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Community Leader Profile: From Primetime Producer to a Life of Purpose 

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By Danielle Roy

Our goal with this series to spotlight meaningful leaders in the community. Inspirational leadership makes our world a better place – Morale matters! 

If someone would have told Claire Bloom in the 90’s that she would one day become the Executive Director of the Tarzana Community & Cultural Center, leading hundreds of free or low-cost events annually to benefit the community at large, she probably would not have believed it. Yet, that is exactly where her path led despite numerous roadblocks and a complete career change. Claire’s story proves that anything is possible with the right mindset and that it is never too late to pursue your purpose or achieve your dreams. 

Claire Bloom worked in the entertainment industry for many years as a producer for television shows on a primetime network. She married in 1999 and decided to start a family, however she realized early on that she could not raise her family the way she wanted to with her stressful career in the entertainment industry. Bloom focused her efforts into raising her children and local volunteerism. She became the editor of her children’s school newspaper published by Minuteman Press in Woodland Hills. She was also a Girl Scout leader for many years and she even won the title of Volunteer of the Year at her children’s school. Bloom knew one day she would return to the working world, but she did not want to return to the entertainment industry and feared she may be penalized by future employers due to her hiatus.

Upon her youngest’s graduation and during transition from her role as editor of the school newspaper, Claire Bloom learned that the Tarzana Community & Cultural Center was losing their Executive Director. Although she had driven past the beautiful gates and garden on Ventura Blvd. hundreds of times, she had never been inside. 

All it took was two words; two small words that would change the course of her destiny and make a difference in the lives of so many. Those two words, you ask? Community and cultural. Bloom states, “Community is incredibly important to all of us.” Being a self-starter and a natural visionary leader, she initially volunteered her time, offering to answer phones and help with any projects needed, to learn more about the organization. By July 2017, it quickly became apparent to the Board of Directors that she was the person to fill the role of Executive Director.

Bloom states that her path as Executive Director has not always been easy and in the early days she received pushback from some board members who did not like the idea of change. As a singer and songwriter, she wanted to bring Shakespeare and music classes to the community, but not everyone felt the same way. 

Bloom’s perspective is that, “We are here to serve the community. That is our purpose and we need to listen to the needs of the community.” After proving herself for some time and implementing new projects little by little, she was able to align the vision of the board. Over time, she has been delighted to see volunteers including high school students and adults find meaning and purpose, then return year after year. What once was the means to a completion of school credit for students has now become a haven for mentorship and community.

Part of the mission of the Tarzana Community & Cultural Center is to provide a safe, beautiful, and free or low-cost space to the community. Although rentals for private events such as weddings, birthday parties, networking, and business events, in addition to fundraisers and ticketed events, help pay for the non-profit’s overhead, the Tarzana Community & Cultural Center is sustainably able to offer space for support groups such as a veterans’ group that spans four generations, enrichment classes for the community, a multiple sclerosis support group, open mic nights, music classes for children, Tarzana Talks (the local version of TED Talks), and the annual children’s garden classes which have sold out the last several years. 

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield has continuously funded the Snowflake Festival and Native Plant Fair. Special appreciation is given to the West Valley Nursery for its generous and ongoing contributions.

When asked what she would say to other individuals that have a vision and a purpose but do not know where to start, Bloom advises to go to the industry you are interested in or a company you are inspired by and to just start! Develop relationships, add value, and offer to do it for free if you are able. She suggests think of the experience as schooling that you do not have to pay for. It might just be the open door you have been searching for or the transferable skills that may prepare you for your next venture. The greatest risk in life is to risk nothing.

The Tarzana Community & Cultural Center welcomes the community to get involved. The TCCC newsletter contains details on upcoming events and can be found on the website www.mytarzana.org. Those who would like to volunteer or get involved can also reach out to info@mytarzana.org.

Danielle Roy is the Founder of Morale Matters, which offers consulting services to businesses seeking to scale, sell, or both. Visit morale-matters.com.


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