Closer By The Mile
The Pan-Mass Challenge, presented by the Boston Red Sox Foundation and New Balance, is the nation's original fundraising bike-a-thon, and today raises more money for charity than any other athletic fundraising event in the country. A model of fundraising efficiency, since 2007 the PMC has donated 100% of every rider-raised dollar directly to cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The PMC is so well-known in cycling and fundraising circles, that each year people travel from around the world to participate. Thousands of riders and volunteers have lost loved ones to the disease, still more ride in honor of those in treatment, and over 600 PMC riders and volunteers are cancer survivors. The camaraderie shared by riders, volunteers, and supporters is so strong that even the doctors at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute join their patients as teammates, riding toward a unified goal.
Since its 1980 inception, the PMC has contributed $598 million to lifesaving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. For more facts and figures, see the PMC Fact Sheet.
The PMC is a model of efficiency for all non-profit events. The professional team is made up of nine full time and one part-time staff; a 14-person volunteer coordinating staff; a 12-person Board of Trustees; 6,000 cyclists; 4,000 volunteers; 46 communities; 200 companies, which donate $5 million worth of merchandise and services; and more than 300,000 individuals who sponsor PMC cyclists.
The PMC Staff
- Founder/Executive Director: Billy Starr
- Chief Financial Officer: Michele Sommer
- Senior Vice President IT & Operations: David Hellman
- Director of Marketing & Sponsorship: Bill Alfano
- Director of Provisions & Logistics: Glynn Hawley
- Volunteer & Creative Director: Sarah Mercurio Hall
- Director of Fundraising & Pedal Partner Program: Alison Rush
- Special Programs & Fundraising Manager: Justine Darmanian
- Director of Stewardship and Liaison to DFCI: Meredith Beaton Starr
- Project Coordinator: Susan Doucet
- Fundraising Coordinator: Jessica Otto
PMC Professional Staff
The PMC has a management team composed of nine full-time and one part-time professional staff members who work year round at the PMC headquarters in Needham, Massachusetts.
Before starting the PMC, Starr was a reporter for newspapers in Massachusetts and Colorado, worked in public relations, and was the squash coach at Babson College. He received his BA from the University of Denver in 1973, a Masters in Education from Northeastern University in 1978, an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Babson College in 1998, honorary degree from Bay Path College in 2008; and an honorary degree, Salem State University, 2014. An avid cyclist, skier, and racquet player, Starr has ridden in his own event for all 38 years. Starr lives with his wife, Meredith, and daughters, Hannah and Sophia. Starr consults on event programming throughout the country.
Chief Financial Officer
Michele Sommer comes to the PMC with experience in finance, business management and international relations. Michele started her career at the financial firm PwC where she rose to become a partner, working in auditing and international operations. After leaving PwC, Michele sought out a creative enterprise and founded a handbag company that would sell more than 30,000 bags online and in retailers across the country. During that time she was active in fundraising and development at her children's school. She has had a long relationship with the PMC. Her husband, Chet Geschickter, is a 16-year PMC rider and Michele has completed the ride seven times. In her PMC role, Michele oversees the financial aspects of the PMC and work to ensure that the organization continues as a model for efficiency in the nonprofit industry. Michele, her husband and their three children live in Brookline.
David Hellman is a 27 year PMC alumnus, first riding in 1990. At that time he was living in Steamboat Springs Colorado. Over the next ten years David's career took him from Steamboat Springs to Durango, CO and then Chicago. During his tenure in Colorado he was Director of Information Systems & Administrative Services at the Steamboat Ski Resort. He went on to become Vice President of Commercial Operations at Durango Mountain Resort in Durango Colorado. David's expertise with technology and customer service operations is evident in the way our riders and volunteers can now use the PMC website and MyPMC to manage their fundraising and logistics. David is also responsible for less technical aspects of the weekend even though he has given up direct control of buses, dumpsters and even Porta-Potties to Glynn Hawley.
Bill Alfano comes to the PMC with experience in marketing, promotions, event management and social media. Bill started his marketing career in 1992 with Starter Sportswear in New Haven, CT where he was an on-field Marketing Rep. In 1997 he started his career in media as an Event Director in Phoenix for a radio station cluster. He became a Promotion Director and later Director of Marketing for radio clusters in CT and Dallas, TX. In 2006 Bill moved to Boston as the Director of Marketing for Entercom Boston, with the brands WAAF, WEEI and WRKO. During the years Bill has worked with and run many non-profit programs and fundraisers with his radio stations including The Jimmy Fund, Pan-Mass Challenge, and other local charities. Bill himself is a five-year PMC volunteer. He is originally from Northford, CT and studied Communication at the University of Rhode Island. He now resides with his wife and daughter in Natick, MA.
Director of Provisions & Logistics
Glynn first became involved with the PMC in 1995 and rode for 9 years prior to joining the Professional Staff in 2004. As Director of Provisions, it is Glynn's responsibility to provide riders with ample food and beverages. He also coordinates transportation for riders and their gear. Prior to joining the staff, Glynn was an operations manager for a local telecommunications company, an outdoor guide and cross country ski instructor and a security police officer in the U.S. Air Force. Glynn is a graduate of Boston College and lives in Natick with his wife and children.
Sarah Mercurio Hall
Volunteer & Creative Director
Sarah first became involved with the PMC in 2007 as a member of her father's cheering squad and as a volunteer. After earning degrees in both English and Art History from Connecticut College in 2004 Sarah began her career in New York City. Previous to joining the PMC professional staff in June of 2010, Sarah worked for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art New England, and MassArt. Sarah currently resides in Boston's South Boston neighborhood.
Director of Fundraising & Pedal Partner Program
Alison Rush joined the PMC professional staff in March 2012. A graduate of Boston College, Alison previously worked at a private special education school in Dorchester as a middle and high school history teacher. As the Director of Fundraising, Alison supports riders in their fundraising efforts, assists with donor relations, oversees registration and helps with event planning. She also facilitates the Pedal Partner program where PMC teams and riders are matched up with and ride in honor of Jimmy Fund Clinic patients. In her spare time she enjoys yoga and baking. She lives in Jamaica Plain with her husband.
Special Programs & Fundraising Manager
Starting off as the PMC's first Winter Intern in January 2013, Justine became full-time in May 2013. Before that she had been cheering on riders at Da' Hedge while being a resident camp counselor at Cape Cod Sea Camps. A California native, she relocated to the Boston area after graduating from Sonoma State University. As the Special Programs Manager she runs the PMC Kids Rides program leading volunteer coordinators from over 35 different towns across Massachusetts and New England in hosting their own mini PMC rides. She also runs the PMC's indoor cycling event - PMC Winter Cycle. As the Fundraising Coordinator, Justine helps with fundraising processes, rider logistics and social media. In her spare time Justine coaches water polo at Needham High School and is known for her love of bagels and anything spicy. She lives in Southie.
Meredith Beaton Starr
Director of Stewardship and Liaison to DFCI
In her 28 years with the PMC, Meredith has been involved in all aspects of the PMC, from cycling and volunteering to outreach, advocacy and development. In her current role, Meredith cultivates and enhances relationships with PMC donors, riders, volunteers, sponsors and advocates, keeping them engaged year-round in the PMC. She provides support and enables many to deepen their associations with the organization. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is a member of the Jimmy Fund Visiting Committee. Meredith has been practicing occupational therapy for more than 24 years in inpatient and outpatient settings and currently works part-time as an occupational therapist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in the Integrative Medicine Department. Meredith earned her Bachelor's of Science and Master's Degree at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
Susan Doucet joined the PMC professional staff in October 2017. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Susan previously worked as a reporter at the Concord Monitor and as an associate editor at CommunityCo in Boston. As the Project Coordinator, Susan is responsible for providing project leadership and quality assurance in IT, operations and communications. Susan has been involved with the PMC for a decade. She first got involved with the PMC a few years after her dad starting riding it (2017 was his 13th year!), and has been involved ever since. She first volunteered in 2008 and has done the ride four times (2012, 2013, 2014, and 2017).
A graduate of Dighton-Rehoboth regional high school, Jessica got involved with the PMC as a volunteer in 2010 through her father’s oncologist at Dana-Farber. She continued to volunteer at the Dighton-Rehoboth lunch spot with her family until 2014 when she started riding with her father, Peter. Combined, Jessica and Peter have raised over $80,000 for the PMC to date. Peter passed away in July 2017 from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at 55 years old.
Jessica was hired as a part-time intern at the Pan-Mass Challenge in November 2017. She became full time at the end of February, holding her intern position and handling Alison’s fundraising responsibilities while she is on maternity leave. Along with working at the PMC, Jessica teaches dance class at studios close to her home and has been dancing since the age of five. She lives in Rehoboth with her mother, her sister, and her dog.
Katie Morrison of Cone Communications
Volunteer Head Staff
The major hub sites and key volunteer crews are run by members of the Volunteer Head Staff on PMC weekend. The Head Staff donate much time and energy to the event throughout the year and the PMC is most grateful for their many talents.
- Susan Brogan: Sturbridge and Patriot Place Co-Coordinator
- Wil Carroll: Co-Coordinator, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Bourne
- Anthony Polcari: Co-Coordinator, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Bourne
- Allan Eyden: Road Coordinator
- Shaun Keefe: Provincetown Co-Coordinator
- Susan Pesaturo: Provincetown Co-Coordinator
- Jack Mowatt: Mechanical Co-Coordinator
- Kyle Mowatt: Mechanical Co-Coordinator
- Mathew McGuiness: Sturbridge and Patriot Place Co-Coordinator
- Justin O'Connor: Emergency Communications Coordinator
- Jeff Rimpas: Wellesley Co-Coordinator
- BJ Tynan: Medical Coordinator
- Les Laputz: Wellesley Co-Coordinator
Board of Trustees
Formed in 1994, the trustees have fiduciary responsibilities that include: determining the annual donation to the Jimmy Fund, salary reviews, budget reviews and vendor contracts exceeding $25,000.
- Billy Starr, President: Founder and Executive Director, Pan-Mass Challenge
- Robert Smith, Chairman: Managing Partner, Castanea Partners, Newton, MA
- Caren Deardorf, Secretary: Sr Director, Global Brand Lead, SMA, Specialty/Rare Disease Unit at Biogen
- James Shulman, Treasurer: Chief Credit Officer, Boston Private Financial Holdings, Boston, MA
- Judy Adler: Philanthropist and Community Activist, Coral Gables, FL
- Mike Ascione: Managing Director, Berkshire Partners, Boston, MA
- Josh Bekenstein: Managing Director, Bain Capital, Boston, MA
- Susan Brogan: Director, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, North Grafton, MA
- Lois Cornell: Executive Vice President, Massachusetts Medical Society
- Robert D'Angelo: President, Twin Enterprises
- Mike Dee: President of Entercom Sports, Philadelphia, PA
- Alan Einhorn: Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP, Boston, MA (legal counsel)
- David Fialkow: Managing Director, General Catalyst, Boston, MA
- John Gilula: EVP Business Affairs, Boston Red Sox
- Todd Langton: Consultant, TGL Associates, Newton, MA
- Jeff Rimpas (ex-officio): PMC Head Staff
- Steven Singer: Senior Vice President of Communications, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA