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Gary's Update: Relay For Life - Creating relevance by throwing away the box

​​Below is the transcript of Gary's Update, emailed to all staff on Feb. 21, 2017. Watch the video here​​.​​


Hello everyone! I'm coming to you today from Atlanta as we're getting ready for our Global Headquarters participation in our local Relay For Life event. And I am delighted to share with you that this year I am serving as executive champion of that event.  

Now, with me today I also have Sarah Grant and Joshua Menifee, who are serving as the volunteer and staff partners, and they're the ones who make the DeKalb Relay For Life event possible. They also are a terrific example of the strong volunteer-staff partnership that makes the American Cancer Society so successful.

Now, I understand you guys have some pretty innovative approaches you're taking this year, so how about sharing them with us? 


Sure I will. Thank you very much for the opportunity to share this. In DeKalb county, we're reaching out to schools, churches, clubs – anywhere we can find people, we're trying to get them involved, because Relay is very important. So we're just doing the best we can to get as many people involved, to make this the largest Relay we've ever had. And Joshua has something to share as well. ​​


I love it!


Absolutely. Thank you Miss Sarah, and thank you Gary. As Miss Sarah said, we're doing the very best we can to go into the community, asking them how we can best make this event relevant for them, in innovative and creative ways. We definitely plan to make this the best Relay yet.


Well I tell you, I love the excitement, the enthusiasm, and there's no doubt in my mind that it's going to be the best one yet. And as you said, it's all about relevance. You know what is relevant to our customers.

So as you kick off this the Relay season in your own communities, I would encourage you to "throw away the box," and focus on what's most relevant for your customers and for your communities.

Now, you know we all Relay for different reasons. I Relay because I'm a husband, I'm a dad, and I also want to see a world without cancer. And by working together and coming together in our communities, as we do with Relay, we can achieve that vision faster. 

Now, the new American Cancer Society is leading this fight in exciting new ways, and certainly Relay For Life is a critical part of that – and you definitely are as well.

So there's no doubt in my mind that together, we can save lives, celebrate lives, and we will lead this fight for a world without cancer. Now I want to thank you for everything you're doing today and every day to make that possible. 

  • Gary's Update: Engaging volunteers in powerful new ways

    ​Below is the transcript of Gary's Update, emailed to all staff on Jan. 17, 2017. Watch the video here​​.​​


    Hello everyone. I'm coming to you today from Atlanta during our Nationwide Volunteer and Staff Leadership Summit. And here with me today is Dr. Arnie Baskies, our new Chair of the Board. Now, for those of you that don't know Arnie, he is a renowned surgeon, a medical director, and a past ACS grant recipient.

    Now, Arnie had a chance this week to chair his first Board meeting, and I can tell you, we are off to a great start. I can also tell you that he delivered some very inspirational remarks at the opening of our Summit, and I encourage you to watch the replay of those remarks.

    Now Arnie, it's been really exciting this week to hang out with these volunteers and staff from across the country and talk about how we move forward as a new American Cancer Society. How about sharing your thoughts on what we're doing here?


    You know Gary, we've asked a lot of our volunteers this year, and the sense that I got is that everyone's ready to roll up their sleeves and get started. In fact, they want to be ahead of our staff people in terms of making the new ACS into what we want it to be. The level of commitment that I saw – and the excitement is building – people are ready to go and raring to go, in order to fulfill our mission to save more lives.  


    I agree, Arnie. I tell you, the energy and the excitement in the room about the new ACS is absolutely tremendous, and we're all excited about the future and where we're going.

    This week, we also are celebrating some tremendous individuals who have made significant progress in the fight against cancer, by presenting them with the American Cancer Society's highest award: the Medal of Honor.

    Now, these folks have dedicated their careers to cancer research, with lifesaving results. And this is a perfect example of the extraordinary opportunities that exist in cancer research today, and why it's such a priority for the new American Cancer Society.

    Now, Arnie and I are proud to be charting our path forward with these incredible volunteers, and with each and every one of you. So thank you for everything you're doing, and have a great week! 

  • Gary's Update: Happy New Year

    ​Below is the transcript of Gary's Update, emailed to all staff on Jan. 3, 2017. Watch the video here​.​

    Hi everyone and welcome back! I hope you're returning from the holidays ready to start the new year. I'm so excited about our path forward and I hope you are, too.

    There's no doubt that there's some hard work ahead at the American Cancer Society. We've got to roll up our sleeves and make some progress with our Fit for Purpose work. I'm up for the challenge, and I know I can count on you, too, to rise to that challenge. We have a clear path. We just have to stay focused and execute. We're creating a future of this organization, and it's going to be a bright one.

    These changes are going to position your American Cancer Society to lead the cancer fight in a whole new way. Now to go with that new attitude, we're going to be sharing with you soon a brand new way we're going to be talking about our lifesaving work. I'll share that exciting update next week, when we also have our Nationwide Volunteer and Staff Leadership Summit. That meeting will bring together our organization's leaders to help chart the path forward to the new ACS.

    I'm confident we'll have things to celebrate as we continue to make progress this year. So, as another holiday season comes to a close and you put away the New Year's party hats, I hope you'll keep aside a little of that celebratory spirit. Because at the ACS, we're about celebrating lives, every single day.

    That means celebrating you, too. So let me start this year off right by simply saying thank you for everything you do, every day, to help bring about a world without cancer.

    Have a great week!

    Watch Gary's video message. 

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