Mara Ginsberg, Esq.
President & Founder
Mara Ginsberg is a breast cancer survivor and an attorney. She founded To Life! in 1998 and leads the organization as President of the Board and chief advocate for those dealing with breast cancer. To Life!’s programs and services enable people to become well-educated health care consumers and to partner with their physicians and health care providers. Mara lives in Delmar, NY with her husband and two children.
“Unlike the vast majority of breast cancer patients whom the disease takes by surprise, I had plenty of warning: both my mother and her sister died of it at age 44. When that other shoe dropped with my own diagnosis at age 37, I launched into action. I researched diligently, interviewed doctors, visited clinics, talked to friends and strangers. Even so, I found that information about the disease, treatment options, post-treatment problems and ancillary services such as prostheses and wigs was either inadequate or very difficult to find. I wondered, how do other women do this? Emotionally overwhelmed, weakened by the treatments, isolated by a disease that can be uncomfortable to talk about, how do those women cope? The answer distressed me. In addition to fighting the disease itself, breast cancer patients must wage another battle of gathering information from diverse sources, trying to sort it out and make sense of it and hoping to find some kindred spirits to share the burden along the way.
While in treatment and back at work after my surgeries, I began to think about how to fill the enormous gaps in services to women with breast cancer. I had a good sense of what had to be done. I just needed to figure out whether I could do it, financially, physically, emotionally and without shortchanging the most important people in my life—my husband and two young children. I left my dream job with the New York State Attorney General and devoted myself to developing a package of services I knew thousands of women in my community need and deserve. In October 1998 I launched To Life! It is deeply gratifying to me that To Life! has struck such a responsive chord in our community. We are beginning to see tangible changes in the quality of health care in the region. By educating patients and encouraging them to advocate for themselves, To Life! equips cancer patients to act as partners with their healthcare providers. Area physicians attest that To Life! has made a definite and positive impact on patient care. Patients are routinely referred to To Life! by doctors and nurses and, most tellingly, breast cancer survivors who have benefited from its services.”
Sorelle Brauth is the Director of Administration for the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS). She began her career with NYS Government in the Rockefeller Public Management Intern Program - for qualified candidates graduating with masters’ degrees in public administration or management. Presently she serves as Treasurer on the Board of To Life!, lending her fiscal acumen to guide the strategic direction of the organization. Sorelle resides in Guilderland, New York and is the proud mother of three adult children.
Over the past thirty years Sorelle's career has included; budgeting, holding policy and management level positions with the New York State Division of the Budget as well as the New York State Education Department. She served as Director of Financial Administration for the Office of Attorney General. For the past seven years Ms. Brauth has served as DPS’ Director of Finance and Budget. In March of 2010, her position expanded to include Human Resources Management, Information Services and Administrative Management under the Department’s Director of Administration.
Ms. Brauth earned honors’ degrees from both Boston University (Master’s in Educational Administration), and the State University of New York at Oneonta (Bachelor of Science). Presently she serves as Treasurer on the Board of To Life!, and on the Program Committee for the State Academy of Public Administration, helping to bring timely discussions and relevant topics of importance to NYS Government.
Catie joined the Board of Directors in 2001
Catie spent over 30 years in service to the State of New York, retiring from the Public Service Commission, where she most recently served as Director of Consumer Services. She has fond memories of her tenure on the staff of Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, where she served as Executive Director of the Capital Region District Office. In this role, Catie worked as a taxpayer advocate and sees a strong correlation and connection to her efforts with To Life!, advocating for families dealing with breast cancer and ensuring the education and support system are in place to help those diagnosed in the future have access to the resources they need.
Catie's work with the Gala committee (serving as Co-Chair for more than 10 events) has helped To Life! raise much needed funding to carry on the mission. Catie has been a visible presence at our events and provided invaluable counsel behind the scenes, lending her considerable organizational experience to assist To Life! Catie has helped To Life! build a staffing foundation that serves our clients admirably, at times filling in when the position of Executive Director was vacant.
Catie will say that she is humbled by the community of volunteers that step up to support To Life!, dedicating their all. What we see is a formidable presence who serves as a role model to others and leader in the To Life! circle.
Helen joined To Life! in January 2006.
Helen began her career as an Elementary Teacher for 16 years. She was a manager/buyer for 8 years in Prestige Clothing Store in Delmar, manager for 4 years in a gift store, and Assistant Manager for 5 years at Saratoga Shoe Depot. Her great eye for style contributes to her success as a wig fitter, and her caring compassion creates a warm environment where clients feel comfortable.
Helen enjoys decorating, reading and knitting.
Lisa Anne Proskin
Lisa joined the Board of Directors in 2007
Eileen Howe Bird
Eileen joined To Life! in December 2011.
Prior to joining the staff of To Life! Eileen Howe Bird held positions at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Grainger Industrial Supply. Her background includes government contracting, program management, sales and customer service. Eileen attended State University College at Oswego then received her MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. To Life! became a familiar name to Eileen and her friends through volunteer efforts and attending many To Life! sponsored events. Eileen and her family currently live in Delmar.
Melanie joined To Life! in 2009.
Melanie is a Certified Mastectomy Fitter. She worked at Glens Falls Hospital from 1990 - 2008 in Cancer Registry Management and as a Cancer Center Patient Liaison. Mel works out of the Saratoga Springs Boutique, and her cheerful smile and experience working with patients helps clients know they are in good hands.
Melanie enjoys gardening, baking, working on crafts and reading. She loves being a grandmother and treasures the wonderful times she spends with her grandchildren.
Director of Education
Martha joined To Life! in 2013
As director of education Martha can be found facilitating support groups, meeting individually to support clients and families, behind the scenes at To Life! education programs, and collaborating with other cancer services professionals in the region.
Martha’s background includes counseling, higher education student services, classroom instruction and employee assistance consulting and training. She is proud to be part of the To Life! mission and programs.
Rita joined the Board of Directors in 2014
Rita is the SVP of Marketing and External Affairs at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Rita also has an extensive resume in the not-for-profit and volunteer world, having been Director of Development at Special Olympics NY for three years prior. She holds board postions at several local foundations in Saratoga as well as volunteering for To Life! and other not for profits.
Gene joined the Board of Directors in 2015
Gene currently work’s for Genentech, a large bio-oncology company, as a Clinical Oncology Specialist. Over the last 10 years, he has worked with Health Care Professionals in the Capital Region who serve breast cancer patients. Gene also has a Master's in Public Administration from Sage Graduate School and a Master of Science in Psychology from SUNY Albany. He lives in Delmar with his wife and 2 children.
Kevin joined the Board of Directors in 2012
For over 30 years, Kevin Dubner has guided investors toward pursuing their personal and financial goals while providing sound advice and superior service to each and every client. He currently serves as a Financial Advisor in the Albany, New York, office of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC.
Kevin joined Janney in 2005 and was attracted to the firm’s client-centric mission, and solid platform of products and services. He has dedicated his career to building strong relationships with every client, and found that Janney’s client service philosophy allows his practice to thrive. Prior to joining Janney, Kevin held positions with Advest, Inc., First Albany Corporation and Paine Webber Inc./UBS Financial Services.
Kevin implements a comprehensive method to investing. He believes that each client’s situation is unique and in order to tailor a prudent financial plan, he must understand the needs and objectives of his client’s lifestyle and goals. Kevin is a proud, trusted advisor who works directly with his clients to manage their financial needs and ultimately reach their investment goals. Kevin’s advice is based upon extensive research, intellect and experience of market trends.
Kevin studied at the University at Albany with a double concentration in accounting and economics, and worked as an accountant before entering the investment business. “Accounting is an excellent way to begin as an investor because accounting is the language of business, and this knowledge has proven invaluable to me in understanding company finances, economic and market trends. With ongoing education and ardent reading of financial publications, I pride myself on giving informed investment advice and appropriate financial options to my clients.” Kevin holds his FINRA Series 7, & 63, as well as his State of New York Life & Health Insurance License and a CLTC (Certified in Long-Term Care) designation. He specializes in retirement planning, mutual funds, equities and tax free & taxable bonds. Kevin joined the Board of Albany Center Gallery (a non-profit art space in downtown Albany dedicated to exhibiting skillful contemporary art from artists of the Mohawk Hudson region, and building a strong, knowledgeable audience for the visual arts) in 2014 and was elected Vice-President of that Board in 2015.
Active in his community, Kevin volunteers his time and expertise in fundraising for numerous local charitable organizations. In 2007, Kevin was the recipient of the “You’re an Angel” award from To Life! for designing a software program to run their fund raising Gala. The success of this program led other organizations to seek out Kevin’s expertise, specifically: The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America of Northeastern New York and The Center for Community Justice and Albany Center Gallery. Kevin lends his expertise in finance to the To Life! organization. “It’s extremely rewarding to know you’re helping these great organizations make a difference in the community. It’s one of the best things I do.”
Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Kevin came to area for college in 1975.
In his spare time, Kevin enjoys sports, travel, actively keeping up-to-date with his computer knowledge, wine tastings, and spending time with his family and friends. Kevin and his wife, Cindi, currently reside in Albany, New York.
Barbara joined the Board of Directors in 2015
Barbara MacDowell, RN is an Oncology Nurse with 40 years experience in the clinical and administrative Oncology arena and amongst the first group in the country to hold the designation as an Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN) She has held the positions as the Administrator for the Division of Hematology at Albany Medical Center, Administrator of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program (Cancer Center of Albany Medical Center) and currently is the Administrator for the Clinical Research Program for the Interventional Radiology Department for Community Care Physicians at Albany Med.
Barbara has served on the Board of Trustees for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) and is currently on the Board of Advisors for the American Cancer Society and involved in many fundraising ventures . She has successfully facilitated a Family Support Group for the LLS for an excess of 25 years. Since joining To Life!, she has co-chaired the Pink Ball with Rita Cox for several years and has taken an avid interest in the needs, challenges and support of those affected directly & indirectly with Breast Cancer, having family members and many friends affected with this disease.
Barbara lives in Delmar with her husband, Dr. Richard MacDowell where they are sufficiently busy with 4 children and 4 (soon to be ) 5 grandchildren.
Cindy joined the Board of Directors in 2012
Cindy has lived and worked in Albany for most of her adult life serving as an intern in the NYS Assembly, as legal counsel to several Assembly majority leaders, as a partner in an international law firm and most recently as a founding partner in Shenker, Russo and Clark, a new Albany government affairs firm.
Cindy states that she became interested in law while watching "Perry Mason" when she was a little girl. She is appreciative of the help she received when she was starting out in her career, and enjoys paying it forward to others. She likes to solve people's problems and loves to help anyone who is interested in finding just about any kind of job. Cindy earned her BS from Cornell University and her law degree from Western New England University School of Law. Originally from Rockland County, NY, Cindy now resides in Loudonville with her husband and two daughters.
Marjorie joined To Life! in June of 2016.
Marjorie has worked in non-profit development and fundraising for many years, most recently for Living Resources Foundation. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University at Albany, and studied for a master's in education at Oswego State. She has lived in Bethlehem for nearly 20 years, and has been very active in the community and school district.
Emily joined To Life! in February of 2017.
Prior to joining the staff of To Life!, Emily Pratt graduated magna cum laude from Simmons College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Her background includes arts administration, business administration and fundraising. She was introduced to To Life! by her Aunt who has been a long-time volunteer. She is proud to be working for such a wonderful organization. She currently lives in Latham with her family.