The Executive Board are not medical doctors or providers. They are an inquisitive bunch of professional volunteer health advocates. They take no salary and hold their power of experience and networking to know where to seek answers to an unlimited number of questions surrounding the topic of breast cancer. Each Executive Board member is a “professional volunteer” spending their “off-work” hours making a positive difference in the lives of those struggling with the impact and implications of breast cancer in Ventura County, California.
Lisa, Sylvia, Tom and Karen use their creative talents and the professional expertise of the Advisory Board to educate the community while enlightening others to become their own health advocates. Their vision, along with other community volunteers and experts have made it possible to open an independent Breast Cancer Resource Center in Ventura County to assist those who struggle from the emotional and social impact of breast cancer.
Two Executive Board members are breast cancer thrivers contributing to the Ribbons cause by using their areas of expertise applying their unique skills, talents, and interests towards helping the Ribbons of Life Breast Cancer Foundation (“RoL”) live out its mission. They know firsthand how breast cancer can impact a woman’s life and the life of her family, friends and surrounding community.
Lisa Barreto, Founder/President
A three-time breast cancer survivor-thriver, in 2002, at age 44, Lisa’s first diagnosis of DCIS breast cancer caused her to focus more on living life than dreading death. “My breast cancer turned out to be a life sentence. It made me look at life in new and different ways.” Lisa’s personal, professional and academic knowledge and interests in diverse cultures and climates, as well as her experience as a professional mediator, helps her identify and diffuse personal and family conflicts that can often result from just one cancer diagnosis. As a transformational mediator, author and instructor, Lisa listens, educates, and connects with people of all ages and focuses on teaching coping techniques that promote healing. In December 2011, Lisa was diagnosed with a new, second invasive breast cancer. In 2015, she was diagnosed for a third time. Lisa has had four mastectomies, which include the surgical removal of both reconstructed breasts. Using her skills and years of breast cancer experience, Lisa Barreto has developed ways to cope and overcome the numerous adversities from breast cancer and continues to dedicate and contribute her academic and personal talents to Ribbons of Life.
Lisa Barreto’s leadership experience and careers in mediation and law; business consulting and training; as well as hotel and personnel management are beneficial to the operations of RoL. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) specializing in English, Sociology and Anthropology and is also a graduate of Ventura College. Lisa also holds a Certificate in Negotiation and Mediation from UCSB. In addition to her love of writing, speaking, and being by the side of many women with breast cancer, she teaches a “Coping with Breast Cancer” presentation to women’s health students, organizations and survivor-thrivers to inspire, educate and encourage the exchange of important breast cancer information within the community. Lisa has dedicated fourteen years to Ribbons of Life paving the way for all who participate to offer services that will benefit those struggling with breast cancer in Ventura County and to raise funds to support the maintaning of RoL’s Breast Cancer Resource Center at 1500 Palma Drive, Ventura, CA. Lisa’s retreat is with her husband and supporter, Bob Barreto, and their two small dogs, Rocky and Lulu. Their adventures are captured on digital photos posted on her blog at www.CaringBridge.org (enter LisaBarreto, with no space in between), WordPress writing blog, Facebook pages, and in her book, Eating Daisies, published by Two Trees Publishing. (For more about Lisa, see “Our Founder and Our History” page under the About Us heading.)
Sylvia Rosolek, Vice President/Acting Secretary
In 2006, Sylvia became the first-in-the-nation RoL breast cancer survivor-thriver scholarship recipient. RoL’s scholarship is given specifically to a breast cancer survivor who seeks education as a way of coping. Sylvia used her scholarship to attend psychology classes at Ventura College.
To Sylvia, each day is precious. “Having cancer put everything into perspective and was a blessing in disguise.” Sylvia says. She enjoys meeting people and would love to listen to your story. Sylvia earned an associate degree in business from Oxnard College. She enjoys RV-ing with her husband, working out, sewing and playing with her grandkids.
Beverly K. Schaefer, Treasurer
In 2016 Beverly became our trusted treasurer. She brings to the organization a wide array of unique skills, talents, interests and enthusiasm. She earned an associate degree from Central Piedmont College in Charlotte, North Carolina and has an extensive background in business organization, record keeping and management. Beverly demonstrates her devotion and dedication to the good work of Ribbons of Life, by actively participating in all the activities and events.
Although Beverly was raised in a wide area of the country, she has been solidly rooted in our Oxnard-Ventura area for over 20 years. She is a single parent of a son, who is now attending college.
Tom Hanna, CPA
805-644-0697 – email@example.com
Tom has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1990 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Northridge. In 1991, he joined forces with Bob Carey, and started the accounting practice of Carey & Hanna, CPAs. As Ribbons of Life’s Acting Treasurer, Tom assists balancing the books, doing our annual tax returns and has been helpful in Ribbons of Life being accepted into the Combined Federal Campaign and listed on their participating charities selections.
In addition to his CPA license, Tom is a licensed California Life and Health Insurance Agent, a registered representative* , a licensed Mortgage Broker, and a Real Estate Agent. His experience in such fields allows him to specialize in Homeowner Association financial services, business consulting, office automation, and IRS representation. Specific industries served include manufacturing, medical, construction, retail, and not-for-profit organizations.
Despite working long hours (especially during tax season!), Tom’s first and foremost passion is his family. He and his wife, Shelley, have three college-age daughters and one Black Lab, Layla. When asked about being the only male in the house, Tom jokingly replies, “It makes me a better Man!”
In addition to spending time with his family, Tom enjoys scuba diving at the local Channel Islands National Park. He also enjoys the delicious local fish and lobster caught while diving and his other hobbies include golf, racquetball, snow-skiing, and cycling.
Karen L Brown, PhD, Immediate Past President
One Fall semester day, a young re-entry woman came into the Ventura College Re-entry and Women’s Center where Karen worked as the Assistant Coordinator. Lisa Barreto was so full of life, joy and determination that Karen agreed to help her organize Ventura Colleges first Breast Cancer Education and Advocacy Group, which is now Ribbons of Life.
Karen says, “Each step in this combined journey with Lisa, and the other amazing women of the Group, has been rewarding. They have shown strength and courage in the face of their challenges and are truly inspirations to others.” Dr. Brown is no stranger to cancer. She has lost three relatives to breast cancer, several family members to non-specific cancers and has personally survived cervical cancer.
Karen’s’ journey began in North Carolina on a Thanksgiving Day. After spending a few years in her mothers’ home town, she and her sisters moved to Ventura to escape the cold winters of Iowa. Karen’s journey has taken her in many directions and has been filled with years of joy, laughter, and struggles. All of which have strengthened her resolve. After a brief sojourn into marriage, Karen became a single parent of two remarkable children. She remained single for 25 years. During that time she raised her girls, traveled the world, completed an AA, MS, taught at three CSU campuses and completed her doctorate in Health Education.