Preparing for the future is no easy task. But that’s one of many challenges for MD Anderson’s Development Office. In 2001, that challenge was met head-on with the creation of the Advance Team, a volunteer leadership board.
“The early days of the Advance Team were full of excitement and energy, because the thrill of life is creating things that weren’t there before,” says Roy Spence of Austin, who served as the Advance Team’s first chair from 2001 to 2003.
The Advance Team is helping define the next generation of MD Anderson supporters. During the past decade, the board has recruited some of the brightest young corporate executives, entrepreneurs and community leaders to advance two major initiatives. They began with a curriculum-based effort called Project S.A.F.E.T.Y. (Sun Awareness for Educating Today’s Youth).
“I was so excited to be asked to be part of Project S.A.F.E.T.Y. It reaches out to science teachers and educates students about the importance of sun safety,” says Kathryn Wilson, past chair, of Houston.
In 2005, the Advanced Team took on a new challenge to generate awareness of MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. A New Year’s gala at the Hilton Americas-Houston celebrated a new logo, a new name and new hope for young cancer patients.
Through special events such as Children’s Cancer Hospital Night at Houston Astros games to Santa’s Elves holiday celebrations in Houston and Beaumont to the launch of the Little Galleria Play Area and Family Lounge inside Houston’s Galleria shopping mall, the Advance Team’s success story continues.
At the March annual meeting, Advance Team members celebrated the board’s 10th anniversary and took stock of the future. So what does the next decade look like? As Advance Team member Jeannie Frazier of Houston puts it: “The sky’s the limit.”