A decade removed from her breast cancer diagnosis and less than a year after leaving Olympia, former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire is among four new members of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's board of trustees.
"We are fundamentally going to go backwards if we as a state and nation are not willing to invest in research," said Gregoire, whose husband, Mike, was diagnosed with colon cancer more than a year ago. "I can't think of anything more important right now than to find a cure for cancer through the work at Fred Hutch."
Gregoire joins three other new members of Fred Hutch's board: Terry Gillespie, managing director of Bellevue-based Trilogy Partnership; Matt McIlwain, managing director of the Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group; and Norman Metcalfe, former vice chairman and chief financial officer of The Irvine Company in Irvine, Calif.
The new board members are united by a common thread: cancer has impacted each of their lives.
She spent more than a decade at Western Wireless Corp., where she held positions ranging from chief financial officer to vice chairman. The skills she honed there will allow her to help Fred Hutch make the most of its financial resources.
"It brought home the reality that finding better cancer treatments is one of the great challenges of our time," he said.
McIlwain is managing director of the Madrona Venture Group, which invests in early-stage technology companies. That position, plus his passion for innovation, give him unique insight into how Fred Hutch can create stronger alliances with the local technology sector.
That's when he met Dr. Fred Appelbaum, director of the Clinical Research Division, who evaluated Metcalfe's treatment.
Now Metcalfe wants to help the Hutch make inroads with supporters beyond Puget Sound and provide business acumen to help guide Hutch management.