Kristen Pope.

Kristen Pope works with her at-home filming setup.

Photo by Richard Pope

Campus & Community

Multimedia maven

4 min read

DCE’s Pope wields some social influence

It is 7 a.m. on a Friday, and Kristen L. Pope is with her 3-year-old daughter, Lily, talking about movies. Soon, Pope will move to her home office to produce social media content for the Harvard Division of Continuing Education (DCE) and for her multimedia company, Pope Productions Inc. She might look at her list of career goals on the wall and feel inspired to continue her work. Later in the still-early morning, Pope happily plans an evening showing of “Black Panther” for her standing movie night with her husband and Lily, who serves as her ultimate source of daily inspiration.

“I started my career in journalism because I wanted to tell previously untold stories to the masses, especially stories of people in underrepresented communities. These stories, they inspire me,” Pope said. “Yet, my family is the driving force behind everything I do. My work supports my family, my work leaves a legacy for my family, and my work in the community plants a seed for my family.”

As a result of her industriousness, Pope was recently named one of the Class of 2020’s top “Forty Under 40” alumna of Hampton University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism in 2005. She was also honored as one of 2020’s “Top 50 Most Influential Business People of Color” in the Boston suburbs by the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber.

“To be recognized as an influential person in business is humbling. It reminds me to stay the course. I feel like I am just scratching the surface of my potential,” she said.

Kristen Pope with her husband, Richard Pope, and daughter, Lily.

Photo by Marvin Germain

Kristen Pope.

At DCE, Pope helms the social media platforms, setting strategy and ensuring that thoughtful content reaches the thousands of daily visitors and community members. Despite her title, she defines herself as a “relationship-builder, community connector, and spiritual gangster.”

“When I say I am a relationship-builder, I mean that I love the human experience, and I seek to share human stories with others,” Pope said. “As a community connector, I am passionate about local action, and making impact both locally, nationally, and globally. Finally, I say spiritual gangster in the context that my faith in God can be used as a weapon for victory in life.”

In her role at DCE, Pope oversees all social media content produced for the Extension School, Summer School, Professional Development Program, and the Institute for Learning and Retirement. Each month, she chooses a theme — in February, it was Black History Month — and plans stories to be shared with DCE’s external audiences. Intermixed with these themed posts are student stories, academic announcements, and informational guides.

When she founded Pope Productions in 2014, Pope wanted not only to create marketing, advertising, and thought-leadership campaigns for institutions such as Wellesley College and Pentecostal Tabernacle, but also to continue to amplify voices not often heard in the media. She also coaches aspiring journalists through her program the “On-Air Academy,” and teaches television broadcasting to high school students through the Harlem Children’s Zone. Inspired by her experiences as a mother, Pope created a series called Mom Life Streets, which supports conversations between mothers. In 2008, she founded The King’s Daughters Inc. to foster a community in which women can grow through personal and spiritual development.

“Positive generational impact matters most to me right now, during this difficult time in which many are struggling. If something doesn’t make an impact, it is really hard for me to do it with my whole heart,” Pope said. “I am grateful that in all aspects of my work, I see impact. I see it in the high school students of Harlem Children’s Zone, and in the future of my local town’s education system.”

Pope is not afraid of putting in the work. In order to balance her full-time job with her other endeavors, she uses any spare moments she can find, often working into the evenings. As she continues to work toward the future, Pope also remains humbled by her present accomplishments.

“Everybody has talents and gifts. I am thankful that I have been given talents, and that I have been able to use them. Not everyone gets the opportunity to use what they have been given. I’m blessed,” she said. “I truly believe I am here for a greater purpose, and this propels me to do the best I can do in every endeavor.”