Board of Directors
KAREN I. KENNEDY, President
Karen I. Kennedy is a breast cancer survivor and has been involved with the Young Survival Coalition since 1999, when the organization was newly formed. Her diagnosis in 1998 ignited a deep passion in her for the issues related to young women with breast cancer. As the only organization with a mission solely dedicated to this issue, YSC became an integral part of her life. She has spent more than a decade as a volunteer for many of YSC’s outstanding programs and events including the annual C4YW conference, In Living Pink, as well as various committees. In 2007, she joined the Board of Directors and was recently appointed President.
Prior to her diagnosis, Karen was a women’s shoe buyer at Macy’s, where she was responsible for a business that generated $140 million in sales. She left Macy’s in 1999 to dedicate her professional life to fundraising for breast cancer, and, as a result, she developed a wealth of knowledge and expertise from the nonprofit and fundraising world. She was the Director of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer at the American Cancer Society in New York City for several years before becoming the National Director of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer at the Avon Foundation for Women. Her leadership and management skills enabled these events to set record revenue growth during her tenure.
Karen left her position at the Avon Foundation for Women in 2008 to focus on building her family. Fertility was a challenging ordeal for her as it is for many young breast cancer survivors. She and her husband Bob, adopted their daughter Abigail in 2009, and, with the help of fertility treatments, she gave birth to twins, Isabel and Jake, shortly thereafter. She is now a full-time mom to these three amazing children.
Karen graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a B.A. in Business-Psychology.
COURTNEY HAGEN, Vice President
Courtney Hagen joined YSC after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2006 at the age of 33. She brings to the YSC Board of Directors a passion for supporting young women diagnosed with breast cancer, plus over 15 years of strategy, marketing and human resources experience through her career in executive search and management consulting. She is currently Vice President of Executive Staffing for PepsiCo, leading the company’s acquisition of senior talent across functions, businesses and geographies. Courtney joined PepsiCo from Russell Reynolds Associates, where she led searches for marketing, sales and HR executives. Earlier, Courtney was a Founder at Beldon Partners, providing talent development advice to professional services firms, and led business development for co-branded card partnerships at American Express. Courtney started her career with management consultancy Bridge Strategy Group/Renaissance Worldwide, where she led strategy consulting engagements for Fortune 1000 companies in the US, Europe and South Africa. Courtney received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.
Courtney participated in her first YSC Tour de Pink bike ride just six months after her treatment ended to celebrate being cancer-free and has continued to volunteer and fundraise for YSC through Tour de Pink and the In Living Pink gala committee. She joined the Board of YSC in 2012 and was elected Vice President in 2013.
MICHAEL WIRTH, Treasurer
Michael Wirth is the Chief Executive Officer of Maiden Lane Jewelry, Ltd. and is the President and founder of Quiddity Group LLC, which provides strategic and business consulting services to companies in the financial services and real estate industries. Mr. Wirth was formerly the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Kohlberg Capital Corporation, a business development company focused on debt and equity investments in middle market companies. Mr. Wirth has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services sector and has managed over $2 billion in real-estate debt and equity securities and advised or structured over $30 billion in real-estate assets and debt. During his career as a CFO, he has led and executed five Initial Public Offerings of real estate or finance companies. He also serves as an independent director on the board of Quontic Bank and serves as the Chairman of the Executive Committee and the Audit Committee. Mr. Wirth has a Big Four accounting and consulting background with Deloitte (1983-1997) where he served as a National Director to the Financial Services Industry for the real estate consulting practice where he specialized in transaction, valuation and consulting services to the real estate and financial services industries. Mr. Wirth received a B.B.A. from the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
JOHN HENNESSY, Secretary
John Hennessy is Vice President, Health Affairs of Sarah Cannon, the global cancer enterprise of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). His focus areas at Sarah Cannon are medical oncology, survivorship and palliative care.
Hennessy has held several leadership positions in oncology for more than a dozen years, including his role as the executive director of the Kansas City Cancer Center. Through this leadership, he has led the adoption and implementation of cancer care pathways, in addition to other innovative programs. Having served in the health care industry for more than 25 years, he has experience in physician practice, hospitals, and managed care and health plans. Hennessy received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Colorado College, and a Master in Business Administration degree from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) and on several committees for the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), including the Clinical Practice Committee. Hennessy has been a speaker in the oncology field for many years including ASCO, ACCC, Society for Gynecologic Oncology, Medical Group Management Association, and a number of state and local healthcare meetings from Boston to Hawaii.
Tania Chomiak-Salvi is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State specializing in Public Diplomacy. She serves as the Deputy Coordinator in the Bureau of International Information Programs. Beginning her career as the Press Attaché, Tania has been telling America’s story through media contacts and exchange programs. Tania served as Counselor for Public Diplomacy for the U.S. Embassy to the Kingdom of Belgium from 2009 to 2012. In Washington, Tania has worked in the Bureau of European Affairs on NATO issues and on Western Europe, as well as in the Bureau of International Information Programs on European programs and on new media.
Diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age and early in her career, Tania began advocating to increase awareness of breast cancer in young women in 1998. She was an early member of the national Young Survival Coalition in New York. When she moved overseas, she continued to raise issues of young women in breast cancer. In Poland from 2000 to 2002, she organized talks for women on her own, often providing the first information available about breast cancer in young women. In Italy, she volunteered with the European breast cancer advocacy network, Europa Donna, where she introduced unprecedented programs for young women. In 2004, she was invited to present at Europa Donna’s annual international conference in Germany to a gathering of medical professionals and advocates from across Europe. In Belgium and in Washington, she has continued to build networks and connect individuals on the topic, even as she has moved out of the status of young woman.
Tania received her Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School in 1993 and her BA from the University of Virginia in 1989. Tania is married to Lucantonio Salvi, an attorney, and they have two children, Paul and Stephen.
LISA J. FRANK, Ex Officio/Past President
Lisa was diagnosed with stage-I breast cancer in 1998 at the age of 36.
As one of 13 founding members of Young Survival Coalition (YSC) Lisa has provided leadership and strength to the organization. Her first role in the YSC was co-chair of fundraising for the new organization. She has also served in several other key roles as a member of the YSC SurvivorLink program (formerly Peer to Peer support), the Development Committee, Vice-President of the YSC Board of Directors, President of the YSC Board of Directors and she is now the immediate Past President and the Co-Chair of the Development Committee. As an avid cyclist, Lisa co-founded the Tour de Pink (TdP) — a 220+ mile, multi-day charity ride to benefit YSC.
In 2004, while Lisa worked to organize the first Tour de Pink, she was diagnosed with a recurrence, stage-II breast cancer and was unable to ride that year or the following year. While never wavering in her commitment to Tour de Pink and YSC, Lisa got back on her bike in 2006 and continues to ride in and help build Tour de Pink. She continues to ride in support of other causes she cares about like MS and Autism. As a co-founder of the event and lead member of the TdP leadership committee, Lisa continues to rally support for the ride’s ongoing success in its numerous locations. The event now raises over $1 million a year for YSC.
In October 2011 Lisa was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and continues to battle metastatic breast cancer as it keeps rearing its ugly head. She continues her fight to rid herself of this disease while supporting other women through their journey. Lisa continues to give of herself by sharing her story with other young survivors, providing support and hope through her blog You're Crying on My Cashmere.
Lisa graduated Syracuse University College of Law in 1987 and has practiced law at prestigious law firms and cutting edge technology companies. Lisa is currently Vice President - Managing Counsel of the Small Business Services Division of ADP, Inc. the leading payroll processing company in the U.S. Lisa resides in Red Bank, N.J., with her longtime partner Steve.
Lise Geduldig brings to YSC more than two decades of public relations and strategic healthcare communications experience, including work on advanced oncology treatments. She currently serves as Principal of her own healthcare communications consulting business, which is based in New Hope, Pa., and provides communications counsel to clients across the life sciences spectrum. Her client portfolio includes global and specialty pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies and medical device manufacturers. Prior to founding Lise Geduldig Communications Consulting in 2006, Lise held senior-level positions in corporate and product communications in the health insurance and pharmaceutical sectors.
Lise has been involved with YSC breast cancer awareness and advocacy through volunteer activities, fundraising and participation in its YSC Tour de Pink ride to benefit young breast cancer survivors for several years. As a friend to many women affected by breast cancer, Lise views improving care for young women with breast cancer and the need for increased research, resources and education as critical issues that she can help advance through her involvement on YSC's Board of Directors. She is an alumnus of Bucknell University.
Karen has been involved with YSC for nearly a decade. In 2013 to honor her 10-year anniversary as a breast cancer survivor, Karen increased her commitment to YSC's important efforts and joined the Board.
Karen is a retired partner and Chief Financial Officer of Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), a NYC-based restaurant company that has created some of the country’s most celebrated restaurants including Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern and Shake Shack. Karen’s near-decade tenure with USHG began in 2005 and followed a career in financial services which included a decade on Wall Street working in private equity and investment banking for such leading firms as Warburg Pincus and Lehman Brothers. To those who know her well, it came as no surprise that Karen found her way to USHG as her passion for food and restaurants had long rivaled her financial services career. A successful battle with breast cancer compelled Karen to pursue that passion and join the company she had long admired as a frequent guest.
Karen received an undergraduate degree in international relations from Stanford University and earned an MBA with distinction in finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She also serves as a director of Greyston Foundation, a nationally recognized leader in social enterprise.
Karen Lawson considers herself a Global Citizen. She grew up in Johannesburg, married in London, survived breast cancer in New York City and now rides bikes in Seattle. She travels frequently to these and other far flung locations and considers it vital to remain open to new experiences and surroundings.
Karen owned a successful casting company in South Africa working in the rapidly developing film and television industry there. In London Karen was a client service executive at two of the top five global advertising agencies, TBWA and Mcann Erickson, working on global brands across Europe and North America.
In New York City Karen was able to follow a childhood passion and train as a Homeopath at the School of Homeopathy New York. While studying Karen was able to hone her communications and strategic business skills in roles at the innovative and entrepreneurial natural food company, Pret a Manger, the leading luxury brands consulting firm Karen Harvey Consulting and at the iconic Spiegel catalogue.
Karen is now a board certified homeopath and has a family practice in both New York and Seattle.
Karen began her volunteer relationship with YSC two years after her cancer diagnosis at 34. She was instrumental in establishing the New York City support group and was an active affiliate volunteer. After moving to Seattle she soon became a state leader for Washington as well as a Face to Face leader. Karen is a two-time Tour de Pink rider.
Karen is determined to support the YSC mission that no young woman should face breast cancer alone.
DESIREE A.H. WALKER
Desirée was initially diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38 and had a recurrence at age 47. Desirée gives the disease a face for many by speaking about her diagnosis to audiences nationally like at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center’s Bridging the Gap Conference.
She began volunteering with the Witness Project of Harlem and Survivors in Spirit, following her initial diagnosis. She first joined SHARE to aid their outreach efforts regarding ovarian cancer in the African-American community. She later started working with their Side by Side Program focusing on patient/doctor communication. She educates the African-American community on breast and ovarian cancers through their Ambassador Program. She facilitates a support group for women of African, African-American and Caribbean heritage. Desirée volunteers with YSC to support their initiatives since she was unaware of the organization when diagnosed. Her firsthand experience as a young woman with breast cancer drives her desire that the needs of this population are heard, addressed and no young women feels alone on the journey. She’s a member of the In Living Pink Benefit Committee.
She lobbies in Albany, NY and Washington, DC. She is a member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and a graduate of Project LEAD. As a patient advocate, she’s attended: the Breast Cancer Symposium, the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, American Association for Cancer Research's Scientist-Survivor Program and rally, Breast Cancer Action's rally at the Supreme Court's hearing against Myriad and the European School of Oncology’s Advanced Breast Cancer 2 conference. Desirée is a peer reviewer for the Department of Defense's Breast Cancer Research Program.
In October 2012, YSC, SHARE, and The Keep A Breast Foundation recognized her. Desirée was a panelist and moderator at C4YW conferences and Congresswomen Wasserman Schultz' Women's History Month event. She appeared on ABC World News with Dr. Richard Besser. Desirée and her daughter, Shayna appear in SHAPE’s October 2013 magazine article, “Breast Cancer: A Family Affair”. She is Ms. October in Sisters' Journey's 2013 Survivor Calendar. Desirée is the recipient of NBCC’s Wo(men) Who Get It Right® Grassroots Advocacy Award. She is featured in Cancer Support Community’s ebook on breast reconstruction. Desirée also appeared on Arise America TV with Debbye Turner Bell and Dr. Philippa Cheetham.
MEDICAL ADVISORY BOARD CHAIR
ANN PARTRIDGE, M.D., M.P.H.
Ann Partridge, M.D., M.P.H., is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and serves as the director of the Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer in the Breast Oncology Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Her clinical research focuses on psychosocial, communication and survivorship issues in breast cancer, with a particular interest in the unique issues facing young women with breast cancer, including fertility concerns.
Dr. Partridge serves as a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Survivorship Task Force, Fertility Preservation Guidelines Committee and Health Services Committee. She is also co-chair of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) Committee on Advocacy, Research Communication and Ethics (CARE) Committee. She has received awards and grants for her research, including an ASCO Career Development Award, Tracy Starr Breast Cancer Research Fund Award and Lance Armstrong Foundation Cancer Survivorship Award.
Dr. Partridge graduated from Georgetown University, earned her M.D. at Cornell University, trained in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and completed hematology- and medical-oncology fellowships at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She also received a master's degree in public health at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Board EmeritusAnna Cluxton Ken Preston