Staff and Board Of Directors
Jane Saccaro, Chief Executive Officer (Camp Name “Pocket”) Jane joined Camp Kesem as Chief Executive Officer in December 2010. Prior to joining Camp Kesem, Jane worked at Bain & Company, eToys.com and Princess Cruises, where she developed strategies, implemented change, and collaborated to demonstrably impact results. Jane brings those same skills to Camp Kesem, an organization that has tremendous personal meaning to her. Jane is honored to work with thousands of college student leaders and her colleagues to bring the life-changing “magic” to children whose parents have or have had cancer. Jane earned a M.S. in Engineering-Economic Systems, and a B.A. in Economics and Psychology, both from Stanford University. Today, Jane resides in the Chicago area, with her husband and three children.
Jim Higley, Chief Development & Marketing Officer (Camp Name “Pops”) Joining the team as Chief Development & Marketing Officer in July 2014, Jim oversees all of Camp Kesem’s partnerships, fundraising and marketing efforts. With over 30 years experience building relationships with individuals and organizations, Jim spent the first 25 years of his professional career as a partner in a commercial real estate firm, where he helped the organization grow significantly. After being diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 44, Jim made a major career shift, and became a stay-at-home father to his three children. Motivated by the loss of his own mother to cancer when he was a child – as well as the loss of his father and young brother to cancer – Jim’s become a visible and passionate voice in both the cancer and parenting communities and regularly speaks and writes about topics related to cancer, positive parenting, and raising children.
Aaron Hadley, Chief Operating Officer (Camp Name “H”) Aaron joined Camp Kesem in April 2014. As Director of Operations for Imerman Angels 1-on-1 Cancer Support, he helped build the world’s largest organization dedicated to personalized peer support for cancer patients. As Associate Director for B’nai B’rith Beber Camp he managed a residential summer camp and retreat center. While attending The University of Arizona, Aaron volunteered for Camp Wildcat, a campus club similar to Camp Kesem, and led the organization as chairperson while earning a degree in Family and Consumer Resources. He has spent more than 25 years at camps as a camper, counselor, and camp director. Additionally, Aaron currently serves on the boards of Beber Camp, Perlman Camp, and Friends of Camp Wildcat. Despite living in Chicago since 2000, Aaron will always remain loyal to his hometown St. Louis Cardinals.
Cristin O’Leary, Development Manager (Camp Name “Babalu”) Cristin joined Camp Kesem as Development Manager in April 2013. Prior to joining Camp Kesem, Cristin provided capacity-building services to nonprofit and philanthropic organizations at Draper Consulting Group, particularly focusing on fundraising, strategic planning, and board and staff development. She previously served as Grants Manager at Margery Tabankin & Associates, a philanthropic and political advisory firm for high-profile, high-net worth individuals and family foundations. A native of the East Coast, Cristin grew up in Connecticut and earned her M.A. in Comparative Politics and B.S. in Political Science from Northeastern University in Boston. Cristin currently resides in Los Angeles.
Lauren Ellis, Alumni Relations Manager (Camp Name “Marzipan”) Lauren joined the Camp Kesem National team in June 2011 as a National Program Director and has moved up to be a Senior Program Director as of 2013. She also oversees the Camp Kesem National Student Panel. Lauren was an active member in Camp Kesem at Indiana University from 2006 to 2009. While involved in Camp Kesem, Lauren has served as a coordinator, a co-chair, and camp advisor to multiple Camp Kesem chapters. She graduated from Indiana University in May 2009 with a Bachelor’s in Musical Theater. She also received her teaching license for Secondary Language Arts and Theater. Lauren currently resides in Nashville, TN.
Lauren Trani, Development Associate (Camp Name “Peanut”) Lauren joined the Camp Kesem National team as Development Associate in January 2014. She graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia in 2012 with a Bachelor’s in International Affairs and a minor in French language. After graduating, Lauren spent a year teaching English in Marseille, France, and then relocated to southern California to work for Invisible Children, notably in their donor engagement department. Lauren is a Midlothian, VA native and currently resides in San Diego, CA.
Kim Porter, Marketing Coordinator (Camp Name “Digz”) Kim joined Camp Kesem in May 2015 as Marketing Coordinator. Prior to joining Camp Kesem, Kim spearheaded the social media programs at two major residential real estate brokerages, creating and fostering substantial social and digital growth for the companies. A 2009 graduate of Florida International University with a Bachelor’s in Communication, Kim has also worked as an editor for petMD.com, and as a freelance journalist published in the Miami Herald, Social Affairs Magazine, Miami’s Community Newspapers, and various websites. Kim was born and raised in Miami, Florida and currently resides in Chicago.
Liz Firestone, Manager, Programs and Operations (Camp Name “Phishy”) Before joining the Camp Kesem staff in May 2008, Liz grew up and worked at summer camps and in elementary schools. She was a camper, CIT, and counselor at Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) in Zionsville, IN and a Program Counselor and Program Director at Dragonfly Forest in West Chester, PA. She also worked in multiple elementary schools with K-8th graders. She helped found Camp Kesem at Indiana University in 2004 and served as a coordinator and a co-chair at Indiana for three years. Her extensive background working with children in the camp setting has made her a firm believer in the positive transformational power of summer camp. A 2007 graduate of Indiana University, with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a minor in Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management, Liz hails from Indianapolis, Indiana and currently resides in Delray Beach, FL.
Abby O’Leary, Manager, Programs and Operations (Camp Name “Avocado”) Before joining the Camp Kesem staff in 2011, Abby worked in youth development programming in Hillsborough, NC and volunteered extensively with Comfort Zone Camp, a national bereavement camp for children who have lost a parent or sibling. Having lost her own mother to cancer when she was 14, Abby was drawn to Camp Kesem’s model of peer support and college student engagement. In her free time, she is working towards a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Management at North Carolina State University. A 2007 graduate of Barnard College/Columbia University, Abby hails from McLean, Virginia and currently resides in Raleigh, NC.
Jenna Barnett, Program Director (Camp Name “Goose”) Jenna joined the Camp Kesem National team in May 2014. She helped found the University of Georgia chapter of Camp Kesem, a LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project recipient, in 2011 and served as Co-Director for the three subsequent years. She also served on the Camp Kesem Student Panel this past year. Jenna graduated from the University of Georgia in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a minor in English. She currently resides in Marietta, GA.
Tracey Landstrom, Program Director (Camp Name “Pebbles”) Tracey began working for Camp Kesem as a National Program Director in May 2013. She graduated from UCLA in 2012 with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. She first got involved with Camp Kesem in 2010 as a counselor and continued on to become a committee member and a co-chair. After graduating, Tracey spent the year working for lululemon athletica in a managerial role. She is very excited to develop student leaders across the nation and help Camp Kesem extend its reach to the millions of kids affected by cancer. Tracey grew up in Oakland, CA and currently resides in Denver, Colorado.
Cortney Lebeda, Program Director (Camp Name “Jazz”) Cortney joined the Camp Kesem National team in May 2013. She was part of the founding coordinator board at Augustana College and served as co-chair for two years. Augustana was a 2011 LiveSTRONG Community Impact Project recipient. Cortney’s goal is to utilize her strategic planning skills to help promote chapter success and to increase national awareness of Camp Kesem’s unique mission. She graduated from Augustana College with a degree in Communication Studies and English in 2013. Cortney is from and currently resides in Bourbonnais, IL.
Mark Manning, Program Director (Camp Name “Shaggy”) Mark began working as a Program Director for Camp Kesem in May, 2013. Initially, Mark became involved in Camp Kesem as a counselor in the summer of 2008 at the University of Virginia. Since then, he has served as both coordinator and co-chair. After graduating in 2011 with a B.A. in Psychology, he continued to volunteer as a Camp Advisor for Southern Utah University and the University of Richmond. Before joining the Camp Kesem ranks as Program Director, he worked as a snowboard instructor at Lake Tahoe and as Senior Program Staff for Camp Fire USA Alaska Council’s Rural Program. Mark grew up in Virginia Beach, VA but currently resides in Kings Beach, CA.
Alex Monyhan, Program Director (Camp Name “Lola”) Alex joined the Camp Kesem National team in May 2013 as a National Program Director. She got involved with Camp Kesem at Michigan State University in 2008 and served as a coordinator, co-chair, camp advisor, and intern with Camp Kesem National throughout her college career. Alex graduated from Michigan State University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Criminal Justice. She is from Greencastle, PA and currently resides in East Lansing, MI.
Marty Shamon, Program Director (Camp Name “Goofy”) Marty joined the Camp Kesem National team in May 2014 as a National Program Director. He has found inspiration in the Camp Kesem mission after having lost his own father to cancer at age ten, and is dedicated to helping children going through the same things he did as a child. Marty got involved with Camp Kesem at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009 where he served as a counselor, coordinator, and co-director throughout his college career. He has also served as senior camp advisor to multiple Camp Kesem chapters and as the National Summit Intern with Camp Kesem National. Marty graduated from the University of Illinois in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and minor in Chemistry. He is from Chicago, IL and currently resides in Skokie, IL.
Kristen Elfering, Executive Assistant (Camp Name “Crush”) Kristen joined Camp Kesem as Executive Assistant in December 2014. She became involved with Camp Kesem at Indiana University in 2010, where she served as a counselor, development coordinator, and Co-Director over the next four years. She graduated in 2014 from Indiana University with a B.S. in Marketing and Management. Kristen has previously worked at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. She grew up in the Chicago suburb of Lake Zurich, IL and currently resides there.
Fanny Wilson, Accountant (Camp Name “Bean”) Fanny began working as the Accountant for Camp Kesem in December 2010. Fanny has over 14 years of professional experience working in the accounting field. She is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California and is a Certified Public Accountant in California. Fanny has previously worked as a volunteer treasurer for several non-profit organizations. Fanny resides in Moraga, CA, with her husband and two children.
Scott Arizala, Camp Director (Camp Name “Funsize”) Scott began working as the Camp Director for Camp Kesem in Spring 2010. He is one of the leading experts and premier trainers on kids, staff and the experience of summer camp. He has been involved with camps and youth development for over twenty years as a camper, counselor, director and consultant. As a professional speaker and educator, he has given keynotes, workshops and educational sessions at numerous professional conferences, training events, and with organizations. He is currently the CEO of The Camp Counselor, a consulting and training company working with hundreds of camps and thousands of staff and administrators across the country. He is also the Camp Director for Dragonfly Forest, a resident camp for kids with serious illnesses and disorders in the Philadelphia area. He is a pioneering contributor to Expert Online Training, the world’s leader in online training for camp staff and is the award-winning author of the best-selling book on summer camp and youth development, S’more Than Camp.
Camp Kesem Board of Directors
John Bradburn, CPA, Treasurer John received his undergraduate and MBA degrees from Indiana University, where he was involved with Camp Kesem as a coordinator and counselor for four years. John is a VP at Sandbox Industries, a venture capital firm in Chicago, where he works with the team that manages the BlueCross BlueShield Venture Funds, approximately $300 million from over 20 Blue Cross Blue Shield plans focused on healthcare technology and innovation. Prior to Sandbox, John worked in investment banking with GCA Savvian and in M&A consulting with KPMG.
Emily M. Brakebill is Managing Director, Chief of Operations and member of the Investment Committee at HMI Capital, where she has been since the inception of the firm in December 2008. HMI Capital is a private investment firm pursuing a long-term, concentrated, value-oriented, global strategy. Prior to joining HMI, Emily spent four years as a Vice President and Investment Manager at Columbus Nova Partners, a private investment management firm with over $1.5 billion under management. Prior to Columbus Nova, Ms. Brakebill served as Vice President and Investment Manager at Sirrom Capital, where she made investments in the software, service, retail and manufacturing sectors. Emily previously spent two years in Strategic Development and as an Assistant to the Founder / CEO of a publicly traded restaurant chain. She also spent significant time in operating roles at two internet service businesses. Emily started her career as a Financial Analyst in Corporate Finance at Montgomery Securities. Ms. Brakebill received an A.B. with highest honors from Stanford University and an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Ken and their three children.
Thom Brown is a Regional Account Manager for Laminations, the Specialty Group of parent Great Northern Corporation in Appleton, WI. Before joining Great Northern Corporation, Thom spent over 20 years in the Aerospace Industry, with both Continental Airlines and Midwest Airlines. He has been active in clean drinking water projects in Guatemala through Rotary International, and is a Paul Harris Fellow. Thom has a BS from the University of Maine, a MBA from Marquette University, and recently received recognition for participation in The University of Wisconsin’s Fluno Center for Executive Education programs. Thom has been a member of Camp Kesem University of Wisconsin Board of Advisors, and has a daughter who is a Camp Kesem camper, “Bear”.
David Cronin, Secretary is currently Senior Vice President and General Manager, Payments Division for Transaction Network Services, Inc. He has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and has worked in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, and is now based in Reston, Virginia. He holds a Masters of Management from Northwestern University, and specializes in Transformational Growth and building high performance teams. He has been on the Board for over 5 years and is the Board Secretary.
Becky Crowe is a Partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit education consulting firm working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students. She has spent more than 15 years leading education reform efforts as a social entrepreneur and education policy and philanthropy advisor. Prior to joining Bellwether, Becky served as Executive Director of Partners in School Innovation in San Francisco. During her tenure, Partners doubled in size and became the key school improvement partner in several of the Bay Area’s largest urban districts. Becky has degrees in English and Education from Stanford University, and was a Sloan Fellow in the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Deeply appreciating the need for stronger supports for families who are impacted by cancer and the unique leadership development opportunity that Camp Kesem provides for college students, Becky is honored to serve Camp Kesem as a Board Member.
Jeff Dinkin is the Managing and Founding Partner of Regent Properties, a real estate investment and development company. Since its formation in 1989, Regent has acquired, developed and financed more than 3 million square feet of retail, commercial, residential and mixed-use projects and 10,000 acres of master planned communities. Jeff, who has more than twenty-five years of experience in real estate development and investment, is engaged in directing all phases of the real estate development process and long-range strategic planning for Regent. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University in St. Louis and has a JD degree from UCLA. Jeff has been actively involved with many non-profit organizations. Currently, in addition to the Camp Kesem Board, Jeff serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board to the Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Affordable Living for the Aging, and as Board Chairman Emeritus at PS #1, a private elementary school based in Santa Monica, California. Jeff lives in Santa Monica, California with his wife, Marci, and four children.
Frank Gaspari, born and raised in Chicago, is a 28-year veteran of the Document Output Industry. Mr. Gaspari co-founded his first company, Column Office Equipment, in 1990. After years of significant year over year growth and expansion, Column was recognized by Inc. Magazine in 1996 as one of the nation’s 500 fastest growing privately held companies. The company was acquired by Global Imaging Systems in 1999. In late 2005, after analyzing the document output space and recognizing the need for a National Provider for Managed Document Output, Gaspari founded FlexPrint, Inc. Today, FlexPrint supports national clients in every state, with direct offices in Arizona, California, and Illinois. FlexPrint was named to the Inc. 500/5000 list as one of the nation’s 500 fastest growing privately held companies the last four consecutive years. Mr. Gaspari lives in Paradise Valley Arizona with his wife and two daughters. He is an active board member for LaFrontera Behavior Health, Empact Suicide Prevention and is on the board of trustees for Xavier College Preparatory. Frank is a lifelong Chicago sports fan and a Phoenix Suns Fan!
Ron Glickman is Vice President of Information Technology at Trader Joe’s in Monrovia, CA and served as the Camp Kesem Board Chair from 2004 to 2014. He joined CK to help the founder, Iris Rave-Wedeking, realize her vision to make CK available to families across the country that are coping with the horrific and unjust impacts of Cancer on the entire family, not just the adult patient. Ron was moved by Iris’ vision and drawn to the opportunities to change lives; children’s lives that are turned upside down when the joys of childhood are replaced with fears of losing a parent to Cancer and the lives of college students who want to make a difference now, while developing leadership know-how for tomorrow. CK has changed Ron’s life and he is honored to serve this extraordinary organization.
Jerry Katz is of counsel in Glaser Weil’s Real Estate and Corporate departments. During nearly three decades of practice, Jerry has represented a wide variety of clients, including publicly traded and privately held companies, institutional investors, developers, lenders, borrowers, joint venture partners, pension funds, REITs, retailers, management companies, private equity firms, media ventures, internet companies, entertainment companies, studio owners, technology companies and sports franchises. Jerry recently rejoined Glaser Weil after working at Marlin Equity Partners. Prior to leaving Glaser Weil, Jerry was a partner and was one of the lead attorneys representing MGM MIRAGE in all aspects of the development and construction of CityCenter, a $9 billion, 18 million square foot mixed-use development on the Las Vegas Strip, one of the largest privately funded developments in the history of the United States. Jerry combines his extensive legal background with a unique blend of top level business experience. Prior to returning to Glaser Weil, Jerry served as the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel of Marlin Equity Partners, a private equity firm with more than $3 billion of capital under management. His primary responsibilities included overseeing all operations, finances, legal and administrative matters for the Marlin Equity funds, as well as working with the Marlin Equity partners on strategic initiatives for the firm and providing counsel for certain transaction and portfolio matters. Jerry uses his business background to provide both legal and practical business solutions to his clients. Jerry earned a J.D., cum laude, from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley, Undergraduate School of Business.
Darren Macioce, Vice Chairman is senior vice president of diversified business development at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. He has over 25 years industry experience and has held senior management positions in operations, IT, business and health services research. Mr. Macioce holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from West Virginia University and serves on the board of a number of organizations and national committees and currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA.
Mark Olson is EVP Global Services at Decision Resources Group with twenty five years serving in the Healthcare industry. A noted speaker and market-oriented innovator, Mark enjoys partnering with company leaders committed to unleashing the real growth potential of their organizations. Mark co-founded ChapterHouse, LLC (CH). With his partners, CH became the leading boutique consulting firm serving the U.S. health services sector on matters of company strategy, market growth and medical cost/quality. CH was sold to Oliver Wyman (OW) in 2008, at which point Mark became a Partner in OW’s Health and Life Sciences practice for the duration of his post-acquisition “stay” period. Prior to CH, Mark spent eight years at Baxter Healthcare, a leading global medical device and technology company, first working on national strategy assignments for Baxter in Europe and the Far East, later as CIO for Baxter’s $2 billion global biotechnology business. In 2012, Mark retired from institutional consulting roles and now operates in Freelance and Board roles. Mark is an alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received both his undergraduate degree and MBA from MIT.
Carlyn Solomon, Chairman is Chief Operating Officer of Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc., a leading worldwide manufacturer and provider of medical technologies and related services for the health care industry. Prior to joining Hill-Rom, Mr. Solomon worked at Edwards Lifesciences where he most recently served as Corporate Vice President (President) of Edwards’ Critical Care and Vascular businesses. Before that, Mr. Solomon was the Vice President of Corporate Strategy and General Manager of Edwards’ Cardiac Surgery Systems business. Before joining Edwards, Mr. Solomon spent 18 years at Baxter International, where he held positions of increasing responsibility, including interim President of Baxter’s $2.6 billion BioScience division, Vice President of Global Operations for that same division and, before that, Director of Manufacturing and Supply Chain for Baxter’s Medication Delivery/IV Systems division. During his tenure at Baxter, Mr. Solomon lived in Europe for over two years. Mr. Solomon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Kansas State University.
Iris Rave Wedeking, Founder developed the vision for the first Camp Kesem Chapter at Stanford University in 2000 and pursued national expansion of the program in 2002 after recognizing a nationwide need for Camp Kesem. She holds a degree in Child Development from Tufts University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Iris has over 13 years of residential camping experience in staff and management positions. She is currently a Global Insights Manager at The Clorox Company in Oakland, CA.