Boys & Girls Clubs hires veteran to replace retired leader

Jim Grant / Nevada AppealLaurie Gorris, center, is the new Chief Professional Officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada.

Jim Grant / Nevada AppealLaurie Gorris, center, is the new Chief Professional Officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada.

Laurie Gorris started Monday as the chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, replacing Hal Hansen, who announced his retirement in November.“It is very exciting,” she said. “There’s a lot to accomplish, but it’s good. We’ve got a phenomenal staff.”Gorris began her career with the Boys & Girls Club organization in 1998 as the membership coordinator for the Truckee Meadow club in Reno.“I never knew the club even existed until I started that summer,” she said. “It got in my veins.”Raised by a stay-at-home mom, Gorris had never known the struggles of children who had no place to go after school. “I got to see the other side of the coin,” she said. “It was really eye-opening for me.”And she liked what she saw. “I got to see how the club transforms kids’ lives,” Gorris said. “We are there for them in those critical hours of the day.”During her 11-year tenure with the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadow, when she rose in ranks to the director of fundraising and marketing, she married Sparks native Lee Gorris and had two children. Both of their kids, Kyra, 12, and Kasen, 8, attend the club. They were excited, she said, when they saw the Carson City site.“They both want to go here,” she said. After working more than a decade at the Truckee Meadow club, overseeing the expansion from one central location to nine sites, she moved on to become the regional director of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, then associate director of Catholic Communities.“I always knew I wanted to get back to the Boys & Girls Club organization, knowing at the same time I wanted to stay in Northern Nevada,” she said.When she heard Hansen was retiring after seven years with the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada, she jumped at the chance to take his place.While she will remain in Sparks, where she has lived since she was 9, she said she will work with board members to familiarize herself with Carson City.“I’m excited to get to know the community,” she said.She traveled Monday to the Carson Valley club, which also is under her supervision.The highlight of her day, she said, was when the kids finally began to arrive. “It was this restless energy waiting for the kids to come,” she said. Diane McCoy, director of operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, welcomed Gorris’ arrival. “Laurie is going to be a great addition,” McCoy said. “She brings so much knowledge. I’m so excited.”Gorris said her long-term goal is to expand operations. First, though, she needs to settle in, which can be a challenge with nearly 400 children to look after daily. “It’s crazy, and I love that,” she said. “We truly have the opportunity to change lives.”


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