Founders of Stand Up To Cancer

2023 Tara Withington Public Service Award

Founders of Stand Up To Cancer

Katie Couric

Katie Couric (@katiecouric) is an award-winning journalist, cancer advocate, documentary filmmaker and New York Times best-selling author of The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives.

Katie launched her production company, Katie Couric Media, in spring 2015 and is actively involved in several scripted and unscripted projects. She hosts a podcast with Brian Goldsmith on the Stitcher network featuring conversations with boldfaced names in politics, media and popular culture.

Katie’s documentaries include: Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric, for National Geographic; Under the Gun, which aired on EPIX; and Fed Up, which looks at the roots of the obesity epidemic and is currently available on Netflix. With the success of Gender Revolution, she has also partnered with National Geographic on the six-part documentary series, America Inside Out, which takes a deep dive into the revolutionary changes and major social issues of our time.
After a 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC’s Today, Katie joined CBS as the first woman at the helm of an evening national newscast. More recently, she served as the Global New Anchor for Yahoo News, interviewing a variety of leading political and cultural figures and anchoring breaking news coverage. Her daytime talk show, which was syndicated by ABC-Disney and aired from 2012 – 2014, averaged two million viewers daily and earned the highest ratings of any daytime talk show premier.

Katie is a Co-Founder of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a division of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), as well as EIF’s National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA). In just under 10 years, more than $480 million has been pledged to SU2C to accelerate innovative cancer research to get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. Katie also collaborated with NewYork-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center to establish the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health, named for her late husband.
While at the Today show, Katie televised her colonoscopy. Researchers then documented a near 20% increase in the number of Americans undergoing the procedure, dubbing it “The Couric Effect.” She forged alliances with people, organizations, and companies that could help champion the cause of increasing colorectal cancer screening. According to the American Cancer Society, the death rate, as well as the number of people being diagnosed, declined 30% during the years this work took place, though there is currently an alarming increase in the number of people under the age of 50 being diagnosed with the disease.

Katie’s awards include a DuPont-Columbia, Peabody, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, a Walter Cronkite Award from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, and multiple Emmys. She’s been recognized by the Harvard School of Public Health with the Julius B Richmond Award (the highest honor) and the American Association for Cancer Research Award for Distinguished Public Service for her advocacy for cancer research and awareness efforts. Couric has also received a Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society, that organization’s highest civilian honor.
Born in Arlington, Virginia, Katie graduated with honors from the University of Virginia in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a focus on American Studies. She has two daughters, Ellie and Carrie, and lives in New York City with her husband, John Molner.

Sherry Lansing

Sherry Lansing is the founder and CEO of the Sherry Lansing Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on funding and raising awareness for cancer research, health, public education, and encore career opportunities. She previously served as chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Group of Paramount Pictures from 1992 to 2005. Sherry also founded the EnCorps Teachers Program, which retrains retired and midcareer professionals from the technology sector to serve as math and science teachers in California public schools. She is also the founder of PrimeTime LAUSD, which engages retirees in improving the state of public education through targeted volunteerism. She is a co-founder of the Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles Future Fund, which provides college scholarships to deserving “little sisters.” Sherry is a member of the Stand Up To Cancer Founders and Advisors Committee (FAC) and is a former chairperson and current member of the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s board of directors. She also serves on the boards of directors of the Lasker Foundation, the American Association for Cancer Research Foundation, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the Carter Center,, and the W.M. Keck Foundation, as well as on the executive committee of Friends of Cancer Research. Sherry lends her energy and talents to the American Red Cross board of governors and STOP CANCER. Additionally, Sherry is a regent of the University of California and a member of the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee (ICOC) of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science degree from Northwestern University in 1966. Sherry lost her mother to ovarian cancer in 1984.

Kathleen Lobb

Kathleen Lobb is managing director of philanthropy for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and executive director of the ASME Foundation. ASME, a 138-year-old not-for-profit organization, has a two-fold mission: serve diverse global communities by applying engineering knowledge to improve quality of life; and communicate engineering’s excitement in order to encourage students to pursue careers in the field. Prior to joining ASME in late 2018, Kathleen spent 17 years in various staff roles with the Entertainment Industry Foundation and its Stand Up To Cancer division. Most recently, Kathleen was chief communications strategist for SU2C and previously served as EIF’s Chief Communications Officer and the staff team leader for EIF’s National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance initiative. Prior to joining EIF, Kathleen did consulting work, both in the entertainment industry and for nonprofit organizations on a range of assignments, including managing marketing communications for The Last Days, an Academy Award-winning documentary. In the corporate arena, Kathleen worked in the online services business in its earliest days and later directed media relations for GTE, the $20 billion company that merged with Bell Atlantic to form Verizon. She also worked at leading public policy and strategic communications firms, including Powell Tate and Robinson Lerer & Montgomery. A recipient of a B.A. degree from the University of Virginia, Kathleen did graduate communications work at Boston University, where she received a scholarship as the most outstanding student in her program. Through SU2C, she honors the memory of two close friends taken by cancer in the prime of their lives.

Lisa Paulsen

Lisa Paulsen was the longtime president and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation before stepping down from that role in 2017 to focus on Stand Up To Cancer talent relations and fundraising and to serve as an executive producer of special events. She also remains involved in EIF’s work in the education arena. During Lisa’s tenure as CEO, EIF grew into a prominent leader in the philanthropic community, raising over $1 billion to address important social, educational, and health causes including cancer research, awareness, prevention, and treatment programs. EIF grants accelerated scientific breakthroughs such as the breast cancer therapy Herceptin®, which was approved by the FDA far in advance of the time frame initially anticipated. Lisa spearheaded the launch of other EIF programs, such as iParticipate, created to inspire more Americans to volunteer in their communities, and Hunger Is, a collaboration with the Albertsons Companies Foundation that raises awareness and funds to end childhood hunger in the United States. She has served as an executive producer of “roadblock” televised fundraising specials for Stand Up To Cancer and EIF’s education initiatives. Lisa lost both her parents to cancer. In their honor, she led the creation of the Coleman Cancer Center in their hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana.

Rusty Robertson

Rusty Robertson is an award winning marketer, literary agent and producer. She has generated over $500 million for her business in over 30 years of running her own companies, RPR & Associates started in 1988 and the Robertson Schwartz Agency in 2004. Throughout her career, her work includes producing award winning daytime and night time television, discovering and building successful multi-tiered campaigns such as fitness guru Susan Powter, (Stop the Insanity) renowned and best-selling author Richard Preston (The Hot Zone, Cobra Event), other notable authors as well as a diverse portfolio of consumer marketing products.

She has successfully worked on many campaigns for Fortune 500 Companies such as MasterCard, American Airlines, Major League Baseball, Walgreens and CVS.

Advertising Age Magazine honored Rusty as one of the Top 100 Marketers. Success Magazine named Rusty one of the most successful entrepreneurial women in the United States. In addition, Success Magazine’s year-end issue featured Robertson and her company as one of America’s Super 8 Companies. Her latest award in 2019, is the Adweek Brand Save Award for her creative branding and marketing as the agency of record for Stand Up To Cancer.

Rusty’s global campaigns include her work with the World Bank and the IAD World Bank in developing programs in Mexico, UK, Canada, Netherlands, Japan and China. Successful campaigns with MasterCard International in Russia and Canada, SU2C TV shows in the UK and the Netherlands.

Through her philanthropic work she has raised over $400 million and is a co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer, the movement designed to raise funds for accelerated cancer research. Rusty was chosen to spearhead Margaret Thatcher’s Global Educational Foundation, was a founding member of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and was instrumental in the development of the Race for the Cure.

As a co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer, Rusty co-produced Stand Up to Cancer’s history-making televised events which are unprecedented collaborations uniting the major television networks, entertainment industry icons, celebrities and prominent leaders in cancer research and patient advocacy.

Under her leadership, in 2009, SU2C was honored by the Academy of Arts and Science for televised fundraising show and was awarded an Emmy. They were nominated again in 2011 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special and in 2013 for Outstanding Informational Series or Special.

Stand Up To Cancer was awarded the coveted CLIO Award for healthcare non-profits in 2011. In spring of 2012 the efforts of the Robertson Schwartz Agency were recognized when the Harris Poll named Stand Up To Cancer the #1 healthcare non-profit for brand equity, consumer support, transparency and awareness. In 2014, her work with Stand Up To Cancer has garnered the organization two Halo Awards. In 2015, Rusty and her co- founders were awarded the Martin Luther King Game Changer award.

Sue Schwartz

A founding partner in Robertson Schwartz Agency (RSA), Sue Schwartz was named one of the most innovative people in America by Response magazine. Prior to founding RSA, she held senior and executive vice president positions at Revlon and Almay Cosmetics. As vice president of Almay, she was a force behind a meteoric growth in sales. Sue was also the executive vice president of the Home Shopping Network and more than quadrupled its internet sales in one year. Sue and her colleagues at RSA spearhead the marketing, branding, and promotional initiatives for Stand Up To Cancer. She is also a fundraiser and executive leader of the organization. She stands up for her mother, whom she lost to multiple myeloma; a sister who is a survivor of both breast cancer and ovarian cancer; and another sister who is a breast cancer survivor.

Pamela Oas Williams

Pamela Oas Williams was the executive producer of the 2010 multi-network “roadblock” televised fundraising special and supervising producer for the 2008 event. She also wrote and produced the “Change the Odds” public service announcement. Pamela was Laura Ziskin’s producing partner for over 11 years at Laura Ziskin Productions, overseeing a slate of film and television projects. She produced the multi-award-nominated feature film Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Prior to partnering with Laura, Pamela ran George Clooney’s television company, Maysville Television, and was a producer on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. When Laura Ziskin was diagnosed with cancer, Pamela worked with her to initiate a rallying cry to unite all those affected by cancer to demand an answer to the disease. She will continue to carry on Laura’s vision until the day when cancer is no more.

Ellen Ziffren

The former vice president of corporate communications for International Creative Management, Ellen Ziffren also co-founded Rob Reiner’s I Am Your Child Foundation in 1997 and helped build it from the ground up. She spent several years working as a marketing consultant for the Skoll Foundation, which invests in, connects, and celebrates social entrepreneurs around the world. She has also consulted for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Paley Center for Media and worked with the Global Philanthropy Group to help design and implement a philanthropic strategy for Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Ellen stands up for her mother, whom she lost to lymphoma.

Noreen Fraser

Noreen Fraser, president and CEO of the Noreen Fraser Foundation, passed away from breast cancer in March 2017 after living courageously with the disease for 16 years. The Noreen Fraser Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding groundbreaking women’s cancer research and raising awareness of the importance of early detection. Noreen turned her personal experience into a crusade to help others by creating her own organization and co-creating Stand Up To Cancer, as well as co-producing its first “roadblock” televised fundraising special. Noreen produced award-winning programs, including Entertainment Tonight, ABC’s Home Show, and The Richard Simmons Show. Her foundation’s Men for Women Now initiative features comedians and comedy to create awareness about early detection. Another key project was her collaboration with Variety, Hollywood’s industry newspaper. The paper’s Annual Power of Comedy Event brings together A-list comedians for a night of stand-up comedy that highlights the healing power of laughter.

Laura Ziskin

Laura Ziskin, a legendary film producer who passed away from breast cancer in June 2011 after living courageously with the disease for seven years, was a co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer. As a person living with cancer, Laura played a key role in shaping SU2C’s patient-centric vision. Additionally, she executive produced the landmark 2008 and 2010 Stand Up To Cancer fundraising broadcasts, and created numerous public awareness spots for SU2C. Film credits from her trailblazing 35-year career include What About Bob?, The Doctor, No Way Out, Pretty Woman, To Die For, and As Good As It Gets. As the founding president of Fox 2000, she shepherded such films as The Thin Red Line, Fight Club, Soul Food, and Courage Under Fire. In 2002, Laura became the first woman to solo executive produce the Academy Awards telecast. She did so again in 2007, producing the first-ever “green” Oscars ceremony. She also produced three Spider-Man features, the last of which became the highest-grossing film in Sony’s history. At the time of her death, she was at work on a fourth, The Amazing Spider-Man. Laura was awarded the Producers Guild of America’s 2011 Visionary Award for her work as a film producer and her humanitarian efforts in the fight against cancer.