The Business of Meetings – Episode 134: Krav Maga, Leadership and fighting Cancer with Kim Praitano
Today, we are honored and happy to speak with Kim Praitano, the CEO of Gilda’s Club in South Florida! Each year, Gilda’s Club helps 5000 people affected by cancer.
Kim is an interesting person with a fascinating story to tell! She has tons of experience and many health insights to share! She is joining us to talk about Gilda’s Club, how they use meetings to help raise funds and awareness, and how Krav Maga has helped her become a better leader.
We hope you enjoy listening to our conversation with Kim Praitano!
Kim Praitano, MSW, CFRE
Kim Praitano is the President & CEO of Gilda’s Club South Florida, serving over 5000 people affected by cancer annually, addressing social determinants of health, and providing support services, renowned cancer education, and healthy lifestyle programs throughout South Florida.
Kim has held executive leadership positions for nearly 40 years, working with various nonprofit organizations, and served as CEO of Dynamic Leadership Concepts, a consulting firm serving nonprofit organizations through professional development and capacity-building.
Kim’s grandparents immigrated from Italy in the World War 2 era. Although her family owned nothing materially, they had strong values and a good work ethic. They taught Kim that quitting is never an option. That gave her the grit she needed to move forward in life.
Education was always important to Kim. It was her refuge.
After starting work, Kim constantly took leadership programs. She felt constant learning was vital because she knew where she wanted to go.
A nonprofit leader
Kim wanted to lead a nonprofit regardless of the services provided because they are all interrelated and important. She knew that a good leader was the key to the success of any organization.
Nonprofits do not necessarily get funded for infrastructures like human resources, finance, marketing, and advertising. Kim got certifications continuously to do those things because she knew no one would provide funds for them.
Kim went to Harvard because they had leadership programs for nonprofit executives. Outcome Measurement was a program she found meaningful. Another was Excellence in Nonprofit Governance because, in a successful organization, the nonprofit leader will work collaboratively with the board to lead the organization.
Some of the Gilda’s Club board members are experts in the areas Kim is not. They help create the vision and experience for the organization and assist Kim in overcoming any organizational challenges.
Gilda’s Club’s mission
The mission of Gilda’s Club is to ensure that anyone impacted by cancer gets empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by the community. The community support part motivates Kim and many other Gilda employees to get up and go off to work every day.
For Kim, servant leadership is ensuring she gives her staff members all the tools they need to do their jobs.
The Gilda’s Club activities
Cancer patients require more than just medical treatment for good health outcomes. Many people also need assistance with things like housing, food, transportation, mental health insurance, physical fitness, and follow-up treatments. The Gilda’s Club provides healthy living classes, like yoga, Thai Chi, and cooking, to help people do better after their clinical treatments. They also provide cancer education, mental health counseling, and support groups for cancer patients and their family members.
For two years, Covid interrupted cancer patients’ regular screening schedules. Getting people screened has become significantly important now, especially in communities of color.
Women of Color
They have a Women of Color initiative at Gilda’s Club where they help people re-partner to their screening via a mobile mammography health clinic.
Gilda’s Club has three major annual fundraisers to raise money and awareness and get people to start building a relationship with them.
Fitness has always been important to Kim. Krav Maga gives her confidence and keeps her mind and body healthy. It strengthens her as a leader and helps her operate better as a CEO.
Connect with Kim Praitano
Call Kim at 954 763 6776
Connect with Eric