Interview with Kim Bernier

Kim is a global thinker, encouraging people to invest in making international connections.

Q: Who are you? Introduce yourself as you would at a dinner party.

 

A: My name is Kim Rakow Bernier. These days my time is spent with family (I have a 6 and a 3 year old), friends, work, volunteering, keeping active physically, and being outside. Luckily, many of these areas intersect frequently!

I am the executive director of Pangea giving, a giving circle of over 70 members in the Seattle area, that engages individuals in global development philanthropy through education, learning, site visits, and grants to community based organizations in Southeast Asia, East Africa, and MesoAmerica. I am also the Vice President of the board of directors at EarthCorps, an organization the develops global leaders through local environmental service, using the Puget Sound as a learning labratory.

 
Q: What is your background? How does it differ from what you are doing now?

A: Ever since a summer that I lived with a family in Argentina as a high school student, I have viewed life through a global lens. My career path has included working for an international education exchange program, being a Peace Corps volunteer on the Solomon Island, teaching, and directing partnerships and professional development for a K-12 global sustainability education nonprofit. An MPA in nonprofit management solidified my interest in organizational development. I've worked in nonprofits for over 20 years, but in the last year, I have been learning more about global philanthropy through my work with Pangea Giving. I've been amazed to learn that the percentage of total philanthropy in the US that supports international development efforts is as low as 3%.

 
Q: What are you working on right now?

A: I am gearing up for Pangea Giving's annual member meeting and celebration. This is the one time every year when the members of the community convene to celebrate its current year grant awards, review the past year, and look forward to the future. In the past year, Pangea's membership has grown by 18%, and we are poised for more growth!

Another major project I'm working n with Pangea members and consultants from ORS Impact is the development of Pangea's Theory of Change. We are working to articulate the linkages between what we do and the intended results. Stay tuned!

 
Q: Why did you join Impact Hub?

A: When I was hired by Pangea last March, we didn't have an office or a mailbox. Becoming a member at Impact Hub has allowed the organization to have a "headquarters" to support our model of distributed leadership. Personally, it provides me with a professional community and person-to-person connections to counter the days that I work from my home office in my slippers.

 
Q: How do you make money?

A: I feel lucky to say that I make money by doing something I feel passionate about- growing engagement and philanthropy in global community development as the Director of Pangea Giving.

 
Q: What is something that really excites you right now (a trend, life development, time of year, food, etc.)?

A: I love this time of year- the transition to longer days and the prospect that summer isn't too far away. Although I've been in Seattle for 14 years, my Southern California roots linger!

 
Q: You have $10M to spend in the next year, and you can't spend it on you, your friends or your family. How do you spend it?

A: I'd invest in an organization or foundation that is equipping young people with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to engage productively in their local and global communities.

 
Q: What’s on the horizon for you (a new project, career path, personal development)?

A: At this stage in my professional and personal development, I've been exploring how to build accountability to support bringing myself to what I'm working on. Professionally what this has looked like is being part of the Global Leadership Forum, a small cohort of Executive Directors from global NGO's who meet over the course of eight months to address issues of leadership, organizational development, and group problem solving. I'm also interested in what coaching can do during this phase in my professional growth.

 
Q: Where do you usually hang out when you are at Impact Hub? How often are you here?

A: I am spending more and more time at the standup desks on the second floor when I'm at the Hub. I heard that this might actually extend my life!

 

Q: What is something we don’t know? (Either about you, or something else)

A: A phenomena called "creeping" exisits in the Solomon Islands in which men hang outside your windows at nighttime, hoping to lure you out. Apparently living with your husband doesn't deter this behavior!

 
Q: Give us your top three Seattle gems!

A: The wetlands behind the Center for Urban Horticulutre

      Pair (restaurant in Bryant Neighborhood)

      Salmon run at Carkeek Park

 

Contact Kim at kim@pangeagiving.org  .