Jennifer Merschdorf, Chief Executive Officer
With over 15 years of experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, Jennifer brings a new voice to philanthropy. She excels at creating and implementing strategic growth plans, promoting an atmosphere of teamwork and ensuring proper organizational financial management.
Jennifer has the ability to merge traditional business strategy and large-scale nonprofit training with fresh and innovative thinking that utilizes new technologies and builds on the strategic planning of an organization. In merging her leadership skills, strong strategic planning, finance background and passion for nonprofit innovation, Jennifer embodies a new style of nonprofit leadership.
Jennifer strives to be a strong voice for all young women facing breast cancer, ensuring that they know they do not need to face this disease alone. As a breast cancer survivor herself, Jennifer understands the importance of ensuring all young women have access to YSC’s unique resources.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Jennifer began her career in the corporate world of marketing and sales. After several years, she transitioned her skills to the nonprofit community, driven by her desire to create social change. She began her nonprofit career with the national Sierra Club, where she became a Director of Operations & Finance, and later served as the Director of Development for New Yorkers for Parks after she met her husband and relocated to New York City. Most recently, Jennifer was the Director of Finance for Soliya, an innovative international nonprofit.
Jennifer holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco and a BA from Washington State University. She splits her time between New York and the Hudson Valley, where she is working to restore a historic home with her husband, Jeffrey Talley Gannon.
Learn more about Jennifer and view her Welcome Message here.
Stacy Lewis, CHES, Chief Program Officer and Deputy Chief Executive
Stacy bolsters YSC’s ability to serve its constituents, bringing over 12 years experience creating, developing and running services and programs for those with special healthcare needs. She leads programs effectively and delivers a rewarding product to YSC’s constituents. Stacy has big goals for YSC: enhancing our ability to run rewarding programs while leading new initiatives—including programs that address the needs of young women from diverse backgrounds and those living with metastatic disease.
For five years, Stacy served as the deputy director and director of programs for SHARE: Self-help for Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer. Before that she served as the community executive and director of breast health for the American Cancer Society, Eastern Division. Stacy graduated from William Paterson University and earned credentials as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) from the National Commission For Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
Lori Atkinson, Chief Community Officer
A 13-year breast cancer survivor, Lori has dedicated her time and efforts to YSC as a volunteer for several years before becoming a staff member in 2006. Lori started one of the first three YSC affiliates, bringing YSC to her home state of Indiana. She has since focused her energies on creating a sustainable local structure that allows young women affected by breast cancer to connect with YSC and receive valuable resources and support. A big part of that support comes from the connections made at the local level with others just like them.
Lori leads the newly created Community Engagement Department which is responsible for program delivery, volunteer engagement, and outreach across the country. She has played a significant role in the creation of YSC’s field structure and will oversee its growth in to the future. Lori brings expertise as a graduate of the National Breast Cancer Coalition's Project LEAD® and Clinical Trials LEAD® educational courses for advocates.
Heather McGrew, Chief Operating Officer
Heather brings over 20 years of professional experience, eight of those years in nonprofit leadership, to YSC. During her career Heather has played an integral role in helping creative, entrepreneurial organizations to effectively bring new solutions to the market place. She has worked in both the private and social sector in a wide range of positions including marketing, sales, strategic planning, finance and management.
Prior to joining YSC, Heather was the Vice President of Fellow Programs for Echoing Green, an international nonprofit that, since 1987, has provided seed funding and support to nearly 500 social entrepreneurs with bold ideas for social change launching groundbreaking organizations around the world. At Echoing Green, Heather and her team were responsible for developing and delivering technical assistance to the Echoing Green fellow and alumni community. A Virginia native, she received both her BA and her MBA from the University of Virginia.
Mary Ajango, Director of Community Engagement
Mary has a passion for women’s health and comes to YSC with nine years of nonprofit experience in research, education, programming and volunteer management. She studied Journalism and Political Science at Indiana University and, after an internship in Washington D.C., chose to earn her Master’s in Public Affairs with an emphasis on Nonprofit Management at IUPUI. She has worked for the Indiana Coalition on Housing and Homeless Issues, Alpha Gamma Delta Fraternity and The Stacey Toran Foundation. Mary is excited to fill the new role of Director of Community Engagement and help strengthen YSC’s volunteer programs. Mary and her husband love traveling and Colts football and live in Indianapolis with their daughter and two dogs.
Suzanne Beckmann, Director of Communications
Suzanne worked as a mental health counselor at nonprofit organizations before transitioning to a career in public relations in 1998. She then spent 14 years developing and implementing strategic communications programs for Fortune 500 and other for-profit companies such as Honeywell, Supervalu, Pentair, Deloitte, Daiichi Sankyo, Nixon Peabody LLP, AlixPartners, Ernst & Young, Lasair Capital, TJ Maxx and Albertson’s (the former $55 billion grocery chain). Suzanne’s well-rounded communications background includes proactive media relations, internal communications, reputation management, executive positioning, thought leadership, crisis communications and media training and coaching. She’s held senior-level positions at award-winning firms such as Hill & Knowlton, Burson-Marsteller, Robert Marston and Associates, Peppercom and ASC Advisors. Armed with a strong desire to merge her communications expertise with her personal interest in advocacy for young women diagnosed with breast cancer, she joined YSC in 2011.
Suzanne’s mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36, just celebrated her 73rd birthday.
Jenna Glazer, Senior Director of Development
Jenna’s roots with YSC run deep: A seven-year breast cancer survivor herself, Jenna started with YSC as an active volunteer, donating her time for several years before becoming director of development. With a passion for breast cancer advocacy and awareness, Jenna has brought our voice to Capitol Hill and Albany. She also volunteers on the SHARE hotline, giving the gift of support and understanding to newly diagnosed women.
Jenna holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and graduated cum laude from Brooklyn Law School. She also earned certification from National Breast Cancer Coalition's Project LEAD®, an educational course for breast cancer advocates. In addition, Jenna brings years of law experience as a commercial litigation attorney. She is thrilled to be supporting a cause so important to her and many of her closest friends.
Jennifer Johnson, Director of Marketing
Jennifer first became involved with Young Survival Coalition in 2002, when the Kansas City Affiliate was formed. Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 at the age of twenty-seven while five months pregnant with her first child. She subsequently underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy during the pregnancy, delivering a health boy the day following her last chemotherapy treatment. Proving that life does go on after a breast cancer diagnosis, she and her husband welcomed a daughter in April 2003. Jennifer is a co-author of the book, Nordie’s at Noon: The Personal Stories of Four Women “Too Young” For Breast Cancer and has travelled extensively as a speaker.
Jennifer is a graduate of Project LEAD®, has served as a consumer reviewer for the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program and enjoys lobbying for important breast cancer issues. She has been honored nationally for her advocacy efforts as a Lifetime Television Breast Cancer Hero and a Yoplait Champion for the Cure. Jennifer spent 12 years in various marketing roles at a Fortune 100 wireless company. She served as the Executive Director for the YSC Kansas City Affiliate from 2009-2012 and is thrilled to combine her passion and marketing experience as the Director of Marketing for YSC. Jennifer graduated from Baker University with bachelor of science degrees in business marketing and fashion merchandising. She lives in suburban Kansas City with her husband and two children.
Curt White, Director of Technology
Curt is an experienced nonprofit technology manager who provided innovative solutions in the healthcare sector for over 6 years. As Director of IT Education at the Mental Health Association, he worked with government officials, healthcare providers, law professors and nonprofit professionals to produce online Advance Directive usage tracking capabilities and Advance Directive training programs. He is experienced in software and database HIPAA compliance. Curt excels at using technology to leverage minimal resources to obtain maximum outcomes. From hardware optimization to cloud Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, his expertise has been crucial to YSC's success.
Kristen Buckler, Events Manager
Kristen joined YSC in 2011 as the Events Associate. She brings extensive event planning and project management experience to YSC. Kristen’s main role at YSC is planning and executing YSC Tour de Pink East and West Coast rides. She focuses on participant engagement and retention. Kristen graduated from Union College with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Previously, she worked in Corporate Relations at the Darden School of Business.
Natasha Campos, Development Associate
Natasha has worked with nonprofits for much of her life, first, as a volunteer and for the past several years as a development fundraiser. She headed the Young Professionals Committee for Girls Quest, a mentoring organization for NYC teens, for five years and helped to produce fundraisers with New York Needs You.
She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook University and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Fundraising from New York University. Natasha is a New York City native and enjoys running and biking events.
Dessie Chappin, Operations Manager
Dessie comes to YSC with over 10 years experience in nonprofit administration and operations. She was raised in Washington DC where she went on to earn her bachelor’s in Economics. After graduating, she moved to New York in pursuit of a more fulfilling career. She enjoys working in the background of mission minded organizations that are a part of her community. Having worked at American University for seven years, she went on to work with charter schools in the New York City area before coming to YSC. Breast cancer has touched Dessie in many ways personally and professionally so working as the Operations Manager at YSC is a great fit. Dessie is currently earning her Master’s in Public Administration from Brooklyn College and looks forward to using her skills to further the mission of YSC.
Michelle Esser, Program Manager, Advocacy and Research
Diagnosed in 2006 at age 37, when her children were three and six years old, Michelle understands especially well the challenges of young mothers facing breast cancer. She has played a key role in bringing YSC’s supportive programs to Philadelphia since that affiliate’s inception, chairing the education and outreach committee and acting as the group's secretary, co-chair of communications and grant coordinator—all as a volunteer.
Michelle developed and continues to maintain a YSC Greater Philadelphia newsletter, sharing the stories of young women living with breast cancer in her city. She also served as assistant chair of Philadelphia’s inaugural In Living Pink event. In 2008, Michelle received YSC's Lisa Muccilo award for excellence in volunteering. Michelle completed the National Breast Cancer Coalition's Project LEAD® and Quality Care Project LEAD® training and serves as team leader for Pennsylvania on Lobby Day. Michelle has also acted as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. Michelle holds her law degree as well as an MBA from Villanova University.
Virginia Falces, Digital Communications Manager
Working to amplify the voices of YSC and its constituents, Virginia manages our website and its content. She brings over 13 years of experience crafting effective messages as a writer, editor, technical editor and, most recently, website editor and producer. Virginia has developed her abilities in the for-profit world with Office.com, JPMorgan and Qualcomm Inc., as well as with non-profits as a volunteer at Gilda's Club and as a press officer and editor for various United Nations NGOs while living in Geneva, Switzerland. Virginia, who is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, is glad to be working for a cause that has affected both family members and close friends. Virginia lives in Valencia, Spain, with her husband and two children.
Dana Freeman, Constituent Communications Manager
Dana brings over 13 years of communications and public relations experience to the mission of making YSC’s voice strong and clear. She began crafting meaningful messages at Save the Children, working on the international and domestic health and educational needs of women and children. Inspired to work more hands-on with children in need, Dana joined IKEA as a public relations and community marketing specialist. Focused on the educational needs of children in the Tri-State area, she helped create improved library spaces for inner city youth. Continuing to devote herself to children, Dana joined the March of Dimes and helped over 50 chapters nationwide promote the importance of women’s health and the needs of premature babies. Her dedication to women’s issues brought Dana to YSC, where she continues to build awareness and create powerful messages about the unique health needs of women.
Naomi Gewirtz, Director of Employee Relations
Naomi joined the Young Survival Coalition in 2008 as the Executive Director of the Northern New Jersey affiliate. Naomi has dedicated herself to the nonprofit sector and has focused in the areas of programming, fundraising and volunteer management for the past 13 years, both nationally and locally. After spending the past few years working on the local level with survivors and supporters, Naomi is now working with the staff at YSC as the Director of Employee Relations. Naomi holds a BSW from Indiana University and an MSW with a concentration in administration, policy and planning from Rutgers. Naomi lives in northern New Jersey with her husband and two daughters.
Erin Hawkins, Executive Assistant/Operations Associate
Erin joined YSC in 2012 as the executive assistant to the CEO and operations associate. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Long Island University’s Global program which emphasizes cross-cultural communication and experiential learning. After graduation Erin worked with BOMB magazine, a nonprofit arts journal based in Brooklyn, as an editorial and research assistant before briefly converting to the private sector. With an avid interest in women’s health, she jumped at the opportunity to transition back to the nonprofit world with YSC.
Annie Hiller, Donor Relations Manager
Annie joined YSC Atlanta in 2010 as the Development Associate. She brings 10 years of development experience with an expertise in direct marketing and retention of donors and event participants. Annie graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in History and Georgia State University with a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughter.
Peter Lenz, Website and Database Developer
Peter works to ensure YSC’s web operations run as smoothly as possible. His experience includes co-founding a software startup, a stint with the National Park Service at Yosemite National Park and time at a climate change research institute. He believes that technology has the power to make people’s lives better. Peter lives in New York City with his fiancée.
Megan McCann, Senior Manager, National Programs
Megan joined Young Survival Coalition in 2011 with a background in public health and nonprofit management. She brings a passion for women’s health to her work at YSC, as well as direct experience in educational programming, community outreach, strategic planning and health communications.
Megan graduated with a BA in Psychology from Emory University in 2002 and a Master’s of Public Health from The George Washington University in 2005, when she relocated to New York City. Here, Megan worked with the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center providing free primary care and family planning services to under-served youth and with a small health consulting firm, Rabin Martin Partners, where she helped to launch adolescent depression screening programs across the country.
Dana McCaw, Development Manager
Following a brief career as a professional ballet dancer and after earning her BA in art history from Hunter College, Dana McCaw began working for meaningful causes with positions in nonprofit administration and fundraising at several arts-related organizations. Dana has extensive experience planning and managing large-scale fundraising events, individual donor relations, as well as educational and community outreach. Dana is thrilled to have made the transition into the healthcare sector with an organization as worthwhile and inspiring as YSC. Dana lives in Manhattan with her husband, William Lane.
Jennifer Owens, Program Associate
After graduating from Boston University in 2004, Jennifer Owens worked for the Boston Foundation on its Boston Indicators Project. After three years, Jennifer moved to New York City to explore new opportunities. She subsequently worked in a variety of sectors but always wanted to get back into nonprofit work. She is happy to contribute as much as possible to YSC’s mission.
Jean Rowe, Program Manager, Survivorship & Support
Jean brings to YSC a long career as a licensed clinical social worker and a certified oncology social worker as well as a Master of Social Work from the University of Georgia. Previously, Jean was with NCI-designated Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University as an oncology social worker. During her five and a half years there, she provided counseling and support to patients surviving breast and other cancers; crafted, launched and facilitated breast cancer support groups and an expressive, therapeutic writing support group called Just Write. She assisted in the organization and launch of Winship’s formal peer matching program for survivors and caregivers: Peer Partners.
Jean is the 2011 recipient of the National Brain Tumor Society Social Worker of the Year award and has presented at many conferences including the Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer. Jean is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Association of Oncology Social Workers, the Georgia Social Work Oncology Group and the International Association of Journal Writing. Jean is a Certified Journal Therapist and leads an original program addressing re-establishing intimacy after breast cancer, continuing education journal writing programs for mental health and nursing professionals addressing compassion fatigue and burnout, and journal writing workshops in the community.
Nirmala Singh, Program Associate
Nirmala has a background in the community health/public health arena within various nonprofit organizations in the Northeast. Her endeavors in this field started in Boston, MA, during her undergraduate studies at Northeastern University. She was actively involved in health policy initiatives for organizations such as Healthcare for All, and as a Legislative Assistant for a Massachusetts state representative within The Boston State House. Her passion continued when she returned to New York after college and pursued her career at other health-directed nonprofits, some of which included the New York Academy of Medicine, The New York State Health Foundation and Lenox Hill Neighborhood House.
Norma subsequently decided it was time to pursue her Master’s in Public Health, with Community Health as her primary focus. In May 2011, Nirmala graduated with her Master of Science in Community Health. She has since continued to commit herself to the field, working on individual research initiatives with her former professors and local hospitals. She is passionately dedicated to her position at YSC and looks forward to continuing her professional and personal growth.
Jennifer Stanley, Senior Manager, Field Operations
Jennifer brings over 17 years of management and leadership experience to YSC. She has a strong background in nonprofit administration having worked for The American Heart Association, The Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Jennifer applies her passion for helping others to her work at YSC, with the goal of making sure no young women in Central Ohio is left to face breast cancer alone.
Kristin Stanley, Events Associate
Kristin joined YSC Atlanta in July of 2012. She brings with her over five years of event and nonprofit experience. Kristin’s main responsibility is over-seeing Tour de Pink Atlanta. Kristin graduated from Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s in Sports Communication. Prior to coming to YSC she worked with The Atlanta Braves and the Georgia Transplant Foundation. She has lived in Atlanta for seven years.
Medha Sutliff, Regional Field Manager (Northeast)
Medha has a deep ties to YSC as a two-time breast cancer survivor, at age 27 and again at 38, shortly after the birth of her fourth child. She has been a volunteer leader with YSC Central Ohio for seven years, co-chairing the educational programming committee, grant writing for facilitated support groups, networking and fundraising. Medha also has over 10 years of experience in public health. She earned her MS in Preventive Medicine from Ohio State University, and began her career as an epidemiologist with the Ohio Department of Health in Columbus, Ohio. In 2007, she was given the opportunity to merge these personal and professional experiences as Project Director of a Komen Columbus funded breast cancer assistance program, based at the Licking County Health Department in Newark, Ohio.
Medha is a graduate of NBCC Project LEAD, a recipient of the 2008 Bright Starts/KIDS II, Inc. National Pink Power Mom Award, and in 2011 she was profoundly grateful to receive the YSC Central Ohio Jody M. Carrico Spirit of Volunteerism award. Through YSC, Medha is thankful to have met the most amazing young women and formed lasting, supportive friendships. She is beyond excited for this new role and will do everything she can to give back that support to other young women and help strengthen YSC's mission nationwide. Medha lives in Central Ohio with her husband and four children.
Nicole Taylor, Regional Field Manager (West)
Nicole Taylor came to YSC first as a constituent, then as a volunteer before joining the staff in January 2011. When Nicole was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the young age of 34, she felt so scared, alone and isolated that she vowed to turn that awful experience into something positive by helping other young women affected by breast cancer. She served as a public school teacher for 10 years and then gained further experience with volunteer management in the nonprofit setting at Susan G. Komen for the Cure Puget Sound.
Nicole is more dedicated than ever to serving our constituents and making a direct impact in their lives while continuing to spread the word about YSC. As the West Regional Field Manager, her role is to work with the Community Engagement Department to strengthen and support both survivor and volunteer opportunities for the collective benefit of young women affected by breast cancer. One important lesson she’s learned through this experience is — life is what you make it — and she intends to make hers count!
Mollie Toland, Regional Field Manager (Midwest)
Mollie comes to YSC with six years experience in fundraising, program development and volunteer management. The past two years she worked with Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis placing over 400 volunteers, who lead empowerment programs, in the community. Prior to Girls Inc., Mollie worked at ALSAC St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the fundraising arm of the cancer treatment center. Mollie graduated Indiana University in 2009 with her bachelor’s in Sociology. She will graduate in December with her master’s in Philanthropic Studies and Nonprofit Management from the Center on Philanthropy at IUPUI. Mollie is very excited to transition into this new role and work with the Midwest Region.