Swapping Global finance for non-profit leadership, Lance Kawaguchi
Introducing Lance Kawaguchi, CEO of Cure Brain Cancer Foundation (CBCF).
Lance's personal journey in the fight against cancer began in 2016 when his family was unexpectedly affected by the disease. The devastating news came in the form of a tearful call from his usually composed father, informing him of his mother Katherine's Stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis. With a prognosis of just a few months to live, Lance's world was turned upside down.
Driven by his personal experience, Lance embarked on a mission to make a difference in the fight against cancer. After conducting extensive research on causes and organisations, he was appointed CEO of Cure Brain Cancer Foundation in January 2021.
Based in Australia, CBCF focuses on research, advocacy, and awareness both locally and globally under Lance's leadership.
In his initial months as CEO, Lance led the digital transformation of the organization, a crucial step especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in Australia. By streamlining the team, refining their focus, and implementing a fully digital platform, CBCF experienced its most successful year to date in 2021 and 2022. Notably, the introduction of the first-ever digital walk for brain cancer raised $1.9 million.
Before joining the non-profit sector, Lance spent 25 years in the finance and banking industry, holding global roles that took him across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. His diverse experience and expertise have positioned him well to lead CBCF and make a tangible impact on the organisation's growth and initiatives.
Lance's efforts have garnered recognition and accolades, including fulfilling a lifelong dream of ringing the opening bell at Nasdaq's MarketSite in Times Square. During this momentous occasion, he emphasized the significance of global collaboration and the establishment of a U.S. affiliate to expand the organization's reach and impact.
Under Lance's guidance, CBCF has not only increased its funding but also embraced digital offerings to engage communities in Australia and worldwide. One notable accomplishment is the launch of the world's largest brain cancer-dedicated Clinical Accelerator program, supporting early-stage biotechnology companies in advancing innovative therapeutics.
A testament to CBCF's commitment to ground-breaking research, the foundation led critical funding for the introduction of the revolutionary GBM AGILE trial in Australia. This substantial investment of $8 million allows Australian patients to access previously unavailable experimental therapies, significantly improving treatment options.
Beyond his role at CBCF, Lance serves as Chairman of various organizations, including the Kendall Nicole Eich Foundation, Kim's Hope, Glioblastoma Research Organization (GBMRO), and Asian Fund for Cancer Research (AFCR). He is also a valued member of the Board of Directors for the National Foundation for Cancer Research, a Strategic Advisor for the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), and a Strategic Advisor for the AIM-HI Accelerator Fund.
To further raise awareness and support for rare cancers, Lance will embark on a ground-breaking challenge at the end of 2023—a first-ever brain cancer charity trek to the South Pole. Through this endeavour, Lance aims to unite charitable organisations worldwide, rallying for increased research, funding, and treatments for paediatric and childhood brain cancer.
Lance Kawaguchi's dedication and influential leadership continue to leave a lasting impact on the fight against cancer, inspiring hope, and progress in the pursuit of a cure.