2022 Virtual National Conference on Work & Cancer Speakers
Below, learn more about the speakers presented at the 2022 National Conference on Work & Cancer.
Click here for session descriptions.
Alan Astrow, MD, FACP
Alan Astrow is Chief of the Division of Hematology/Medical Oncology at New York–Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, where he focuses on the care and medical treatment of breast and gynecological cancers. He is also Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Dr. Astrow has a long-standing interest in improving communication between doctor and patient. At NY–PBMH he is working with the medical center leadership to develop a clinical cancer center in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine and to make available the full range of Weill Cornell cancer program clinical trials.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale University, Dr. Astrow obtained his MD from the Yale School of Medicine. He did his internal residency at Boston City Hospital and his fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at NYU Medical Center.
Dr. Astrow has received several awards and is included in New York Magazine’s list of Best Doctors in New York and the Castle Connolly Guide to Top Doctors New York Metro Region. He serves the editorial advisory board for the Art of Oncology section of the Journal of Clinical Oncology and on the advisory board for the annual Conference on Medicine and Religion.
Victoria Blinder, MD, MSc
Victoria Blinder, MD, MSc, is a board-certified medical oncologist, dedicated to the treatment of patients with breast cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Her research focuses on employment disparities during and after treatment for breast cancer, as well as the financial and quality-of-life sequelae of these disparities. Dr. Blinder has conducted qualitative and quantitative research on barriers to return to work among ethnically and socioeconomically diverse breast cancer survivors in NYC and California. She is the principal investigator of Breast Cancer and the Workforce, a large multi-center, prospective, longitudinal study of disparities in employment outcomes among African-American, Chinese, Korean, Latina, and non-Latina white NYC breast cancer survivors, funded by the American Cancer Society. Preliminary data from the nearly completed study led to the development of an NCI-funded intervention, currently in pilot testing, to improve job retention.
Dr. Blinder also serves the larger oncology community through committee work with the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. In addition, she has partnered with other nonprofit and business groups to develop a free, publicly available, employer-targeted intervention to help supervisors in corporations accommodate employees who are cancer survivors (http://workplacetransitions.org/).
Jenny B. Fine
Jenny B. Fine has been Executive Editor, Beauty, for WWD since November 2017. She joined the company in November 2001 as Editor-in-Chief of Beauty Inc. Prior to joining Beauty Inc, Jenny was Editor of Luckymag.com, where she was responsible for overseeing its launch and editorial content. She was previously Director of iVillage.com’s Beauty Channel and Beauty Director at SELF. She began her career in magazine publishing at Fairchild, where she served as Senior Associate Editor of Salon News and Beauty News Editor of Women’s Wear. A native of Louisville, KY, Jenny received a BA in art history and an MA in journalism from New York University.
Kathy Flora, MA, NCCC, MCC
Kathy Flora joined Cancer and Careers 16 years ago as one of their first volunteer career coaches. A joyful cancer survivor of 19 years, she is a nationally certified career counselor, master certified coach, and author who is a frequent CAC conference speaker and webinar facilitator.
Her experience spans more than 25 years in executive management and leadership, career development, and consulting in private firms, universities and federal agencies. She was a three-term elected State Representative in New Hampshire, managed HR programs for the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress as well as leadership training for the Defense Intelligence Agency before retiring from public service.
Kathy’s life passion is helping others find and fulfill theirs. Known as a positive change agent, she has assisted hundreds of individuals to capitalize on their strengths while working through life and career transitions.
Brandon Gottlieb, MA
Brandon Gottlieb has over 20 years in the talent acquisition industry. He has worked successfully on both the agency and corporate sides and is always up to date with the latest trends and technology in the industry. His background is comprised of companies large and small, public and private, startup and more established.
Currently, he is Director, Talent Advisor, at Healthfirst, a not-for-profit health insurance company based out of New York. While he is best known for his network within bleeding-edge technology, data and analytics circles, Brandon has supported many industries, including legal, marketing, finance, and sales, just to name a few. He is also heavily focused on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging strategies.
Brandon’s daughter battled recurrent medulloblastoma from June of 2014 until her tragic passing, in March of 2018. Brandon understands the stress and challenge of balancing a professional career while battling illness.
As a Career Coach with Cancer and Careers, Brandon gets to combine the two main aspects of his life, applying his professional experience offering advice and career coaching to cancer survivors.
Brandon is often asked to speak on panels and staffing forums on a variety of topics within the staffing industry.
Brandon received a BA from the University at Albany, and an MA in organizational psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. He lives at home in Rockland County, New York, with his wife, Dara, and their daughter, Carly.
Ariane Hunter, MBA
Ariane Hunter is an Author, Speaker, Coach & Founder of My Mentors Circle; an online community and mentoring service for Black women in business to gain access to leading Mentors of color. She brings over twenty years of career and business coaching expertise to help today’s career changers and business builders navigate their careers and grow their businesses. Ariane’s methodology centers around holistic, actionable insights to help individuals go farther, faster.
Ariane’s debut book Dreaming on Purpose: A Manifesto for Black Women on Taking the Leap & Building Her Business Baby with Indigo River Publishers is a business leadership book for Black women due out Fall 2022. Ariane draws on decades of experience working for the top marketing and branding agencies in New York City and supporting high profile clients to become key players in their industry. She holds an MBA and is a certified coach. Ariane was hand selected for NYC's inaugural BE NYC mentoring program for entrepreneurs that was endorsed by Bill De Blasio. She has worked with industry leaders including Women in Stem Leadership at Stony Brook University, Women’s Catalyst group at Hewlett Packard, Oracle, and many more. She has spoken for Ladies Get Paid, Jopwell, NYU Stern Women in Business, Advancing Women in Tech, Karen Millen, ABC Home, Emerging Leaders for NY Arts, and has been featured guest on numerous empowerment podcasts. Ariane is also a published writer whose work appears in Time.com, Levo League, Ivy Exec, and The Muse. She’s been quoted in CNBC, The Daily Worth, Her Agenda, and more.
Wade Iwata, LICSW, OSW-C
Wade Iwata is currently the neuro-oncology social worker at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He has spent his entire career working in oncology, focusing the majority of his work on supporting pediatric and AYA patients and their families. Wade has worked with all cancer diagnoses and has partnered in the past with a variety of different organization to provide support and connection within the cancer community.
Wade received his bachelor’s degree in human development from Eckerd College, in St. Petersburg, FL, and his master’s in social work from New York University. Wade received the Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers Outstanding Leadership/Social Worker of the Year award in 2020.
Joanna L. Fawzy Morales, Esq.
Joanna Morales is a cancer rights attorney and CEO of Triage Cancer, a national, nonprofit organization providing education on practical and legal issues that may impact individuals coping with cancer and their caregivers, through events, materials, and resources.
Joanna has spent 25 years working on behalf of individuals with cancer, including as an adjunct law professor at Loyola Law School, and at the John Wayne Cancer Institute’s Psychosocial Care Program.
Joanna has presented hundreds of seminars on employment, insurance, financial, and advocacy issues. She has also served on numerous cancer community boards, including as Chair of the American Cancer Society’s California Division Board.
She co-authored a book titled Cancer Rights Law for the American Bar Association. In 2017, she wrote a book chapter, “Preventing or Minimizing Financial Toxicity Across the Continuum of Cancer Care,” for the Oncology Nursing Society. She also contributed to a book entitled Work and Cancer Survivors and has been published in a variety of other publications, such as Psycho-Oncology and Coping with Cancer.
Joanna has received numerous awards and recognition for her service to the cancer community. In 2010, she was also recognized by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the Top 20 Attorneys in California Under the Age of 40.
Brian Keith McNeil, MD, MBA, FACS
Brian Keith McNeil, MD, MBA, FACS is the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Vice Chair of the Department of Urology at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. He completed a clinical fellowship in urologic-oncology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center following research fellowships in urologic-oncology at both the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute and James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Similar to the "Doughnut City" concept, previously used to describe booming economic centers surrounded by concentrated pockets of poverty, some patient groups have access to state of the art treatment while other more vulnerable populations lack access to standard of care therapy. This is an issue in most fields of health care. Dr. McNeil’s focus is care in medically underserved communities, a dilemma international in scope, which he strongly believes we must “think globally and act locally” to address.
Dr. McNeil is a graduate of Morehouse College, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the New York University Stern School of Business. He is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and active member of the American Urological Association. He currently serves as a member of the Urology Care Foundation Board of Directors and Montessori School of Raleigh Board of Trustees.
Rebecca V. Nellis, MPP
Rebecca V. Nellis, MPP is the Executive Director of Cancer and Careers. Since 2004 she has helped evolve the organization from early concept to national prominence. Rebecca oversees CAC’s programming and fundraising strategies to ensure long-term growth and sustainability. Under her leadership, the organization’s services transform the everyday lives of survivors while promoting lasting, systemic change for tomorrow’s workplace.
Featured in The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Women’s Health and on the TODAY show, Rebecca is a subject-matter expert on cancer–workplace issues. She travels the country presenting at national conferences, leading hospitals and community events about the intersection of life, work and cancer. She has been an invited speaker for the American Public Health Association, the Association of Oncology Social Workers, the National Business Group on Health and South by Southwest, among others.
Over the years, Rebecca has launched many of Cancer and Careers’ signature programs and services, including the National and Regional Conferences on Work & Cancer, In-Service Trainings for Healthcare Professionals and Financial Assistance and Technology Access Grants. As an active member of the cancer community, she has served on numerous committees and working groups. Currently, she is on the steering committee for Workplace Transitions for People Touched by Cancer.
Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York University and a Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University. Her graduate thesis was entitled “Implications of Cancer Survivorship on Financial Assets, Work Productivity and Employment Circumstances.”
Ruth Oratz, MD, FACP
Ruth Oratz is Professor of Clinical Medicine at NYU School of Medicine/NYU Langone Health, where she practices and teaches. She is a medical oncologist specializing in the care of people with and at risk for breast cancer. She is especially committed to helping the individual with cancer continue to live life actively and fully, placing significant attention on flexible treatment programs and those that address concerns about career, family life, relationships and sexuality. Her teaching focuses on the art of medicine, bringing humanities to the sciences. Dr. Oratz is also on the Advisory Board of The Bellevue Literary Review, a journal committed to cultivating the humanistic side of medical practice.
Dr. Oratz is an advisor to several national advocacy organizations, including breastcancer.org, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, CancerCare, Young Survival Coalition, Moving For Life and Sharsheret. She served as Chair of the Medical Advisory Board of Susan G. Komen, Greater NYC, and on the National Board of the YWCA, USA. She was named “Physician of the Year” by CancerCare and has been recognized in “The Best Doctors in America” and “The Best Doctors in NYC.” Dr. Oratz is active both locally and nationally as a speaker and healthcare educator, appearing on television and radio and lecturing to the public.