Kristen Cox is the executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB). Appointed to the position by Governor Herbert in 2012, she has worked diligently to integrate operational excellence with the state’s management and budgeting practices.
The mission of GOMB is to create more value for every tax dollar invested. Under Kris’ leadership, Utah improved government performance by more than 27 percent prior to January 2017, exceeding the 25 percent goal set by Governor Herbert. The work to improve government is never over and Utah’s state agencies continue to set new targets in an effort to continually improve performance.
Prior to her time at GOMB, Kris served as the executive director of the Department of Workforce Services (DWS). Kris led the DWS effort to reduce eligibility costs by nearly 40 percent while simultaneously improving quality for the customer. This occurred during a time of significant caseload growth of almost 60 percent due to the 2008 economic recession.
Kris has also worked as the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities, was appointed to a position with the Department of Education by President George W. Bush and held numerous positions with the National Federation of the Blind. She ran as the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Maryland during the 2006 general election.
In November 2018, Kris was selected as a Salt Lake Chamber Pathfinder Award recipient and was also honored as the Lifetime Achievement Gold Stevie Award winner for government and non-profit organizations. In 2016 Kris was selected as one of Governing Magazine’s public officials of the year. She has also been honored by the Utah Community Foundation as an Enlightened 50 (2016), Utah Business Magazine as one of the 30 Women to Watch (2012) and by Days of 47 with the Pioneers of Progress Award for Business and Enterprise (2012).
Kris received her Bachelor of Science in Educational Psychology from Brigham Young University. She served an LDS mission in Brazil and treasures any opportunity to speak Portuguese. Kris is an avid reader and loves being active. Kris and her family love the outdoors, especially hiking Utah’s mountains and trails. Her greatest outdoor adventures have been skydiving, paragliding, snow and water skiing, and hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim.
Kris recently co-authored the book “Stop Decorating the Fish.” The book is a business fable that teaches an important lesson about how to affect positive change in the workplace. The authors analyze how organizations can overlook the core issue when trying to solve problems. At the age of 11, Kris began to lose her vision due to a rare genetic eye disorder. All of Kris’ proceeds from the book will benefit the National Federation of the Blind.