Real Career Girls: Meet Lindsay Avner, Founder of Bright Pink
Lindsay Avner is the founder of Be Bright Pink, the only national non-profit focusing on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women, while providing support for high-risk individuals. Through her vision, the organization has become one of the country’s fastest growing non-profit organizations, impacting and saving thousands of lives each day. (www.bebrightpink.org)
1. What was the single most important motivation for starting Bright Pink?
The idea that no woman should have to be alone in navigating her breast and ovarian health. When I tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation and opted for a double mastectomy, there was no where I could go to find other women going through similar situations. This is hard stuff but the burden is lessened when you have the support of other women who have already walked in your shoes and you are empowered with the information, resources and tools to be proactive with your health.
2. What is one thing that we should know about you, outside of your role at Bright Pink?
I am a workout nut. I love trying new classes and doing workout dates with friends.
3. Where do you envision the organization in ten years?
As the pre-eminent breast and ovarian health organization in the country helping all women in their 20’s and 30’s assess their cancer risk and develop a risk reduction and early detection strategy. And still having a ton of fun in doing it!
4. What would you say has been your most significant personal characteristic in your achievements with the organization?
My determination. In starting anything, there are going to be countless failures and mess-ups along the way. It is all about failing fast, re-directing and moving forward.
5. How do you stay grounded in your success?
In all honesty, until we stop seeing so many young women diagnosed with late stage breast or ovarian cancer, we still have a lot of work to do. Of course, it is critical to celebrate the small wins but ultimately, it is about saving lives.
6. In your opinion, what are the most difficult aspects of being a leader?
There is never a day off. I always say that I am never and always on vacation. Always because it never feels like work, but never because even when I am out of the country, I am still engaged in the business in a meaningful capacity.
7. What is your advice for women who want to follow in your shoes and for all young women trying to create something?
Start to immerse yourself in the community. Get to know who already exists and study your target demographic as if you were studying for a final exam. Read what she reads, visit the websites she visits, understand what she loves and hates and makes her tick. And create your own personal “Board of Directors” of mentors who agree to look out for you and serve as a sounding board. You want the kind of people that you can call and say “I screwed up and here is what I am going to do about it.”
For more information about Be Bright Pink, check out their website BeBrightPink.org and you can follow Lindsay on her personal Twitter here.