by Karuna Jaggar, Executive Director
As we turn to a new year and a new decade, it’s a time for reflection. I am deeply grateful for Breast Cancer Action’s fearless and feisty community, and I draw strength in the solidarity of our work together as the cancer resistance.
After much reflection, I’ve decided to resign from my role as the Executive Director of Breast Cancer Action in the summer of 2020. While I’m stepping down, I won’t be stepping away. And I look forward to continuing to support Breast Cancer Action, as a steadfast part of this community, in new ways.
Breast Cancer Action has always been bigger than any one person, and I believe that after nine years at the helm of this incredible organization, the timing is right for me personally, and it is a healthy milestone for the organization. I am confident in our mission, our hard-working team, and the impact of our work.
In less than a decade, we’ve changed how people think and talk about breast cancer: I’m no longer routinely asked “Isn’t any money for breast cancer a good thing?” and pinkwashing is now a household word. We’ve triumphed in our long-standing quest to end Myriad Genetics’ patent on the human BRCA genes, and pressured multimillion dollar corporations to clean up their acts. Thanks to our Raise a Stink! campaign, Komen dropped their perfume containing hormone disruptors and other chemicals of concern. We’ve expanded into new areas of programmatic work and connected the dots between fossil fuels, the climate crisis, and the cancer crisis. And I’ll never forget the day I spent with Samantha Bee for my debut on The Daily Show, talking about those pink fracking drill bits!
It’s been an honor and privilege to lead Breast Cancer Action, and I feel deeply proud of the work I’ve done with this mighty organization working to challenge the breast cancer industry. Our bold 2014 Strategic Plan put health justice at the center of the organization’s mission and we’ve expanded our reach, more than doubling our membership. We marched in the streets, submitted testimony, and mobilized thousands of grassroots cancer activists. In addition to our results-driven actions, we launched a popular webinar series and, more recently, our own Breast Cancer Action podcast to bring our one-of-a-kind information and analysis to new audiences. We’ve remained a go-to resource for the media about breast cancer issues and published dozens of op-eds in prominent national outlets.
While we haven’t succeeded—yet!—in dismantling the profit-driven breast cancer industry, we’ve accomplished a lot together and we have a strong foundation as we face the work that remains. Breast Cancer Action’s role is more important than ever as we enter our 30th anniversary year.
I am working with our Board to ensure a smooth transition that will safeguard the stability and strength of the organization. With the ongoing commitment and support of our community, and members like you, I have no doubt that Breast Cancer Action will continue to have an outsized impact and make strides toward health justice going forward.
I am fully focused on my role here over the next five months and haven’t yet decided on my next professional endeavor. But one thing that is certain is that I will continue to support Breast Cancer Action, in new ways, after I step down as Executive Director. And I know you will too.
Thank you for all you do.