BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA (May 10, 2016) – Pinky Swear Foundation, a Minnesota-based non-profit providing financial and emotional support to children with cancer and their families, announces the recent election of Lowell Jobe as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors, and the appointment of six additional new board members. The seven Twin Cities business executives come from a variety of private-sector backgrounds and provide guidance to the foundation across finance, programs, marketing and development activities.
“As we continue to expand our fundraising and outreach nationwide, we are also diversifying our bench of executives providing oversight and governance to our organization,” said Brian Nelson, Pinky Swear Executive Director. “Under Lowell’s oversight, the unique contributions from all Board members will strengthen our ability to scale our brand, and increase our impact as we work to help all kids with cancer and their families.”
Lowell Jobe steps up from his previous role as Vice Chairman of the Board and Treasurer/Finance Committee Chair, replacing former Board Chair, Mark Cohn. A native of Dallas, Texas, Jobe is a Certified Public Accountant with 24 years of experience delivering professional services and consulting to public and private companies ranging in size from Development Stage to $20B revenue. He has served a broad range of industries, with twelve years of Big 4 auditing and consulting, one year as Corporate Controller of a public company, and eleven years as founder/owner of ACS Group, an internal audit and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) consulting practice.
“Lowell is one of our longest-standing board members of over six years, and one of the lucky few who knew Mitch Chepokas personally,” added Nelson. “His loyalty to keeping the pinky swear promise Mitch made with his dad to help kids with cancer is a genuine asset to the group and an important reminder to all of us of the meaning behind our work.”
The Pinky Swear Story
Pinky Swear Foundation was founded in honor of Mitch Chepokas, who lost his battle to bone cancer in 2003. In December 2002, 9-year-old Mitch overheard his pediatric oncology ward neighbors stressed about money for Christmas gifts, and generously decided to give away his savings – $6,000 – to other kids fighting cancer. After sneaking envelopes of cash under doors and on nightstands, Mitch told his dad it was the most fun he’d ever had, and he wanted to do it again the following year. With a terminal prognosis, his dad had to tell Mitch the truth: that he wouldn’t be around the following Christmas. That’s when Mitch made his dad, Steve, ‘pinky swear promise’ to continue to help families with kids with cancer even after he was gone. To date, over $11 million has been given to brave kids battling cancer in 40+ states.
Additional New Pinky Swear Board of Director Members Include:
Tim Bohannon – Managing Partner at Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and Owner, NMFN/The Bohannon Group
Bohannon is the National President of the Managing Partners Association for Northwestern Mutual, where he leads the network organization strategically and works with the development team and Financial Representatives that provide insurance and investment options for individuals. Bohannon is a member of the Pinky Swear Development Committee, and a board member of the Chad Greenway Foundation.
Julia Feygin, Ph.D. – Vice President, Scientific & Clinical Affairs, AtCor Medical
Feygin joins Pinky Swear as a seasoned parent to her Pinky Swear Kids Triathlon fundraising children, Previous to AtCor Medical, Feygin was a Principal Scientific Manager, Interventional Cardiology & Structural Heart Global Scientific Affairs at Boston Scientific. She holds a doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Feygin is very active in the Hy-Vee Pinky Swear Kids Triathlon – Twin Cities event, with two of her daughters ranking as top fundraisers in 2015. Julia also serves on the Pinky Swear Marketing Committee.
Mary Niemeyer – General Manager, Fairway Outdoor
Niemeyer has 25+ years experience as a communication, media relations and public relations strategist. Based in Rochester, Minnesota, she is General Manager of North Central Division of Fairway Outdoor, one of the country’s largest outdoor advertising companies. Previously she spent 20+ years in broadcasting, including roles as general manager and director of broadcast sales at CBS Radio. Mary serves on the Development Committee.
Bruce O’Brien – Famous Brands (licensee of Famous Dave’s) Sales Manager
O’Brien is a former chair of the Gillette Children’s Specialty Hospital Foundation board of directors, and former member of the Gillette Children’s Specialty Hospital board. Additionally, O’Brien serves on the Pinky Swear Development Committee. Bruce serves as the Vice Chair of the Pinky Swear Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Development Committee.
Jeff Wenngatz – Senior Advisor, Cresa Real Estate
Wenngatz is a Senior Advisor for Cresa, an international corporate real estate advisory firm that exclusively represents tenants and specializes in the delivery of fully integrated real estate services. Previously Wenngatz has held leadership positions at Neighborhood Development Center, Robert Muir Company, Best Buy and SimonDelivers.com. Mr. Wenngatz’s is father of a Pinky Swear All-Star Alex, a child who battled cancer and has received financial or emotional support from Pinky Swear Foundation. Jeff serves on the Pinky Swear Development Committee.
Bart Zibrowski – Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer
Zibrowski is a financial executive with 30 years of expertise in transaction structuring, organizational transitions, real estate, and income tax. Zibrowski has held leadership positions with Commerce Bank, WCE Oil Field Services, McGough, Meritex, and Arthur Andersen. He has held volunteer board positions with United Hospital Foundation, Allina Hospice Foundation and Eagan Travel Basketball/Eagan Athletic Association. Bart serves on the Pinky Swear Finance Committee.
It is the Board’s responsibility to provide counsel and guidance in the direction and operation of the Foundation as well as it is to raise awareness of Pinky Swear in its eight markets nationwide, and extended business networks. Lowell, Tim, Julia, Bart, Mary, Jeff and Bruce will support the board’s efforts in raising awareness for Pinky Swear programs, events, and fundraising efforts.
Pediatric Cancer Facts
- One child is diagnosed with pediatric cancer every 45 minutes
- The average age of diagnosis is 6 years old
- The average length of treatment is 2 years
- The average family will spend 25% of its disposable income on non-medical related expenses associated with the treatment of their child
- One in 11 families with a child diagnosed with cancer will file for bankruptcy
- Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the U.S.
About Pinky Swear Foundation
Founded in 2003, The Pinky Swear Foundation is a 501c(3) not-for-profit passionately committed to helping children with cancer and their families by being fanatically responsive to the immediate crisis facing families with a childhood cancer diagnosis. Pinky Swear Foundation activities include the world’s largest kids fundraising triathlon series, National Pinky Swear Day on December 11, and other community engagement events around the nation. Visit www.pinkyswear.org for more information.