News & Blog

From the CEO’s Desk: Giving Thanks for Community Leadership & Support

“Leadership” is a subject that is often at the top of my mind as it is critical to driving research forward to find a cure. Fostering leadership in our community is of particular importance at this moment as we are at a pivotal “inflection point” in brain tumor research, having learned more about brain tumors in the last ten years than we did in the previous 200.


Tara Mitchell

We are also at a time of national leadership change, with a new Administration and Congress set to take their places in our nation’s capital with oversight of the billions of dollars spent on medical research by the National Institutes of Health (including the National Cancer Institute) annually. These policymakers will have important decisions to make on how it’s allocated.

But it’s not just the researchers and policymakers themselves who influence and impact the course of brain tumor research – the brain tumor community has a major role to play. In fact, NBTS’ generous supporters – be it volunteers, donors, advocates, etc. – are constantly contributing valuable aid to the cause. Your efforts allow us to lead the fight – and we can’t thank you enough. Yet, these changing times mean we need leadership, including your support and service, more than ever.

As such, I want to share a number of illustrations of just how important leadership, service and support from the brain tumor community are to helping make NBTS a better organization, and helping this community, collectively, make progress toward our mission of a cure. And, amidst this season of Thanksgiving, we offer our sincerest gratitude and appreciation of these, and all the other, supporters of NBTS.

Community Leadership Award Recipients


Steve Branfman

Recently, we announced the three members of the brain tumor community who were honored at our 2nd Annual National Gray Gala on November 11th.  All three – Matt, Steve, and Tara – have participated in at least some level of fundraising on behalf of NBTS. But what is equally as important is the leadership each have brought to the table. Steve, for example, being an avid cycler, has helped a group of cyclists in the Philadelphia area start a ride to raise money. Matt, has helped recruit new brain tumor advocates in the Pacific Northwest and as far away as Hawaii and regularly shares news and content on brain tumors and cancer with his networks. And Tara, after already serving in different volunteer committee roles for the New York City Brain Tumor Walk, stepped-up to help this year’s first Central New Jersey Brain Tumor Walk get off the ground. She also has agreed to share her story at other Walks to help guide and inspire others.

We can’t thank them enough for all they do for NBTS and the brain tumor community.

Catalyst Award


Michael Nathanson

On September 29th, the Chairman of our Board of Directors, Michael Nathanson, was named the Catalyst Award winner at the at 10th annual Community Leadership Awards presented by the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation and InvestmentNews. This award recognizes and celebrates the charitable work of financial advisors in communities across the country and around the world, with winning advisers nominated by their peers and selected based on their leadership, dedication, contribution, inspiration and impact on the cause they support. Michael was chosen from hundreds of nominations received by the foundation because of his tireless and dedicated leadership given to NBTS. In recognition of Michael, the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation donated $20,000 to NBTS.

As Chairman of National Brain Tumor Society’s Board of Directors, Michael Nathanson has helped set this organization on a path to be the group that charts the future for the brain tumor community. Congratulations Michael on a well-deserved honor!

Board Evolution

Speaking of the tremendous leadership we receive from our Board of Directors, our final Board meeting of 2016 in October was the last for five of our current members as they term-off the full NBTS Board of Directors and transition to our Emeritus Board.

Each of these individuals – Michael Corkin, Sheila Killeen, Jeff Kolodin, Susan Pannullo, MD, and Cord Schlobohm, DMD – have served on the National Brain Tumor Society Board of Directors for much of the last decade.  And all five have served in various leadership positions, contributing to major decisions that helped shape NBTS into the organization it is today We honor them and thank them.

NBTS may be an organization, but we think of it as a vehicle for all of us working together to create traction and change in pursuit of a cure. Through the cumulative leadership, effort, commitment, and generosity of many different individuals and collaborating organizations serving in numerous capacities throughout the brain tumor community to support our Society, we are stronger. NBTS is eternally indebted for the contributions you all give in all of your different ways. Again, we can’t say “thank you” enough. Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.

With sincere gratitude,

David F. Arons, JD

Chief Executive Officer

National Brain Tumor Society

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