Kari Nikolish, president of Komen Ozark’s Board of Directors, was recognized for her leadership by the global Susan G. Komen organization at its annual Leadership Conference in Fort Worth, Texas this weekend. Receiving the Excellence in Board Leadership Award, Nikolish was honored for her accomplishments that extended beyond normal board responsibilities and expectations.
Nikolish became an advocate for breast health after being diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 35. After going through treatment and learning from others throughout her breast cancer journey, she felt compelled to do her part to help women and give back. Nikolish began volunteering for Komen Ozark in 2008 and has served on the board since 2010, the past four as Board President.
During her time with Komen, she led the search for a new Executive Director while also stepping in to assume the role on an interim basis, all the while encouraging staff and volunteers to help keep the Affiliate motivated during times of change. She has taken an active role in mission work, attending site visits with mission staff, conducting outreach and taking time to develop granting strategies throughout the year. She is a true advocate for utilizing policy and strategy to ensure all women have the same access to care, no matter where they live or their financial constraints.
Nikolish’s tenacious spirit has helped to elevate fundraising efforts through her extensive knowledge in cultivating donor relationships and ability to reinvent events. She is a tireless advocate for Komen Ozark and for quality access to healthcare for all. She can often be seen presenting to a group about the importance of early detection, discussing why donating to Komen Ozark is so important, passing out education materials at community events, or mentoring a new survivor.
“I met many people during my two years of treatment with much different circumstances and outcomes. I’ve met even more through my volunteer efforts with Komen the last 5 years. My blessings since my diagnosis are beyond measure and I’m committed to continue the fight that others have not been able to finish and pay it forward as so many did before me.”