Kim McKearnan had one of the longest job relocation journeys anyone can make.
The new executive director of Camp Mak-A-Dream came back to Missoula from the Middle East, where she had spent the past 14 months helping to open a women and children’s hospital in Doha, Qatar. She initially served as the head of its pediatric hematology and oncology department, but inherited other divisions during her time there.
“For my family, we had always thought about living abroad,” McKearnan said. “It was a phenomenal cultural experience. It was never a matter of not coming back. It was having this experience.”
Before heading overseas, McKearnan, who grew up in Montana, spent seven years at Community Medical Center, where she was the director of children’s services.
Now, she is running the Missoula-based nonprofit that runs camps and other programs at its ranch in Gold Creek for children and adults with cancer, as well as their families. McKearnan said the new job is a “perfect position” that lets her use her background in medicine and doctorate in nursing and combine it with her leadership and management experience.
Dan Ortt, president of the Camp Mak-A-Dream board of directors, said McKearnan’s background made her a clear choice among the applicants for the job.
“It includes the medical component, the management component," he said. "There was also the risk tasking, willing to head overseas to go and work at a hospital in another country."
Her background in medicine also helps her to understand the work of Camp Mak-A-Dream and share their story, Ortt said.
“The executive director has a lot of different roles, and they have to be good at doing a lot of juggling,” he said.
McKearnan said she will also be leveraging prior experience with capital campaigns at Community Medical Center to drive fundraising for Camp Mak-A-Dream.
“When you’re fundraising for an organization you believe in, it’s easy,” she said.
The latest in those fundraising efforts will be Sunday, May 22, when Camp Mak-a-Dream will hold the Missoula Lip Sync Battle at the Top Hat Lounge. The competition will be split into children’s and adult categories starting at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., with ticket sales from the show supporting the nonprofit.
Camp Mak-A-Dream’s website and Facebook page feature a promotional video for the Missoula fundraiser recorded by LL Cool J, who hosts the television show “Lip Sync Battle” on the Spike television network.
More information about the Missoula Lip Sync Battle fundraiser, including links to buying tickets is available at campdream.org or on Camp Mak-A-Dream’s Facebook page.