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August Volunteer of the Month: Renee Zimmerman

By August 10, 2021January 3rd, 2022Connections, IHCA
Renee Zimmerman

Renee Zimmerman

When did you move to Issaquah Highlands? 
My husband Erick and I moved to Issaquah Highlands (IH) in 2000 from Kenmore, Wash. We have lived in four different places in the Highlands.

Why did you choose to live in IH?
When we moved into our first place, our neighbors immediately came over to introduce themselves and welcome us with fresh cookies and a bottle of wine. That was an introduction to what being part of a community is all about. We love the vast green space, multiple playgrounds, and retail space that has been put in place. Who doesn’t want to go to a movie and a restaurant less than five minutes away?

I’m proud to say I was hired to serve as the Highlands Council executive director back in 2007, where I got paid to help build community. I also had the opportunity to start working with Port Blakely to transition Highlands Council from Port Blakely to its own board of trustees. I helped grow events from small ones of several hundred people to a couple thousand for Highlands Day as we transitioned that event from an annual Port Blakely Fourth of July picnic at Ashland Park to a larger festival on Village Green.

Tell us about your family.
I currently work as a local government and community relations manager for Puget Sound Energy, focusing on the Energize Eastside project. My husband Erick works as an OEM business development specialist for Schneider Electric. Our son Alec just graduated from the University of Washington and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant for the U.S. Airforce. Our son Austin is in his second year at Central Washington University pursuing a degree in Business Finance and currently works at Panda Express.

How did you get involved as a volunteer in IH?
I vividly remember a wonderful interaction we had when Erick and I were visiting Remey’s (our first retail business by Ashland Park, currently Outmark).

While standing in line, this well-dressed, super friendly man said “hello,” and asked if we were new residents. We said “yes.” “Thank you for being here and supporting Remey’s,” he said. “I’d like to buy you a cup of coffee. My name is Judd Kirk, and I’m with Port Blakely, the developer.”

This was the start of our relationship with Port Blakely. We fell in love with the community and volunteered as much as we could.

Have you had other volunteer roles while living in IH (either for Highlands Council or another organization)?
Erick and I felt it was so important for our family to volunteer and have done so in various capacities for the past 21 years.

I jumped into community volunteerism early in our residency and started the first “Mom and Me” group, where we met monthly, going on outings as a group with our babies. Many of those babies grew up in the community together.

Back in 2001, several of us worked hard to survey the community population to see how many children lived here. We helped rally the community to secure Grand Ridge Elementary and have it built years earlier than planned because we had enough students living here.

When our boys were young, Erick and I served as leaders for our Cub Scout pack that met at Grand Ridge Elementary and then a Boy Scout troop that met at a local church for about eight years. We also volunteered for the Highlands Soccer Club, Little League, youth football, the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), and Timberlake Church. I currently serve on the nominating committee for Eastside Baby Corner and as a board member for the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.

Tell us about your experience working on the Issaquah Highlands Candidate Forums.
It’s been wonderful to be a part of this informative process to help our community get to know our candidates. Nate Perea and I were “partners in crime” when we started working on this about five years ago. Our goal was always to make it fun, somewhat light-hearted, and, at the same time, educational to help our voters make informed decisions. It’s an opportunity for residents to really get to know our candidates up close and personal in a welcoming, non-combative way.

We are proud to have played a part in such a unique and awesome community. We have a lot of great memories and goods friends. We hope we made a difference and will continue to support the community.

Are you inspired to get involved in the Issaquah Highlands community?
Opportunities are available!

Click here to discover all the different ways you can get involved in our Issaquah Highlands community, including opportunities to join boards and committees, as well as urgent needs at local nonprofits.

Questions? Contact Lindsey Pinkston, Highlands Council Program Manager.