Our Board of Advisors | I'm Taking Charge
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Our Board of Advisors

Our Board of Advisors 2018-01-05T04:32:18+00:00

We are extraordinarily grateful to the women and men who serve on our Board of Advisors. Without them, we could not exist. Their knowledge and skills propel us forward to become the very best organization that we can be.

  • Lynae Dodson
    Lynae Dodson
    Executive Director
  • Marla D’Avanzo
    Marla D’Avanzo
  • Dr. Frank J. DellaCroce
    Dr. Frank J. DellaCroce
    MD
  • Rhonda M. Smith
    Rhonda M. Smith
  • Denise Gaydos
    Denise Gaydos
Lynae Dodson
Executive Director

Breast cancer activism runs in Lynae’s family, as her grandmother, after battling the disease and facing a mastectomy in the 1950s, became instrumental in bringing the early testing initiative to Utah. She and other activist ladies would bring machines to churches, community centers, or anywhere they could and spread word that free testing would be available.
However, Lynae’s own involvement in breast cancer activism started a little differently. As a medical device marketing consultant, for marketing research, she had the opportunity to interview women with breast cancer on where they received information about breast reconstruction. “I was horrified to see that most women I talked to did not understand or know that breast reconstruction was an option or that they had choices.”
Things turned particularly personal, however, when her own mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a nursing instructor, Lynae’s mother was not unfamiliar with the medical world, and yet, to Lynae’s great shock, not one physician ever spoke with her mom about the possibility of breast reconstruction or how that might impact her breast surgery choices. In fact, when her mom went to one of the top breast cancer centers in America and was handed an entire binder on every potential breast cancer choice, not a single section even mentioned breast reconstruction. Not one person in the hospital discussed breast reconstruction. Lynae had to be that person for her mom. In the end, with Stage 1 breast cancer, Lynae’s mom chose a lumpectomy, but even in that, she still did not realize there were reconstruction options available to women who have lumpectomies.
Out of this, “I’m Taking Charge” was born.

Marla D’Avanzo

Marla D’Avanzo has been working in advertising and marketing for over 20 years. However, following her own breast cancer diagnosis, lumpectomy, and breast reconstruction, her career has taken a new twist. Her most recent undertaking has been the founding of Marla Hope Designs, where she markets and sells the unique Marla Hope Bra–a postoperative bra for women to allow women to feel both beautiful and comfortable after breast surgery.

Marla is also the Internet Marketing Consultant for ReachLocal. She has solely generated and managed $2.25 million in revenue while maintaining a book of business of over 75 internet campaigns. Marla knows what works in internet advertising.

Prior to working with ReachLocal, Marla also worked in advertising for the San Diego Union-Tribune Media Co., The Press-Enterprise, and the Xerox Corporation.

Dr. Frank J. DellaCroce
MD

Frank J. DellaCroce, MD, FACS, (“Dr. D”) is a founding partner of the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery and St. Charles Surgical Hospital, the first hospital in the world dedicated to breast reconstruction for women affected by breast cancer. Board certified in Plastic Surgery, “Dr. D” has performed thousands of reconstructive procedures for women battling breast cancer and those who look to prevent it with risk reduction surgery. He is a widely published author and has lectured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia on the ground-breaking innovations pioneered at his Center. He and his partners are visionaries in the art of breast reconstruction and they welcome women from around the world for treatment in their dedicated facility in New Orleans.

Education

Recognitions and Awards

Rhonda M. Smith

As a seven-year breast cancer survivor, Rhonda has translated her professional and personal experience into a unique skill set and expertise. In 2010, two years after her breast cancer diagnosis, Rhonda founded Breast Cancer Partner, an organization that provides consulting services with a particular focus on breast cancer disparities, survivorship, and advocacy.

Currently Rhonda is the Project Director for the LiveHealthy OC Initiative, a three-year initiative to transform the healthcare focus from treatment to prevention. Rhonda has also served as the Consultant/Statewide Project Director for the Susan G. Komen® Circle of Promise California Initiative, an initiative focused on decreasing the high mortality rate of African American women diagnosed with breast cancer. Likewise, Rhonda has consulted for an NIH/NCI funded breast cancer survivorship research study at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami targeting the diverse population of Black women in the South Florida community.

Before Rhonda’s breast cancer diagnosis, she was already a mover and shaker in the business world, with experiences in sales, marketing, development consulting, and business management. In 2006, Rhonda was named one of South Florida’s “25 Most Prominent and Influential African-American Women” by Success South Florida Magazine.

Education

● MBA in Marketing and Operations from Colgate Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia
● B.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech

Denise Gaydos

Denise has had a career in finance for well over 30 years. Currently, she holds the position as Financial Services Officer at California Bank & Trust, serving the Sacramento and Bay areas. Her specialties include developing and servicing new business and personal loan and deposit relationships. Denise also works as an Executive Consultant for Rodan and Fields Skincare, helping people feel good about their outward appearance through their skincare line.

Denise has always been dedicated to serving the community through her involvement in Rotary International. She joined her first Rotary club in 1992, in the city of Orange. She has since become a four-time Paul Harris Fellow and Rotarian of the Year. She has also served as District Assembly Chair and Assistant District Governor. Denise is currently a member of the Laguna Sunrise Rotary Club. She serves as Foundation Chair and President of the Foundation Board.

Originally from Southern California, Denise grew up in San Juan Capistrano with her parents, Mike and Nancy Darnold, and older brother, Mike Darnold Jr. She currently resides in Elk Grove, CA with her husband, James, and daughter, Sydney.