Major Gift Officer, Corporate and Business Partnerships, Lehigh Valley Health Network
Seven years ago, Kim Velez was living in New York City, working in the television industry with a job at NBC. It sounds glamorous, like a dream job. So why did she give it all up to come to Lehigh Valley?
While she remembers her time in New York positively, the pace and lifestyle of the big city also left her feeling “squeezed a lot personally.” She was living alone, away from her family and friends, traveling a lot without a firm sense of having settled down roots.
So she came back to Lehigh Valley, where she grew up and attended school, and immediately rekindled a passion for her community, both through her work in corporate and business partnerships at Lehigh Valley Health Network, and through her work with neighborhood groups and civic engagement.
“This is home, and that I was ready to really put the fruits of my labor back into my community and settle down, just looking for that personal fulfillment that I just couldn’t quite find in the Big Apple,” Velez said.
Her job affords her the ability to contribute to a health care sector that is rapidly changing, adapting to deliver better care at a cost for all, especially vulnerable populations. Health care is Lehigh Valley’s largest sector in terms of employment, and Velez’s work in collaborating with businesses about charitable donations or partnerships with LVHN is crucial as health systems transform their traditional thinking into an entirely new patient care perspective.
But Velez’s passion about Lehigh Valley isn’t limited just to her job. As soon as she returned to the region, she started getting involved in her community: attending city council meetings, developing relationships with community groups, and working to strengthen schools and neighborhoods.
“It just grew my passion to be part of the growing change that Allentown was undergoing, and to contribute to it positively,” she said. “So that was what energized me to be here and to be part of this new identity that Allentown was really striving for.”
With its central East Coast location, Lehigh Valley affords Velez the opportunity to visit New York City again whenever she wants, or other major cities like Philadelphia. Meanwhile, she loves the diversity of offerings available to her right here, from zoos, farms, and walking trails, to entertainment and nightlife.
“There’s really a lot of opportunities for people that are to have the best of both worlds,” she said. “You can build a career and have a stable and fulfilling professional life, but also give your children and family a healthy and wholesome life in a balanced way. I think many families want a variety of options, and you can find all of that here in our Lehigh Valley.”
Live like a Local:
Favorite coffee shop: Cafe Vida
Date night spot: Tacos Y Tequila
Restaurant: Savory Grille
Low-key drink spot: The Bookstore Speakeasy in Bethlehem
Outdoor activity: Hiking and skiing