James Ambassadors Society: Moving Members to Action

It isn’t very often, Robin Holderman points out, that one has the opportunity to attend an event and simply learn about an organization’s impact without being asked to write a check.

But that’s exactly what the James Ambassadors Society is doing through its two events each year: raising awareness for life-saving research and treatments at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center –James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. The hope is that all attending ambassadors will continue their enthusiasm for the OSUCCC – James by igniting unprecedented awareness and raising critical research dollars through their advocacy.

Holderman, co-chair of the James Ambassadors Society, and chief asset and development officer of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, and his co-chair John Hines, partner of HNS Sports Group, president of the Nicklaus Museum, and executive committee member of the Memorial Tournament, are taking the James Ambassadors Society to new heights.

The group, which started in 2005, originated as a way to keep James Foundation Board members engaged following the conclusion of their terms. “We needed an action society,” explains Holderman. “There are so many advocates who might not have a seat on the James Foundation Board.”

In the past couple of years, the society has taken off, now boasting 250 members, including current and former members of the James Foundation Board, key community partners and influencers, and donors. Hines and Holderman expect this number to grow, considering that more and more people attend each event the society hosts.

“Word is spreading,” says Hines, pointing out that one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes. “When you have that many people impacted by cancer, it’s important that we educate the ambassadors about what is happening at The James so that they can pass information along to their friends and loved ones.”

Society events, such as the one held at Ohio State’s Faculty Club this past November and those held at Muirfield Village Golf Club—thanks to Hines’ longtime affiliation with the Club and the Memorial Tournament—showcase the best of what the OSUCCC – James has to offer. Some past programs have included Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, chief executive officer of The James and director of the OSUCCC, sharing an excerpt from his State of the Cancer Program address, Ohio State researchers sharing progress from clinical trials, patients who have benefited from care at The James, and James Ambassadors who offer their own success stories of raising awareness and funds for the OSUCCC – James.

“There is so much happening behind the scenes at The James that people are not aware of,” says Holderman. “It’s astonishing. We want to spread the word not only within central Ohio, but statewide and nationally about this great institution, as well.”

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