Cynthia McDonald, Ph.D.
Emeritus Council Member
I worked for over 30 years at various high tech companies in Silicon Valley, California from start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. I have extensive experience in global marketing, customer service management, leadership, and program development. My last position was at Sun Microsystems as the Business Planning and Strategy Manager for U.S. Operations where I provided executive leadership coaching, program development, and vision mapping for the strategic 5-year business plan. I also directed the implementation of that plan by matrix-managing over 200 people working on 15 different projects and programs throughout the United States.
After my career in business, I decided to follow my heart’s desire – to work with cancer patients. I returned to school and earned a Master of Psychology degree and a Doctor of Transpersonal Psychology degree. I also acquired certifications in teaching and research, clinical and medical hypnotherapy, meditation, and a variety of other mind-body techniques. For the past 12 years, I have been teaching classes, facilitating groups, and providing individual coaching in the use of mind-body skills to cancer patients and their families. These skills empower individuals to navigate the physical, psychological, and spiritual traumas related to the diagnosis, treatment, and massive life changes that cancer brings. I offer these services through my private practice and several non-profit cancer organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Personally, I am inspired by the wisdom I find in all traditions, philosophies, histories, religions, and cultures. One of my favorite life quotes is from the Talmud: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
Retired financial executive with 40+ years experience with Philips Electronics, including four years in the Netherlands; Internet Pictures, iPIX; and Chief Financial Officer of Clayton Homes, a Berkshire Hathaway company.
In addition, was a member of a regional bank board in Tennessee and head of its internal audit committee. Also served on the board and finance committee of Lewis University. Has also been associated with a number of philanthropic and non-profit activities in various capacities. Educational background includes a Bachelors in Business Administration from Lewis and Masters in Accountancy from Depaul University in Chicago.
Has been to Poland and Eastern Europe on several occasions over the past several years. Visits have been for personal and ancestral reasons, in addition to business development initiatives in Poland and other neighboring countries.
Advisory Council member Chet Szerlag is a recently retired healthcare executive, residing in the greater Chicago area. Chet’s career includes leadership roles with leading academic medical centers in the U.S. including the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Weill Cornell College of Medicine in New York City.
Chet is an alumnus of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, earning an MBA degree from their Executive Program. He is also a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) professional organization, and a certified medical practice executive (CMPE) with the ACMPE/MGMA. He is a past-President of the ACHE’s Chicago Health Executives Forum (CHEF) and is currently an active member of the editorial board for the journal “Management in Healthcare,” headquartered in London, England.
Alongside his healthcare industry career, Chet has also concurrently volunteered his time and talent with non-for-profit organizations that support his varied personal interests in eastern European genealogical research and history, local community governance, public broadcasting, and Rotary International. Chet is a past-President of the Polish Genealogical Society of America. (PGSA).
Chet’s family heritage is centered around his parent’s ancestral roots in Poland, and his interest in family genealogy motivated him to trace his ancestral roots, re-discovering and re-connecting with cousins currently living in Poland. This has also fostered Chet’s awareness and interest in Poland’s current sociocultural issues, and his commitment to the growth and the development of the Polish-Ukrainian Origins Foundation.
Sylwia is a formally educated and experienced Polish lawyer who has spent many years on legal projects in healhcare industry. Sylwia has been active in local community development, among other things, being an independent candidate in the elections to the city council and co-organizing many charity events.