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.
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.
Dr. Ramez Eskander joined Clearity as Chief Scientific and Medical Advisor in July, 2021. As a board-certified gynecologic oncologist, Dr. Eskander has a passion for improving outcomes for women with ovarian cancer combined with extensive research experience. Dr. Eskander specializes in both the surgical management and systemic treatment of female reproductive system cancers. His expertise includes therapeutic procedures, including minimally invasive surgery, chemotherapy, novel drugs and clinical trials. As Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the UC San Diego Moores Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Eskander is an active member of the experimental therapeutics team as well as the precision immunotherapy clinic, while leading the fellowship training program.
Rachel joined Clearity as the Director of HR and Operations in May, 2021. She brings with her an extensive background in HR leadership, employee relations, learning and development and system implementation. Rachel has her Project Management Profession (PMP) designation and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). She began with Clearity in a consultant role and is thrilled to be part of the team focused on delivering Clearity’s mission.
Lorena Gurule-Montes joined the Clearity team in 2020 as our Community Engagement Specialist. Lorena’s focus is on cultivating new partnerships within the healthcare community, as well as with local community organizations who have an interest in Clearity’s mission.
Lorena’s work enhances Clearity’s community presence and builds public awareness of Clearity’s innovative ovarian cancer care approach of supporting the whole person through their journey. Her extensive experience in HIV/AIDS services, trauma-informed care and non-profit management enhances Clearity’s comprehensive community engagement program and outreach to the greater San Diego region.
Lorena has her Masters in Social Work from the University of New England and a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Sciences from Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Susan Hess is the Program Director for Clearity’s Steps Through OC program. She oversees operations and a team of OC Counselors who provide telephone and videoconference psychosocial support to survivors and caregivers nationwide.
Susan is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Colorado with a master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology and Music Therapy from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Her extensive training in mindfulness and compassion skills initiated her interest in supporting women with cancer. From 1998 to 2004 she facilitated weekly ovarian cancer support groups at a cancer wellness community. In 2005 she co-founded the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance (COCA) where she expanded her work to four ovarian cancer support groups per month while acting as staff Clinical Supervisor and Programs Director of a range of ovarian cancer support services. Overall, Susan has facilitated over 1,000 ovarian cancer groups since 1998 and has spoken with many hundreds of women managing an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Susan left COCA in 2018 to join the Steps Through OC team.
Her expertise includes working with issues surrounding cancer & illness, grief & loss, life transitions, stress management, cancer trauma and post-traumatic growth using mindfulness, compassion and evidence-based counseling techniques.
Liz Nilsen joined the Clearity team in September, 2020 as the Director of Marketing and Communications. She brings 20+ years of healthcare experience from her roles in provider and payor organizations. Most recently, Liz served as a Marketing Manager at Dignity Health (CommonSpirit Health), working directly with Marketing teams across 23 states. Prior to that, she was the Director of Marketing at Blue Shield of California, leading campaigns to increase enrollment for individuals and small businesses. Liz began her career at Planned Parenthood and is thrilled to be part of Clearity and return to her roots in women’s health.
Roxanne Shannon rejoined the Clearity team in 2021 as the Office Administrator. She previously served as the Development Administrative Specialist from 2014-2017 before moving overseas. With over 20 years experience in the nonprofit sector, she brings extensive experience and a diverse skillset to Clearity’s Operations team.
KrisAnn Talarico is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Board-Certified Oncology Social Worker (OSW-C) who lives in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about improving the lives of patients and families facing cancer, and has been since facilitating her first Women’s Cancer Support Group in 2002. She has been with Clearity’s Steps Through OC program since 2018 as an OC Counselor. Now, as the Director of OC Counseling, she oversees operations and a team of OC Counselors who provide telephone and videoconference psychosocial support to survivors and caregivers nationwide. Previously, KrisAnn was an Oncology Social Worker at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in Seattle, WA. She has also worked for non-profit organizations seeking to improve accessibility of psychosocial support to cancer survivors through the use of technology, including bringing to life an online Cognitive Behavioral Stress Management program for breast cancer survivors. KrisAnn has served as the Editor and now the Editor-in-Chief of AOSW Connections, the online newsletter of the Association of Oncology Social Work.
Randi Tuell joined Clearity as the Fundraising Manager in August 2022. She strives to create effective strategies for fundraising by engaging with the community through organizing events, developing donor relationships, and managing volunteer activities that enhance Clearity’s mission.
Randi’s hospitality education, non-profit experience, caregiver background, and passion for women’s health drives her to expand Clearity’s community engagement and public presence to impact more women and families. She is a Colorado native who obtained her Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Hospitality and Marketing from Colorado Mesa University.
Kathy joined The Clearity Foundation in 2010. As Patient Services/Database Manager, she ensures the efficiency of Clearity’s Treatment Decision Support Program including clinical and profiling data entry into the database. 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.