Barbara Pfeiffer, Chief Executive Officer
Barbara discovered her BRCA1 mutation in 2003 after her mother had been battling breast cancer for over 12 years. Barbara’s volunteer work with FORCE began the following year and continued to expand. She works tirelessly to ensure that women have the lifesaving information that FORCE provides. Under Barbara’s direction, FORCE’s outreach network grew from 5 to over 75 groups nationwide, providing peer-to-peer support for women and families facing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. As CEO, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization and its team.
A former marketing manager for Microsoft Corporation, Barbara is co-owner and CEO of Nurture Marketing, a business-to-business marketing agency serving clients including New York Life, Microsoft, and Nokia.
Barbara, her husband Alan reside in Bayville, NJ.
Sue Friedman, Executive Director, Founder
Dr. Sue Friedman was practicing small animal medicine in south Florida in 1996 when she was diagnosed “out of the blue” at age 33 with breast cancer. At the time, she was unaware of familial risk factors for hereditary cancer. Reading an article about hereditary breast cancer after completing her treatment, Sue realized that she had several indications for a mutation. She pursued genetic counseling, and in 1997, tested positive for a BRCA2 mutation.
Shocked that her health care team didn’t alert her to the possibility of being at high risk, and disappointed at having to make critical treatment decisions while unaware of her mutation, Sue acted so others could benefit from her misfortune. She founded FORCE in 1999 to fill the information void for individuals and families with hereditary cancer, and to help them advocate for themselves. After five years as the organization’s executive director while maintaining her own busy practice, Sue left veterinary medicine to direct FORCE full-time. Since then, the organization has become an unequaled source of research, advocacy, support, and information regarding risk management, prevention, and awareness.
In 2004, Sue relocated her husband Dan, son Beau, and FORCE headquarters to Tampa to work more closely with researchers to improve options and care for high-risk women. She is a 14-year breast cancer survivor.
Sue is co-author of the book Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer which was published by Johns Hopkins Press February 2012.
Tina Krall, Senior Vice President, Development
Tina brings over 18 years of nonprofit management and fundraising experience to her position as Senior Vice President of Development at FORCE. She has a strong commitment to women’s health and patient advocacy, having served as executive director ofFibroid Relief, an organization dedicated to educating women on treatment options for uterine fibroids.
Tina also held a diverse array of fundraising positions in the Washington, D.C. metro area with the American Cancer Society, The Women’s Center, the ASAE Foundation and the AAUW Educational Foundation. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from RollinsCollege in Winter Park, Florida, a Master’s Degree from American University in Washington, D.C. and a Certificate in Marketing Strategy for Business Leaders from Cornell University.
Volunteerism and giving back to the community have always been priorities for Tina. She served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Washington, D.C. for several years and served a two-year term as Chair of the Board of Shelter forHelp in Emergency, the regional domestic violence shelter. Tina resides with her husband and two daughters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Karen Kramer, Vice President, Marketing
Karen brings more than 20 years of strategic marketing and communications experience to her goal of increasing awareness about FORCE and helping families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
When Karen discovered she had a BRCA1 mutation in 2009, the information and support she received from FORCE helped her navigate her BRCA journey. As a previvor and FORCE volunteer, she spearheaded a social media growth campaign and supporting efforts that led to passage of a resolution by the U.S. House of Representatives recognizing National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week and National Previvor Day. Today, Karen’s personal experiences and dedication to the FORCE cause drive her to build awareness and educate others.
Karen previously led marketing efforts for a startup software company, helping it become the international leader in its industry.
She lives in Potomac, Maryland with her husband and three children.
Sandy Cohen, Vice President, Volunteer Programs
After losing her 38-year-old grandmother and 54-year-old mother to hereditary cancer, Sandy grew up thinking that breast cancer was in her future. When Sandy learned that she has a BRCA1 mutation, she took proactive steps to greatly reduce her chances of this ever occurring to her. In 2006, she co-founded the FORCE outreach group in Philadelphia; three years she later became FORCE’s Director of Outreach Programs. She has since increased the community groups to over 130 and continues to recruit and train additional volunteers in and beyond the United States. Sandy also assists with efforts to increase the FORCE help line and virtual support volunteer programs.
She is a former marketing director for Kraft/Alliant Foodservice and currently owns her own marketing consulting business.
Sandy lives in Lafayette Hill, PA with her husband Barry, their twins Sam and Emmie (who share her passion for volunteering) and dog Chloe.
Lisa Schlager, Vice President, Community Affairs
Lisa manages advocacy, strategic partnerships and community relations for FORCE. She joined the organization in 2008 as Coordinator for the Washington, D.C. outreach organization. Since learning of her BRCA1 mutation in 1999, Lisa’s mission has been to educate others about the risks of hereditary cancer. Her recent successes include passage of National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week and National Previvor Day 2010; formulation of the EARLY Act, passed with the healthcare reform legislation in 2010; and testifying before the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Science on issues related to direct-to-consumer marketing of genetic tests.
A former marketing communications consultant, Lisa served clients including MCI Communications and Fannie Mae. She has a long history of volunteer work in her local community, synagogue, and schools. Lisa resides in Washington, DC with her husband Gary and two children.
Jackie Medina, Director of Operations
Jackie began her association with FORCE while finishing her master’s thesis. She quickly began taking on additional responsibilities before becoming the organization’s Director of Operations. Jackie works closely with the staff to ensure that day-to-day FORCE operations run smoothly.
Jackie is an active member of the Junior League of Tampa and president of her sorority alumnae chapter. She resides in Wesley Chapel, Florida with her husband Eli, daughter Cadence, and their dogs Angel and Gus.
Diane Rose, Director of Volunteer Programs
Diane's family was shocked to learn their genetic test results following her aunt's ovarian cancer diagnosis in 1999 at the age of 53. With no family history of breast or ovarian cancer, her young age was a red flag to her oncologist, who recommended she test for the BRCA gene mutation. When she came back BRCA1+, her siblings, including her father were encouraged to complete genetic testing. Diane, her father, and two brothers tested positive for BRCA 1. After the birth of her third child, and the simultaneous diagnosis of her 29 year old cousin with bilateral breast cancer, Diane decided it was time to take action. She was given information about FORCE through her genetic counselor, and immediately began her research. She went to local FORCE support meetings and made doctor appointments.
She underwent a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and oophorectomy and is proud to be called a Previvor!
Diane became an outreach co-coordinator in Philadelphia, and quickly decided that she would love to help FORCE in any other way needed. She became the Director of Volunteer Programs and a FRAT Advocate (FORCE Research Advocate Training Program).
Diane lives in Oley, PA with her husband Thomas, and three children Avery, Caleb and Ellie.
Lisa Rezende, Ph.D., Director of Education
Dr. Lisa Rezende found FORCE in 2008 when she was looking for high-quality accessible information as her mother, a long-term ovarian cancer survivor, considered genetic testing. After she and her mother discovered they both carried BRCA1 mutations, Lisa found support through FORCE as she navigated her options for managing her cancer risk. She soon began volunteering as a medical writer, developing materials for the FORCE website and newsletter and helping to develop the clinical trials database.
Lisa brings over 20 years of science and education experience to her role as Director of Education at FORCE. She earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and completed four years of post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School. She has extensive science writing experience, including a Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). As a Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arizona, Lisa taught science in person and online courses to a variety of audiences including medical students, pre-nursing students, and science teachers.
She lives in Tucson Arizona with her husband and two daughters.
Simbonika Spencer, Director of Development
Sim has spent 20 years in public health education and program development. Simbonika has worked in archaeological research, health law, managed care, marketing, fitness, training and education. She has extensive nonprofit experience, with efforts that extend to comprehensive cancer control, including work in marketing campaigns, partnerships, patient services, and volunteer development. Simbonika earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia in Women’s Studies and Anthropology and a Master of Public Health from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has further training in nonprofit management, epidemiology, and resource development. Simbonika is a passionate fitness instructor and enjoys encouraging people to live well.
Simbonika has served on numerous boards and councils and volunteers to support area school activities and mobilize community advocates. She is an avid gardener and spends time each summer working with neighborhood children to share the joy of growing their own food and flowers.
She lives in Rock Hill, South Carolina with her sons, Joshua and Luke, and their dog, Ginger.
Marisol Rosas, Director, Helpline
Marisol saw her mother fight breast cancer when she was very young, only to lose her when she was 8 years old to ovarian cancer. Since then, she always feared she would one day have those same fights.
Several years later, married and with two beautiful sons, she went for her routine mammogram, but given her family history they suggested genetic counseling. It was time to face her fears and underwent genetic testing.
She tested positive. Knowing very well the pain left behind to those you love, she decided to fight this, and to learn as much as possible. That is when she found FORCE, an incredible source of information with an even more incredible community of fighters like her. She knew she was not alone in this fight.
She has since gone thru her mastectomy and oophorectomy, she is a previvor, and proud of it. She knew it was time to give back and she is now in charge of the Helpline at FORCE. She is also involved in her community which is from Hispanic descent, and has participated in several conferences within her community and in Mexico, trying to EMPOWER women beyond our borders.
Marisol resides in San Diego, California with her husband , Luis and her two sons, Santiago and Nicolas.
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