The quote “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” is perfect to describe what this month’s inspirational woman entrepreneur did when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Not only did Jennifer Tom bravely accept and conquer the diagnosis, she also created a nonprofit organization called “Positively Pink Packages” to provide support to other individuals battling their own breast cancer diagnoses.
Since I have been promoting and supporting women entrepreneurs since 1995, I hear stories of about five women per year who are diagnosed with breast cancer. The numbers simply astound me. I love what Tom has created to support women struggling with this disease, so I asked her to share some information about her organization.
Tracy Higginbotham: What is the most gratifying part of owning Positively Pink Packages?
Jennifer Tom: The most gratifying part of starting and being executive director of Positively Pink Packages is meeting or receiving letters from the breast cancer patients who have received our care package telling me how much it helped them get through the difficult time of hearing those dreaded words, “You have breast cancer,” and how it helped them get through treatment.
TH: Why has your business been
successful to date?
JT: There are so many reasons we have been successful; from the medical offices we work with to ensure each patient receives this valuable resource to the amazing volunteers who have generously donated their time to the supportive individuals, companies and foundations who have donated to us for the past eight years. We are so grateful to everyone who has made it possible for us to provide these services.
TH: Looking back at your business career so far, what would you have done differently?
JT: While the early years weren’t easy, I learned a lot. Looking back, I wouldn’t have expanded as quickly. I was so eager to provide care packages to as many breast cancer patients as we could. While I would still love to provide packages to as many counties as I can, I now know we must have the organizational structure and processes in place to be able to effectively do that.
TH: What is the nicest compliment you have ever received from someone who has received a package?
JT: In each care package, we include a comment card. It warms my heart to receive the feedback that says, “When I received the package, I knew I wasn’t alone.” And that is truly our goal — to ensure that no one in Central New York faces breast cancer alone.