Don Listwin, Founder, Chairman

A thirty-year veteran of the technology industry, Don Listwin walked away from his high profile technology career and launched Canary Foundation in 2004. Motivated by a personal experience with cancer — Listwin's mother was misdiagnosed and died from ovarian cancer — he has committed his life to advancing early detection diagnostics.

Listwin serves on the Board of Directors of several private and public companies. He is on the External Advisory Board for the Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (CCNE) at Stanford and is a member of the Stanford Advisory Board for the Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection at Stanford. He also serves as a member of The Melanoma Cancer Center at The Moffitt Cancer Center. He was appointed to the National Cancer Institute's Board of Scientific Advisors.

A native of Canada, Listwin holds a B.S. in electrical engineering and an honorary doctorate of law from the University of Saskatchewan.

Ronica Smucker, Executive Director

Ronica began her development career at Georgetown University as the Assistant Director for Georgetown College and later served as the Senior Director of International Fundraising. As Managing Director at the University of Virginia’s College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Ronica was responsible for leading a $500 million goal, the largest part of the University of Virginia’s $3 billion comprehensive campaign. Before joining Canary, Ronica was the Senior Director of Principal Gifts at the Stanford University School of Medicine. In her role, she was responsible for cultivating and soliciting gifts of $5 million or more and for providing leadership and strategic direction for principal gifts prospects. Prior to joining Stanford, she was the Senior Director of Individual Giving Initiatives at Carnegie Mellon University.

In her position at Canary Foundation, Ronica’s goal is to increase funding so that Canary can continue to bring together scientists, engineers, and clinicians for early detection cancer research.

Emily Smith, Marketing and Communications Manager

A veteran from the outdoor industry, Emily most recently worked for The North Face and Specialized Bicycle Components in various corporate headquarters marketing roles. She brings her expertise of the bike industry to lead the marketing efforts for the Canary Challenge fundraiser, as well as the Canary Foundation. She's a firm believer in the Foundation's goal for finding early cancer detection tests and enjoys bringing her love of bike riding to the cause. Outside of work, Emily enjoys anything outdoors, volunteering at a local animal shelter, and hanging out with her dog, Ava.

Jesse Murillo, Team and Development Manager

Prior to joining Canary Foundation, Jesse was a banker for 6 years. His experience in the financial services industry has taught him that establishing and maintaining relationships is the key factor to growth and success. He holds a BA in Chicano Studies from San Diego State University. Early detection is important for the sole reason that many lives will be saved. Jesse enjoys running in his free time.

Scientific Program Management

Heidi Auman, Ph.D., Scientific Program Manager

Prior to joining the Canary Foundation, Heidi was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at New York University School of Medicine’s Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine in New York City. In the lab of Dr. Deborah Yelon, her research focused on studying the genetics and cell biology of cardiovascular development and disease. During her doctoral studies, she was awarded a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellowship at the National Academies in Washington, DC. There she worked on issues at the intersection of policymakers, scientists, and the public with the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. She earned her Ph.D., M.S., and M.Phil. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University.

Sarah Hawley, M.S., Data Analyst

Sarah joined the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 2002, as a Statistical Research Associate, where she provided data analytic support for prostate cancer research. Her areas of expertise include the analysis of gene expression microarrays and tissue microarrays as well as custom statistical programming in the R language. She became a Canary Foundation team member in April, 2007, where she now serves as a Data Analyst and Coordinator. Sarah holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Carleton College and an M.S. in Statistics from Colorado State University.


Therese Quinlan, CFRE, Senior Development Director

I joined Canary Foundation to be in an environment that matches my deep interest and training in high-impact philanthropy. As a child I witnessed that when someone gives to a cause, everyone involved is changed as they push an idea to reality. At Canary Foundation discussions with donors are open. The approach to cancer early detection is pragmatic. I was inspired early on by donors and professionals when working at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and the Alzheimer’s Association. A certified fundraising executive (CFRE) since 2002, I have lead many fundraising efforts, with a focus on transformational giving.

Renata Barnes, Donor Services and Relations

After 20 years working in database and systems management for clients in the for-profit and non-profit sectors, I was excited to join the Canary Foundation in 2010. I consider it a wonderful opportunity to advance the goals of the foundation by providing highly personalized service to its staff and supporters. I have extensive experience developing streamlined systems that allow small organizations to work smarter and better satisfy the needs of their community members. Although my work here primarily involves tasks such as database creation, integration, conversion and maintenance; I also support and organize registration for our events, where I enjoy sharing a glass of fine wine with the amazing people who support the mission of Canary Foundation.

Ashley Hurd, Events Manager

After obtaining a BA in Sociology from Vanguard University in Southern California, Ashley went on to obtain a Certificate in Fundraising at the University of California, Irvine. She managed a variety of events at Goodwill of Orange County and other major venues before coming to Canary Foundation. Ashley's goal at Canary is to support it's mission by creating quality, inspiring events, which in turn allows other staff members to focus solely on developing a test for the early detection of cancer.