LIVESTRONG Announces New Leadership Team Hires

LIVESTRONG Announces New Leadership Team Hires

Donna Palmer Named Chief Development Officer; Katie Merrell Joins as VP of People
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Donna Palmer, Chief Development Officer

Vice President of People

Monday, June 29, 2015 - 11:30am

CONTENT: Press Release

AUSTIN, Texas, June 29, 2015 /3BL Media/ – LIVESTRONG Foundation President and CEO Chandini Portteus announced today the addition of two seasoned professionals to her leadership team with Donna Palmer joining as Chief Development Officer and Katie Merrell as Vice President of People. Both will report directly to Portteus. Palmer comes to LIVESTRONG with impressive nonprofit industry experience, most recently with the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and will lead the Foundation’s overall revenue-generation efforts. Merrell has more than 25 years of experience in organizational management, including more than ten years at Susan G. Komen, most recently as vice president for human resources, and will be in charge of people management at LIVESTRONG

“Donna brings the perfect combination of experience and innovation that the LIVESTRONG Foundation needs today.  She will help us find new ways to engage constituents and donors and her enthusiasm is infectious,” Portteus said. “Also, I have worked with Katie for many years and value her intuitive and professional approach to understanding and shaping cultures. She brings to the LIVESTRONG family an innate ability to build seamless, mission-driven teams and identify key talent.”

“It is so exciting for all of us at LIVESTRONG to see the new CEO building out her leadership team, especially focusing on the areas of both revenue and personnel development that are crucial to the long-term success of the Foundation,” said Jeff Garvey, Chairman of LIVESTRONG’s Board of Directors.  “We are thrilled to welcome professionals of Donna and Katie’s pedigree to work with Chandini as she puts her vision into action for the future of LIVESTRONG.”

Palmer’s duties at the Foundation will include business development, corporate sponsorship and partnerships, events, major gifts, annual giving and donor relations. Palmer will be working to identify new revenue channels and craft creative outreach to engage both current and potential supporters. She spent the past three years leading the giving efforts for the ADA as its vice president of donor development. Prior to her role at ADA, Palmer headed fundraising efforts at Compassion International and created the major gifts program during her tenure with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She began her career as an attorney after receiving a J.D. from Tulane Law School. Palmer lives in Austin with her husband and daughter.

Merrell will be in charge of human resources, the LIVESTRONG Leaders program, volunteer and intern relations, as well as other outreach programs to help build out the LIVESTRONG community.  Aligning organizational design with strategic initiatives is at the core of Merrell’s expertise as she has designed and implemented culture-driving and award-wining programs around performance-based incentives, flexible work programs and workplace wellness programs among others. Prior to her time at Susan G. Komen, Merrell worked in the for-profit sector at Peranet, an internet marketing business, and Micrografx, a global pioneer in process management. A graduate of the University of Alabama with degrees in Spanish and English and a certification in secondary education, Merrell will be relocating from Allen, Texas to Austin in the coming weeks.

About the LIVESTRONG Foundation

The LIVESTRONG Foundation fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer now. For 18 years, the Foundation has been a voice for cancer survivors and has directly served more than three million people. LIVESTRONG answers survivors’ questions, tells their stories and helps them live their lives through direct service, advocacy and inventive partnership models. In 2014, the Foundation launched its boldest enterprise yet—the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes at the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. The Institutes will be a pioneering approach to patient-centered cancer care designed by survivors to deliver the best teaching practices and the greatest collaborative research to serve the cancer community.

If anyone you know needs cancer support, please visit For more information about our programs and services, please visit


Andrew Tanker
+1 (512) 279-8456