Spotlight on Komen’s Young Professionals for the Cure

17 05 2011

Originally seen on, April 30, 2011

Charity Spotlight | Susan G. Komen’s Young Professionals for the Cure Make Dreams Come True

By Jillian Diedrich

Just last week, a group of young professionals from Austin, Texas, used the power of social media to make a dream come true for 9-year-old Madeleine, who is battling stage IV Glioblastoma, by surprising her with a FOOD FIGHT at a local park.

Madeleine has been defying doctors’ predictions and is still fighting, enriching the lives of all who meet her with her infectious laugh and precious smile.

Komen’s Young Professionals for the Cure (YPC) group of Austin just-so-happened to meet Madeleine while out to dinner on her mom’s birthday.  Once the group talked with Madeleine and her family, they became inspired by her courage and strength.

“As we spoke with Madeleine, she informed us of the one thing she really wanted more than any gift: a food fight,” said Jeremy Butler, the social media chair of Austin’s YPC. “So, we decided to give her the best food fight ever!”

It took only a week and a half to plan the food fight – mostly via Facebook outreach and support.

“When Madeleine and her family showed up on the day of the food fight, I got to see Madeleine’s eyes light up in surprise,” said Butler. “How smoothly it went exceeded my expectations.”

About 100 friends and family members came out, armed with foods, to make Madeleine’s dream come true.

Madeleine’s favorite foods are spaghetti and chocolate cake, so cupcakes and pasta were donated by people in the community.  All those who attended were also asked to bring at least one canned food item to donate to the Capital Area Food Bank.

“The whole experience was positive,” said Jen Harman, active member of Austin’s YPC. “Madeleine’s smile was the best part of the whole day.  Everyone was there to have fun!”

This is a peak at what Komen’s YPC groups can do when they collaborate with the community.  The first YPC group was created in New York City by Eric Brinker, the son of founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen, Nancy Brinker.  The ultimate goal of all YPC groups is to collaborate and eradicate cancer.

“Madeleine’s Food Fight was so amazing,” said Glen Mayes, chairman of Austin’s YPC.  “Seeing our YPC group grow from last year to now have so many people around with like-minded views made it happen.”

Why get inovolved?

Do something that inspires you,” said Harman. “That’s what made us want to help. Madeleine inspired us.”

Please visit WWW.MADELEINESGIFT.ORG to learn more about Madeleine’s story and make donations toward her fight against cancer.

Photographs of Madeleine’s Food Fight can be found at  Twenty to 30 percent of all proceeds from purchased pictures will go to Madeleine’s family.

For more information, please visit:

To volunteer with our Austin, Texas Affiliate you can visit

Find out how to get involved in the Susan G. Komen Affiliate in your area by visiting


Spotlight Wednesday: Meet Our GIRLS WHO ROCK Team

11 04 2011

Originally seen on – April 6, 2011

A core group of passionate “Renaissance women” make up the GIRLS WHO ROCK team. With diverse talent and well-rounded lives, they work countless hours to produce an amazing event which benefits girls’ education. GWR would not be the smashing, feel-good event without the contribution of these thoughtful and hardworking people, and we’d love for you to get to know them!

This Week: Jill Diedrich, @jill_diedrich, GWR PR Officer

How did you first connect with GIRLS WHO ROCK?

I was placed in front of co-founder Cynthia Hellen through my work as Director of Operations for Make Charity Cool. Before meeting, Cynthia had no idea our interests and my skill set would align to the point of me jumping aboard the GWR team the very night we met! Cynthia is so passionate about her work and I love and respect the empowerment that GWR brings across the globe. I am happy and excited to be helping the cause.

What’s your role on the GIRLS WHO ROCK team?

I am the Public Relations and Communication Officer for GWR.  My role involves reaching out to the media, strategically marketing GWR, and overseeing all communication efforts. I get to see the latest developments occurring at GWR and tell them to the world!

What’s your day job or professional/academic area of expertise?

I am a soon-to-be graduate at The University of Texas, majoring in Public Relations.  I am currently working part-time as an account executive for Hackney Communications, a boutique PR firm based out of Austin, Texas.  I am also the Director of Operations for Make Charity Cool, a budding non-profit working to inspire and change the world.  Doing PR for GWR allows me to bring together my communication skills and passion for empowering women and changing the world for the better, all in my favorite city and future home – New York City!

What’s the biggest lesson you have learned so far while helping to produce GIRLS WHO ROCK?

Enthusiasm is contagious.  Working with a team of enthusiastic women allows GIRLS WHO ROCK to thrive with others wanting to get involved and the media wanting to find out more.  It is important to enjoy what you do and believe what you preach. Watch out, because our enthusiasm for GWR has only just begun!

What’s the #1 thing you want people to know about what goes on behind the scenes of GIRLS WHO ROCK?

Our GWR crew is a support team of talented and motivated young women, working together to make positive changes in the world.  For many of us, our paths have crossed for the first time through our work at GWR, and yet we already feel connected – like we were always meant to be friends and working together for girls’ education all through the power of GIRLS WHO ROCK.  The beauty of technology allows us to stay connected on a daily basis.

Five Favorites of the moment (think fast!):

What is a memorable story or fact you learned about girls’ education in the developing world through She’s the First?

The main fact that of the 130 million youth who are out of school in the world, 70% are girls is mind-blowing to me. The gender gap must be closed, and there is no reason for girls to be left uneducated. Furthering girls’ education is critical for the future of the global community.

Give a shout out to a special teacher or mentor who shaped your own education, so that you can be where you are today in NYC, on the team.

My parents are the reason I got my educational opportunities, and they gave me the resources I needed to succeed.  The motivation and support I gained from my parents as mentors is incomparable. Obviously, I took advantage of these opportunities and made it to where I am today.  I think everyone deserves the opportunity to receive an education and that is what She’s the First and GWR is all about.

In terms of brand and image, how can a non-profit or business develop their overall look and signature style?

In terms of brand and image, a nonprofit can stand out by having a bold look, strong message, and unique style.  Clearly our message is strong, and GWR is especially unique in its initiatives of music, technology and design.  Staying ahead of the curve with technology is where non-profits and businesses need to be.  GWR exceeds this expectation through its use of social media and technology in general.  It stands out by being on a national platform and having the power to reach people anywhere, anytime with a consistent message and collaborative style.

Fill in the Blank: A GIRL WHO ROCKS is can change the world!

Check back each Wednesday for a new profile on someone from our team and the GWR council!