Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gals We Admire: Sherry L. Abbott


Find out more about the extraordinary Sherry L. Abbott, a 21-year cancer survivor with an unwavering dedication to helping
women receive the tools and support they need to face cancer with optimism, hope and confidence.

Name: Sherry L. Abbott
Job Title: Executive Director, CCTFA Foundation
Websites:; and
Twitter handle: @SherryLAbbott

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish
There is no "typical" work day for me, which is one of the reasons I enjoy what I do so much. On any given day I may be travelling across the country meeting with our Look Good Feel Better volunteers and alumni or chatting with our bloggers and other cancer survivors. Other days I may be at the office, fundraising for our free national support programs for women with cancer. The one constant in my works days is my Blackberry and my iPad – I don’t go anywhere without being connected!

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
I wanted to be a dermatologist, but as my love for the beauty industry grew as a teenager, my mother somehow convinced me there were other ways to help people put their best face forward. I have had a wonderful career in the cosmetic industry in both Canada and abroad. I couldn’t be more proud to champion the industry’s charity of choice knowing that every day we are making a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I absolutely love meeting people and connecting with others who are passionate about helping women with cancer. We are fortunate at the CCTFA Foundation to have a dedicated team of champions behind each of our programs. Look Good Feel Better has a veritable army of more than 1,900 volunteers from coast to coast, and our online community at is growing every day. It’s inspiring and humbling to have the privilege of providing such positive and uplifting services for women on their cancer journey

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
The CCTFA Foundation is fortunate to have so many passionate supporters, volunteers, sponsors alike. But as with many charities, we must work hard each day to ensure we are raising the vital funds to continue to provide our free services and advocate on behalf of women with cancer. The need for social and emotional support on the cancer journey is huge and we want to ensure that no Canadian woman has to face cancer alone. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day... or days in the week for that matter.

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?
Absolutely! When I was only 30 years old I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of ovarian cancer and doctors told me I would be lucky to live beyond a few months. At that moment I became determined to find what I have since called ‘the other side’ of cancer. Today, I am a 21-year cancer survivor. My own support network of family, friends and healthcare providers were instrumental in helping me get through my own cancer journey, so I am passionate about giving women the tools and support they need to face cancer with optimism, hope and confidence during their cancer and treatment as well as beyond.

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?
Beyond education, practical work experience in your chosen profession is a key asset
to understanding the bigger picture.

Seek out opportunities to do what you’re passionate about. That often means learning and working your way up the ranks so that you have a solid understanding from the ground up.

Set practical goals and aim high. Then be prepared to roll up your sleeves, work hard and never say never again.


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