Several prominent Wisconsin executives have launched a state chapter of the American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer
The founding members include Mark Murphy, president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers; Cecelia Gore, executive director of the Brewers Community Foundation; Todd Fancher, president of American Family Life Insurance Co.; Kevin Fletcher, president and CEO of WEC Energy Group; Joe Rock, managing partner of KPMG's Milwaukee office; and Brendan Freeman, president of private wealth at First Business Bank.
Nationally, more than 500 executives participate in ACS’s CEOs Against Cancer program, which is designed to leverage the influence and resources of business leaders to help the cause of preventing and treating cancer.
There are currently 15 chapters nationally. The new Wisconsin chapter is among five that are launching this year, said Laurie Bertrand, executive director of ACS Wisconsin.
“It’s really an influential group of corporate and business leaders who have the passion and expertise and resources that’s needed to change the course of cancer for our workplaces and communities,” she said.
The half-dozen inaugural Wisconsin chapter members recently met for the first time and plan to name a chair and recruit additional members in the coming weeks.
Outside of attending biennial meetings, the commitment for members includes championing the causes of health and wellness, health equity and screening in their own workplaces and in the community.
Prevention programs, such as tobacco cessation and regular screenings, are effective at decreasing cancer risk among employees, which leads to earlier detection and lower health care costs for employers, according to the ACS.
“As executive leaders, they have tremendous influence on health for their employees, their clients, their customers and the community,” Bertrand said. “They can really lead the fight by taking that stance and making sure we’re raising awareness and critical funds. It’s incredible, once these CEOs get started, what they’re able to accomplish even with two meetings a year.”
The chapter also plans to take on a collaborative project, such as a large awareness-raising event in the community, and individual members can track their organizations' progress related to cancer prevention and early detection using scorecards that measure those efforts in their workplaces.