As a television producer and director, Jodi Kennedy worked for more than 20 years orchestrating the daily race to get program content slotted and aired.
Now, the Carmel Valley resident conducts a different type of race. She coordinates fundraising runs for the San Diego-based organization Life Perspectives.
Launched in 2000, the nonprofit specializes in providing healing resources for women who have experienced the trauma of reproductive loss, whether from a miscarriage, still-born or abortion.
The agency also offers support for family members touched by the loss and training for caregivers, such as doctors and nurses, who have contact with women coping with such losses.
“I am in charge of raising money through sponsorships and getting participants in the 5Ks as well as getting all the event details and logistics in place,” said Kennedy of the job she has been doing over the last two years.
Her immediate challenge is the Side by Side 5K scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at De Anza Cove, 3000 North Mission Bay Drive, in San Diego.
At least 350 people are expected to participate in the event, which will feature live music, a post-race festival, awards for top finishers, snacks refreshments and T-shirts, and two beers for the price of one at Absolution by the Sea in La Jolla. Information can be obtained at sidebyside5k.com
Shortly after the San Diego run, Kennedy will leave for Dallas, where another Side by Side 5K will be held Nov. 3. The Texas event stems from the organization’s goal of expanding its presence around the country.
In addition to generating financial support, the 5Ks serve to spread the word about Life Perspectives’ mission and services, while bringing together those affected by reproductive loss in a festive, supportive environment.
“It’s really more than a fundraiser,” said the group’s founder and president, Michaelene Fredenburg. “Knowing how many are impacted by reproductive loss and how they are often hurting in silence, having an event demonstrating that they’re not alone is important.”
The decision to hire Kennedy to manage, promote and expand the races was easy, Fredenburg said, largely based on Kennedy’s volunteer work with another nonprofit, Words Alive.
Kennedy remains a board member with Words Alive, which seeks to promote reading and self-esteem among at-risk youths and provide role models to them throughout the region.
“She put so much time and effort into their mission in helping with literacy for children that I knew she was exactly the kind of person we wanted to have on our team,” Fredenburg said.
“Jodi’s fantastic to work with,” she added. She’s always incredibly upbeat and encouraging to everybody, and has such a compassionate heart. She’s so motivated to let people know that in their hurting, they’re not alone.”
Another aspect of Kennedy’s life that made her a natural fit for the Life Perspectives job is that she is a dedicated runner who once raced competitively and has participated in many 5 and 10Ks.
“It’s been interesting for me because I’ve done so many races on the other side, it’s just really fun to get behind the curtain and put to use all the ideas I had when I attended races about how they should do this or or how they could do this better,” she said.
A native of Los Angeles, Kennedy attended UC San Diego and liked the region so much that she decided to return a few years later after living in several other cities. She resided in Del Mar about 20 years before moving down the road to Carmel Valley.
“When I started having children, I came back to San Diego because I wanted to raise my kids here,” Kennedy said. “It’s kind of an idyllic place. It’s a very family-oriented, nurturing environment.”
A single mother of four, Kennedy decided a couple of years ago it was finally time to move on from her broadcasting career, which included stints with the major networks. Most recently, she spent four years at KFMB-TV, San Diego’s CBS affiliate on Channel 8, before taking the Life Perspectives’ position.
“I love television and the news business, but it was a grueling lifestyle,” she said. “I was producing the morning news hour and had to be at work at 2:30 in the morning.
“Now, I’m working during the daylight. I get holidays off. It’s kind of awesome. I have my work-life balance back.”