Be the Boss Over Cancer

Alan Astrow, MD

Alan Astrow is Director of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Maimonides Cancer Center in Brooklyn, New York. He came to Maimonides in 2005 after 19 years at St. Vincent's Catholic Medical Center in Manhattan. While at St. Vincent's, he cared in his clinical practice for many patients with AIDS-related cancers. His current practice at Maimonides focuses on the care and medical treatment of women with breast cancer and gynecological cancers. 

He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale University, with Distinction in History. He obtained his MD from the Yale School of Medicine and did his internal residency at the Boston City Hospital and his fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at NYU Medical Center.

He has published in the medical literature on the treatment of breast and ovarian cancer, on physician-patient communication, on the ethics of informed consent for clinical trials, and on the complex psychosocial and spiritual concerns faced by patients who have been treated for cancer. He is currently the Maimonides site principal investigator for an NIH-funded study of communications skills training for oncologists around survivorship care plans. 

Bud Bilanich

Bud Bilanich, The Common Sense Guy, is a career success coach, leadership consultant, motivational speaker, bestselling author, influential blogger and cancer survivor. He helps his coaching clients succeed by applying their common sense. Bud’s career success advice has been featured on CBS, ABC, NBC and CNN and in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, Fortune, Success Magazine and Self Improvement Magazine. He is a member of the USA Today Small Business Advisory Panel and frequently posts to his blog (

Dr. Bilanich is Harvard educated but has a no nonsense approach to his work that goes back to his roots in the steel country of Western Pennsylvania. His approach to career and life success is a result of over 35 years of business experience, 15 years of research and study of successful people and the application of common sense. He is the author of 19 books including Climbing the Corporate Ladder, Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS, 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success and Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less. He is also a contributor to six other books, including Speaking of Success, The Art and Science of Success and 101 Ways to Enhance Your Career.

Dr. Bilanich received an EdD (Doctor of Education) with a concentration in Adult Education and Organizational Behavior and Intervention from Harvard University; an MA in Organizational and Interpersonal Communication from the University of Colorado; and a BS in Human Development from Penn State.

Dorra Blacker, CRC, LMHC 

Dorra Blacker is a graduate of Hunter College with a MS in Education and is both a certified vocational rehabilitation counselor and a licensed mental health counselor with over thirty five years of experience in the field of vocational rehabilitation. For the past thirty years she has been at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, currently known as Rusk Rehab, NYU Langone Medical Center, where she is the clinical supervisor in the Vocational Rehab Department. Ms. Blacker has worked with both adults and pediatrics with physical, orthopedic, neurological and psychiatric disabilities, with the primary goal of helping people return to the workforce. She is the liaison vocational counselor to the NYU Clinical Cancer Center to address the specific needs and concerns of individuals with cancer. Ms. Blacker has lectured to professional organizations, medical staff, graduate students and specific disability groups on topics regarding vocational and placement issues. She has been featured in an employment educational video, participated on radio talk shows for the Multiple Sclerosis Society and, most recently, represented Rusk Rehab for Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill. She looks forward to both sharing her knowledge and acquiring new information during this conference.

Monica Bryant, Esq.

Monica Fawzy Bryant is a cancer rights attorney, speaker, and author dedicated to improving access to and availability of quality information on insurance, employment and other cancer survivorship issues. Monica is the Chief Operating Officer for Triage Cancer, a national nonprofit organization connecting people to cancer survivorship information through a national Speakers Bureau, educational events, and online tools.

Throughout her career, Monica has provided hundreds of educational seminars, written articles and blogs, and appeared on community television and radio shows discussing healthcare-related legal issues. Additionally, Monica is an Adjunct Law Professor at John Marshal School of Law in Chicago, teaching a class on Cancer Rights. Previously, Monica worked as Midwest Regional Director for the Cancer Legal Resource Center, Legislative Counsel for U.S. Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez and Law Clerk for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. During her time in Congress, she focused on health, justice, civil rights and women’s issues. She continues to engage in legislative advocacy as a congressional lead for the American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network Great Lakes Division.

Julie Jansen

Julie Jansen—speaker, trainer, coach and author—has helped thousands of professionals find success and satisfaction at work as well as find work that is gratifying. Whether to a CEO, manager, entrepreneur, career changer, or job seeker, Julie offers her practical, no-nonsense approach to mastering business and career challenges, helping them to achieve a more fulfilling and rewarding work life. She has written two books: I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work and You Want Me to Work With Who? Eleven Keys to a Stress-Free, Satisfying and Successful Work Life…No Matter Who You Work With. Julie is often quoted in business publications and has appeared on the Today Show, ABC World News Now, MSNBC, NPR, and CNN Financial News. Her website is:

Julie Larson, LCSW

Julie Larson is a psychotherapist in New York City. In her practice she works primarily with people under the age of 40 around issues of wellness, loss and life transitions. Prior to establishing her private practice, Julie was the Young Adult Program Director at CancerCare. In that capacity, she develop a national program inclusive of both age-specific support services and educational materials focused on the distinct issues faced by young adults impacted by a cancer diagnosis. Julie has been speaking to national audiences, both survivors and professionals, on the impact of a serious illness at a young age for many years. Julie continues to advise many advocate organizations on strategies to improve their young adult programming and has been featured in various publications, including: SELF Magazine, Cure Magazine, The Crazy Sexy Cancer: Survival Guide; Everything Changes: The Insider’s Guide to Cancer in Your 20s and 30s and a number of survivor blogs.

Gabrielle Miskovitz, OTR/L, CHT 

Gabrielle Miskovitz is an Occupational Therapist with advanced certification in hand therapy. She graduated from Columbia University in 2004. Gabrielle was first employed at Roosevelt Hospital, joining Memorial Sloan Kettering in 2007. She has a particular interest in working on the Outpatient Service with clients presenting with hand and upper-quadrant dysfunction or cognitive impairments that impact performance of daily activities and work/leisure tasks. Gabrielle holds a Master of Science Degree from Columbia University and is a registered and licensed Occupational Therapist. She holds certificates in Advanced Rehabilitation of the Hand and Upper Quadrant from Drexel University and Ergonomic Assessment from The Back School of Atlanta.

Joanna Morales, Esq.

Joanna Fawzy Morales, Esq. is a cancer rights attorney and CEO of Triage Cancer, a national nonprofit organization connecting people to cancer survivorship information through a national Speakers Bureau, educational events and online tools. She also serves as Principal of North Star Alliances, a business and nonprofit consulting and service firm.

She has served the cancer community for more than twenty years, including at Triage Cancer; as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola Law School, teaching a course in Cancer Rights Law; and at the John Wayne Cancer Institute’s Psychosocial Care Program.

Joanna has presented hundreds of seminars on employment, insurance, and health care issues throughout the country. Joanna has been published in a variety of publications and serves on numerous health community committees and boards, including as Chair-elect of the American Cancer Society California Division Board of Directors. She was also recognized by the Los Angeles Daily Journal in 2010 as one of the Top 20 Attorneys in California Under the Age of 40.

Rebecca V. Nellis, MPP

Rebecca V. Nellis is the Vice President of Programs and Strategy for Cancer and Careers. Since 2004, Rebecca has been developing initiatives to meet the needs of people who are working through cancer treatment and those who support them. She oversees the organization’s program portfolio and long-term strategy for growth in its services. Rebecca is in demand as an expert on the issues of balancing a diagnosis and employment, speaking regularly at national cancer conferences, community events and to press. Among the initiatives that Rebecca has launched are the National and Regional Conferences on Work & Cancer, the accredited Educational Series for Healthcare Professionals, and Cancer and Careers’ Spanish language resources. In addition, Rebecca is currently serving on the grant advisory committee for “Work Ability in Young Adult Cancer Survivors (WAYS): A Mixed-Methods Study,” at Wake Forest University. Rebecca has also served on committees for the Livestrong Young Adult Alliance and I’m Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation (aka Stupid Cancer).

Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University and a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University. To complete her graduate degree Rebecca wrote a thesis entitled “Implications of Cancer Survivorship on Financial Assets, Work Productivity and Employment Circumstances.”

Ruth Oratz, MD, FACP

Ruth Oratz is a medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of breast cancer. She is Clinical Professor of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, and sees patients with all stages of breast cancer as well as those at increased risk for cancer. Dr. Oratz is especially committed to helping the woman facing cancer continue to live her life actively and fully. She places significant attention on flexible treatment programs. Her practice addresses women’s concerns about family life, career, relationships and sexuality.

Dr. Oratz is board certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. She is a member of the American Society to Clinical Oncology and the American Association of Clinical Research. Dr. Oratz sits on several advisory boards of organizations dedicated to education and support for women and their loved ones as they cope with the breast cancer experience— including: Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC), Sharsheret, and CancerCare. She is also on the national board of the YWCA USA. Dr. Oratz lectures frequently and has appeared on national and local television and radio broadcasts. She also teaches medicine, oncology, medical ethics and humanities at the NYU School of Medicine.

Claire Steichen

Claire Steichen, Founder and CEO of Clear Strategy Coaching, is a personal and executive coach who specializes in helping high-achieving women get promoted, find the right job and be happier and more successful at work and in life. Before becoming a coach, Claire spent 18 years in cosmetic sales and marketing and worked on such launches as J’adore, Beyond Paradise, True Star and Donna Karan’s Black Cashmere. Most recently, Claire successfully pursued her dreams to have a family and to transition from corporate America to having her own business. She shares her significant learning from these experiences in her work with her clients.

Kate Sweeney

Kate Sweeney is the Executive Director of the CEW Foundation and the co-founder of the Cancer and Careers program. She began with a vision—to eliminate fear and uncertainty for working people with cancer. Now 13 years strong, Cancer and Careers is the recognized authority on work-related support for cancer patients and survivors. The pioneer program boldly leads the discussion on where life, cancer and work intersect.

Under Kate’s leadership, Cancer and Careers serves over 300,000 people online, in print and in person each year. Program highlights include launching a first of its kind interactive career coaching center for survivors to get personalized advice from professional coaches; bringing direct services to remote and underserved communities in the U.S.; partnering with Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to offer company-wide support within the workplace; and collaborating with QVC to present “Beauty with Benefits,” a two-hour beauty-product fundraising telecast that has raised over $2M to date in support of Cancer and Careers’ free programs and services. In addition to running the $2.5M CEW Foundation, Kate continues to serve as an expert on the issues surrounding cancer in the workplace. Kate currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and twin sons.