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Executive Profile – Kim Gerrish

I was born and raised in El Cajon, just east of San Diego. My parents moved to El Cajon from Illinois following their friends with dreams of warmer weather and better opportunities. We had no family, just friends near by. I grew up camping, attending church functions, real estate events and playing till dark in a neighborhood full of kids. We had no close family in California so friends became family. I learned the true value of friendship and relationships from our ‘family’. Those life lessons and the nurturing environment provided me the skills to connect with my community today.

As the Executive Director of Michelle’s Place, connecting with the community is essential. The community provides our Center with volunteers, resources and support. When there is a need, the community meets it. I am most proud of the environment we have created at Michelle’s Place. Michelle Watson’s vision was that no one should face cancer alone. We work very hard to provide a place where cancer patients can come and feel heard, supported and safe. The community has supported this vision and made it a reality.

I am honored to be a Rotarian. I am a member of the Temecula Rotary Club and look forward to serving as their President in 2022-2023.

I currently serve as the President of the Association for Fundraising Professionals, Inland Empire Chapter.

I am a member of the Economic Development Coalition and the Loma Linda University Medical Center – Murrieta Community Partnership Council.

I enjoy service work outside of Michelle’s Place events and activities. Rotary allows me to help our community through other means of service with like minded people. Rotary reminds me a lot of the volunteer activities we did as kids. My dad always ensured we helped families in need during Christmas and Thanksgiving. We would also provide help to seniors with their yard maintenance and other minor chores.

Serving on local healthcare and business committees ensures I am aware of the needs of our community and the always changing business environment.

Business philosophies:
Be the change! It’s one of my favorite quotes. Volunteers, action oriented leaders, change makers, advocates for those who can’t speak out are all changing the environment. It’s not always easy to take the risk. It’s typically not popular to speak against the majority, but that’s how change happens. We can’t simply sit back and complain or do nothing. We need to be the change. It doesn’t have to be a big move, it can be a small act of kindness to someone who isn’t very kind. That may just change their course of action that leads to more acts of kindness. Big or small, get involved and be the change.

Favorite sport:
I enjoy watching football. Sadly, I am a girl without a team. Born and raised in San Diego, I was a dedicated and loyal Charger fan. I followed them to LA vowing not to ever spend any money to support the ownership, but cheer on my favorite players. Sadly, my favorite quarterback has retired and I am again, a girl without a team… I don’t know who I will cheer on this year, it’s open for discussion.

I enjoy camping with my husband, kids and friends. I enjoy riding Razors, quads and dune buggies. Is that a sport?

I also enjoy hiking and riding bikes on the beach.

I look forward to completing construction of the regions only cancer resource center before the end of the year. I envision hundreds of cancer patients milling around the 10,000 sq. ft of space. The sound of happy voices filling the halls will be a dream come true.

My parents are my greatest mentors. They provided a wonderful example of a loving and caring relationship, what it means to be family, loyalty, true friendship, community, giving and support.

My business mentors include Linda Kissam, my first employer in Temecula. She is a wonderful teacher and listener. She provided me direction and advice as I started my journey in the nonprofit world.

I have so many amazing, strong women in my circle. I lean on them regularly for direction and support.

I attained my Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a minor in marketing from San Diego State University. I worked for Dayton Association Advertising Agency in San Diego until we moved to Temecula in 1999. I worked for the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association until I was hired by Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center in 2003. I was their first employee.

I received my CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) certification in 2018.

I was born and raised in El Cajon, CA.