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Welcome new SVP, California Guam Hawaii Division

Maria Olson will lead financial and operational performance for the newly formed division.

Brant Woodward, senior executive vice president, Field Operations, has announced Maria Olson has joined the American Cancer Society as our new senior vice president for the California Guam Hawaii (CGH) Division.

As division SVP, Maria will be responsible for the financial and operational performance of the CGH Division and ensuring that ACS’ strategic organizational goals are met. Additionally, she will work alongside current division leadership team members to advance relationships with corporate leaders, major donors, and key influencers to achieve mission and revenue goals.  

Maria is an experienced executive with a successful track record of inspiring individual giving, major gifts, C-Suite corporate engagement and designing experiential events. Her collaborative and mission-first leadership approach has served her well throughout her career in both nonprofit and corporate settings. In her most recent role as region senior vice president, development and community health for the American Heart Association (AHA), Maria has been consistently recognized nationally for consecutive years of raising more than $1 million in new revenue through focused volunteer leadership recruitment and strategic engagement, innovative multimillion-dollar corporate sponsorships, and commitment to cultivating donors. In addition, she was ranked as the top-producing SVP at the AHA for eight consecutive years.  

Prior to joining the AHA, Maria served as executive director with other nonprofit organizations and held senior executive leadership positions in marketing, branding, and communications for global companies earlier in her career. A strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is also a part of Maria’s leadership DNA, demonstrated through her involvement serving as a lead of AHA’s Western States DEI Council, CEO Diversity Advisory Council, and as an executive sponsor of its Somos Corazón employee resource group.  

“Maria’s depth of experience and proven record of success makes her the right leader at the right time for this important role,” said Chief of Organizational Advancement Mike Neal. “Her ability to think big, secure top executive support, and cultivate major donors will help us capitalize on the unique opportunities within our CGH Division.”  

“I’ve lost both my mom and stepmother to this disease, so ACS’ commitment to improving the lives of people with cancer and their families speaks to me on a very personal level,” Maria said. “I’m excited about imagining the possibilities for both our teams and donors, while developing even deeper relationships with current and future investors for the American Cancer Society.” 

Maria's passion for the mission coupled with her commitment to building deep and powerful relationships with volunteers, donors, and partners make her an ideal fit for this role. I'm confident her leadership will not only propel the Division to new heights, but she will also be a terrific addition to the EVP team. Her impact will be realized across the new division and throughout the organization. 

A graduate of Michigan State University, Maria has made California her home for more than 26 years. She has two grown children and resides in Truckee, CA, with her husband (and college sweetheart) Dave and three-year-old, female Husky rescue Bailey.  

Please welcome Maria to the American Cancer Society!

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