Staff

Jennifer Merschdorf, Chief Executive Officer

jmerschdorf@youngsurvival.org

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

slewis@youngsurvival.org

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

latkinson@youngsurvival.org

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.

Jenna Glazer, Senior Director of Development

jglazer@youngsurvival.org

Jenna’s roots with YSC run deep: A nine year breast cancer survivor herself, Jenna started with YSC as an active volunteer, donating her time for several years before becoming Senior Director of Development. With a passion for breast cancer advocacy and awareness, Jenna has brought our voice to Capitol Hill and Albany.

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.

 

Mary Ajango, Director of Community Engagement

majango@youngsurvival.org

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.

Kristen Buckler, Events Manager

kbuckler@youngsurvival.org

Kristen joined YSC in 2011 as the Events Associate and became the Events Manager in 2013. 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 focusing on participant engagement, retention, recruitment and peer-to-peer fundraising. She works closely with YSC's Events Associate on Tour de Pink Atlanta and YSC Champions. Kristen serves on the Board of Directors for the Congressional Women's Softball Game and also is a member of the Alumni Society Board at Germantown Academy. She graduated from Union College with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Previously, she worked in Corporate Relations at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

Natasha Campos, Development Associate

ncampos@youngsurvival.org

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

dchappin@youngsurvival.org

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 earned her MPA from Brooklyn College and looks forward to using her skills to further the mission of YSC.

Michelle Esser, Program Manager, Advocacy and Research

messer@youngsurvival.org

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.  Initially a volunteer for the Philadelphia Affiliate, Michelle was hired in October, 2009 to serve as its program manager.  Now a member of the national programs team, Michelle focuses her efforts on breast cancer research and advocacy.  Michelle has completed the National Breast Cancer Coalition's Project LEAD®, Quality Care Project LEAD® and Clinical Trials 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 and serves on the Avon Scientific Advisory Board. Michelle holds her law degree as well as an MBA from Villanova University.

Naomi Gewirtz, Director of Employee Relations

ngewirtz@youngsurvival.org

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 had focused in the areas of programming, fundraising and volunteer management for 13 years on the national and local levels. After spending 4 years working on the local level with survivors and supporters, Naomi joined the national 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

ehawkins@youngsurvival.org

Erin joined YSC in 2012 as the executive assistant to the CEO and operations associate. With an avid interest in women's health, she is excited to support YSC's mission. Erin has a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Long Island University and is based out of New York City.

Annie Hiller, Donor Relations Manager

ahiller@youngsurvival.org

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, daughter, and son.

Jennifer Johnson, Director of Marketing

jjohnson@youngsurvival.org

Jennifer first became involved with YSC after her diagnosis with breast cancer in 1999 at the age of twenty-seven while five months pregnant with her first child. After undergoing a mastectomy and chemotherapy during the pregnancy, she delivered a healthy 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 before transitioning to the non-profit world. She served as the Executive Director for the YSC Kansas City Affiliate from 2009-2012. Thrilled to combine her passion and marketing experience, Jennifer enjoys her current role 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.

Evelyn Lynn, Regional Field Manager (South)

elynn@youngsurvival.org

Originally from rural western North Carolina, Evelyn has more than fifteen years experience in grassroots organizing and campaign development around a variety of social change issues. Her community work has been primarily with low-income women working to build a better world for their families and communities. In 2005, she helped found Safe Streets/Strong Communities in New Orleans which was acknowledged as a “Top Nonprofit” by Philanthropedia for its effective grassroots work and policy wins. The first in her family to graduate college, she earned her BA from Bryn Mawr College in Ethnic and Gender Studies.

Though not a breast cancer survivor herself, the disease has impacted far too many of her loved ones, friends and mentors.  She is excited to learn from the powerful women and supporters who are building YSC and to share any relevant lessons from her grassroots organizing work to strengthen the organization and breathe life into its vision.

She has a soft spot for rural communities, Southern ways and lives in East Point, GA with her fiancé.

Megan McCann, Senior Manager, National Programs

mmccann@youngsurvival.org

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 and a Master’s of Public Health from The George Washington University before relocating 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-Lane, Development Manager

dmccaw@youngsurvival.org

Following a brief career as a professional ballet dancer and after earning her BA in art history from Hunter College, Dana McCaw-Lane began working in nonprofit administration and fundraising at several arts-related organizations.  She has extensive experience planning and managing large-scale fundraising events, individual donor relations, as well as educational and community outreach. Dana made the transition to the healthcare sector upon joining Young Survival Coalition in 2009. Since then, she has created and contributed to multiple fundraising initiatives for the YSC mission, including individual and corporate support campaigns and YSC's signature In Living Pink gala.  Dana lives in Manhattan with her husband and daughter.

Jennifer Owens, Program Associate

jowens@youngsurvival.org

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.

Kay Pruett, Events Associate

kpruett@youngsurvival.org

Kay has worked with nonprofits for much of her life. First as a volunteer and community leader, and for the past several years as a development fundraiser. Kay joined YSC in 2014 as the Events Associate. She bring extensive fundraising, event planning, and project management experience to YSC. Kay’s main role at YSC is planning and executing the YSC Tour de Pink Atlanta ride and managing the YSC Champions events.

She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Montevallo, with degrees in both Musical Theatre performance and Communications Studies. Kay lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her wife and their cat and two dogs. In her free time she enjoys working in the yard, trips to the dog park, and singing in a community chorus.  

Jean Rowe, Program Manager, Survivorship & Support

jrowe@youngsurvival.org

Jean brings to YSC a seasoned career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Oncology Social Worker. She received a Master of Social Work from the University of Georgia. At YSC, it is her great privilege to provide counseling, support and resources to young women affected by breast cancer.  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.

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 Society of Clinical Social Workers and the Social Work Oncology Group of Georgia.

Previously, Jean was with the 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.

Nirmala Singh, Program Associate

nsingh@youngsurvival.org

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.

Nirmala 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

jstanley@youngsurvival.org

Jennifer brings over 20 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 woman is left to face breast cancer alone.

Medha Sutliff, Regional Field Manager (Northeast)

msutliff@youngsurvival.org

Medha brings almost 15 years of professional experience in public health and breast cancer advocacy training to YSC. She earned her Master’s in Preventive Medicine from Ohio State University, and began her career as an epidemiologist with the Ohio Department of Health.  She then managed a health department-based breast cancer screening & survivor support program in Central Ohio, funded through Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She is a graduate of NBCC Project LEAD, honored nationally as a Bright Starts/KIDS II, Inc. Pink Power Mom, and has served as a consumer reviewer on the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program.

Medha’s ties with YSC run deep. She is a two-time breast cancer survivor herself, diagnosed at age 27 and then at 36, when her youngest child was only 3 months old. She was an active volunteer with YSC in Ohio for 6 years before moving into this regional role, and is thankful for the opportunity to give back after all the support and friendship she received from her YSC sisters.  Medha lives near Columbus, Ohio with her husband and four children.

Nicole Taylor, Regional Field Manager (West)

ntaylor@youngsurvival.org

Nicole Taylor came to YSC first as a constituent and 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 experience into something positive by helping other young women affected by breast cancer. Prior to YSC 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 programs. Nicole celebrates her 10 year “cancerversary” this year and credits the support she has received from other young survivors as the number one thing that has helped her through the worst of times and that reminds her daily to live life fully.

Mollie Toland, Regional Field Manager (Midwest)

mtoland@youngsurvival.org

Mollie came to YSC because she is passionate about helping women and working in the health care field. Mollie previously worked as the Volunteer Manager for Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis and was a Field Coordinator for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She graduated with her Master’s Degree in Philanthropic Management from the IU School of Philanthropy in 2012 and enjoys putting what she learned about nonprofits to the test at YSC. As the Midwest Regional Field Manager Mollie looks forward to connecting young women affected by breast cancer to YSC’s supportive and educational resources. Mollie has lived in Indianapolis for ten years. 

Samantha Worsham

sworsham@youngsurvival.org

Samantha joined Young Survival Coalition in 2014 as the Salesforce Manager. She is excited to apply her systems and relationship management knowledge in the nonprofit field after several years of experience in the for-profit industry. Samantha graduated from the University of Texas with a BS in Corporate Communication, and currently resides in New York City. She is passionate about providing tools to her colleagues that in turn will help them deliver YSC’s programs and resources to the community of women facing breast cancer.

Mei Zheng

mzheng@youngsurvival.org

Mei joined YSC in May 2014 as the Meetings and Conference Associate. She has worked with many nonprofits since college and enjoys volunteering her time during her free time. She is very excited to work for YSC and looks forward to organizing numerous conferences/meetings for young women affected by breast cancer, their caregivers and healthcare providers. Mei earned her BA in Behavioral Science from Drew University, and currently resides in New Jersey.