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A recap of this month's Society Talk

‚ÄčThank 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.
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