Founder & CEO
THE PINK FUND
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and what is your background?
I was raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, attended public schools, and in high school struck a deal with my parents to not go to boarding school, if I promised to go to an all girl’s college. In high school, I was a cheerleader on the Varsity squad. Despite that “success” I was quite independent, and did not hang out with the cool crowd.
I attended church on Sundays, we were Episcopalians (Catholic light), played tennis and swam at the Country Club of Detroit, summered at private camps.
My first exposure to community service was at a place called The Foundation for Exceptional Children, and maybe a foreshadowing of the work I have the privilege to perform today.
Is this where you thought you would be when you were in elementary school?
Absolutely not. In Elementary School, during my era and in my community, girls were educated and socialized to marry well, which meant a family of good name and fortune; have children, volunteer in the community primarily through membership in the Junior League, and play tennis, golf and bridge at the “club.”
What is the most engaging part of your current work?
In the mission based work I perform today as Founder and CEO of the Pink Fund, I spend most of my time sharing our mission and its impact on the women and families we support through our financial bridge program.
The Pink Fund provides three to six months of financial support paid directly to patient’s creditors for housing, transportation, utilities and insurance on behalf of women in active treatment for breast cancer who have experienced a loss of income due to treatment side effects. We know our program improves treatment adherence, survivorship outcomes, and reduces medically related bankruptcies.
What is a significant experience that has shaped how you lead today?
My very sheltered and privileged upbringing did not develop in me a sense of empathy. I simply had no frame of reference to how most Americans or people live, or their struggles. It was only when I drove up the driveway to my multi-million dollar home in the City of Bloomfield Hills and found a note tacked to the front door, that my life literally changed overnight. That note read that the house was to be auctioned off at a Sheriff’s sale in 30 days. That evening I had a very unpleasant conversation with my children’s father during which I learned that all our financial assets had been depleted in a deal he was pursuing that never came to fruition. Within 30 days I sold everything I could for cash, liquidated my IRA’s, cashed in my life insurance policy, rented a home for cash and began looking for work.
This change in lifestyle was a wake-up call. In losing everything I thought had value, I learned what really matters, and that is service to others.
Tell us about someone who has played a significant role in your journey (mentor, boss, coach) – growing you and helping you advance?
Well I have to say it would be my Dad, who encouraged me to be curious and tell stories, and my 3rd husband (long story) – Tom Terrific. I am a 20 year member of the 3rd Times A Charm Club who holds my feet to the fire and tells me when times get tough “if I can’t stand the heat to get out of the kitchen!” That kind of threat, empowers me to keep on keeping on or as Winston Churchill said, “When going through hell, keep on going.”
Is there anything you wish you had known earlier in your journey?
I think timing is everything in both your personal and professional life. I have learned some small minutia of patience and practice not letting my emotions take over when things get heated. And frankly if I had know any of what has transpired, I probably would have driven into a tree. I have been made stronger because of my challenges. I don’t think we grow in the easy places.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
That I shared a chalet in Switzerland for a brief time, with some musicians, two of whom were Jackson Brown and Keith Richards. As an over-sharer, people probably know more than they need or want to about me. My sister remarked once, “Do you have to say everything you are thinking?” And my response was, “Oh you have no idea what I am holding back,” which is not much.
If people see you out on the town and want to buy you a drink, what should they send over to your table?
During Covid, I overindulged in adult beverages, but did not day drink . . . I told Tom Terrific I had to stop or would have to go to the Betty Ford Clinic, which we could not afford. So I have cut way back. I enjoy a nice cold glass of still water with a slice of lemon in a tall leaded crystal glass (presentation is everything) and in summer a Rombauer Chardonnay or Rosé, in winter, a nice Pinot Noir. For the heavy stuff, summer is a chilled and up Hendricks Martini with two pimento stuffed olives (you really need to keep the martini glasses in the freezer for the best effect) and in winter a Manhattan with Maker’s Mark or an Old Fashioned.