Board of Directors and Staff
Chief Executive Guru: a COUPLE of GURUS
I love the mission of the Hope Chest because it fills such a unique and important niche: serving the practical needs of our neighbors with breast cancer. It’s a way to do tangible good in our community. I also love the entrepreneurial way the Hope Chest raises funds, giving people a variety of ways to contribute, and building sustainability.
VP Integrated Health Business Unit at Medibio Limited
Working in healthcare I have been amazed at the pace of innovation and improvements in care. I have also seen the cost limit access to that care and feel that we can do more to lessen this burden. Nobody should go bankrupt or loose their home to pay for healthcare. I was inspired by Barbara's mission to provide impactful grants that cover the costs that insurance does not. I believe that Hope Chest provides a high value and low cost model to ease the burden of cost. I am looking forward to working with the talented board at Hope Chest.
Shareholder and Head of Law Firm’s Employment and Litigation Groups - Fafinski Mark & Johnson
I first became involved with Hope Chest as pro bono employment counsel in 2014. I was motivated to continue my involvement as my Mom is a breast cancer survivor. I was a first-hand witness to the incredible challenges cancer patients and their families face throughout the entire journey. Hope Chest is there to help by alleviating financial strains and providing basic but important daily needs. I am incredibly proud to be a part of the Board to further this mission.
Karen Larson is the chief finance and administrative officer for the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. She is responsible for all finance and accounting functions, purchasing, human resources and information technology. Prior to joining the Y, Karen held leadership positions at a number of organizations, including as chief financial officer for the National Arthritis Foundation, chief executive officer for the Upper Midwest Region of the Arthritis Foundation and a number of senior leadership positions for the Star Tribune. Karen holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a master’s degree in finance from the University of St. Thomas. She has served on the boards of the MS Society-MN, Children’s Museum and the Minneapolis Downtown Council.
Hope Chest for Breast Cancer
I was motivated by my two sisters’ fight-against and loss-to breast cancer. My dedication to the work of the Hope Chest has increased with every breast cancer story I have heard, every family I have met, every shopper in the store, every donor of merchandise and money. The need is great and I am honored to be part of the solution.
Principal: Noack Retail Group
After serving for two years as Merchandise Director for Hope Chest, I had the opportunity to engage in the day to day operations at the HC corporate offices and retail stores. From the top down, the energy, enthusiasm and effort that results in support to those battling breast cancer in Minnesota was all the inspiration I needed to commit to the organization indefinitely.
Communications Manager: City of Brooklyn Park
Cancer, unfortunately, has affected Camille’s life. She lost her mother to cancer and she has seen the affects breast cancer has had on close family and friends. Using her strengths and expertise in marketing and communications, Camille felt a need to give back to her community and to an organization that is truly saving families from having to deal with the financial hardship that often time comes with battling this life-threatening disease.
Director of External Affairs: Thrivent
Callie has been a long-time supporter of Hope Chest for Breast Cancer and is thrilled to be part of the board, using her strategic communications experience to make a difference in the lives of those experiencing and being impacted by breast cancer. After seeing the financial implications of breast cancer firsthand, Callie believes that financial support allows patients to focus on their physical and emotional journey of healing. Callie’s life has been impacted by breast cancer as her mother battled the disease twice; first in 2004, and again when diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2018.
VP of Strategy: Space 150
Like so many of us, Elizabeth and her family have been impacted by cancer, so being a part of Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation is incredibly meaningful to her. She has seen first hand the challenges that even people with seemingly ample resources and support can face. Elizabeth has 15 years of brand building experience with much of that time spent on some of the worlds most beloved brands. She has lead strategy and insights teams at some of the largest agencies like Olson and Carlson Marketing and have helped companies like General Mills, United Health Care, BISSEL, Target, P&G and P.F. Chang’s reinvent their brands and galvanize their workforces.
Deb has been a passionate supporter of Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation for nearly ten years and is honored to be part of the board. Through her work as a leader in Human Resources she has seen the impact cancer has on employees and families. Deb believes that HR Leaders and Company Executives can create options beyond the traditional health and welfare benefits in order to bridge the gap for their employees and their local communities.
Deb has spent nearly 30 years in human resources and organizational development leadership roles; building HR and Operational Teams and deploying people strategies. She is excited to share this knowledge and experience with the Hope Chest family.
Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and remembers attending a support group for women under 50. She had a great job and excellent benefits, but she met a number of women who didn’t and finances were a concern to them. Michelle is excited to join an organization that she has a personal connection with and believes in the mission. She hopes her 25 years of Human Resources experience can help the foundation with it’s future growth.
Director U of M Masonic Cancer Center
Dr. Anne Blaes offers phenomenal expertise as the Medical Director Board Member for Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation, by providing valuable insight and knowledge of the latest research and treatment methods regarding breast cancer. Dr. Blaes graduated from the University of Notre Dame and then received her M.D. degree from Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine. She performed her residency at the University of Minnesota, where she was named the Resident Teacher of the Year and received the Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award for her outstanding contributions as a resident role model. She served as Chief Resident in Internal Medicine and then subsequently completed a Hematology and Oncology fellowship and a Master of Science in Clinical Research degree at the University of Minnesota, prior to joining the faculty. She is an active medical oncologist with a special interest in the late effects of cancer therapy. She is the Chair for the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Cancer Survivorship Committee, a member of the Executive Board for the Global Cardiooncology Society, and an active member of the ALLIANCE for Cancer Clinical Trials.
Executive Director, Jamie Flaws, a former media executive, enjoys solving intractable problems, advancing missions and teams while fostering big-picture ideation that strengthens strategy and improves execution. She has spent over 20 years leading and advising hundreds of for-profit and not-for-profit companies helping them to grow, scale, turn around and transform their business. Feeding a passion to better support organizations in the community of Minnesota, she now applies her skills to increase the impact of nonprofits and companies committed to doing good – especially Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation. Having lost her Aunt to breast cancer, Jamie is steadfast in her focus to grow Hope Chest so that we can have a deep and lasting positive impact on Minnesota breast cancer patients. Jamie can be contacted at email@example.com.
Marketing Manager, Danielle Van Peursem offers non-profit marketing and communications experience from working with Community Health Centers and the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation. Her role as Marketing Manager for Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation ignites those areas of expertise through event fundraisers, fostering relationships, as well as developing and executing marketing strategies. Danielle is passionate about helping breast cancer patients, so they are not burdened by everyday expenses when battling for their lives. Danielle lost her Aunt Denise to breast cancer in 2007 and understands how important a support system, like Hope Chest is when fighting breast cancer. Danielle can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nancy Benedict provides unique insight as the Patient Grants Administrator and Office Manager for Hope Chest for Breast Cancer. She has been deeply involved with the organization for over 14 years. She spent a year as Interim Executive Director and served 4 years on the Board of Directors. The past two as Chair. She is thrilled to now be on staff and excited by the dynamic vision and assertive growth plans for the organization. She is looking forward to working directly with breast cancer patients on receiving grant assistance. Personally, Nancy’s life has been greatly impacted by cancer. She is so thankful that her family had the financial capacity to handle the medical and personal costs of cancer. Now she is helping directly ease those financial burdens of others not as blessed. Nancy can be contacted at email@example.com.
Michelle Nayar is the finance expert for Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation. Her past experience includes roles in public accounting as well as finance and accounting positions at for-profit and non-profit organizations. Like many others, Michelle’s family and a few of her good friends have been touched by breast cancer. The financial burdens can be immense when going through treatment, so she is inspired by the mission of this organization to help people when they need it the most. Michelle can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.