Community Connections: Meyers resident Brejc sees prosperity in serving her local community
Talking with Rene Brejc (pronounced “Breck”) you get the sense that she’s a little uncomfortable talking about herself. However, once you get her talking about the community, it’s a whole different story.
The wife, mother, real estate agent, and president of the Meyers Community Foundation (among many other things), has had a passion for the area ever since she moved here in 2001.
Growing up in the Bay Area, her story in connecting with Lake Tahoe isn’t too unusual. She had been coming to the Tahoe area with her family since she was a kid.
Her family always had an affinity for mountain life and Rene was no different. She is a third generation mountain resort community member.
Her journey out of college landed her a position in neighboring Alpine County at Mount Reba/Bear Valley Ski Resort as a marketing assistant. Through a Rotary scholarship she managed to earn a graduate school trip to New Zealand and when she returned, she needed a place to call home.
“I had a friend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, another mountain community, and I decided to go there,” said Brejc. “I got into sports marketing and was able to ski. It was great.”
That move proved to be even better than she had hoped. She met her husband (Stephen “Chip” Brejc) there at a climbing gym.
After getting married, landing a job at Intuit and having two kids, the family found themselves looking at options.
“Chip is a climber and he knew through me the world class climbing available around Tahoe,” Brejc said. “I knew there was so much to offer recreation-wise – the Lake, climbing, mountain biking, fishing and so on – and seeing how Jackson Hole evolved over the years, I envisioned South Lake Tahoe would do the same.
So, in 2001, the Brejc family purchased a home in Meyers and have lived in that home ever since – although, things would not start out so great.
“Not long after the move, Intuit went through reorganization and my position was eliminated,” said Brejc. “They wanted me to apply for other jobs in other places, but we had just moved. So I decided to get my real estate license.”
It was that move that provided Rene some flexibility in her schedule that opened up additional opportunities to get involved.
“I don’t know why I ultimately got involved other than I care about people and serving,” Brejc said. “Whether it was with the kids’ school or the Association of Realtors, I feel like as a local everyone should be giving back on their own little way. I also want to be a role model for my kids in that way.”
It wasn’t until Rene met Kim Wyatt from Bona Fide Books at a bouldering event in Meyers, when she decided to step up her community involvement.
“I thought that event was great and told Kim we should try and do more events,” said Brejc.
With a suggestion from the community to do a tree lighting, Brejc and a few others went around and solicited donations from local businesses, got the community involved, marketed it, and started the tree lighting event, which just celebrated its ninth year.
“There were like 300 people, and three generations of family who came out – it was really organic in how it started,” she said.
Shortly after that event, the El Dorado Community Foundation started helping funnel the money correctly and they eventually started the nonprofit now known as the Meyers Community Foundation – which many of the founding board members still serve as board members today, including Brejc.
Their mission is dedicated to improving life in Meyers through creative and sustainable projects and community-enhancing events – all elements Brejc feels like having her helicopter view of mountain communities and resort marketing, give her an advantage.
“It’s a moving, breathing organism – especially when you have environmental issues and other issues like tourism and transportation,” Brejc said. “It’s like being married. You have to compromise so that you can do the best we can and balance both sides. My passion comes from trying to keep that balance.”
Compromise is something that Brejc is familiar with, given her experience with the involvement of the Meyers Area Plan.
“I know everyone can be passionate on one side or another, and I was involved in that with my heart,” she said. “When some people stood up and said it was the worst plan they’ve ever seen, I started crying – I was so invested.”
Brejc she has learned over time that her skin is thicker, especially having gone through the area plan experience. But that thicker skin hasn’t shied her away from how she feels about giving back to her community.
She adds, “I know you’re never going to make everyone happy, but if your heart is in the right place … There are so many people that do more than me, but if we inspire people to get involved and compromise to make progress, it’ll truly make our community a better place.”
With her sense of community, and willingness to maintain the sense of community in Meyers, inspiration has no choice but to follow.
Community Connections is new periodic feature in which the Tribune will highlight people from all around Lake Tahoe.