Sharlene Thompson works to preserve La Jolla’s architectural gems

Sharlene Thompson is executive director of La Jolla Woman’s Club. The club has 175 members who participate in a variety of programs and activities. Since joining the club in April, 2011, Thompson has focused on earning the funds required to cover the building’s annual operating expenses by renting the clubhouse and gardens for events such as weddings, fundraisers, annual meetings, lectures and celebrations of life.

Sharlene Thompson

She has also been assisting the board of directors in developing a long-term strategic plan to address the aging historic landmark’s infrastructure needs.

A seasoned event professional, Thompson has extensive hospitality, retail and non-profit management experience working in museums, luxury hotels and universities in San Francisco, Seattle and San Diego. An active participant in the annual Open Doors La Jolla: A Tour of the Cultural Zone event, Thompson also volunteers on advisory committees of the Kyoto Prize Symposium Organization and the Chinese Historical Society and Museum.

What brought you to La Jolla?
Following the death of my father, my mother, Edna, and I moved to San Diego from Bellevue, Washington to be closer to family (my sister, Stella, married Dave Bloom who is the son of Marty and Sherry Bloom, and grandson of the late Phyllis Seeber of the Bird Rock neighborhood). I have long enjoyed the unique La Jolla restaurants, shops and cultural activities, and coming to work for La Jolla Woman’s Club in April 2011 has involved me in the strong community of the Village of La Jolla.

What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?
I would like to see an organized community effort to recognize and support, on a long-term basis, the historic institutions that help make La Jolla a special place to live. The economic challenges of recent years have made many of us working in the non-profit world recognize the need to marshal our resources carefully, and to create and fund foundations to insure our historic buildings, and the organizations that meet in them, survive for the next 100 years.

Who or what inspires you?
Miss Ellen Browning Scripps, founder and former president of La Jolla Woman’s Club, was a talented, progressive and articulate woman who was interested in the social issues of the day and in encouraging women to be involved in all aspects of their community. As a philanthropist, she had the vision to create many of the institutions we most value in our community today, both for the institutions themselves, as well as the physical beauty of their architecture.

She commissioned progressive architect Irving Gill to design and build La Jolla Woman’s Club, the Recreation Center, three of the buildings at The Bishop’s School, and her own home (now the center building of the Museum of Contemporary Art). Considered a pioneer of the modern movement in architecture, Gill is now lauded as one of the five most important California architects and the buildings are now recognized as his masterpieces.
As these buildings approach their 100th anniversary and as their fame in architectural circles grows, I have come to realize the importance of protecting these properties for the next 100 years for members, residents and visitors to enjoy the historic treasures created by the philanthropist and architect working together.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
My guest list would feature Ellen Browning Scripps, Dr. Mary Ritter, Florence Riford, Irving Gill, Kate Sessions, Joan and Irwin Jacobs and Walter Munk.

What are you reading and watching?
I am currently reading several books on the flowering trees and bushes in Kyoto and studying a book on rose varieties and their care. My favorite movies include “Charade,” “Chan is Missing,” “Julie & Julia,” “Rear Window” and “The Last Emperor.”

What is it that you most dislike?
Unethical behavior.

What is your most-prized possession?
My collection of historic Chinese robes.

What do you do for fun?
I like to garden, read, cook and travel — and to support other philanthropic organizations as a volunteer.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?
Practice kindness and civility, maintain a positive outlook, and cherish every day.

What would be your dream vacation?
My dream vacation would be a grand tour of Asia to include Tokyo, Kyoto, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Singapore, Bangkok and Seoul.

Related posts:

  1. Andrea Dahlberg puts passion into fundraising for the causes close to her heart
  2. Leading projects keeps John Jarvis busy at work and in the La Jolla community
  3. Attorney Candace Carroll says great public schools brought her family to La Jolla
  4. La Jollan Mike Stevens fights lung cancer with a battle plan for all
  5. Alexander Salazar brings finer artistic deals to San Diego County

Short URL:

Posted by Staff on Jan 8, 2013. Filed under 10 Questions, Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • ‘Downton Abbey’ Spring Tea to be held by Del Mar Community Connections April 18, 2014
    All things “Downton Abbey”— from ‘20s tunes to exotic teas — will be featured as Del Mar Community Connections holds its annual spring tea on Wednesday, April 23, at St. Peter’s Parish Hall, 324 14th St., Del Mar. The 2-4 p.m. event includes music from the “Downton” era performed by entertainers “Janet and Jay” and piano music provided by Lori Ritman, who al […]
  • Week in sports for Carmel Valley, Solana Beach and Del Mar April 18, 2014
    Cathedral Catholic extended its winning streak to 11 games as the Dons opened Western League play with a 7-2 victory over Patrick Henry on April 9. The victory followed a 7-4 nonleague win against Mater Dei Catholic two days earlier. Will Law had three hits including a home run and a double and drove in four runs to lead the Dons in the Patrick Henry game. […]
  • Man pleads guilty in fatal Del Mar hit-and-run case April 17, 2014
    A man who drove drunk and struck a marine biologist in a crosswalk in Del Mar, then fled the scene, pleaded guilty April 16 to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and a hit-and-run allegation. Christopher ``Chip’’ Stockmeyer, 41, faces between nine and 15 years in prison when he is sentenced June 20 for the March 28 death of Rachel Morrison. […]