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Krista Vaught

Assistant Director, Employee Learning and Engagement

People & Engagement


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Krista Vaught joined Vanderbilt University as assistant director of employee learning and engagement in late 2020. She is thrilled to bring her passion for learning, connecting, and building community, to serve the Vanderbilt community. 

From 2013-2020, Krista served in multiple roles at the University of Florida College of Law, where she oversaw projects related to accreditation, academic initiatives, assessment, and support for faculty. While she encountered many challenges as a first-time manager, her resilience led to discovering her unique strengths and learning how to best leverage them for success. Through participation in multiple leadership development programs, teaching a freshman seminar course, and serving as a coach for first-generation students, Krista recognized a passion for connecting people with resources and ideas. From 2018-2020, Krista served as president of the UF Academic and Professional Assembly, an organization that represents more than 5,000 staff across the institution. In her first year as president, Krista recruited more than 50 representatives from across campus to better represent and connect with staff, and launched an ambassadors program that reaches out directly to new hires to assist them with integrating into the campus community. Under Krista’s leadership, APA held its first membership survey, increased and diversified board membership, piloted a wildly popular Warm Welcome experience to officially welcome new staff and foster a sense of belonging, increased engagement with staff by 300%, and finalized the first strategic plan in APA’s 15-year history, honing in on the group’s goals of employee connection, engagement, and advocacy. 

Krista’s work is driven by the following quote from Brenè Brown: “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” She enjoys creating space so that everyone has an opportunity to be heard, and provoking deeper thoughts and connections. 

Krista is currently a doctoral candidate; her research focuses on the intersection of wellbeing, connectedness, and technology. She holds a master’s in educational technology and a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Florida, a law degree from the Catholic University of America, and is pursuing a professional certificate in trauma and resilience from Florida State University. In the Gainesville community, Krista participated in Leadership Gainesville 43, served as a mentor for Leadership Gainesville 45, and served on the board of the Leadership Gainesville Alumni Association and Girls on the Run of Alachua County. When she lived in the D.C. area, Krista served as public relations chair of the Junior League of Northern Virginia, as scholarship chair on the board of directors of the D.C. Gator Club, as coach and volunteer for Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia, and as a varsity tennis coach.

Outside of work, Krista enjoys spending as much time as possible in nature, practicing mindfulness, running and working out, searching for good barbecue (please send suggestions), and coaching friends on career and professional success.

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