Experts & speakers

MJ DeCoteau

Executive Director

Spend 10 minutes with Rethink Breast Cancer executive director MJ DeCoteau and it’s clear why she’s been named one of the 10 women Canadians would like to see run the country.

The first person in Canada to step up and out for young women concerned about and affected by breast cancer – blazing new and innovative trails in research, support and education – DeCoteau approaches breast cancer in every which way but sitting down.

At 22, after losing her mother to a four-year battle with breast cancer, DeCoteau was hard-pressed to find relevant information that wasn’t scary and overwhelming about her own risk factors.  Determined but frustrated, she quickly began to understand why so many smart, young people were in the dark about breast cancer. Like her, they simply weren’t being targeted. This realization was DeCoteau’s call to action. And by 2001 she had brought together a dream team of Canada’s most innovative, energetic and creative minds to found Rethink Breast Cancer putting young people concerned about and affected by the disease on the map, for the very first time.

With a mandate to always seek creative ways to engage young people with the cause and help young women going through it, DeCoteau helped take Rethink from ground zero to 100 in year one when the charity secured the exclusive Canadian rights to the world famous Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign. Fighting breast cancer with style and chutzpah was the new m.o., with Rethink leading the way. By 2004, DeCoteau was featured in Maclean’s Magazine’s Honour Roll as one of the top 10 Canadians making a difference.

Today, the spotlight shines even brighter on DeCoteau who is responsible for the overall direction, management, fundraising strategy and creative vision of an increasingly bigger and bolder Rethink Breast Cancer. Along with Alison Gordon—a founding board-member turned VP of Rethink’s Strategy and Marketing—and their coveted and growing team, she continues to lead the young woman’s breast cancer movement into new and uncharted directions.

MJ SPEAKS An eloquent and dynamic public speaker, MJ DeCoteau is available to speak and offer expert commentary on a vast range of topics related to breast cancer, young women, not-for-profit startup, small and growing business management, creative entrepreneurialism, fundraising in Canada, stakeholder management, the upside of a financial downturn, grassroots marketing and more.

Past and ongoing speaking engagements: Coming soon …

Twitter: @mjdecoteau

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Alison Gordon

VP Strategy, Marketing and Communications

As a founding board member and head marketing cheese for Rethink Breast Cancer, Alison Gordon has been integral to the vision and growth of Canada’s most innovative breast cancer charity. Named one of Canada’s Top 10 Marketers by Marketing magazine, Gordon is acclaimed for “thinking differently” and inspiring a new generation of young breast cancer supporters – a previously untapped demographic compelled by Rethink’s irreverently topical messaging and breakthrough fundraising initiatives.

Gordon’s passion for breast cancer started while she was working on her PhD in cultural studies. But her professional interest was solidified in 1999, when she penned the strategy for the decade’s most revolutionary breast cancer awareness campaign – The Cam Exam.  The award-winning spot, created with her team at top-agency ZiG inc., sparked an international media frenzy and paved the way for a brand-new breast cancer dialogue. It also turned out to be the springboard for a newfound partnership with MJ DeCoteau and the 2001 formation of Rethink – the first breast cancer movement responding to the unique needs of young women. Since then, the charity has remained the one to watch, breaking new ground every year with its unorthodox marketing tactics, tailor-made programs and strategic relationships.

The creative force behind countless out-of-the box support and education ventures, including Breast Fest – the world’s first international breast cancer film festival – Gordon is committed to building upon the strength of the breast cancer community and forging alliances with stakeholders across the globe.

In Canada, Gordon has partnered with such top companies as Gap, Revlon, Roots, TELUS, Schick, ING direct and LG Electronics to create exciting cause marketing programs aimed at Rethink’s young (and youngish) demographic.

And when she does, everyone listens. A highly engaging and skilled public speaker, Alison Gordon is available to speak and offer expert advice on a vast range of topics related to below-the-line marketing, cause marketing, branding and brand extension, creative sponsorship, the 20-40 demographic, accessing the influencers, trend spotting, trendsetting, media campaigns, social media, event production, breast cancer awareness, creative entrepreneurialism, the mindset of Canadian marketers and more.

Past and ongoing speaking engagements: Coming soon …

Twitter: @alisongordon

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