Ten years ago, after becoming the youngest woman in the country to undergo a risk-reducing double mastectomy, I was a changed person. Having the opportunity to play offense, not defense, to be proactive, not reactive was empowering and life-changing.
I never planned to start a non-profit organization, but Bright Pink needed to be started. After experiencing this for myself, I knew that I had a responsibility to give other women the same opportunity.
Bright Pink started in 2007 as a website for women at high-risk for breast and ovarian cancer. At the start of 2017, it has evolved into a movement of millions of women who are proactive advocates for their breast and ovarian health.
The journey over the last ten years has been richer than I could have ever imagined, filled with snapshots of the impact we have been able to make: the first time I opened an email from a woman who said “thank you, you saved my life”; watching as we crossed $1 million dollars in the bank account; hearing the head of Harvard’s OB/GYN program describe our workshop as “game-changing”; experiencing our first Times Square take-over with Orbit White gum and then subsequent take-overs with Aerie; listening as one of our education ambassadors praised Bright Pink as the reason she will get to be at her son’s high school graduation; celebrating as our 250,000th person completed a risk assessment at AssessYourRisk.org.
These moments, and countless others over the last 10 years have been a driving force for me personally, even in the toughest times: finding out we didn’t get that big philanthropic gift we were counting on, seeing the results from a failed program we were so hopeful about, losing a beloved member of the Bright Pink family we all thought was going to defy the odds. I have fallen and gotten back up, learned so much, and been reminded that even with the best intentions, this work is really, really hard, and sometimes, my own leadership fell short.
While I have been entrusted the honor of leading the Bright Pink charge for the first decade and am proud to say that I’ve helped save thousands of lives, I am very certain I am not the right person to lead the organization from a day-to-day perspective into the next decade. I have grown to realize that my skill-set lies in being that gut-driven entrepreneur, who can get something off the ground and achieve a critical mass. But, as they say, what got us here, won’t get us there: Bright Pink is in need of a seasoned leader who can take us to the next level and help the organization achieve its full potential.
With this in mind, we have started the search for a new CEO, who will lead the organization on a daily basis. As soon as we identify this new leader, I will be assuming my next challenge as Chairman of the Board, focusing my efforts on supporting our new CEO and leading the organization from a new vantage point.
As we pause and celebrate the last decade of positive impact, it is also important to realize how much work still has to be done.
There are still women that have no idea that their father’s side of the family history influences their cancer risk as much as their mother’s side. There are still women that don’t go to the doctor regularly or understand how to be breast self-aware. There are still women needlessly dying of breast and ovarian cancer that could have been prevented with early intervention. Bright Pink is the answer and growing the reach and impact of our life-saving programs can change all of this.
I am so thankful for the enormous support and contribution of so many who have enabled our success this last decade. Our partners, donors, staff, volunteers, ambassadors have been unmatched and it has been one of my greatest honors to lead Bright Pink and save countless lives. I know the future of this organization is extremely bright.
Happy, Healthy New Year!
All the best in 2017 and beyond,
Lindsay Avner will transition to become Bright Pink’s Chairman of the Board in February 2017. This transition marks the beginning of a new, exciting era for Bright Pink as we continue giving women the tools to become proactive advocates for their own health. Learn how to get involved with Bright Pink today.