CEW Foundation and Cancer and Careers president Carlotta Jacobson was honored at a luncheon on May 20 with the first award in her name in celebration of the organization’s 20th anniversary.
The event kicked off with opening remarks from CEW Foundation chairwoman Heidi Manheimer, Condé Nast’s Carrie Moore, CEW Foundation executive director Rebecca V. Nellis and CEW Inc. chairwoman and president of Beekman 1802, Jill Scalamandre, who acknowledged Jacobson’s ongoing contributions to those in need.
“Back in 2001, work was an issue for people [with cancer] that wasn’t talked about, supported nor understood,” said Nellis, who leads the Cancer and Careers team and has witnessed how the taboo of a cancer diagnosis in the workplace can lessen through proper support, resources and education.
In a pre-recorded interview with WWD’s executive editor, beauty, Jenny B. Fine, Jacobson shed light on what prompted her to start Cancer and Careers, “Two board members actually confided in me that they had cancer,” Jacobson said. “They wanted to continue to work and they didn’t know what to do — there weren’t any resources out there.”
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In 2001, Jacobson founded Cancer and Careers as a resource with the aim of helping people with cancer thrive in their workplace. Today, the organization helps thousands of people each year by providing support, resources and events for survivors and those seeking to support them, alike.
“I’m humbled by this honor,” said Jacobson on stage upon being presented the first Carlotta Jacobson’s Founder Award. “My older brother was diagnosed with cancer,” she continued, “His career was a source of great pride and happiness. Losing his ability to work was devastating.”
Jacobson’s brother, Carmen Lestino, ultimately passed away in 2014 due to cancer, but Jacobson said that she sees him to this day in the work of Cancer and Careers.
Following Jacobson’s acceptance speech, a compilation video thanking Carlotta for her continued service to those in need was aired, featuring beauty industry executives including Leonard A. Lauder, Alex Keith, Ron Gee and Suzanne Pengelly.
The Carlotta Jacobson’s Founder Award will continue to be presented to changemakers and industry leaders that use their platforms to give back.