Sharie Allen Kearns - Founder/President
Sharie Allen Kearns will hold the president position of the nonprofit, Betty Allen Ovarian Cancer Foundation, Inc. Her duties are spelled out in our by-Laws, and include leading meetings of our board of directors, voting on board decisions and participating in fundraisers. She will preside at all of the meetings of the board. Sharie is currently the president and owner of OMG Branding Solutions and has held various sales/management positions since 1990. She has her degree in BSAS from Youngstown State University and is currently attending Northeastern University Online to receive her Master's of Science in Nonprofit Management. Sharie has been volunteering since she was sixteen for several organizations such as Make-A-Wish Foundation, Gilda's Club, Franklin County Children's Services and various local hospitals.
Nicole Laquis, ARNP - Vice President
Nicole Laquis Stevens will hold the Vice President position of the nonprofit. Her duties include stepping in when the president is temporarily unable, leading meetings of our board of directors, voting on board decisions and participating in fundraisers. She will preside at all of the meetings of the board. Nicole is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who trained at Yale University. She works as the Health and Safety Coordinator at Canterbury School. She is a mother of seven children and has lived in Florida for 14 years. Nicole has held many board positions for the Lee County Medical Alliance and the Collier County Medical Alliance. She was a "40 Under 40" recipient in 2012 by Gulfshore Business Magazine.
Michele M. Hoover - Treasurer
Michele M. Hoover, CPA brings more than 25 years’ experience in diverse tax, financial and business consulting services to her role as a Certified Public Accountant and Managing Partner of Solomon & Hoover CPAs PLLC. Michele relocated to Florida in 2009 from Cleveland, Ohio.
Michele helps her business clients establish practical and sound tax and financial processes for greater success. She is committed to delivering attentive tax and accounting services that meet each client’s unique objectives.
Giving back to the community has always been important to Michele. She is a member of the Executive Board of Directors of SWFL Human Trafficking Coalition and an active member of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Estate Planning Council of Lee County.
Karen Richards - Secretary
Karen Richards will hold the Secretary position of the nonprofit. Her duties include fostering communication, and proper management and utilization of important records, such as meeting minutes and the organization’s bylaws. She will assist the board in fulfilling their fiduciary duties and provide advice and resources on topics such as governance issues and amendments to the state laws.
For over thirty-two years, Karen served in marketing executive positions with several well-known Silicon Valley technology companies. She has extensive experience in account management, market development, strategic planning, program development, public relations, and training. Her teams created leading industry solutions and assisted the sales force worldwide. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Stony Brook University.
Karen has supported several organizations including serving as Chairwoman for Cancer Alliance of Naples major events.
Representative Heather Fitzenhagen - Board Member
Heather Fitzenhagen is a Florida State Representative for District 78 in Lee County. With deep roots in the Fort Myers community, she has been a District 78 resident for more than two decades and currently resides in Lee County with son, Alexander Deboest and daughter, Olivia Deboest.
Heather is originally from Dallas, Texas, graduated from Hollins University with a BA in political science and remains on the Hollins University Alumnae Board. She earned her J.D. from Nova Southeastern University Law School. She is a member of the Florida State Bar Association and affiliated with the Morgan & Morgan law firm. Representative Fitzenhagen’s experience in the financial sector as VP for AIG has established her strength as an all-around business leader.
Serves on the following local committees and boards:
- Chairperson/ Florida Legislature Women’s Caucus
- Southern Representative/ Executive Board of Women’s Legislative Network
- PACE Center for Girls
- Fort Myers Women’s Community Club
- The Lee County Association of Women Lawyers
- Golisano Children’s Hospital Initiative
Current 2015 Committees and Subcommittees:
- Economic Affairs Committee
- Business & Professions Subcommittee
- Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee
- Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and Rulemaking Oversight & Repeal Subcommittee.
Sherri Kubesh - Board Member
Sherri Kubesh is the Marketing Manager for 21st Century Oncology. She has been with the locally-based company for over seven years. Prior to joining 21st Century Oncology, she spent 20 years with the American Cancer Society. In Lee and Collier Counties, she is responsible for marketing, public relations, media relations, advertising, community outreach, Hispanic and VA outreach, physician onboarding and public education. She also coordinates the national PR program.
21st Century Oncology is the largest global, physician led provider of Integrated Cancer Care services. The company offers a comprehensive range of cancer treatment services, focused on delivering academic quality, cost-effective patient care in personal and convenient settings. As of December 31, 2015, the company operated 181 treatment centers, including 145 centers located in 17 U.S. states and 36 centers located in seven countries in Latin America. The company holds market-leading positions in most of its domestic local markets and abroad.
Veronica Culbertson - Board Member
Verónica Culbertson, although born in the United States, was raised in El Salvador. Her father is from the United States and her mother is Salvadoran. She attended Louisiana State University where she studied Business Administration. She has two sons of ages 16 and 22 and is passionate about dogs. Her favorite hobby is photography.
From 2005 to 2009, Verónica served as Board President for the SWFL Hispanic Chamber of Commerce while owning her own business specializing in marketing, business development, public relations and translations for those companies interested in targeting the Hispanic market. Ever since 2009, she has been the President & CEO of the Hispanic Chamber where she is now committed full time. She also serves on the boards of Family Health Centers of SWFL, Keiser University, Betty Allen Gynecological Cancer Foundation, and is a founding member of the Hispanic Institute at Hodges University.
Kim Kalisik - Board Member
Kim Kalisik is a certified Digital Business Consultant and owner of Blue Turtle Graphics, Inc., a digital design studio based in Fort Myers, Florida. Kim holds a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design from University of Louisville and has 20+ years industry experience in printing, publishing, corporate identity/branding, marketing and website design and development. Kim is responsible for the design and management of the Betty Allen Gynecologic Cancer Foundation's website as well as creating artwork for various print and promotional pieces. Kim resides in Fort Myers Beach with her husband, Randy, and step-son, Corey.
Medical Advisory Board
Dr. Jimmy Orr, Jr., M.D., FACOG, FACS
Dr. Jimmy Orr specializes in Gynecologic Surgery and Gynecologic Oncology and currently serves as Director of Florida Gynecologic Oncology, and Lee Cancer Care at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, FL. Recently Governor Rick Scott appointed Dr. James W. Orr, a gynecologic oncologist in Bonita Springs to the Board of Medicine. Dr. Orr was awarded the very first Saks Fifth Avenue Humanitarian Award (2000), has been listed in Good Housekeeping magazine’s “401 Best Doctors for Women” (1997), and is designated as one of the “Best Doctors in America” from 1996 to 2016..
Dr. Fadi Abu Shahin, M.D., FACOG
Dr Fadi Abu Shahin specializes in Gynecologic Oncology and Gynecologic Surgery. He pioneered single incision (scarless) laproscopic surgery for gynecology in Southwest Florida. In addition, he has special interest in palliative care and quality of life for women with cancer and is currently on staff at Hope Hospice. He moved to Southwest Florida three years ago after finishing his education at some of the top centers in the country; Yale University, Northwestern University, and Cleveland Clinic.
Edward C. Grendys, JR., M.D., FACOG, FACS
Dr. Edward Grendys shares a belief that all women with suspected or diagnosed gynecologic cancer should be offered access to modern treatment options that have been proven to offer a greater likelihood of an improved outcome. With a strong academic background, including a clinical faculty appointment at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Ill., Dr. Grendys continues to be involved with leading edge research in gynecologic oncology. His experience is diagnosing illness and disease and his complete surgical care has been gained from years of experience at major academic institutions. Dr. Grendys is an avid patient advocate. Dr. Grendys also has extensive experience in radical, as well as reconstructive, pelvic and abdominal surgery. He treats patients with dignity and compassion, and emphasizes quality of life care and patient satisfaction.
Samith Sandadi, M.D., MSc, FAC OG
Dr. Samith Sandadi shares the belief that all women with suspected or diagnosed gynecologic cancer should have access to the best treatment available. He also believes that the best outcomes are achieved through an educated partnership between the treating physician and the patient. It is essential to provide women with potential or diagnosed cancer a clear knowledge of their disease and all aspects of available treatment options. Dr. Sandadi strives to provide state-of-the-art care—from diagnosis to
post-treatment surveillance—in a warm and compassionate environment.
Valerie A. Butram, MS, RDN, CSO, LDN
Valerie has been a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist for over 30 years, with 14 years of Oncology Nutrition experience & Board Certification in Oncology Nutrition with the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and the Commission of Dietetics & Registration. She is also a member of the Cancer Patient Education Network. She is a Licensed Dietitian in the State of Florida. She is certified in Adult Weight Management with the American Dietetic Association. Her clinical experience involves evidenced based nutrition counseling using motivational interviewing & coaching techniques in Oncology, Palliative Care, Hospice, Home Health, Integrative and Functional Nutrition, & Wellness Nutrition Education for reducing disease risk. Her current role as an Oncology Education Coordinator increases knowledge regarding prevention & early detection of cancer through education programs that are based on national cancer initiatives. She is also a member of Lee Health System Cancer Committee to provide QI for our oncology community. Having a cancer diagnosis is truly a teachable moment to be mindful of a healthy nutritional intake, and adequate physical activity for a balance of energy.
Mary Ann Orlang, RN,MSN,AOCNS
Mary Ann Orlang is an Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Regional Cancer Center. She has been a nurse for over 35 years and has been with the Lee Health system for over 12 years. She received her Master's of Science in Nursing degree from Kent State University in 1992. She completes the Intensive Course in Cancer risk assessment through the City of Hope in 2012 and has facilitated the growth of the Cancer Genetic Risk Assessment program to a new level of excellence for the Lee Health system.
Mary Ann provides assessment and counseling for patients and families at risk for hereditary cancer. She brings a strong clinical oncology background that helps assess a patient's cancer risk, educate, and recommend when appropriate, genetic testing. She provides post test counseling to explain the implications of the test result, as well as evidence based surveillance recommendations.
Mary Ann reaches out to educate the lay and medical professional community through seminars, breast care forums and other community events. Mary Ann is an active member of the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) test development committee. She is also a member of the International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISONG) and the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NCGC).