Issue: Transformation Section: Advisory board Cristin C. Tarr is cofounder and managing director, speaker, trainer and corporate social responsibility specialist at Business Service Corps, LLC (BSC). As a transformative social enterprise, BSC assists companies with high-impact community engagement programs. The company has developed a unique experiential leadership training program focused on corporate, global and community citizenship.
For Tarr, global citizenship started at age 11 while traveling to Europe as an international peace ambassador. She participated in a one-month multicultural program sponsored by Children’s International Summer Village (CISV) and traveled with her delegation (two boys and two girls and an adult leader) to a summer camp or “village.” Here she lived with children from 12 different countries across the world to create lifelong friendships through cultural understanding and global citizenship, a pretty powerful impact for an 11-year-old. Little did she know, this would shape her life and her career. After high school, Tarr traveled extensively and lived abroad. She graduated college with a degree in marketing and international business. Her first job was on Wall Street as an investment banker. Later, she worked for six years at American Airlines in airport budgets and as the director of international and domestic sales.
Tarr has volunteered at a variety of nonprofits. After moving to Colorado, she met two women with previous CISV experience, and the three cofounded the Denver Chapter of that organization. Today, CISV’s Rocky Mountain Denver chapter has involved well over 1,000 youth and adults in international and domestic programs, encouraging peace through friendships. On April 22, 1999, two days after the Columbine tragedy, Tarr—who was president of the CISV chapter then—received a call from a CISV parent saying that her son was in the library at Columbine High School that fateful day. The distraught mother asked how she and CISV could help. That was the beginning of CISV Denver’s multicultural minicamps, which now occur every January. The minicamps bring together inner-city and suburban youth to spend one weekend together to learn from each other with the goal of promoting tolerance, diversity and fun. After the 9/11 tragedy, she again organized a special minicamp of almost 100 Jewish, Muslim and African refugee youth whereby they could experience understanding, safely ask questions, and become more aware of their communities, while creating a global citizen ambience at a local level.
Tarr continues to actively work with CISV and recently directed the first International People’s Project in Denver. Twenty-two adults from around the world collaborated with a local nonprofit—Denver Indian Center—and three major corporations on a two-week service project. The committed volunteers planted a community garden, conducted a Native American youth camp and documented several tribal elders’ oral histories. She has also implemented training and diversity programs at both the national and international CISV levels.
In 2005, Tarr joined the staff at the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce. She was instrumental in building multi-sector collaborations to promote tourism in the South Denver region, where she launched the brand “Best Trails,” nominated for top tourism initiative in Colorado. She also received a proclamation from the City of Centennial and twice received the Leadership in Motion award through the chamber. Tarr led the Nonprofit Business Partnership committee at the chamber, which encourages cross-sector partnerships to better our communities. She has served on the executive committee for three years.
Tarr’s passion for collaboration, citizenship and community sparked the inception of BSC in 2010 with her business partner, Candace Ruiz. They founded BSC to assist companies in creating civic programs and train employees on how to be better community stewards. BSC has transformed the idea of global citizenship to include employees at companies that are concerned with local problems. She fundamentally believes that it takes a village to support a village, and that we all need to work together to solve pressing issues. The private sector can find value in social impact through creating a focused, high-impact community program; engaging employees; building reputation; and ultimately making a positive change where we live and work. Tarr and her husband, Jonathan, are raising three boys in Littleton, Colorado, and both are active in their local community.