Kris Newcomer, Executive Director
Executive Director Kris Newcomer believes this is her “Barbara” project. Two of the closest people in her life, both named Barbara, are breast cancer survivors and when asked to build this organization, it was a chance to give back in a way that melded career experience and skills with a passion to make a difference.
Having a variety professional of experiences: fundraiser, digital marketer, community builder, lean start up practitioner, Kris brings the right blend of knowledge and experience to Firefly Sisterhood. With an idea, a name that resonates, a logo that rings true, she started working on the planning and development of the organization in December of 2013.
Over the two years, with Kris’ help and the board of directors oversight, Firefly Sisterhood has an engaged board with a focus on living the mission of fostering one-to-one connections, one hundred volunteers and three staff people dedicated to the one-to-one program. Many women dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis have been helped. But for her, there are many more Barbara’s out there to offer hope, create a connection and light the way home.
Laura Feile, Program Manager
Laura is joining Firefly Sisterhood in 2020 but her connection to Breast Cancer dates back many years ago when a close family member received a breast cancer diagnosis and went through treatment . Laura has worked in a professional and volunteer capacity to provide support to individuals and families facing life’s challenges—such as cancer—ever since.
Before coming to Firefly Sisterhood, Laura worked as an outpatient mental health therapist as well as supervisor at the American Cancer Society’s Twin Cities Hope Lodge. Laura earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Drake University and her Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. She is also a certified Yoga Calm teacher.
Laura believes that connection is paramount when facing life’s challenges and is looking forward to facilitating these connections through The Firefly Sisterhood match program and beyond.
Melissa Gruber, Program Manger
Melissa has previously participated in the Firefly Sisterhood program, having been diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2017 and matched with a Firefly Guide for support. Her husband and daughters were her rock and inspiration during treatment. Fortunately, Melissa shows NED (No Evidence of Disease) and will celebrate three years of survivorship this summer. She has supported other women going through breast cancer and worked with Compass Research to help women find purpose in their life following a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. She hopes that her girls have learned and will continue to grow to be strong and confident women in the future and that there will soon be a cure for breast cancer.
Melissa comes to the Firefly Sisterhood with a background in retail merchandise and corporate training and formal education in Communications from the University of St. Thomas. She enjoyed the special bond that developed between her and her Firefly Guide before, during and, after treatment. This positive experience i inspires Melissa in her current position with Firefly Sisterhood: to ensure that women have the support they need and when they need it most, whether immediately after receiving their diagnosis, during treatment or years into survivorship. The support of someone who has been through it before is so important.
Amy Tix, Communications Manager
Amy has previously been involved in the Firefly Sisterhood as a Guide, having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. Her two beautiful children were her inspiration during her journey through treatment. Breast cancer family genetics keep Amy involved in a variety of breast cancer research and review agencies in hopes that her girls will grow to be women confident in the knowledge that there will be a cure for breast cancer.
Amy comes to the Firefly Sisterhood with administrative experience and formal education in Molecular Biology. Having been a young mom when diagnosed, a relationship with a Guide from the Firefly Sisterhood would have been a tremendous help during cancer treatment, and this is what inspires Amy in her current position with Firefly Sisterhood: to ensure that newly diagnosed women have the support they need when they need it most