22 Jul Meet Vail Place Board Member Emily Pearl
2016 marked the first year Vail Place’s popular summer event Tour de Vail – Roll & Stroll for Mental Health was held at Crystal Lake in Robbinsdale in association with the area’s popular Whiz Bang Days. Vail Place Board Member and long-time Robbinsdale resident Emily Pearl was instrumental in bringing the event to the neighborhood. A member of the Board for the past five years, Emily spotted an opportunity for both the City of Robbinsdale and Vail Place to benefit from a partnership between the two events.
“For me, this year’s Tour de Vail felt like coming home in so many ways,” said Emily. “For Robbinsdale, the collaboration between Whiz Bang Days and Tour de Vail gave us a chance to welcome a family-friendly non-profit event, drawing more people to our fabulous neighborhood. For Vail Place, it was a chance to gain more visibility in the north metro area, so important for our growing relationship with North Memorial.” In addition, Emily pointed out that many residents signed up for the event due to many of the activities associated with Tour de Vail like face painting, live music and the always-popular raffle.
Beyond helping bring Tour de Vail to Crystal Lake this year, Emily has always played an active role as a Board Member and volunteer. She was first introduced to Vail Place while working for Excel Energy, which has a long-standing relationship with Vail Place. Knowing Emily’s passion for volunteerism, an Excel coworker and former Vail Place Board Member invited her to come to the Clubhouse for a tour. She fell in love immediately with the organization’s mission, transparency and friendly attitude and accepted an offer to be on the Vail Place Board of Directors in 2011, where she currently holds the position of Co-Vice Chair.
“In the beginning I was more interested in the people and the mission of Vail Place, but as I’ve become more aware and educated about the issues of mental health it’s become closer to home,” Emily says. “Depression runs in my own family, and I personally dealt with anxiety in my 20’s. The reality is that everyone has experience with mental illness, directly or through loved ones. It’s been eye-opening how difficult that conversation can be, but how important it is to have it.” Emily says that Vail Place has given her the tools and opportunity to have that “conversation” with many people, helping spread awareness while deepening her own understanding of mental health issues.
Emily feels that Vail Place as an organization has evolved tremendously over the past several years, maturing enormously in terms of both mission and strategy. Vail Place has continued to transform from being a successful nonprofit to one with a powerful long-term strategy. Emily is most proud of the organization’s ability to maintain integrity to its mission statement while sustaining strong, planned growth. “The vision and growth in the last five years is so impressive,” she says.
When she’s not donating her time as a Vail Place Board Member, Emily’s life is filled with her work as a Digital Product Owner at Target Corporation and roles as wife and mom to a young daughter. The Pearl family, including their two pugs, recently moved to an area on the border of Robbinsdale, although Emily still considers herself a loyal resident of the neighborhood she calls a “sleeper town.” Although this may be changing: Robbinsdale was named one of the Twin Cities’ best neighborhoods by Minnesota Monthly in 2015.
Despite her dedication to her husband and young daughter, not to mention the demands of a successful, busy career, Emily treasures the time she spends at Vail Place. “It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re a volunteer, member, donor or Board Member. Everyone is there for the right reasons, and that just feels good,” Emily says. “I love the sense of family I get from being a part of Vail Place, and the benefits of being part of such a vibrant community of people.”