Welcome to Our New Staff

We’re excited to introduce several new members of the Breast Cancer Action team, Kira S. Jones, our Communications Officer, Chantelle Thomas, our Development Events Coordinator, and Tony Van Houten, our Membership & Database Coordinator. Learn more about them below!

Kira S. Jones, M.A.
Communications Officer kira edited 4

Kira works closely with the program, development, and communications teams to keep BCAction members up to speed on breast cancer news and action and manages BCAction’s social media, newsletter, e-alerts, and blog. She believes that working at the intersection of an issue is where meaningful systemic progress happens and she brings a strong commitment to social and environmental justice to her work at BCAction. Kira has spent the past 10 years working in women’s health and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and a Master’s degree in Communication Studies. Kira’s academic research and activist writing have primarily focused on how the rhetoric of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month emphasizes personal responsibility over social context, thereby obscuring the need for social justice, environmental protection, and collective responsibility to address and end the breast cancer epidemic.

Tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to Breast Cancer Action.

I don’t fit easily into a particular category and neither do my politics or the issues I care about. I’m a passionate and committed advocate for policies that ensure and protect the quality of women’s health, access to complete and accurate health information, and an environment free from toxic chemicals that cause health problems and harm communities. My commitment to this work grew out of my graduate research. During grad school I focused my research on both the discourse of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and how Breast Cancer Action pushes back against pink ribbon culture and marketing and complicates the story we hear over and over about the root causes of breast cancer. As a result, I developed a commitment to environmental justice, the precautionary principle, and an interest in how everyday chemical exposure impacts our health. As a former intern with Breast Cancer Action in 2007, I am thrilled to be back working with the organization.

What most inspires/excites you about Breast Cancer Action’s work?

I really believe that knowledge is power, and Breast Cancer Action works hard to ensure that all women at risk of and living with breast cancer have the information they need to make educated decisions about their health. That’s the kind of thing that makes change in this world. I’ve seen first hand over and over again how the information this organization provides changes people’s understanding of breast cancer as a disease and helps to bring into focus what actually needs to be done to end the breast cancer epidemic.

What are you looking forward to working on/what do you think are the most pressing things in breast cancer?

The Think Before You Pink® campaign was the first Breast Cancer Action campaign I was introduced to, so I’m excited about the opportunity be a part of creating this year’s campaign. I’m also really looking forward to being a part of the work on root causes of breast cancer, it is a topic I’m incredibly passionate about.

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Chantelle Thomas
Development Events CoordinatorChantelle Thomas 2

Chantelle is part of the Development team and works on planning and implementing BCAction’s annual fundraising events. While working for the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic over 20 years ago, managing educational events for addiction medicine service providers, she was inspired by the guiding principle that “healthcare is a right and not a privilege.” Since then, she has produced philanthropic events for notable Bay Area organizations such as the San Francisco Ballet and UC Berkeley Alumni Association. She recently worked at California Pacific Medical Center organizing academic conferences for the Longevity Consortium, a group of scientists and researchers investigating the genetic factors of human longevity.  Chantelle holds a BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University.  When she’s not working, she enjoys reading anything she can get her hands on, fantasizing about home décor projects, camping with her family, and trying to keep up with her energetic 8-year-old son.

Tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to Breast Cancer Action.

I limited my recent job search to organizations with a vital and important mission.  Breast Cancer Action attracted me because my mother has been living with breast cancer for nearly 20 years and my Aunt Pat died from breast cancer twelve years ago. It’s personally meaningful that my time and efforts are contributing to ending the breast cancer epidemic.

What most inspires/excites you about Breast Cancer Action’s work?

Breast cancer is political! Under the current administration, it’s hard to know where to direct your efforts so I love that we challenge our members to take action.

What are you looking forward to working on/what do you think are the most pressing things in breast cancer?

The Think Before You Pink campaign resonates deeply with me – like most of us, I have limited dollars to contribute so I’m thoughtful about where my money goes and try to donate to organizations that are transparent and responsible. I remember going to the grocery store in October just a few days after my aunt’s funeral.  None of the pink plastic crap on display had any connection to my traumatic experience of seeing my aunt on the day before she died or her family’s grief and pain.

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Tony Van Houten
Membership & Database CoordinatorTony Van Houten

Tony supports the Development team through management of BCAction’s donor database. Tony brings many of years of experience to the team, having served for 14 years as the Membership Manager for California Trout, a San Francisco-based environmental NGO. As BCAction’s Membership and Database Coordinator, he is focused on raising the capacity of the organization to gain more donors and supporters. In his spare time he reads, walks and works on his disc golf game.Tony holds a BA in Political Science from San Diego State University.

Tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to Breast Cancer Action.

I’m a long-time San Francisco resident who previously worked at an environmental nonprofit in the city.  I was instantly drawn to Breast Cancer Action because I wanted to work for a real no-holds-barred activist organization.  And like a lot of people, health justice has sprung onto my radar.

What most inspires/excites you about Breast Cancer Action’s work?

The most gratifying is offering people a place to turn for information and resources when they are newly diagnosed.  I also really like that we talk about the connection between the environment and the breast cancer epidemic. It’s not just genes and lifestyle that contribute to the development to the disease, and it’s important that people know that. A lot of people still assume women develop breast cancer mostly because of their genetics and lifestyle, but I now know that only 10% of breast cancer cases are genetically linked. We live in a society that’s constantly blaming people genes or lifestyle, but in fact a lot of companies and corporations that are responsible for contributing to our poor health and rising rates of cancer. Breast Cancer Action works to point this out, and I’m glad to be part of an organization doing this kind of work.

What are you looking forward to working on/what do you think are the most pressing things in breast cancer?

I’m working on growing our fundraising capacity so that we can expand our programmatic reach!

This entry was posted in Articles, BCA News.

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