Finding Your Passions In Life with Michelle Rey
The College of the Canyons (COC) Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit auxiliary organization that was created to support the students of College of the Canyons through philanthropic means. Governed by a Board of Directors, these individuals volunteer their time to continue the mission of having a space for the community to have an affordable and accessible college education. Recently, COC’s Foundation has appointed Michelle Rey as the new Executive Director. Her day-to-day operations include making connections with the community and helping raise the necessary funds to provide students with some of the best educational resources within the Santa Clarita Valley. “I work with a great team of individuals who work hard to find resources for the Santa Clarita community College District,” Michelle commented.
For Michelle, education has always played a strong role in her life. She grew up in a household where academics were key to a bright future. “My parents are both rocket scientist and growing up they taught me to love education and to always be learning and improving,” Michelle stated. Because of her parents’ work she and her family moved around a lot but landed here in the Santa Clarita Valley where she finished high school. It was not until early in her career she would find her true passion in philanthropy. “I was working for a law firm right out of college when a client of mine had passed away from cancer and this really affected me, so to try and give back in their honor I started volunteering at the City of Hope in Durate, and the support they were giving to their patients really had a profound effect and I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life; so I quit my job at the law firm to take on a temp position in the philanthropy department [ at City of Hope],” Michelle added. In the years to follow her passion would grow deeper and Michelle would continue to improve through education. “After completing a certification in non-profits from University of Texas, Austin I went on to get my master’s of Public Administration with an emphasis on non-profit management from Villanova University,” she said.
In the years that followed, Michelle found another calling in being a wife and mother to two adorable children. “In October 2015, I married an amazing man named Adam, who has taught me to be more patient in everything I do and supports my passions,” Michelle commented.
After having her first child a beautiful baby boy named Avery, she and her husband began looking for a place to raise their family. “We ended up in the Bay Area because of Adam’s job and I got a position working in the philanthropic department at Santa Clara University. During this time Michelle and her husband were put to the test as parents when their son had to undergo corrective surgery as a baby. “When Avery was born his soft spots in his skull fused too early so, he had to have it reconstructed. As a parent this was one of the most challenging things we had to go through but it showed me just how resilient children are and how quickly they bounce back,” Michelle stated. This experience started to shape the philanthropic priorities within their own family. Michelle really prides herself on being a wife and mother and attributes a lot of her success to her family. “I pride myself the most on being a wife and mother —it really drives my career because I want to make a great place for my children and husband,” she stated.
Soon after, Michelle and Adam welcomed their newest member to the family, their second child Audrey who just turned 18 months. “When I was expecting baby number 2, my husband and I decided we need to plant our roots somewhere and the first place that came to mind was the Santa Clarita Valley,” Michelle stated. “We couldn’t think of a better place to raise our family than the Santa Clarita Valley, it was the perfect place because of the schools, safe streets and strong sense of community,” she added.
Coming back to Santa Clarita Michelle is excited to really get to know the community once again and plans on using her bubbly personality and experience to excel in her new position as executive director of the COC Foundation. “The first year there will be a lot of learning about the college and the community, I want to focus on the community with lots of introductions and meeting people to grow a deeper relationship with staff and the people who are instrumental in our valley,” Michelle commented.
When she is not being a mom, wife or working she enjoys several pass times with her family. “We loves sports, and I enjoy playing guitar and singing, I am also a youth minister and huge space nerd who is extremely passionate and brings a lot of fun in my life,” she added.
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