It’s been about eight years since Kim Gennaula walked away from KGMB and her career in broadcast journalism.
In the years since then, she has shifted careers, focusing instead on philanthropy — first working with Kapiolani Health Foundation as its philanthropy director, then as CEO of Aloha United Way for almost four years.
Still, some steadfast fans seem to believe she is set to return to TV at any moment. “The funny thing is, even though I’ve been gone a long time, I still have people who come up to me sometimes and (ask), ‘Have you been on vacation?’” she says with a laugh.
There are some things Gennaula, who appeared on MidWeek’s July 11, 2012, cover in her role with AUW, misses about TV — the rush of breaking news, for instance. But as a mother of two, the grueling hours it required of her is what inspired Gennaula to make the change.
Today, she serves as Iolani School’s executive director of advancement. It’s a role that allows her to channel many different passions and skills.
One of Gennaula’s duties, for example, entails raising funds to provide financial aid and scholarships for children from low-income or at-risk families who might otherwise be unable to attend Iolani.
Not only does she find it rewarding, but it’s a task that, at times, is not entirely unlike journalism. “Fundraising is all about interviewing the person, knowing what their wants are and then creating a great opportunity or story that fits what they want to support,” she explains. “So it’s a lot like news, which is going out and hearing people’s stories, and then trying to do justice by what they want to communicate.”
It all ties in nicely with Gennaula’s commitment to education, which should come as no surprise to those who know she spent a term on the state Board of Education. And despite her role at a private institution, Gennaula has discovered that it has, in some ways, allowed her to work closely with public schools. This year in particular, Iolani added a new position to its staff: private public initiatives coordinator. Designed with public schools in mind, Iolani hopes it will find ways to allow public school teachers and students the same access to programs available to private schools.
“Even though I am no longer on the Board of Education, I’m actually in a position now where I can do even more good for the public schools than I could in that previous role,” she says.
Plus, there is one other great advantage to working at Iolani. Gennaula’s two children attend the school. That means seventh-grader Luke and sixth-grader Alia can do their homework in Mom’s office, and Gennaula gets to pop in for class presentations.
“For me, it’s the perfect blend of the things I love to do in my career of service and fundraising,” she says, “and also being a good mom at the same time.”