There is no greater gift one can give to another than the gift of their time. We thank the following individuals and are very fortunate for their time and support to our great cause, selflessly helping the thousands of women and breast cancer survivors counting on us to succeed in this crusade.
Survivor, Founder, CEO
Life is what happens after we make the “master plan.”
Alisa considers herself a “serial entrepreneur” with a background in fashion design and manufacturing, E-commerce and show business. She loves a challenge and works diligently towards success for each business she embraces. Alisa sites the reason for forming My Hope Chest in 2003… “I didn’t choose the charity- it chose me” … believing it is her calling. Alisa lived without her breast for nearly 3 years in her 30s because she lacked the means for reconstruction. Feeling she was not the only one in this situation, in 2005 Alisa let go of the E-commerce business she created before cancer to focus her full attention on My Hope Chest. She worked part time jobs as the infrastructure grew, working with only a handful of volunteers and part time Board members. In 2009 Alisa relocated back to Tampa Bay and at year 7, the charity began from the ground again. Alisa believes in her mission and has dedicated her life to helping and healing all women who desire breast reconstruction.
Since returning to Tampa Bay Alisa has received numerous accolades and honors for her work on My Hope Chest:
The 2013 WEDU Be More Philanthropic Award, 2012 & 2009 Bay News 9 Everyday Hero and the 2011 Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero Award She was honored as one of only 3 “Breast Cancer Heroes” in the October 2011 issue of ” O” Oprah Magazine. Alisa was honored as a finalist in 2010, 11 and 12 for the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s “Women of the Year” in the Non-Profit category. Most noteworthy, was her inclusion in the “Inspiring Stories,” 9 Names to Know in Breast Cancer in Reader’s Digest October 2012 issue, highlighting pioneers in the breast cancer movement.
Alisa’s vision pioneered My Hope Chest and she is proud the charity is “Creating Butterflies” and changing lives… however, she feels the effort and number of women helped is “simply not enough.” Twelve years after her own cancer journey, she continues to work tirelessly to raise awareness and funds and eliminate the growing “wait list” and help more survivors move past this disease every year. Her goal in 2015 is to progress beyond the grassroots level and thrive as an organization fostering individual and corporate support both locally and nationally. Alisa believes that until there is a cure for the disease, My Hope Chest’s services will always be needed. Her long term vision is for My Hope Chest reach to help survivors waiting in every city in America.
Alisa lives in Seminole, Florida with her mother and 2 kitties. Alisa enjoyed serving on the original Advisory Board for the Tampa Bay USO and is a proud supporter of our military. She is thankful to her father George, a Navy serviceman in the Koren war and former Commander of the DAV, for instilling the sense of service in her genes. She credits her mother Betty, a 3-time cancer survivor and family matriarch, for supporting her emotionally and financially after cancer, helping sustain the organization to help women across America. “Mom is a warrior and the most wonderful, self-less person I know. My Hope Chest, nor I, would be here without her support on all levels.”
Tonya Seay - Treasurer
Barbara Tsagaris – Secretary
Barbara “Barbie” has been a supporter of My Hope Chest since it’s beginnings in Tampa Bay in 2009 both serving as a board member and dedicated volunteer. She is returning to My Hope Chest for a second term as the charity Secretary and assists in community outreach.
Barbie received her Bachelor of Science from St. Leo University in, Business Administration and graduated Cum Laude. She worked health services at St. Anthony’s as well as a front office coordinator for Pinellas pediatrics for many years. She owned and operated a family businesses before returning to college in 2012 to attain her teaching certificate in education from St. Petersburg College and begin a new career. Barbie is passionate about helping others and dedicated to helping My Hope Chest grow to the next level. She lives in Seminole with her teenage son and puppy dog Gracie.
Michele Renee Zerda-Owais – Director
Michele Renee is a licensed cosmetologist and makeup artist here in Tampa, Florida. Although, her daily profession has her focusing on the outside beauty, she understand that beauty really comes from the inside. Thus, charity is a huge part of her business and her personal life.Her company Michele Renee The Studio gives annually to My Hope Chest, Metropolitan Ministries, Water for India, and All Children’s Hospital. In addition Michele Renee The Studio provides hair and makeup services to countless charity weddings throughout the year.
Michele Renee has been married to her wonderful husband Sam for less than a year and they are expecting their first child together in December 2016. This is Michele Renee’s first year as a board member for My Hope Chest and hopes to serve women and her community with hard work, hope and compassion.
Dr. Antonio Gayoso ~ Medical Advisor
Dr. Gayoso was the first surgeon to help My Hope Chest in the Tampa Bay Area and is one of our Doctors of Distinction.
He was born in Gainsville, Florida and he completed his undergraduate education at Duke University and the University of Florida. His medical degree was completed at the University of Miami, Miami, Florida and his surgical training was completed at the Medical University of South Carolina, both in general surgery and plastic surgery.
Dr. Gayoso is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is an active member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. He is currently the Chief of Plastic Surgery at St. Anthony’s Hospital and at Bayfront Medical Center. He is a member of The Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons and is a recent past president of the Tampa Bay Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Breast reconstruction is a large part of his practice and has touched his life. Dr Gayoso is passionate about My Hope Chest’s mission, attending events and he is a surgeon in our documentary short, “Breastless in America~ Still Waiting.” In 2014, Gayoso Plastic Surgery featured MHC on a Billboard in Tampa Bay! The office and staff of Dr Gayoso continue to show their support of our mission to provide closure and we are deeply grateful to them all.
Andrew Moos – Advisory Board
Andrew hails from New York City and moved to Florida in 1989. His career in governmental and public relations spans 25 years bringing his experience to Metropolitan Systems as their Government Affairs and Public Relations Liaison.
Breast cancer touched Andrew life and family. He was drawn to My Hope Chest and resonates with our mission. Andrew sees the charity as “special and wonderful and important” and believes, like MHC, “every women deserves to be made whole again.”
Andrew has long been a community supporter serving as the past District Governor of Lions in FL and Bahamas. He was also the Past Vice President of the Florida Jaycees. In his free time he enjoys ballroom dancing and his favorite dance is the Rumba! Andrew loves to travel and currently resides in Brandon.
Monica Varner ~ Advisory Board
Monica is An experienced event planning professional and owner and senior planner of Elan Event Studio and Partner at Big City Events in Tampa. She has been a supporter of My Hope Chest using her event experience and finesse since 2010, sponsoring decor and lighting for MHC’s signature “Boooobie Ball” and in 2014, the charity’s successful 1st “Butterfly glowalk, 5K FUN Run and gloW PaRty.”
Monica and her event planning team are an integral part of the Gasperialla International Film Festival and has been involved since 2006. Originally serving a the volunteer coordinator,se served on the board of directors for three year. Varner is now the Executive Director. As executive director for GIFF, Varner is responsible for managing the overall production of the festival from film submissions, sponsorships, scheduling, and events. Monica lives in South Tampa with her husband and 2 boys and enjoys the Florida beaches with her family in her free time.
Rhonda Sandborn – Advisory Board
Rhonda Sanborn is a Florida native growing up in Deland but headed west after graduating from the University of Florida. Working in number of beautiful but cold places, she ventured back and is currently working as the Hospitality Education Director for Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, the official destination marketing organization for Pinellas County. Although a different job sector the skills from her previous hi-tech job serve her well. Rhonda has a 14-year background in human resources for a technology company located in Marin County, CA with over 100 offices worldwide. Her work was in training and professional development, community outreach programs and creating awareness for a robust intern program within the company.
Rhonda’s personal connection to breast cancer brings her to My Hope Chest, with her former CEO, her mother and best friend all survivors. In addition, Marin County had one of the highest incidence of Breast Cancer in the Nation. She understands the mission of closure MHC is working to achieve. She hopes to help connect the organization to the people and resources needed for growth. Rhonda volunteers on a regular basis and is engaged in the entire County. She partners with a number of Chambers on tourism initiatives and is a board member of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce.
Rhonda is passionate about women’s issues, education and the environment. In her free time she loves to travel, enjoys music, bike riding, pickle ball, socials with friends and taking advantage of the year-round FL playground.
Jon LaBuddy - Advisory Board – Business Owner St. Petersburg
Elyse Miller – Advisory Board- Breast Cancer Crusader
T Honeycutt – Advisory Board- Breast Cancer Crusader
Dr. William A. Zamboni, M.D., FACS ~ Founding Surgeon
Dr. Zamboni (1958 – 2015 ) was the Founding surgeon of My Hope Chest who sadly, passed away on July 11, 2015. He will always be remembered by My Hope Chest as a kind man, with the vision and heart to bring our mission to heal women and our charity to life. Thanks to his time and dedication, My Hope Chest is still able to fulfill our mission and help change lives.
Dr. Zamboni is survived by his wife, Karen and their son in Henderson, NV.
Susan Jacobs ~ Advisory Board Member
Founder, Wheels of Success.
As the Founder of Wheels of Success, a successful social service organization in Tampa Bay, Susan brings a wealth of knowledge and support to My Hope Chest . Wheels of Success is dedicated to providing personal transportation solutions by partnering with the community in a circle of support to keep people working and sustain their independence. Susan’s background includes running a staffing agency and owning and operating four clothing stores in the area. She also served on the Board of Directors for Dress for Success Tampa Bay for four years. Those business skills have given her a knack for networking and team building for success. Susan graduated from the University of Florida with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. She was a member of the University of Florida Hall of Fame, Who’s Who in American Colleges, and Universities and Phi Beta Kappa. She has two children and lives in Tampa, Florida.
Dan Zink – Advisory Board
Originally from a small town in Ohio, Daniel Zink left the farm to join the United States Air Force when he decided to hold off on college to serve in the military. Even after a rewarding and decorated career he has not stopped giving back to the community through his volunteer service. Whether it is was through Habitat for Humanity, Community Radio WMNF 88.5 FM, Tampa Bay Blues Festival, Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, or My Hope Chest, Daniel, a father and grandfather, graciously gives his to time to help support many worthwhile local charities. Most recently Daniel has supported My Hope Chest through his event volunteer management, as well as helping to expand the outreach network. Professionally, he has enjoyed a successful post military career in Radiology and is currently managing the business development efforts of Aris Radiology in the Southeastern United States. Dan’s outgoing attitude and smart business acumen lends itself easily to the mission and success of My Hope Chest. He’s also the proud parent of three grown children and two beautiful grand daughters.
National Advisory Board
Erin Lynn ~ Warnaco, Inc NYC
Erin Lynn has over 17 years’ experience developing Marketing strategy for a diverse roster of brands. Her current role is Director of Marketing for the Warner’s and Olga intimate apparel brands at PVH Corp in New York City. Seeking philanthropic partners for her brands, Erin was introduced to My Hope Chest and immediately felt a connection to the cause. “I appreciated the uniqueness and importance of My Hope Chest’s mission and its synergy with my brands. More importantly, I felt Alisa’s passion and dedication to the cause and the organization and wanted to do what I could to help. I knew our contribution could make a difference.”
When she’s not working, Erin enjoys spinning and bicycling, traveling, metal smithing and interior decorating projects.
Dr. Beth Dupree, MD FACS
Dr. DuPree is a dedicated surgeon, published author and keynote speaker who has and is giving tirelessly to the breast cancer community who has won numerous awards for her medical work as well as her humanitarian endeavors. Beth serves as the Medical Director of The Holy Redeemer Breast Health Program, Adjunct Assistant professor of Surgery at The University of Pennsylvania and actively participates in breast fellowship education and training. Her philosophy, “whatever it takes to help a person find healing and peace within should be an integral part of their treatment process.” With a strong dedication to patients with cancer, she established a non-profit organization called The Healing Consciousness Foundation in 2007, funding holistic and wellness therapies for women and men living with a breast cancer diagnosis. Dr. DuPree served as a member of the Public Relations Committee of the American Society of Breast Surgeons and was previously the Chairman of The Board of Advocates for the ASBS. In addition, she serves on the advisory board for Breastcancer.org, and The Susan G. Komen Foundation Philadelphia. Beth has a heart that never stops giving. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and is the mother of 2 sons.
Karen Bromley ~ The Bromley Group, NYC
Karen’s tenure in philanthropy spans decades. She is the Founder of New Your based PR Firm The Bromly Group and co-founder of K.I.D.S, Kids in Distressed Situations. K.I.D.S. is recognized by the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator and Forbes as one of the highest ranked and most efficient charities in America. Karen is driven to help others.
Charity work, comes from the heart. Those who feel the connection to our mission and wish to be considered for a Local or National Board position, should contact us here today.