After graduating from Northwestern University, Bethany Hornthal provided marketing and communications services for a number of up-and-coming Silicon Valley companies during the 1980s and 1990s. In the 1990s, she became more serious about social impact and began focusing her efforts in nonprofit sectors, where she has held a number of board and consulting positions in the health care and community sectors.
In 2010, UCSF Breast Care Center Director Laura Esserman, MD, MBA, asked Bethany to look into a treatment called scalp cooling, after learning about it from one of her patients. Given the success of scalp cooling in Europe, Bethany secured philanthropic funding in the U.S. to conduct an FDA trial, which ultimately resulted in FDA clearance in 2015.
Convinced that saving their hair during chemo should not just be a privilege of those with significant means, and determined to find ways to make scalp cooling accessible to as many patients as possible, Bethany co-founded HairToStay in April 2016 and leads HairToStay as its executive director.
Bethany has also served as President of the Board of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. During her three-year term, revenues rose from $9 million to $27 million. Bethany also served as a member of the Mt. Zion Health Fund Board in San Francisco. Her consulting work includes a marketing and feasibility study for the Pandemics Group of the Skoll Global Threats Fund and continued work with Dr. Esserman.
Interviewed by Winn Claybaugh, Bethany tells how losing her parents in a plane crash when she was only 12 years old shaped her into a passionate philanthropist who knows what it is to feel hopeless, traumatized, and overwhelmed. Her commitment to help women who lose their hair through chemotherapy is a much-needed mission to keep women from losing their dignity and identity. Bethany’s messages of “You have to give to get” and “Never take no for an answer” are a must-hear for everyone.