Dear Members and Friends,
As we stand on the precipice of a new year, it brings me immense joy and gratitude to reflect on the past, not only considering the journey of the IGCS as an organization, but my own personal journey. As I look back at both my personal and professional trajectory, I see that my approach to life and career has been rooted in an unwavering attitude—to wake up each day with excitement and motivation to do better than the day before. My mindset in many ways has been shaped by those closest to me, my parents, my husband, my children, my friends, and colleagues.
Much like the ebb and flow of life, the IGCS has celebrated momentous occasions and navigated through challenges that have tested its resilience. As we approach the end of 2023 — a year of remarkable growth for the IGCS — I find myself reflecting on the guiding theme I set forth for the society one year ago. With the guidance of the IGCS Board and my staff who works so hard every day, the idea and intention to “Think Big” has permeated throughout the society, manifesting as new initiatives, programs, and campaigns in service of our mission, and is demonstrated in the sheer growth of our membership.
I never would have achieved all that I have within my own life without this kind of “big” thinking and the support of others. The important people in my life have taught me that I can be a good daughter, wife, mother, and friend while also pursuing an ambitious and fulfilling career. Performing each of these roles requires a delicate balance and, at times, difficult decisions.
With all of this in mind, it is time to set the intention for the path forward. With the IGCS approaching its 37th anniversary in 2024 I believe that the next phase involves not only sustaining the growth we have achieved by thinking big, but also in understanding and cultivating the impact of such growth. This requires a more targeted approach, emphasizing quality over quantity and measuring success by the depth of influence and impact rather than sheer scale.
The Board of Directors has already begun to lay the groundwork for this process with the development of three strategic pillars and overarching goals to provide focus and guidance as we move forward. Cultivating impact involves strategic and intentional efforts to create positive, meaningful, and sustainable change ensuring that the effects of our work align with our broader mission and values.
The IGCS has already come so far, now let’s spend the coming year examining the impact of that progress so we can celebrate our achievements, learn from our mistakes, and prepare for the future. Our work directly impacts the lives of women all over the world. Like me, these women are daughters, wives, and mothers with their own personal goals. Let’s make sure that cancer (especially cancers that can be prevented or treated) is not the thing that stops women from achieving their life’s ambition.
I express my deepest gratitude to each one of you, especially the hundreds of volunteers and my team who are directly responsible for increasing IGCS’ positive impact. Your commitment, passion, and unwavering support are never taken for granted. Together, let us step into the new year with the shared purpose of making IGCS an even greater force for positive change.
Wishing you all a peaceful holiday season and joyous New Year!
Mary Eiken, MS