Our Team

MOCA staff and board members are united in a passion to make a difference against this disease.

We're honored to work toward fulfilling MOCA's mission.

Staff Members

Kirstie Kimball Database Manager and Special Events Coordinator

Kirstie Kimball

Kirstie Kimball is MOCA’s database manager and special events coordinator. Kirstie’s mother found MOCA when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 41. After five years of living with the disease, her mother passed away when Kirstie was seventeen. Kirstie was diagnosed with BRCA and wanted to become more involved with MOCA to help advance research and support for women like her mother and herself. She fundraised for and helped organize one of the locations for Spin it Teal in 2015 and joined the MOCA staff in February 2016.

Kirstie is in her final year at the University of Minnesota with a double major in English and Gender Studies, and a minor in Public Health. Before coming to MOCA, Kirstie worked with start-ups in the health and fitness community. She used her love of data and retention systems to create solid foundations for businesses. As MOCA’s database manager and special events coordinator, she aims to create data-driven decisions to increase fundraising and community involvement.

When not working, Kirstie volunteers at multiple non-profits, walks her dogs, dabbles in carpentry and eats Glam Doll Donuts. She feels blessed every day to be a part of this organization that gave her mother hope and fights to help women like her live long lives.

Julia Hanson Development Manager

Julia Hanson

Julia Hanson joined MOCA in November 2015 as the development manager. In this role, she works to create innovative strategies for engaging and retaining donors through various fundraising campaigns and activities. Julia is excited to be part of the MOCA team and admires the work that the organization does to advance research and help women and their families facing ovarian cancer.

Before joining MOCA, Julia most recently worked as a fundraiser at Can Do Canines and Opportunity Partners. Julia holds a B.A. degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota, along with a master’s degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration from Metropolitan State University. She also earned a post-graduate fundraising certificate through the University of St. Thomas.

In her free time, she loves spending quality time with her family, including her husband Jon, daughter Gwendolyn, and pug Max. She also enjoys photography, exploring new coffee shops and bakeries, walking outside (when the weather is nice), and craft projects. Julia also likes to give back to her community—she is a member of a local Lions Club and serves as a volunteer board member.

 

 

June Miller Data Entry Specialist

June Miller

June Miller joined the MOCA staff in July 2015.  She was born in Minneapolis and has spent her entire life here, including raising her two children.

Finishing her career at Land O’Lakes after 29 years, she then became a volunteer at MOCA.  As a 15 year survivor, she has enjoyed the opportunity to support MOCA’s mission and goals, working in the office and at different functions.

June is excited to be part of the MOCA team and looks forward to continuing her office contributions and occasional volunteering.

Her spare time is spent enjoying her family, friends, and life partner, Patrick.

Becky West Finance Manager

Becky West

Becky West joined the MOCA staff in October 2014. As finance manager, she is responsible for the accounting functions as well as preparing financial statements, employee benefits administration, corporate insurance administration, preparing information for the annual audit, and ensuring compliance with Guidestar and Charities Review Council. She also compiles the annual budget with input from MOCA managers and oversees the financial duties at MOCA events.

Prior to coming to MOCA, Becky worked at CliftonLarsonAllen for 7 years in the Outsourcing Division.

Becky holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and finished a certificate program at the College of St. Catherine.

When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and her husband, Bill.

Becky is excited to be a part of the great staff at MOCA. The amazing volunteers and passionate board members are wonderful. Becky is happy to have found a home of such dedicated individuals.

Constance White Operations and Membership Manager

Constance White

Constance White joined MOCA in 2006. As the manager of operations and membership, she’s responsible for the organizations operations, website updates,  email communications about MOCA with an emphasis on MOCA’s mission, programs, services, events and support to women with ovarian cancer.  She also Manages the MOCA store, office volunteers, and graphic design needs at the MOCA office.

At the University of Minnesota, Constance studied general design with a minor in  business. She began her career in the U.S. Army, where she specialized in repairing aircraft propellers and rotors. She has also worked in a diverse range of corporate management and director roles, including licensing, buying, product design, inventory control, documentation, and financial account reconciliation. Past employers have included Banner EngineeringThe Musicland Group, and Jakks Pacific toy company.

Outside of MOCA Constance is happily married to husband Jerry, enjoys travel, gardening, skiing, creative projects and spending time with her daughter, son-in-law and her two grandchildren.

Constance says she is continually amazed by the generosity and resourcefulness of MOCA’s members and staff, and she’s grateful to be a part of such an outstanding organization.

(612) 584-3544
cwhite@mnovarian.org

Kathy McGovern Medical Education Program Manager

Kathy McGovern

Kathy McGovern joined the MOCA staff in 2005. As the organization’s medical education programs manager, she focuses her efforts on raising awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms and the importance of referrals to gynecologic oncologists through educational opportunities for medical students, residents, and practicing physicians throughout Minnesota. She also manages MOCA’s Medical Advisory Committee, a team of 22 Minnesota gynecologic and medical oncologists, who help advance MOCA’s mission in a number of ways.

Professionally, Kathy has led a wide variety of educational and organizational change programs both nationally and internationally for several Fortune 500 companies in the Twin Cities. She has developed and/or taught graduate courses at the University of Minnesota and the College of St. Scholastica.

Kathy has been an active member of the Kidney Cancer Association (KCA), and has led the Minnesota chapter’s education and support meetings for survivors and their families for five years. Kathy has lobbied in the nation’s capital for National Cancer Institute funding on behalf of both MOCA and KCA.

Kathy earned her master’s degree in organization development from Pepperdine University and has completed all the courses for a master’s degree in adult education at the University of Minnesota.

(612) 584-3551
kmcgovern@mnovarian.org

Becky Lechner Communications Manager

Becky Lechner

Becky joined MOCA in October 2011. Having lost her mother to ovarian cancer in 2009, ovarian cancer outreach and education is a cause that is dear to her heart.

As MOCA’s communications manager, Becky spearheads marketing and public relations efforts for MOCA and manages media outreach. Becky manages MOCA’s internal and external communications, including the MOCA Messenger and MOCA’s social media pages. Becky also works to raise awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms through public awareness campaign, such as MOCA’s award-winning Tie it Teal campaign.

Before joining MOCA, Becky worked in public relations at Weber Shandwick for six years, spending time with both the healthcare and financial services practices. She is also a former journalist and worked as a reporter and producer at WEAU-TV in Eau Claire, Wis. Becky has a B.A. in journalism from the University of Minnesota and has taken graduate-level courses in public health from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health.

When Becky isn’t at MOCA, she can be found spending time with her husband and two young sons, trying out a new recipe, practicing yoga or running along one of Minneapolis’ many lakes.

(612) 584-3546
rlechner@mnovarian.org

Kathleen Gavin Executive Director

Kathleen Gavin

 

Kathleen Gavin has been the executive director of MOCA since 2002 when she became its first staff person. She provides strategic leadership to accomplish the goals and objectives of the organization and to identify and obtain needed resources. She also serves as the senior spokesperson for the organization and the leader of its grant-making activities.

Gavin also serves as a patient advocate on the Stand Up 2 Cancer Ovarian Cancer Dream Team and is an advocate on the national NRG Oncology (formerly Gynecologic Oncology Group) serving on the ovarian and developmental therapeutic committees. She is a co-chair of the Mayo Clinic’s Ovarian Cancer SPORE patient advocacy committee. In addition, she is a member of the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center community advisory board.

Gavin holds a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University and was the administrative director of the Women’s Health Care Program at Columbia University for three years. She has also worked as the health and human services policy analyst for the governor of Vermont and as the director of planning and development of medical services for the state of Vermont.

Gavin was a founding member of the Institute for Sustainable Communities, a nonprofit organization that does environmental work in Central and Eastern Europe, and worked to build that organization for seven years.

She has served on numerous boards and provided consulting services to foundations and non-profit organizations.

Kathleen has two adult children and lives with her husband in South Minneapolis. She is loves to hike and is a fair weather bicycle commuter.

 

(612) 584-3549
kgavin@mnovarian.org

Board Members

Nancy Libbey

Nancy Libbey

Nancy Libbey was elected to the MOCA Board of Directors in May 2015.  She has served in many MOCA volunteer roles including: HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer Co-Chair, Walk/Run Store Co-Chair, Golf/Gala volunteer, Annual Meeting/Dream Awards volunteer, and MOCA office volunteer – where she became familiar with the internal workings of MOCA.

Nancy’s mother Cathy Morris was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2002, at which time Nancy became involved with MOCA.   Nancy’s mother was so impressed with MOCA that she helped initiate and run an ovarian cancer support group in Washington State until her death in 2014.

Nancy hopes to help further MOCA’s mission of creating ovarian cancer awareness, support, education, and advancing research to find a cure.

Her  volunteer experience includes:  Edina High School Event Committee Chair,  EHS Parent Council Directory Co-Chair, Courage Center  Multiple Sclerosis volunteer,  and Washington State non-profit Ovarian Cancer Together (OCT) Advisor.

She attended Washington State University and is a flight attendant with Delta Airlines.  She and her husband Scott have 3 boys and live in Edina, Minn.

 

Kathy Bowling

Kathy Bowling

Kathy was diagnosed with Stage 3B ovarian cancer in January 2011. One of the first things her doctor spoke with her about was the support available at MOCA. She attended her first support group meeting as soon as she could. “It was huge to me – to see these vibrant, smiling women, all the things I wanted to be. I left armed with information and the knowledge that support was there whenever I needed it,” says Kathy.

Kathy joined the MOCA Board of Directors in May 2015. Since her diagnosis, she has been an active fundraiser for MOCA’s HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer each September. In addition, she is part of the team of speakers that volunteers with MOCA’s Survivors Teaching Students (STS) program and has spoken to groups of medical students, physicians and nurse practitioners.

By sharing her diagnosis and treatment story with healthcare students, she works to ensure that they know the symptoms of ovarian cancer – with the hope that more women are diagnosed earlier, when the disease is most treatable.

Kathy attended St. Cloud State College (now University). For the past 20 years she has worked as an assistant for one of the principles of the Pohlad Companies. She has a condo in St. Louis Park where she lives with her dog, Bailey. She has two daughters and nine wonderful grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves playing the piano, listening to music, biking, and reading.

John Wetzel

John Wetzel

John Wetzel joined the MOCA board in May 2015. His involvement with ovarian cancer began when his beloved wife Joy received a Stage IV diagnosis in January 2001. Throughout her recurrences and treatment at the Mayo Clinic, they became aware of and enamored with MOCA and volunteered in a number of areas, including several years as co-chairs of the day-of-registration for HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer. Joy served on the MOCA board for many years and served as a mentor to newly-diagnosed women and their families.

John accompanied Joy when she made presentations to medical schools and out-state clinics to present on the symptoms of ovarian cancer. They regularly attended cancer-focused events at the Mayo Clinic representing MOCA and MOCA education sessions, galas and board socials. They also attended three meetings of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Joy succumbed to the disease on November 6, 2014.

An Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, John was educated at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto and at the University of Minnesota. He has had leadership roles at IDS Financial Services (now Ameriprise Financial) and Right Management (a global HR consulting firm). He “encored” from Right in August 2013 and has volunteered (on almost a full-time basis) since then as a Career Counselor in the College of Liberal Arts Career Services area at the University of Minnesota.

John has served in leadership/board roles with the Minneapolis Aquatennial Association, Senior Resources (now a part of Volunteers of America / Minnesota), the Minnesota Career Management Association and the Minneapolis Job Support Workshop. He enjoys travel, time with family and giving back to the community.

Marcia Trevarthen

Marcia Trevarthen

Marcia was diagnosed with Stage II ovarian cancer and Stage I uterine cancer in June 2013. She completed 6 rounds of chemo in November 2013. After her surgery, while searching for information about ovarian cancer, she discovered the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance. During her first visit to the office, she was greeted with such support and kindness that even though she was anxious about chemo, she decided to sign up and attend the MOCA Mid Summer Night’s Gala the day before her first chemo appointment!

Throughout her treatment Marcia actively participated in a number of MOCA events including R.I.S.E. meetings, running and raising money at the annual HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer event, the Athleta Unleash the She race and Spin it Teal. She has completely embraced MOCA and its mission.

Joining the board in May 2014 was an exciting next step for Marcia as she wants to help spread the word about ovarian cancer symptoms and help women feel that their concerns are important and need to be heard by their doctors.

Marcia graduated from Michigan State University in Packaging Engineering and has worked at General Mills her entire career in the engineering, R&D and quality departments. She lives in Plymouth with her husband Don. Don and their daughter Sarah have been her biggest supporters and cheerleaders and are absolutely thrilled that that she found MOCA.

Sandy Tollefson

Sandy Tollefson

Sandra (Sandy) Tollefson was diagnosed with Stage 1C ovarian cancer in 1999, before MOCA was founded, and was unable to locate a good source of support at that time of her diagnosis.

Now, as a 15-year ovarian cancer survivor and MOCA board member, she sees her association with MOCA as both a personally and professionally rewarding opportunity and looks forward to supporting MOCA’s efforts to raise awareness and find an early diagnostic test for ovarian cancer.

Sandy is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She has spent most of her career in healthcare marketing and advertising both in hospitals and in agencies. For 17 years she ran her own business, Health Care Communications and most recently was the Director of Creative Network at StoneArch. Currently, she is a marketing and creative consultant for health care companies and agencies.

She and her husband Doug, live in Lakeland, Minnesota. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, reading and enjoying family and friends at their cabin in Amery, Wisconsin.

Mary Pat Oslund

Mary Pat Oslund

Mary Pat Olsund is the MOCA Board of Directors Vice President. Mary Pat was diagnosed with Stage IC cancer in May 2005 at the age of 42. One year after completing chemotherapy she decided to celebrate her one-year anniversary by participating in MOCA’s annual Silent No More Walk/Run.

After experiencing the Silent No More Walk/Run and the wonderful volunteers of MOCA she knew she wanted to be a part of such a great organization. She joined the MOCA board of directors and has been a co-chair for HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer since 2011. Mary Pat learned that she was very lucky to be diagnosed at such an early stage and cares deeply about spreading awareness about the symptoms and educating others. She believes that the diagnosis of ovarian cancer should not be left up to luck.

Mary Pat and her husband David live in South Minneapolis with their three children. Mary Pat has a B.A. from the University of St. Thomas and is a project manager for U.S. Bank. Her hobbies include running, golf and tennis. She enjoys spending her free time with her family and friends.

Susan Kushner

Susan Kushner

An ovarian cancer survivor since 1997, Susan Kushner is one of MOCA’s founding members and was treasurer for the first three years of MOCA’s existence.  In May 2015, she transitioned to Honorary Board Member. Susan and her husband Barry have been the co-chairs of the Molly Cade Scramble for Ovarian Cancer since its inception, having brought the annual fundraising event to MOCA through their friendship with Michael Patterson of King Solutions, the tournament’s primary sponsor.

Susan’s story illustrates why MOCA’s work – especially our awareness efforts and medical education programming – is so important. When diagnosed in 1997 with Stage 3C, Grade 3 ovarian cancer, there was no MOCA.  Susan’s obstetrician/gynecologist did her surgery, as Susan wasn’t aware of the importance of a gynecologic oncologist.  Her main reason for being active in MOCA is to get the word out about gynecologic oncologists and also to help drive on progress that will one day bring about an early detection test.

As an active volunteer, Susan also serves on the board of directors of the Sisterhood of Temple of Aaron and on the board of the Midwest branch of Hadassah, the women’s Zionist organization of America.

Susan is thankful for her wonderful husband Barry, her children and her friends for all their love and support through this journey.

Meghan Hansen

Meghan Hansen

Meghan Hansen joined the MOCA board of directors in May 2013. She was named Secretary of the MOCA Board of Directors in May 2015.

Meghan has a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School and is an attorney in the business litigation group of Oppenheimer, Wolff & Donnelly, LLP. She lives in Richfield with her husband Dennis, where they enjoy cooking, boating, and playing with their three dogs.

In 2000, Meghan lost her mother, Jane Anzelc, to ovarian cancer.  Personally contributing to the effort to make MOCA’s support and resources available to other women and their families and to advance ovarian cancer research is meaningful and gratifying to Meghan.

David Gehant

David Gehant

David Gehant joined the MOCA board in May 2014, after being a dedicated volunteer as a committee head for the HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer event since 2011. He was inspired to serve after recognizing the positive impact MOCA had on his sister-in-law when she was seeking support as a survivor, and in honor of his aunt who is fighting the disease right now.

He understands the sense of urgency in MOCA’s mission and is committed to the goals of providing support for those affected, raising awareness, and supporting research that could introduce early detection strategies and improve treatment options.

David, who has a B.A. in Cell Biology and Human Anatomy from Concordia College and an M.B.A from Hamline University, is a Senior Manager in Service Delivery at Symantec. In addition to appreciating the daily rewards of raising two kids with his wife, Kimberly, David enjoys playing/coaching hockey, traveling, and spending time at the lake with family. David resides in Bloomington, Minn.

Ellen Kleinbaum

Ellen Kleinbaum

Ellen Kleinbaum was elected to the MOCA Board of Directors in May 2014 and serves as MOCA’s Board Treasurer. A long-term survivor of ovarian cancer, she was diagnosed with Stage 3III ovarian cancer in July of 1991 and recurred in 1993 and 1994. She was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. In light of this history she underwent genetic counseling and testing and discovered that she is positive for the BRCA2 genetic mutation. This knowledge has changed her life and those of her family.

Ellen’s passion is volunteering with MOCA’s Survivors Teaching Students (STS) program, and she has spoken to many groups of medical students, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. She speaks of her story and the importance of genetic counseling when there is a family history. She believes it is a way of giving back to the wonderful people who helped her through many difficult times.

She is honored to be returning as a part of the MOCA Board of Directors for a second round on the Board and understands the importance of MOCA to those diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Ellen resides in Plymouth and works at the Minneapolis Jewish Federation in finance and human resources. She is a graduate of Metro State University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in accounting. She is blessed with 3 children and 4 grandchildren living in the Twin Cities. Ellen enjoys every minute she has with them.

Linda Linder

Linda Linder

 

Linda Linder is a Registered Nurse with over thirty years experience. Linda has a Bachelors of Arts in Nursing from the College of Saint Scholastica, with a previous certification in Informatics. A MOCA Board Member since 2011, she became Vice President in 2013. She was named MOCA Board President in May 2015. She is also a co-chair of MOCA’s Black, White & Teal Gala.

Linda is a two time cancer survivor. Ovarian cancer first touched her life in 2004 when she was diagnosed with this disease in the Emergency Department of the hospital where she was employed.

Linda has been published and has lectured on various nursing topics and is now employed as a nurse clinician at the University of Minnesota-Fairview.

Linda enjoys an active life of travel, reading, cooking and entertaining. She resides in Victoria with her husband Jim.

 

Carol Luukkonen

Carol Luukkonen

Carol Luukkonen joined the MOCA board in 2008 and is a past MOCA Board President. She and her husband, Tom, have long been active in the HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer and the Molly Cade Scramble for Ovarian Cancer. Carol is a co-chair of MOCA’s Black, White & Teal Gala. Carol is a painter in acrylics, and several of her paintings have been made into note cards that have been sold to raise funds for MOCA.

A graduate of Augsburg College, Carol has spent most of her married life as a stay-at-home mom and active volunteer with several organizations. Besides giving her time to MOCA, painting and enjoying the company of her six grandchildren, Carol loves to travel, play golf with Tom and spend time with family and friends at their cabin near Park Rapids.

Carol was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer in the fall of 2005.  After surgery and a year and a half of chemo she is healthy and cancer-free.  Carol says she is very impressed with the passion and dedication she sees in everyone associated with MOCA and is honored to be president of the MOCA board.

Medical Advisory Committee

Jamie N. Bakkum-Gamez, M.D.

Gynecologic Oncologist

Mayo Clinic

Matthew Block, MD, PhD

Gynecologic Oncologist

Mayo Clinic

William A. Cliby, M.D.

Gynecologic Oncologist

Mayo Clinic

Sean Dowdy, M.D.

Gynecologic Oncologist

Mayo Clinic

Gretchen Glaser, MD

Gynecologic Oncologist

Mayo Clinic

Amanika Kumar, MD

Gynecologic Oncologist

Mayo Clinic

Carrie Langstraat, MD

Gynecologic Oncologist

Mayo Clinic

Andrea Mariani, MD

Gynecologic Oncologist

Mayo Clinic

Christopher Pennell, PhD

Assistant Director, Education and Community Engagement

Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota

Andrea Wahner, MD

Gynecologic Oncologist

Mayo Clinic

John Weroha, MD, PhD

Gynecologic Oncologist

Mayo Clinic