Exceptional Volunteer: Kristen Hess

Volunteer and Alumna Kristen Hess

Kristen Hess truly embodies the Girl Scout principle of leaving a place better than you found it. Not only is she the founder of HH Architecture, a Raleigh-based woman-owned architecture firm that is blazing trails in designing LEED certified (eco-friendly) projects across our state, but she also finds time to actively participate in community and civic causes.

Upon moving to North Carolina with her family at 10 years old, Kristen became a Girl Scout in Valdese, just west of Hickory. Initially Kristen was "just looking to make friends," although her time with her Troop ended up meaning much more. Kristen treasures the experiences that she had with her dozen fellow Troop members, noting "it was really special."

Among the many activities that her Troop participated in, the outdoor trips and travel opportunities were among her most memorable: "There's just nothing quite like that, and nothing quite like the freedom of being in the woods, connecting with nature, convening around a campfire, building things, cooking from the land."

Kristen went on to architecture school at N.C. State, but always kept Girl Scouting near and dear to her heart. Her thesis project was even a re-design of the Juliette Gordon Low museum in Savannah! After Kristen graduated from school, she wanted to give the gift of Girl Scouting to others and became a Brownie Troop Leader - and still keeps in contact with many of those girls today.

Kristen is a true leader for her community and for all Girl Scouts. In addition to implementing best practices for the environment - she is a certified LEED practitioner and her two most recent buildings have pending "silver" status - she was also awarded the prestigious American Marshall Memorial Fellowship in 2011, where she traveled abroad to promote better understanding between North America and Europe on transatlantic and global issues. She currently serves on the board of Directors for our North Carolina Coastal Pines Council, mentors up-and-coming architects in the Triangle, teaches design annually at NC State's Design Camp for youth, serves as Chair of NC Department of Administration's Minority Capitol Projects Advisory Board, and serves on the Board of the American Institute of Architects Triangle Chapter. We are proud to have Kristen as a part of our council!