparing for our initial accreditation process. Participating in that committee and working through the process led to my interest in expanding beyond programs and additionally understanding the organization as a system. After going through the process, I began to think more systematically about my work, which has positively impacted my leadership lens.
What are your strongest beliefs about the value of COA Accreditation?
Having gone through initial accreditation and reaccreditation as an employee in various organizations, I believe the biggest value is the process of preparing for accreditation. I have seen countless examples of how an organization can grow and mature by understanding the value and developing new systems of doing the work. I have seen culture change as the organization starts to identify new priorities and let go of old mindsets. I have also seen how the intensity of preparation has fostered a sense of teamwork across various departments, improved order and structure, and has created more respect and appreciation across the organization for the various aspects of work that contribute to accomplishing the mission.
What excites, surprises, and/or challenges you the most about the work you do as a COA Accreditation volunteer?
What excites me the most is that no site visit experience is ever the same but ALL of them provide a rich learning experience. Each organization has its own unique mission, culture, and methods that best serve their communities. It’s a privilege to get an up-close-and-personal view of how the organization operates. I always learn something of value that I can bring back home.
Share a memorable place, person, or experience from a site visit.
I completed a site visit during the pandemic and could never have imagined there would be a time where a site visit could be completed virtually. While it was not the same and we lost some things in the absence of in-person interactions, the review team was fully committed to working together to honor the process so that the organization did not miss any of the value in going through the process. I was also impressed with how quickly Social Current transitioned training and all the systems to a virtual context.
Learn more about how to become a peer review volunteer and apply online.