Money Matters

Kim’s LEAD Impact Experience

12 Jul 2019 by: Kim Benson 

Being part of the 2019 LEAD Impact class of San Diego was a unique experience that I will never forget!  After having lived in San Diego for 12 years, I was excited to embark on what I thought was 10-month journey on what’s often referred to as a “Master’s Degree in San Diego”.  However, when I reflect on my experience, it was so much more.

The program included a monthly full-day session, each of which carried a theme and was held at a select location in our region which corresponded to the theme.  For example, Arts & Culture day was at Balboa Park and Military & Defense day was at the Coronado Naval Base.  Regardless of the theme; Arts & Culture, Innovation, Law & Society, Military & Defense or Education to name a few, each day broadened my horizons and gave me a new perspective on our community.

While I learned a lot in these sessions, what resonated most were the range of emotions I felt while listening to the amazing speakers; including feeling inspired, empathetic, grateful, motivated, proud, impressed, excited and sometimes even frustrated or feeling driven to inspire change.  For example, I went from feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude for our everyday freedom while learning more about how our military protects us locally and around the world, to conflicting feelings of hope and frustration learning about high recidivism rates, or the tendency of a convicted criminal to re-offend, after our Law & Society day.  After these sessions, many of us would meet up for happy hour to connect and share our thoughts after our day.  It was a fantastic way to get to know each other, build relationships and form strong ties that will last throughout our careers.  One of my favorite experiences was when a group of us stayed after our cross-border session to explore the food and culture of Tijuana, Mexico.  Much of the group had not been to Tijuana and one of our classmates who was a great guide, currently lives in Tijuana and shared her passion for the region with the rest of us.

While LEAD impact provided opportunities for me to connect and learn more about San Diego, it also provided a wonderful opportunity to give back in a way I had never done before, working together alongside a team of ten LEAD classmates to support a local non-profit organization.  Our team worked together to help Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center with their marketing plan and strategy.  This non-profit organization empowers families in National City through nutritional education and hands-on experiences in the kitchen and garden.  They are located on a beautiful property and offer various cooking classes and events for people across San Diego to attend.  Prior to joining LEAD, I was not aware of this great organization and I plan to stay connected with them, including attending their annual gala, the Seedling Soirée.

One of the greatest takeaways of my LEAD Impact experience was all the wonderful people I’ve met over the course of 10 months.  Each person, whether they know it or not, has made an impact on me.  Whether it was my classmates, the coordinators of the LEAD program, the speakers, or the folks at our various non-profit organizations, I was truly inspired to be in the company of such great people.  I’m very much looking forward to staying connected and exploring great opportunities to continue making a difference in San Diego!

If you would like to learn more about the LEAD Impact program, you may visit their website at https://sdchamber.org/lead/

CCMI provides personalized fee-only financial planning and investment management services to business owners, professionals, individuals and families in San Diego and throughout the country. CCMI has a team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professionals who act as fiduciaries, which means our clients’ interests always come first.
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With a strong technical background in corporate financial planning and analysis, a CPA and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, Kim also specializes in the personal side of financial planning as a Certified Financial Transitionist®. As principal and owner, Kim’s unique skill set helps her relate to clients’ evolving needs and provide clarity around significant life decisions. Kim also specializes in working with current, former and retired employees of Raytheon Technologies (RTX).

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