Hillary Theakston, Executive Director
Hillary Theakston is Executive Director of The Clearity Foundation. Since its founding in 2008 by San Diego biotech entrepreneur and ovarian cancer survivor, Dr. Laura Shawver, Clearity has become a trusted, science-based partner for hundreds of women on the ovarian cancer journey. Clearity is an advocate for patients, a champion of personalized medicine, a promoter of science and a credible source of hope for the ovarian cancer community.
Ms. Theakston began her career in the San Diego life science industry leading investor relations and public relations for Diversa Corporation, a genomic discovery company that went public in the biotech boom of 2000, raising more than $200M, which was the largest biotech IPO at the time. She then joined ResMed, an international medical device manufacturer, to direct their investor relations program and ultimately went on to lead communications for the Americas. She has also provided communications consulting to San Diego based healthcare companies including Trius Therapeutics, Medipacs and Sorrento Therapeutics.
In 2011, Ms. Theakston joined The Clearity Foundation as Executive Director, fulfilling her passion for bringing cutting edge technology to underserved areas of oncology and women’s health. To date, Clearity has provided hundreds of tumor profiles to patients and families and has supported thousands of others with resources, personalized information and, most of all, hope.
Marina Baroff, Senior Director, Service Innovation
As senior director, service innovation for The Clearity Foundation, a national science-based advocacy organization, Ms. Baroff leads a Pilot Project that aims to revolutionize the care experience for ovarian cancer patients and families by providing an integrated suite of resources including psychosocial support and counseling, curated patient education content library, patient recruitment and referral channels, and secure portal for patient-reported outcomes on symptom severity and quality of life. Prior to joining TCF, Ms. Baroff served as vice president for service integration at Community Information Exchange/2-1-1 San Diego leading operations, technology adoption and partner collaboration for a start-up non-profit data network connecting health and social service agencies. With more than 30 years of experience as a strategic thinker, operations leader and values champion in medical groups, managed care organizations and hospitals, Ms. Baroff has had senior executive roles in three local health systems.
Ms. Baroff earned her master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley, as well as a master’s degree in counseling from George Washington University in Washington, DC. She completed her undergraduate education in psychology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and served as a member of the ACHE national Board of Governors from 2000-2004. Ms. Baroff has completed her Six Sigma training and holds a Green Belt certification.
Anne Mette Buhl, Ph.D., Senior Scientist
Dr. Anne Mette Buhl joined The Clearity Foundation in 2016, where she monitors and communicates scientific and clinical developments in the ovarian cancer field. Dr. Buhl has more than 20 years of experience in basic and translational cancer research in Europe and the US. Prior to joining Clearity, she was a fellow at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center at University of California San Diego. Before that, she was a senior scientist at the Department of Hematology, University Hospital Copenhagen, Denmark and cofounder of CLLU1 Diagnostics. Dr. Buhl received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Aarhus University, Denmark.
Mary Janus, Foundation Relations Assistant
Mary is the newest member to join The Clearity Foundation’s family after completing her undergraduate degree at The University of San Diego. Mary grew up in Boston and informally ran several localized fundraisers for various causes, including: assisted living homes for adults with autism, support for lower-income families with children in the ICU at Boston Children’s Hospital, and crisis relief during the Boston Bombings. While attending USD, Mary was on the event committee, was a recurring keynote speaker, and was in charge of the survivors and caregivers for Relay for Life. In addition to her efforts towards Relay for Life, Mary was an active participant in Sexual Assault Awareness Week and was a spear header for the Empower Women’s Health campaign on her campus. She is excited to be assisting with the planning of events, organization of campaigns, and interpersonal aspects of The Clearity Foundation’s efforts to help women through their ovarian cancer journey.
Rachel Jonte, Director of Foundation Relations
Rachel Jonte joined The Clearity Foundation in 2016 and oversees all development activities including fundraising campaigns, special events, board relations, communications, annual giving, and donor stewardship. Rachel is deeply gratified by her contact with Clearity’s generous donors and courageous patients who inspire her.
Prior to joining Clearity, Rachel worked for over fifteen years in senior development roles at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and The Neurosciences Institute, both nonprofit scientific research organizations. Before that, she spent two years as the Development Officer for Fresh Start Surgical Gifts.
Ms. Jonte has been an actively involved member and volunteer of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) for seventeen years, with four years of service on the Board of Directors. She was the Chair of San Diego’s National Philanthropy Day 2007, an annual celebration attended by over 800 members of the community to recognize outstanding contributions within San Diego’s nonprofit sector. Ms. Jonte is a graduate of LEAD San Diego and has been a lifelong volunteer, currently leading mindfulness groups with inmates in a local prison. Rachel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science and Gerontology from California State University, Northridge where she served as President of Delta Delta Delta sorority. An aspiring herbalist, writer, and coffee farmer, Rachel is a native San Diegan and lives on an avocado grove in Oceanside with her husband, dog, cats, chickens, and tortoise.
Liz Gutschow, Administrative Assistant
Liz began working at The Clearity Foundation in October 2017 as an Administrative Assistant. She provides Administrative Support for the Executive Director and all Senior Management. She coordinates events including open houses, board meetings, and staff meetings, makes flight and hotel arrangements for employees attending conferences, visitors, job candidates, and board members as needed. She also manages the donor database, processes invoices and purchases office supplies as needed. Liz coordinates the filing of required corporate documents, including annual reports for individual states, real property tax exemption applications, business licenses, etc. She also maintains corporate files related to notices of board meetings, minutes, etc. Liz is also responsible for human resources related activities, including maintenance of employees files, conducting employee orientations, posting of job openings on various websites, assisting with employee relations issues, employee communications, safety training, workers compensation administration, assisting with policy development, and updating the employee handbook as needed. She is also the liaison for facilities issues and she ensures that they are properly reported and resolved in a timely manner.
Jordhan Woods, Content & Portal Manager
Jordhan Woods has been a part of The Clearity Foundation team as Content & Portal Manager since 2015. Prior to joining Clearity, she worked as a copywriter, content creator, and content manager for various marketing firms in Chicago and San Diego. She has her B.A. in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse from DePaul University in Chicago and is currently working toward her M.A. in English from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.
Deborah Zajchowski, Ph.D., Scientific Director
Dr. Zajchowski has been with the Clearity Foundation since its inception and directs and oversees the patient services operations and the Foundation’s research efforts. She strives to help and give hope to patients by providing information about the most advanced and up-to-date treatments for ovarian cancer — all tailored to their specific tumor and clinical situation– at the click of a mouse or over the phone.
As a cancer biologist, she has been involved in cancer research and drug discovery for more than 25 years. Prior to joining Clearity, Dr. Zajchowski was a senior project leader at Berlex Biosciences, where she led multi-disciplinary oncology research teams and cardiovascular research. She is an active member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncologists and has published many research articles on cancer genomics, estrogen action and transcriptional control. Dr. Zajchowski received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Chicago.
Kathleen Zajchowski, Patient Services & Database Manager
Kathy joined The Clearity Foundation in 2010. As Patient Services/Database Manager, she ensures the efficiency of Clearity’s tumor molecular profiling process, clinical and profiling data entry into the database and profiling report generation. Before joining Clearity, Kathy spent more than 20 years as a lab technician in clinical and biotechnology laboratory settings, including Cell Genesys/Genzyme, Quidel, and Scantibodies. She received her Associate Degree in Science-Medical Lab Technology from Springfield Technical Community College.