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Blue Skies

Our Team

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KAVYA VELAGAPUDI, MSW

Executive Director 

Kavya is the Executive Director and Board Member of GeneratePossibility.Org/LACNETS. Since 2015, Kavya has been involved with GeneratePossibility.Org/LACNETS providing fundraising and management support. 

She is a fundraising and management professional with 15 years of experience generating revenue and resources for various nonprofit organizations. With a Master's in Social Welfare and a concentration in Non-Profit Administration & Policy Advocacy, Kavya has a unique blend of development, management, and clinical skills. Before launching her independent fundraising consultancy Honu Fundraising, she was the Development Director of the International Museum of Women, now part of Global Fund for Women, in San Francisco.

Before joining the Museum, Kavya was the Western Region Director of Starlight Children’s Foundation in Los Angeles overseeing all development, communications, and program services in Starlight’s Western Region. 

Contact: Kavya@LACNETS.org

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LISA YEN, NP, NBC-HWC

Director of Programs & Outreach 

Lisa Yen was a nurse practitioner hospitalist for over 12 years prior to her husband’s diagnosis with advanced, metastatic pancreatic NET in January 2015. As a medical professional, a caregiver, and a health coach to NET patients, she brings a unique perspective to LACNETS. 

In her role as Director of Programs & Outreach, she works with the team to plan content for the monthly educational meetings and annual patient educational conference as well as developing programs such as NETCONNECT, the LACNETS Health Coaching Program, the weekly virtual NET support group, and the monthly virtual NET caregiver support group. Lisa also co-created NET VITALS with LACNETS founder Giovanna Joyce Imbesi and City of Hope NET expert Dr. Dan Li. Lisa was the recipient of the 2020 Monica Warner Award. Her passion is to help improve the quality of life for those who have been touched by NET.

Lisa earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Wheaton College in Illinois in 1997, a bachelor of science in nursing from Loyola University of Chicago in 1998, a master of science in nursing from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Nursing’s Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program in 2003, and a post-graduate certification in Health Coaching from Vanderbilt University in 2018. She is a Nationally Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC), a credential offered in collaboration with the National Board of Medical Examiners. She has been active in community service and has served in medical missions in Kenya and Haiti. Other than her passion for helping people, she also enjoys traveling, snowboarding, and attending theater.

Watch Lisa and her husband Tom describe how they made decisions in this 2017 LACNETS video.

Contact: Lisa@LACNETS.org

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HEATHER DAVIS

Associate Director of Advocacy & Outreach 

Heather Davis initially joined LACNETS as a NETCONNECT mentor for caregivers in 2019 after finding LACNETS to be an invaluable collective of medical resources, experts and caring support. Heather has nearly 20 years of account management experience in marketing. She has also served as her mother’s primary medical advocate since her pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer diagnosis in 2012. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism/Advertising and Sociology from San Diego State University.

As the Associate Director of Advocacy and Outreach, she is eager to expand NET awareness and connect patients, caregivers and providers to this exceptional community. She is passionate that knowledge and collaboration make all the difference in both the quality of care and the quality of life for those affected by this rare disease.

Heather enjoys learning and exploring new things with her nephews and having fun with family and friends. 

Contact: Heather@LACNETS.org

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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DONNA GAVIN

Board President

Donna Gavin is the sister of LACNETS founder Giovanna Joyce Imbesi and has been a board member of GeneratePossibility.org/LACNETS since 2009.

Donna is dedicated to impactful work and has many years of experience in non-profit management and leadership.  

With a background in finance and law, she has served on boards and constituent groups of non-profit organizations for over 20 years. She is currently a senior grants administrator and paralegal at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, New York, a scientific research institution and National Cancer Institute designated Cancer Center. Donna holds a BA from Williams College and a diploma in paralegal studies from New York University. 

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MARY DONLEVY

Board member

Mary Donlevy joined the LACNETS Board in 2020. She brings the patient perspective as she has been thriving despite living with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor since 2005. She has been close friends with LACNETS Founder Giovanna Joyce since 2010 and involved with LACNETS since then. 

Mary has served as a NET CONNECT mentor and Advisory Committee member. She has been actively involved in the monthly meetings and virtual NET support groups. 

Mary received her Bachelor's Degree in Communications from University of San Diego and has over 10 years of medical and sales training. Her passion is to help those dealing with this difficult diagnosis and still enjoy a very full and active life. She is the mother of four children, two of which are identical twins, born after her cancer diagnosis. Mary enjoys ocean swimming, yoga and traveling with her husband and children in her free time.

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KAVYA VELAGAPUDI

Executive Director and Board member

Kavya is the Executive Director and Board Member of GeneratePossibility.Org/LACNETS. Since 2015, Kavya has been involved with GeneratePossibility.Org/LACNETS providing fundraising and management support. 

She is a fundraising and management professional with 15 years of experience generating revenue and resources for various nonprofit organizations. With a Master's in Social Welfare and a concentration in Non-Profit Administration & Policy Advocacy, Kavya has a unique blend of development, management, and clinical skills. Before launching her independent fundraising consultancy Honu Fundraising, she was the Development Director of the International Museum of Women, now part of Global Fund for Women, in San Francisco.

Before joining the Museum, Kavya was the Western Region Director of Starlight Children’s Foundation in Los Angeles overseeing all development, communications, and program services in Starlight’s Western Region. 

Contact: Kavya@LACNETS.org

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