Director
Lily Safani has served as the CEO of Gilda’s Club NYC (GCNYC) since February 2007. GCNYC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support, educate and empower cancer patients and their families in New York City – free of charge. Gilda’s Club believes that no one should face cancer alone. Their comprehensive cancer program is a complement to medical treatment and includes support and networking groups, educational lectures, and healthy lifestyle workshops for everyone impacted by cancer – men, women, teens and children – in a beautiful Clubhouse in the West Village and at hospital partners throughout New York City. Each year Gilda’s Club reaches over 20,000 New Yorkers living with cancer. With over 39,000 New Yorkers newly diagnosed with cancer each year, there is an unmet need to provide a comprehensive cancer support resource to help individuals learn to live with cancer whatever the outcome. Lily moved to Gilda’s Club from Continuum Hospice Care, a subsidiary of Continuum Health Partners and the largest hospice in New York City. As the Senior Vice President of Business Development, she was responsible for strategic planning, business development and human resources. She directed efforts to successfully increase the patient census and market penetration throughout the city by developing new partnerships with NYC hospitals, nursing and assisted living facilities in the five boroughs. From 2002 to 2005, Lily served as the Vice President of Development, Marketing and Public Relations for North General Hospital, the only private, not-for-profit hospital in the underserved Harlem community. During her time there, Lily established a development and marketing infrastructure, formulated and began implementing a 5-year business plan to meet fundraising goals and engaged the Board of Directors in fundraising for the first time. She was instrumental in securing over $2.5 million in donations in less than 2 years, establishing an effective public relations program to increase their visibility, and promoting the hospital and its services throughout Harlem. In 2002, Lily switched from financial services to the non-profit healthcare sector, motivated to use her for-profit experience to make a difference wherever she could, particularly in the underserved communities of New York City. Her first experience in healthcare increased her awareness of the tremendous disparities in medical care within low income communities as evidenced by their poorer outcomes and higher mortality rates across almost all chronic illnesses. From 1989 to 2002, Lily served as Founder and President of Safani Direct Inc., a successful direct marketing agency, specializing in new business development and marketing for the financial services industry. Among her clients were the Northeast’s leading financial institutions including Citi, MasterCard International and JPMorganChase. Prior to founding her company, she worked at Tempest & Safani (1984-1988), Benton & Bowles Direct (1981-1984) and Citicorp (1977-1981) specializing in strategic planning, new product development, direct marketing and branding for the financial services and computer technology industries. Lily holds a BA from Barnard College, an MBA from the Wharton Graduate School of Business, and has completed Harvard Business School Strategic Perspectives in NonProfit Management. She also serves on the board of NYBIO. Outside of work, she and her husband, Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, spend time with their twin daughters, Nathalie and Alexandra, enjoying the beach, travel, New York City and their individuality.