FCBA students honored by Susan G. Komen for the Cure

April 27, 2011

No, I will not surrender. No, I will not go gently without a fight. No, I will not be defeated.

These are the messages that Susan G. Komen’s pink ribbons across America have come to stand for in the battle against breast cancer.

Bradley University has been very active in this fight.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world's leading grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists, has recognized Bradley University for its efforts to further the mission of ending breast cancer and saving lives.

The university received the annual Outstanding Volunteer Group Award for its involvement with the Memorial Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® in Peoria, Illinois. Susan Komen was from Peoria and known personally by many in the Bradley community.

Bradley was selected from among hundreds of groups worldwide to receive the honor at the organization's leadership conference in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 26.

Dr. Aaron Buchko, professor of management and a published author, helped the Komen Memorial Affiliate with its strategic plan.

As part of the capstone BMA 452 course on Strategic Management and Business Policy, Buchko engaged a group of senior business and marketing students to undertake a brand study for the affiliate to assess Komen’s visibility in its expanded service areas.

The students on the team, Molly Joyce, Monica Bylina, Trevor McGrath, and Callen Fraychineaud, found that people typically have a positive view of breast cancer organizations, but many of the study’s participants had a hard time distinguishing brands between cancer awareness groups.

While the students distributed surveys, they were touched by the women who came up to share their experiences with breast cancer and the ways the Susan G. Komen association helped their families get through it.

“It was wonderful to work for the Susan G. Komen affiliate,” McGrath said. “It was a lot of work, but it really rewarding. So much of what they do has such an impact on such a large population.”

Dr. Jennifer Robin, assistant professor of management, also worked with psychology major Ryan Henderson to conduct a values study with the Peoria office, which focused on preserving the affiliate’s culture as it expands from 10 to 32 counties in Illinois. 

Their work included doing interviews with seven groups of staff, volunteers, and board members, and resulted in a set of five values that will be used in communications, hiring, and reward systems to create a coherent culture as the affiliate expands.

As a board member, Robin interacted with Peoria’s branch often.

“I learned a lot about the history of the affiliate and how inspiring their work is here,” Robin said. “At the time the organization was founded, you would find newspapers that wouldn’t even use the words ‘breast cancer’ in their news publications. And if you look at it now, it’s well recognized, not only as an issue we all should be aware of, but the Komen foundation is the most respected not-for-profit in the U.S.”