Alumni Spotlight: Derick Brazell and Kersten Haile (LSC 20)

One of our favorite things to witness during each program is the unique and fortuitous connections fellows make within their cohort. From new funding deals to job opportunities to volunteer experiences, our fellows truly do come together and help each other in all their endeavors.

One such connection was made between Derick Brazell (SoCalGas) and Kersten Haile (Leukemia & Lymphon Society) during Leadership Southern California Class of 2020.

Kirsten told us, “This is one of many experiences I had with SCLN that confirmed for me the power of the network I was building by participating in the LSC fellowship. When beginning SCLN, I noticed that Derick had listed LLS as one of his volunteer organizations, something in me sparked and I knew I had to connect with him. On day one of the program we began a conversation and he shared his family’s journey with his son Abel’s cancer diagnosis, as well as his deep desire to get more involved with our work. A kismet moment no doubt.”

Derick shared, “When I received confirmation that I would be attending LSC 2020 I was very excited. I knew the program would stretch me as a leader but I didn’t know to what extent. When I read Kersten’s bio and saw her connection to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society I knew we were destined to connect. Kersten’s enthusiasm for life, her passion for her work, and her ability to rally people around a cause were immediately evident. 

20 years ago my oldest son was diagnosed with leukemia. My family received much needed support from loved ones and LLS. At 22 years of age my son is a happy and healthy man because of the research efforts of LLS. After connecting with Kersten I decided that I would accept the honor and privilege of joining the Man & Woman of the Year fundraising campaign. I feel a deep connection to the organization’s work and hope that one day all families will experience the joy of having a loved one win the battle against cancer.”

Derick with LSC Fellow Rae Xu and Board Member Trisha Muse

Man & Woman of the Year is a 10 week philanthropic competition among a select group of nominated individuals in the community. This multi-million dollar campaign raises crucial funding for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, an organization dedicated to finding cancer cures. Derick will be running his campaign in 2021, so expect to hear more about his campaign next year. In the meantime, you can learn more about the campaign here.

Kersten with LSC Fellow Patti Arlt

Kersten shared more about the Man and Woman of the Year campaign and her experience with SCLN:

“Derick’s dynamic leadership, passion for helping others, and dedication to helping his community, by raising funds and awareness, were the exact qualities we look for in our selective MWOY nomination process. Since July of 2019 Derick & I have been building his campaign strategy, reaching out to everyone imaginable. Our eyes are set on raising $100k+ in just 10 short weeks, with this milestone he will be able to link his son’s name to an LLS funded research portfolio that will go on to save the lives of patients for years to come. Stay tuned next year, when Derick launches his campaign!

This is one of many experiences I had with SCLN that confirmed for me the power of the network I was building by participating in the LSC fellowship.  From leadership development to gaining a deeper understanding of our vibrant SoCal community this is by far one of the best programs our region has to offer.  The best part? Graduation from the program was only the beginning, I look forward to continuing to build partnerships within the network in the days, months, and years to come!”

LSC 2020 cohort on an excursion to Chino Creek Wetlands and Educational Park

Find more about the Man Woman of the Year Campaign

Connect with Derick Brazell on LinkedIn

Connect with Kersten Haile on LinkedIn