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September 2017 Society Talk recap & replay

There was so much news shared on Society Talk! If you missed the show, watch the replay, but if you are short on time here are some highlights:

  • This was the last announcement on the show but it deserves a prominent mention. After 15 years with ACS, Andy Huff, who leads our multimedia team, is leaving us for another job. We wish him all the best and will miss him!
  • The venture fund that our CEO Gary Reedy has been talking about for months is expected to become a reality in January. It is called ACS Bright Edge Ventures and it has the potential to create a sustainable source of research funding for years ahead. More on that coming soon! 
  • More on the mission side: We broke ground for a Hope Lodge in Jackson, MS, last week and on Oct. 3 we are scheduled to break ground for the Houston Hope Lodge. That's not all - on Oct. 23 we'll break ground for the Hope Lodge in Jacksonville. Fla. Also, we are expanding our pilot with LYFT into Miami. It started in Las Vegas as another way to address cancer patients' transportation needs.
  • In the first quarter of 2018 we will be launching our HPV campaign that will help prevent six types of HPV-related cancers through vaccination.
  • Our awesome Relay For Life volunteers have created a new recognition option called the Relay For Life Hero of Research Award, which will provide Relay teams that raise $165,000 or more by the end of August 2017, the opportunity to name a Society extramural research grant in honor or in memory of a loved one or in celebration of the team.
  • The viewership for our Relay For Life global launch via Facebook quadrupled this year! 
  • Early feedback on our new brand strategy ads has been positive. Radio and TV ads are already airing, and the digital promotion will begin in a couple of weeks, with new material. A little later, as people start thinking about year-end giving, we will have print ads in Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. In case you are wondering why we use different phone numbers in the ads, Irma Shrivastava, marketing head/SVP, Strategic Marketing and Alliances, explained that it's so we can track which ads prompted someone to pick up the phone and call us.
  • Last but not least, Tawana Thomas-Johnson, senior director, Inclusion Strategy, talked about the Society's goals to attract staff and volunteers who reflect the communities in which they work. "We need activists from all walks of life to help us reach our mission, income, and talent goals," she said. She said we are expanding our work with Federally Qualified Health Centers, and expanding our partnerships with diverse organizations.  
Below is a list of resources either mentioned on Society Talk, or related to topics discussed.

ACS Brand Strategy

The new ACS

  • A recap of this month's Society Talk

    Thank you to the guests and all leadership volunteers who tuned in August 10 to listen to Society leaders provide updates on Staff Development Day, Relay For Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, cancer disparities, and Navigation Tools and other IT issues. It was the first Society Talk appearance for two of our guests -- Len Lichtenfeld, MD, our deputy chief medical officer, and Blake Sanders, SVP, Information Technology, and we were happy they were able to join us live in our Atlanta studio.

    If you tuned in late or had to leave early, or missed the show altogther, no worries.A full replay will be available through this link.

    Here are the highlights of today's show:

    From our CEO Gary Reedy, we learned that:

    • While we may be experiencing some revenue challenges with Relay For Life, the Society is strong financially.
    • Relay income has been declining for nine years. "I thought we were in a position to stabilize it this year, and I was wrong," he said. Because of how people's lives have changed and how they choose to spend their time, we will be putting more emphasis on non-event revenue streams, he said. 
    • The 46 executive directors gathered in Atlanta last week, their first meeting as a new team. In fact, those folks filmed the opening welcome video on today's show.
    • The three open EVP positions have not yet been filled. He said the process is taking longer because he is hoping to find diverse candidates to fill those spots. He said he is meeting with two finalists in the next couple of weeks.
    • Our Board meets next week and will be talking about our diversity and inclusion plan, and the status of our ACS Research Venture Fund, to which we will be appointing advisors soon. In addition, we are working with several high net-worth individuals on funding several very large research grants. 
    • Gary said "I am really pleased with where we are in our transition to the new American Cancer Society." He said he challenges everyone to be creative, innovative, take risks, and get off auto-pilot. "Our biggest challenge right now is us," he said, "and the culture that we have had versus the culture we are building."  He said if he ever asks you why you did something, do not say "because that's the way we've always done it." That's the wrong answer, Gary said.

    From Maria Clark, SVP, Volunteer Events, and Susan Petre, VP, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, we learned that:

    • Today development staff across the organization are meeting in offices to learn more about all of our revenue products, how to be better salespeople, how to engage more constituents, and to strategize. Check Yammer for photos and updates on Staff Development Day.
    • The global launch of our next Relay For Life season will take place in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 12. It will be broadcast live and viewing parties will be organized by our volunteers.
    • We are challenging people to become a Hope Hero by signing up for Making Strides online and raising $25 by Sept. 9. Everyone who does that will get a pink cape - just like the one Susan was wearing in her pre-recorded video. We are hoping to attract new people to our events. You can help by spreading the word and thinking about people who might want to captain a team or join a team. Of course, you can start your own team!
    • The Real Men Wear Pink campaign raised $5.5 million last year, and we are aiming for $10 million this year!  "I don't think we realize how big this could be," said Gary, who was the #3 RMWP fundraiser in Atlanta last year.

    From Otis Brawley, MD, our chief medical officer, and Dr. Len, we learned that:

    • ACS is taking a leadership roll in ensuring that all people have access to the information, screenings, and treatment they need to fight cancer.
    • Along with three other leading cancer organizations, we released a joint statement recently that outlines a strategy to help all people benefit from cancer research, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or where they live. 
    • About 25% of Americans are getting sub-standard care, and we have a moral obligation to do something about that, Dr. Brawley said.
    • Dr. Len noted that the recent efforts on the part of ACS CAN "to preserve the Affordable Care Act" illustrates our commitment to this cause.
    From Blake Sanders we learned that:

    • Our new financial management system is scheduled to be deployed on Jan. 1, 2018, and our new CRM software will follow in August of 2018.
    • Gary said the new CRM system will help us understand our customers perhaps better than they understand themselves.
    • 100 staffers signed up to serve on a Navigation Tools user focus group. Just 20 slots were available. Thank you!
    • The Society has been the victim of 10 phishing attacks this year, four of them in the past 30 days. Blake encouraged staff to click the 'Report as Phishing' link if they think an email might be a phishing attempt. Never click links you are not 100% sure are safe, and don't share your user name and password.

  • Society Talk recap

    We hope you were able to watch the July 18 Society Talk program, which featured updates on our transition to a new regional operating model, the health care bill in Washington, and our groundbreaking Cancer Prevention Studies.

    A recap of highlights of the show follows, and a replay of the entire program is available here. Log in to the replay, and you'll find the survey icon to the right of the list of resources. We welcome your feedback.

    On this month's show we learned that:

    • Members of the Senior Leadership Team have interviewed candidates for the three open EVP positions in the West, South, and North Central Regions. The interim EVPs in those Regions will be leaving by the end of this month. Mike Neal, senior executive VP for Field Operations,  said he "feels good" about the three candidates being looked at, but he would not hazard a guess on when those vacancies will be filled. He noted that he is looking for people who can lead teams and create a supportive environment of trust and respect. Finalists will be interviewed by Mike and CEO Gary Reedy.
    • On Tuesday, the attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act seems to have fallen apart due to lack of GOP support. Chris Hansen, president, ACS CAN, said all of the lobbying ACS CAN has organized made an "tremendous" impact on lawmakers' decisions not to support the American Health Care bill. "We are unique. We are not seen as a partisan organization, but a science- and patient-based organization." Our ability to rally cancer patients to share their stories shows legislators the actual impact of what they are considering, particularly when it is clear that those testifying are doing so for personal, not partisan, reasons, he said.
    • Chris said "we know the current health care law needs to be improved . . but throwing it away after all that work is not the answer." ACS CAN wants to ensure that cancer patients have access to uninterrupted insurance coverage, and that uninsured Americans get coverage that includes cancer screenings and treatments.
    • Marissa Brown, senior VP, State & Local Advocacy, provided statistics that show just how successful ACS CAN has been at motivating people to contact their representatives and senators regarding the health care bill. She said 11,000 calls to legislators were made; 22,000 emails sent, 14,000 messages posted using the hashtag #keepuscovered, and 19,000 new ACS CAN volunteers were recruited.
    • ACS CAN will be holding rallies in support of cancer research in August, and they will need patients to be part of that. If you know of a cancer patient with a compelling story they are willing to share, please contact Marissa or your local ACS CAN staff partner. 
    • Susan Gapstur, PhD, MPH, senior VP, Epidemiology, Intramural Research, (pictured above with Society Talk host Desiree Berenguer Carton) shared that we will be sending our final survey to Cancer Prevention Study-II participants later this summer, and she shared a letter from a constituent who said how much she had enjoyed being a part of making research history.
    • Landmark findings from CPS-II, which began in 1982, have been published in more than 600 scientific papers, and contributed to what we now know about overall death rates and cancer risk due to excess body weight, alcohol consumption, red and processed meat intake, physical activty, genes, air pollutants, and more. The studies have also let to declines in tobacco smoking and smoking-related death rates, and adoption of clear air regulations, as well as  guidelines on nutrition, physical activity and obesity for cancer prevention and survival. Learn more here.

  • ACS News Minute: ACS leads effort to improve cancer care in Africa

    ACS and the Clinton Health Access Initiative are collaborating to bring less expensive and higher quality cancer medications to sub-Saharan Africa.

    Thanks to groundbreaking market access agreements with Pfizer Inc. and Cipla Inc., access to 16 essential cancer treatment medications will be expanded in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

    In this latest ACS News Minute, Meg O'Brien, PhD, managing director, Global Cancer Treatment, explains more. Watch now!

  • Society Talk recap & replay

    Thanks for tuning in to our April Society Talk. We hope you enjoyed the program. 

    You'll find a brief recap below of some, not all, segments, followed by a list of the resources mentioned on the show. A replay is available here -- the same link you used to watch the show. 

    The biggest news was that Phase 3 jobs have been posted. 

    Also, we have hired a outside firm to help us fill the EVP jobs that are open. Mike Neal said we are looking for people who have the eight competencies that were identified specifically for EVPs, from managing teams to managing complexities. He said we are looking both internally and externally for those leaders. "I am eager to get the list in front of me, as we want to hire these people as soon as possible," he said.

    We also learned about an exciting new Caregivers Resource Guide that, at first, will be given away for free at five of our Hope Lodges: Atlanta, Manhattan, New Orleans, Lexington, KY, and Rochester, NY. As explained by Rachel Cannady, strategic director, Cancer Caregiver Support​, the guide includes information about cancer, treatment, self-care, how to communicate with the health care team and patient, and much more. "If we support our family caregivers, they will want to give back to us," she said. ​

    Another guest was Ben Kaplan, senior director, Mobile Marketing, who announced that our fundraising app for Relay and Making Strides now lets participants register and re-register for events. He also put a plug in for text messaging -- technology available to all Relay and Strides event managers. He said research shows that people read texts more than they do email, and a lot faster. He also talked about an exciting virtual reality project we're working on with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The goal is to distract children with something fun and engaging in order to reduce the pain and anxiety of treatment.​

    And for those who might have been wondering, the results of our CEO Gary Reedy's colonoscopy were just fine! ​

    PHOTO: Host Desiree Berenguer Carton, seated with Rachel Cannady and Gary Reedy, holds up our new Caregivers Resource Guide.

  • Society Talk recap

    ​Thanks for watching our February Society Talk. If you missed the show or want to watch any of the segments again, a replay is now available.

    Here are the highlights by segment:

    Pre-recorded interview with Gary Reedy

    • CEO Gary Reedy announced that Rob King, senior VP, Enterprise Planning & Business Integration; Board Chair Arnold Baskies, MD, and Board member Amit Kumar, PhD, are meeting with leaders of the Cystic Fibrosis​ Foundation to learn how they started venture philanthropy. "We want to pick their brains" said Gary, adding that we "are moving close to having a plan to stand up our venture fund." He hopes to present a plan to the Board at its April meeting.
    • Our CEO has been named to the steering committee of recently formed Biden Foundation. One of its seven pillars is to continue the work of the Cancer Moonshot, including how to bring affordable medicines to cancer patients.
    • The recently named EVPs of our six new regions are working together to form their leadership teams. The teams should be announced in the next couple of weeks, and the new operating model is on track to take effect July 1.
    • Last but not least, Gary gave a shout out to the multidisciplinary team that was responsible for the refresh of He noted that the website is many peoples' first interaction with the us, and it's important that their experience be as fulfilling as possible.

    Extramural Research 

    Bill Chambers, PhD, senior vice president, Extramural Research and Bill Phelps, PhD, vice president, ​Extramural Research, ​discussed our goal to double our annual research investment within the next five years. Dr. Chambers said it will take a collective effort, with many departments working together to make it happen. He said he has been spending a lot of time talking to Development and Major Gifts staff.  

    "We have an opportunity to be even more impactful than we have been. We are posed to do wonderful things," he said, thanks to our "really doing a much better job of being an integrated organization." He called it "profoundly" exciting.

    Intramural Research

    Ken Portier, PhD, VP, Statistics and Evaluation Center and acting VP of the Behavioral Research Center, and Corinne Leach, PhD, MPH, our strategic director of Cancer and Aging Research, discussed the work two of the five programs in this department  – the Behavioral Research Center (BRC) and the Statistics & Evaluation Center (SEC). (The other three are Epidemiology, Surveillance​ & Health Services, and Economic and Health Policy Research.)

    • The SEC will soon be conducting a review of our Road To Recovery program.​
    • In collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, ACS launched Springboard Beyond Cancer, an eHealth tool (computer and mobile) that helps patients live healthier lives during and after cancer.  Its URL currently is, but that will be changing soon to one that better describes what it is. In addition, a Spanish version of the tool is expected in 2018.​​

    Renee Ducre, managing director, Enterprise Web Development, Development and Marketing, gave a tour of our refreshed we site. Did you know gets 8 million visits a month? Renee said the #1 thing viewers like about the makeover is the fresh, clean look. It's also much faster. The old site took 11 seconds to load, she said.            

    Customer Promises segment with Nichole Hicks - Exemplifying the "We are innovative" promise.  

    Nichole Pfeiffer Hicks, managing director, Relay For Life Youth/Campus Strategy, announced that we have enlisted the help of students at Emory University's Goizueta Business School to come up with new and innovative ways to grow our college Relay For Life events. We have challenged ourselves to reach $50 million in college Relay income in the next five years. Business students will present their ideas in May, and we hope to be able to implement some of them this fall.

  • Replays from our Leadership Summit are here!

    ​Replays of presentations made at our Jan. 11-13, 2017 Nationwide Volunteer and Staff Leadership Summit are now ready for viewing!

    Nearly 300 staff and volunteers attended the meeting in Atlanta, and its goal was to build a strong foundation of leaders who will champion our organizational priorities as we build the new American Cancer Society.

    Here are the presentations:

    • Medal ​of Honor ceremony (56 minutes)​​​
    • Remar​ks by our CEO Gary Reedy (16 minutes) - Gary discusses our new mission statement and tells an inspiring anecdote about the Society's role in the Cancer Moonshot.
    • Panel Disc​ussion​  (1 hour, 11 minutes) - Hear Rich Wender, MD, our chief cancer control officer; Otis Brawley, MD, our chief medical and scientific officer; Joe Cahoon, senior VP for Field Operations; and Sharon Byers, chief development and marketing officer, discuss how we will marry mission and revenue and double are research budget.
    • Simone I ​Smith, (11 minutes) - The jewelry designer and wife of LL Cool J shares her cancer journey and says she has a duty to give back. 
    • Arnold M. Ba​skies, MD, FACS ​(18 minutes)  - Our new Board chair says in order to be successful we must embrace collaboration and unity.
    • Tab​oo (20  minutes) - The testicular cancer survivor and member of the musical group the Black Eyed Peas shares details of his cancer fight and relationship with ACS.
    • Awards Luncheon ​(49 minutes) - Awarding of the Trish Greene and Lane Adams Quality of Life Awards
    • Presentation of the Volunteer Leadership Award​ (9 minutes)

  • January Society Talk replay now available!

    ​Thanks for tuning in to our Jan. 18 90-minute Society Talk. A recap of each guest's presentation follows, and here is the link​ to the replay​.

    CEO Gary Reedy

    Gary was full of good news: In 2016 our revenue grew, for the first time in nine years! 

    Another feel good announcement is that NCIC is turning 20 this month, and there will be a big celebration in Austin on Jan. 24. Gary said when he meets with potential investors he always impresses them with details of this amazing resource that people can access toll free any time of day or night, 365 days a year. Since opening, NCIC staffers have answered more than 18 million calls.

    Regarding our new regional model, Gary said the leaders of each of the six new regions will be announced within the next two weeks.

    Rich Wender, MD, our chief cancer control officer

    Rich gave, as always, a very exciting presentation about our Cancer Control Blueprint, which we hope will become the basis for a national cancer blueprint.

    Our Cancer Control blueprint has two main areas of focus: 

    • Act on what is proven to work and ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to benefit.​​
    • Identify the most promising avenues for research to address what is not known today.​

    Action Steps

    1. We are identifying and prioritizing prevention, early detection, treatment, and research strategies for every cancer.​
    2. Some cancers have strategies proven to work in every category, as well as key research questions demanding answers.
    3. For others, research must be our highest priority.

    Lung cancer provides a good Cancer Control Blueprint example. In the past, we’ve only had one effective strategy – prevention through tobacco control. Today, there are four strategies converging to create a prime opportunity to accelerate our progress against lung cancer:
    1. More knowledge about how to prevent lung cancer – and which populations are lagging​
    2. A screening test to detect lung cancer early and cure it
    3. Therapies that work but that must be made available to all who may benefit
    4. Extraordinary research promise available to deliver more answers​
    Proposed public health campaigns
    The ‘campaign’ model is a new way of presenting our work to our partners and the public. Like the 80% by 2018 campaign, these public pushes build excitment, position us as a leader, focus national attention, and attract organizations and other players who want to associate with a winning tactic. These mission campaigns also are likely to attract funding, whether through grants or other means. Here are the proposed campaigns, or as Rich calls them, the 7 Big Opportunities: 
    • Big Opportunity #1: Increase colorectal cancer screening rates to 80% by 2018.​​​
    • Big Opportunity #2: Reduce lung cancer age-adjusted mortality by 50% within a decade.​
    • Big Opportunity #3: Ensure no one dies of cancer because they can't get the care they need.​
    • Big Opportunity #4: Eliminate HPV-related cancers.​​(As Rich noted, ACS is a leader in this area, having helped convene the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable.
    • Big Opportunity #5: Equalize outcomes for all facing breast cance​r​​
    • Big Opportunity #6: Ensure all cancer survivors can access recommended care.​
    • Big Opportunity #7: Enable communities to fight cancer by addressing the true determinants of health.​​

    Sharon Byers, chief development & marketing officer

    Sharon is tasked with "filling our sails" and she said our long-term sustainabililty depends on our ability to reinvent ourselves in the marketplace. To do that, we need to create and sustain meaningful collaborations and relationships across many sectors. Relationships are where the magic happens, she said.

    Within the sports world, we are launching our biggest fundraising initiative with the new 3-Point Challenge. Roughly 200 schools around the country have opted in! Fans of schools can make pledges for every 3-Point shot made.

    On the corporate side, we’ve hired three new leaders that are corporate relationship experts, each with an industry focus. This team will be rounded out by two leaders that are experts in building partnerships in the finance and technology arena, and those roles will be filled shortly. ​

    More celebrity engagement is expected, but Sharon said you always "start with people who love you."  Our relationship with Taboo will continue, and look for something special from him on Feb. 4, World Cancer Day.

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