By Kira Jones, Communications Manager

Our all-volunteer Board of Directors is a remarkable group of people who set the vision for Breast Cancer Action and lead the organization by determining organizational policy, assuring the organization’s financial security, and representing Breast Cancer Action’s views to the world at large. In March 2019, we welcomed Gail Kaufman and Channte’ Keith to our Board of Directors and are excited to introduce you to them. For information about our Board of Directors, click here

Welcome to new Board member Gail Kaufman

Gail Kaufman has more than 50 years of experience as an educator and civil and women’s rights organizer and activist, and she will be re-joining Breast Cancer Action’s Board of Directors after a hiatus.

For the past 18 years, Gail worked with the University of California, Berkeley as the Deputy Director of the Center for Educational Partnerships. She led the Center’s work on building and strengthening college- and career-going culture in K-12 and community college.  This work focused on systemic change in schools and districts, curriculum development and professional learning, as well as creating schools to increase access and success in higher education for low-income, first generation students of color and their families. 

Gail’s extensive women’s rights organizing began when she became a member of the Coalition for the Medical Rights of Women (CMRW) and co-director of the Committee to Defend Reproductive Rights (CDRR). In 1982 Gail became the first Associate Director of Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), a national public interest law firm based in San Francisco, whose mission is to protect and expand economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls. As a leader in CMRW and CDRR, and her more than a dozen years’ with ERA, Gail was at the forefront of fighting for equity and justice in work and healthcare spaces.

Gail began her career teaching social studies in Brooklyn, New York, and rural Massachusetts. She moved from teaching to developing alternative educational programs in higher education, and returned to K-12 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations with the San Francisco Unified School District. During this time, she received a Master’s in Curriculum at Brooklyn College and a Master’s in Counselor Education at Washington University in St. Louis.

Recently retired, Gail is pleased to bring her energy, experience and expertise (focusing on coalition building, communications/media and fundraising) to Breast Cancer Action and to learn from staff, board, and members about how best to reach Breast Cancer Action’s health justice mission.

What first brought you to Breast Cancer Action and what brought you back?

In the 1990s a colleague of mine, Rachel Morello-Frosch, at Equal Rights Advocates got a diagnosis of breast cancer when she was in her early thirties and it just blew me away. I was completely ignorant of the fact that women that young could get breast cancer! Rachel became very involved with Breast Cancer Action, eventually becoming Chair of the Board. In the meantime, I had left Equal Rights Advocates and swore that my fundraising days were over. Then Rachel called, told me about Breast Cancer Action and asked if I would join the Development Committee. There was no way I could say no to Rachel and given my history with women’s health issues that started what has become a long and continuing relationship with the organization. I also had a long-time working relationship with both Barbara Brenner and Suzie Lampert that grounded me in the organization’s perspective and work.

I decided to seek a position to re-join the Board because we live in a time where there is so much promise and so much threat and there is still so much more work to do. I need to be on the front lines of the fight and Breast Cancer Action offers an excellent first row seat.

What do you love about Breast Cancer Action?

I love that Breast Cancer Action calls out cancer for what it is….Cancer Sucks is a favorite slogan of mine. I wore the button proudly to the infusion unit when my husband was being treated for lymphoma, allowing me to express my feelings as well as being a catalyst for many conversations about the politics of the disease. Simply said, Breast Cancer Action embodies the values I cherish while standing strong with astounding integrity to reach its health justice mission.

What are you most looking forward to as a new board member?

I feel Breast Cancer Action is at an important time in its development. We need to make sure that Breast Cancer Action, primarily focused on one issue, is engaged with and partnering with other organizations whose work relates to the breast cancer epidemic, for example, access to health care, environmental connections, and competition for money and attention (e.g. the abortion rights fight). I am interested in using my experience in working in many of these spaces to help Breast Cancer Action figure out the most strategic agenda to ensure that breast cancer remains a top priority and one we can utilize to uncover the inequities in the healthcare system as it specifically impacts all women, but specifically low-income and women of color. I am looking forward to bringing my energy, experience, and expertise in coalition building, communications/media and fundraising to Breast Cancer Action and to learn from staff, board, and members. 

Welcome to new Board member Channte’ Keith

Channte’ is a Public Health activist, administrator, trainer, motivational speaker, a health equity champion and a self-described breast cancer survivor. For 15 years, Channte’ has worked on issues that impact African American health ranging from diabetes, tobacco use, cancer disparities, and HIV/AIDS. She currently serves as the Director of Programs for NAATPN, Inc., a national organization that addresses tobacco use, cancer, and HIV within the African American community. She has traveled across the country to provide training and technical assistance to federal and state agencies, faith-based institutions, appointed and elected officials, volunteer organizations, and Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) about how to reduce health challenges that impact communities of color and how to mobilize communities to influence policy change.

Channte’ serves as a co-organizer for the State of Black Health National Conference, an event that provides feasible solutions to solve the most complex health challenges in the African American community. She also serves on the African American Leadership Council for Compassion and Choices, a national organization that addresses end-of-life care, and on the Board of the Community Advocacy Committee (CAC) for Wake County, North Carolina.

Channte’ has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Public Administration for seven years at North Carolina Central University, where she focused primarily on public policy, personnel administration, and organizational theory and behavior. She received a degree in Communications from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University.

What first brought you to Breast Cancer Action?

I first heard of Breast Cancer Action last year through one of the organization’s current board members, Laura Hamasaka. Based on her enthusiasm for the group, I began to research the incredible work of the organization. I was blown away by the immense effort to raise awareness of the hard truths of breast cancer and the courageous approach to tackling breast cancer disparities through a social justice framework. After researching the organization, I knew that I wanted to join Breast Cancer Action and support however I could.

What do you love about Breast Cancer Action?

Breast Cancer Action is a dynamic organization that’s not afraid to tell the truth about the breast cancer epidemic. I’m proud that their messages provide the most accurate information for women to make informed decisions about their healthcare. Their willingness to promote health justice at all levels—individual, environmental, corporate and public health systems—is inspiring and I’m excited to join this fearless team.

What are you most looking forward to as a new board member?

Breast Cancer Action has a message that needs to be heard broadly and by diverse groups of people and stakeholders across the country. I’m excited to support Breast Cancer Action by introducing their messages and great work to NAATPN’s network and strategic partners. I’m looking forward to continuing and expanding efforts to promote health equity and tackle breast cancer disparities among vulnerable populations.