About Marin Breast Cancer Watch

History of Marin Breast Cancer Watch

Marin Breast Cancer Watch was formed in the fall of 1995 by a group of women who were alarmed that, according to the Northern California Cancer Center, women living in Marin County now have a 1-in-7 lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.

Board of Directors

Janice Barlow, Interim Executive Director
Roni Peskin-Mentzer,  President
Flavia Belli, Vice President
Linda Spence, Secretary
Lucy Rezendes, Treasurer
Katie Beacock
Dr. Georgie Farren
Andrea Fox
Margaret "Pegi" Knopp
Fern Orenstein
Ginger Souders-Mason
Joanne Williams


Adrienne Kolb, Executive Assistant
Debra McKnight-Higgins, Development Director
Tom Scott, Communications Director
Cassie Stevenson, Events and Volunteer Coordinator

Active Committees Chairpersons
Executive Task Force Flavia Belli
Andrea Fox
Fern Orenstein
Roni Peskin-Mentzer
Finance Task Force Georgie Farren
Fern Orenstein
Lucy Rezendes
Development Task Force Flavia Belli
Pegi Knopp
Debra McKnight Higgins
Roni Peskin-Mentzer
Personnel Task Force Georgie Farren
Ginger Souders-Mason
Trusteeship Task Force Pegi Knopp
Joanne Williams
Linda Spence
Environmental Task Force Ginger Souders-Mason
Georgie Farren
Research Task Force Georgie Farren
Education Task Force Andrea Fox
Ginger Souders-Mason
Communication and PR Task Force Edare Carroll
Tom Scott
Ginger Souders-Mason
Linda Spence
Joanne Williams
Corporate Sponsor Committee 
Event Outreach Committee
Volunteer Committee
Mailing Committee
Merchandise Committee
Phone Committee
Public Awareness Committee
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Janice Barlow, R.N., Interim Executive Director

Janice was new on the Board of Directors but had spent a year working with the investigative groups when our founder, Francine Levien died.  Janice was requested by the board to become interim executive director to allow time for the organization to complete plans for and hold the 2nd Annual Honor Thy Healer Celebration and begin the search for the new Executive Director.  With her background in medicine and a love of organizing, Janice is working hard to keep the focus of Marin Breast Cancer Watch and deal with the multiple layers of contracts and negotiations required on the various studies and grants coming into the organization.  Janice welcomes suggestions and can be reached in the office five days a week.



Roni Peskin-Mentzer, President

Roni was elected President of MBCW in June, 2000. For the last three years she has been actively involved on the Research Committee. In conjunction with Dr. Margaret Wrensch, an epidemiologist at UCSF, the Research Committee has been funded by B.C.R.P. to begin a Breast Cancer Case Control Study of women in Marin County. She was born and educated in New York City, received a BA degree in Education from Brooklyn College and has worked primarily in office design. She attended the World Conference on Breast Cancer in Canada in l997, and is active in fund raising for various breast cancer organizations. She is married to William Mentzer, M.D. and has a daughter, Candice. In 1992, Roni was found to have breast cancer, an event that initially caused great fear, but then created a desire to become active in the community in order to find the causes of this disease and ultimately to eradicate it.


Flavia Belli, Vice President flaviab@breastcancerwatch.org

Flavia was elected Vice President in June, 2000 and is a Co-Investigator for the Study of Adolescent Risk Factors for MBCW. She was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended business school in New York City. She has worked for many years as an Administrative Assistant and as an Assistant Bond Trader. Flavia is trained as a Special Touch Breast Health Facilitator and has volunteered at the Marin Mammography Breast Health Center. As a 5-year breast cancer survivor who has 3 daughters and two grandchildren, she has an enormous commitment to this study.

Linda Spence, Secretary lindas@breastcancerwatch.org

Linda is a native of Southern California and studied at Lake Forest College, University of Michigan and San Francisco State in the areas of English literature, education and nutrition & stress management.    These areas of interest suited her well for her work today as a business consultant and conductor of writing workshops.  

Linda became aware of Marin Breast Cancer Watch due to articles in the paper and because her own mother was a victim of the disease.  We became aware of Linda due to her book "Legacy, Step by Step Guide to Writing Personal History."  Mary Gould found her book while researching a way for the "Adolescent Risk Factor" study could overcome the problem of "recall bias."  Linda was a great help in developing tools that are being used by that study.

Linda is a docent at Audubon Canyon Ranch and a Moderator at the Community Congregational Church in Tiburon.  Linda lives in Mill Valley with her long-time partner John and has an adult son and daughter.

Lucy Rezendes, Treasurer lucyr@breastcancerwatch.org

Lucy is Vice President and Trust Officer for Bank of Marin's Investment Advisory and Trust Services, located in Corte Madera. A native of San Francisco, Lucy attended San Francisco State College. Her career in banking began in 1971 and has been employed by various Bank Trust Departments. Lucy's family is comprised of her husband of 29 years, a daughter, a son-in-law and a grandson.

Katie Beacock katieb@breastcancerwatch.org

Katie Beacock is a Marin County native with five children and four grandchildren. She owns a real estate office in Stinson Beach where she handles both sales and vacation rentals. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999.

Katie served as a docent at Audubon Canyon Ranch for 13 years and was on the Board of Directors for almost ten years. Katie is currently serving on the Board of Hospice of Marin and Shakespeare at Stinson. Katie started doing volunteer work as a precinct captain for Bobby Kennedy in his California Primary race. Ever since that time she has been involved as a volunteer.

Andrea Fox andreaf@breastcancerwatch.org

Andrea was appointed to the MBCW Board in May, 1999 and elected Secretary in June, 2000.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer in August, l998 at age 31. Since her diagnosis, she has volunteered with MBCW, speaking with Bay Area organizations about breast cancer and about the history, goals and objectives of MBCW. Andrea has even traveled to Sacramento on behalf of securing funds for the county to study the problem of Breast Cancer in Marin.  She has also been a guest speaker before resident doctors at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco. She has been an Urban Planner with the Marin County Community Development Agency since 1990. In her spare time she enjoys running, biking and gardening. 

Georgie Farren, M.D. georgief@breastcancerwatch.org

Dr. Georgie Farren, Principal investigator of the Adolescent Risk Factor Study now under way in collaboration with U.C. San Francisco, was voted onto the Board in May, 2000.  Georgie was diagnosed in 1992 with breast cancer and is concerned that no other female in her family of six sisters and three daughters will have the same experience.  Dr. Farren grew up in Guylford, CT,  earned her BA degree in English from U.C. Berkeley, a Masters in Education from University of Virginia and her Medical Degree from George Washington University.  To be closer to other family members, Dr. Farren, husband and children, moved to Marin.  She has worked the past three years at the Marin Community Clinic.  Georgie enjoys traveling where she can use her limited French and Spanish.  She also enjoys being a slow jogger, a fast biker and an avid reading.  

Margaret "Pegi" Knopp pegik@breastcancerwatch.org

After a successful career culminating in her election as the first female corporate officer in the waste service industry, she spent the last ten years working with non-profit organizations in Marin. Pegi established successful development programs at the Marin Mammal Center and Audubon Canyon Ranch. She has provided fundraising consulting services to Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, KWMR-West Marin Radio, Marin Baylands Advocates, San Francisco Estuary Institute and Wildcare. Pegi currently serves as Treasurer of the Marin Conservation League. She joined MBCW Board as a result of her intense interest in critical water quality in Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area. Pegi was recently diagnosed with cancer.


Fern Orenstein

Fern holds a Masters Degree in Health Education and has worked in the public health field for 17 years. She currently works as a Trainer/Consultant for the STD/HIV Prevention Training Center in Berkeley, California. She is a member of CALPIRG and the Sierra Club. She is a breast cancer survivor and a committed activist for self-directed health care and environmental consciousness. Pictured here with her daughter, the reason she wants to find the cause of breast cancer.

Ginger Souders-Mason gingers@breastcancerwatch.org

Ginger served on the board of the Environmental Forum of Marin for 9 years, as President for 3 of those years. She served on the Marin County Waste Management Advisory Committee and the Citizens Advisory Committee to the 101 Transportation Plan. She is presently President of the Health Council of Marin, Chairperson of the Marin Beyond Pesticide Coalition and a Board member of the Marin Conservation League serving as Co-Chair of their Environmental Health Committee. A co-founder of the Earth Day Every Day awards of the Marin Community Foundation and serves on the awards committee.  Ginger is a registered Medical Technologist (ASCP). She was awarded the Community Service Award in l989 by Kentfield Schools PTA and the Community Activist Award by the Social Justice Center of Marin in 1999. She is also a video producer through TCI in San Rafael.

Joanne Williams joannew@breastcancerwatch.org
During her career she has interviewed such well known personalities as Gloria Steinem, economist Paul Erdman, Esalen founder Mike Murphy, author George Leonard, psychologist Rollo May and was the first to have a syndicated interview with filmmaker George Lucas prior to the release of "Star Wars."

Williams is co-author of a book on tennis, Women's Winning Doubles (1985), which was translated into Japanese because of the growing interest in women's tennis in Japan.

From 1985 to 1995 she was director of public relations for Marin Theatre Company as well as a free-lance public relations consultant for The Mountain Play, Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival, Artisans gallery and other clients. She has served on several nonprofit boards, including Artisans where she was president for two years.

She is founding editor and past consulting editor of It's Your San Francisco, two visitor publications, and a contributing correspondent to Marin County's daily newspaper, The Independent Journal and The Pacific Sun.


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