Circle of Hope hires new executive director

Circle of Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Santa Clarita Valley families in their battles with cancer, announced the hiring of a new executive director.

Current board member and long-time supporter Laura Kirchhoff was named to the position Wednesday in a news release from the organization.

Kirchhoff, who has experience with numerous Santa Clarita Valley nonprofits, including the SCV Child & Family Center and the American Diabetes Association, replaces former Executive Director Pam Ripling.

Board President Taylor Kellstrom said the organization launched an extensive search to try to find her replacement, but ultimately ended up finding the right fit in its own backyard.

“We ended up doing interviews and reviewing resumes and we had a whole committee that went through that whole process to our board of directors,” he said, “and our board just felt that Laura was the best person to carry on the legacy that Pam has created over the last few years.

“She has such a great passion for what we do.”

Prior to her joining the board, Kirchoff was key to the nonprofit’s silent-auction success at Circle’s signature events, Vine2Wine and Afternoon Tea.

“I’m very excited about this it’s been quite an honor that they chose me to lead the organization,” said Kirchoff, who has also previously worked as an account executive for The Signal’s advertising department.

Kirchoff said her Circle of Hope involvement started with her organizing a silent auction in 2011 for the organization’s marquee event, Vine2Wine, and then grew from there.

“We managed to pull it off in a couple of weeks, and it’s just sort of become my job since then, and will continue to be,” she said. The following year, she danced for the organization in a fundraiser..

“I guess I did OK dancing,” she said with a laugh, “because the next step after that was they invited me to be on their board.”

She plans to leave her current position with the American Diabetes Association this week and start at the Circle of Hope on Monday, May 6, she said.

Kirchoff is set to assume the title of executive director June 1, at which time Pam Ripling will move to the role of executive director emerita until her retirement on June 30.

“I couldn’t be happier with the board’s selection,” Ripling said. “Laura and I have already worked side-by-side for many years. Her love for our organization and her deep knowledge of, and appreciation for, our history are huge pluses. It gives me great comfort to leave Circle of Hope in her capable hands.”

For more information about the services that Circle of Hope offers, click here.

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