Client Testimonial

A message from Dr. Vera Packard, Executive Director of Lazarex Cancer Foundation


Dr. Vera Packard, Executive Director

Dr. Vera Packard  

Dear CEN Supporter,

Thank you so much for supporting the Center for Excellence in Nonprofits (CEN)! Because of this support I was able to take advantage of the CEN Leaders Institute program, engage my entire board in a facilitated retreat, and was granted one of CEN’s scholarships to attend the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management course at the Harvard Business School. These exceptional programs have made me a better and stronger leader, which has ultimately increased the effectiveness and impact of my organization.

I am a former breast cancer surgeon from Brazil and have no formal background in business or nonprofit management. Seven years ago, I took a leap of faith and accepted the job as Executive Director for the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation [Vera is now leading Lazarex Cancer Foundation]. This time in the nonprofit sector has been an amazing adventure for me … and in the last few years, my learning experience has grown exponentially because of the programs and resources available to me from CEN. I’m honored to be able to share my CEN journey with you.

I would best describe the CEN Leaders Institute as a safe haven for Executive Directors. Our leadership role is very lonely and this program offers us a trusted network with which we can share our challenges and find creative solutions, all the while being supported by the wise guidance of CEN staff.  Because of this experience, I was finally able to do the difficult restructuring of personnel that my organization needed.


Overall, the classes I took at CEN helped me fully understand my role and strengths as a leader. Even though I don’t have a formal degree in nonprofit management, after experiencing the programs and resources that CEN has to offer, it feels like I do. For that I am forever grateful!


I was also able to share this valuable knowledge with my entire board when I brought CEN in to consult during our board retreat. From that strategically facilitated discussion, new possibilities of growth and expansion were on the horizon.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for your support of CEN. Because of you, nonprofit organizations and their leaders (like me) can learn, grow and continue to deliver on our missions, ultimately making this world a better place for all of us.


Thank You!!