Danielle Hughes had been working for Catered Affair in 2019 when her boss enlisted her to drive one of the trucks that would load the basket raffle creations for Dance for the Cure's annual fundraiser, Ribbons of Hope, and deliver them to the event venue.
Danielle recalls showing up to Basket Central the day of the event where hundreds of baskets were to be loaded onto trucks. "It was chaotic and there were baskets EVERYWHERE!" Danielle was wearing her standard black hoodie and jeans, not realizing that the color of the day was pink! Danielle recalls the episode with amusement: "When DFC co-founder, Joanne Liscovitz, spotted me, she declared 'You're wearing the wrong color!' The look on her face when I said I didn't own pink was hysterical! The next thing I knew, I had a pink shirt thrown at me. I can now say that I own 3 pink shirts and fear more will make their way into my closet!"
That evening at Ribbons of Hope Danielle began to understand what Dance for the Cure stands for and how it helps women in the community—and she also won a basket! Danielle knew intrinsically that she wanted to be a part of the organization. The next day, she reached out to Joanne to volunteer. Today, Danielle is executive assistant and office manager supporting co-founder Joanne Liscovitz and has a hand in the execution of the day-to-day operations that make the organization run so well.
"Danielle has jumped into her role at DFC feet first, and does everything from managing ROH reservations and donation spread sheets to photographing baskets and creating display certificates. Her attention to detail and outstanding organization skills help me tremendously in running our event and her sense of humor makes me smile in the process!" - Joanne Liscovitz, DFC Co-founder
"To know that I'm a small part of an organization that has impacted people's lives for the better, is extremely rewarding. I wear many hats. Behind the scenes, admin stuff, basket photographer, certificate designer, 'item schlepper,' making sure Joanne doesn't go bonkers....lol...you name it, I'm there."
In the late 1980s Dance for the Cure co-founder, and then-owner of Kathleen Academy of Dance, Kathleen Cirioli, placed an ad in the help wanted section of the local newspaper seeking a dance teacher. Lynn Grillo answered that ad and met Kathleen at her Hillsborough dance studio for an interview. That conversation marked the beginning of a decades-long friendship that changed the trajectory of Lynn's life. Lynn, or "Miss Lyni" as she would become known to her students, got the job and happily found she had also acquired a new dance family, including fellow dance instructor Joanne Liscovitz, who would go on to co-found Dance for the Cure with Kathleen.
When Lynn started learning Web Design in the mid-1990s Kathleen hired her to build a website for the dance studio becoming Lynn's first paying customer. That opened up new possibilities for Lynn who began to explore the world of tech as a new creative outlet.
"When I think about all the times Kathleen took a chance on me, it takes my breath away. So many of the good things in my life are directly attributed to her faith in my abilities. She and Joanne have always led by example, and their example has always been guided by giving."
In the late 1990s Kathleen was diagnosed with breast cancer which sparked the creation of Dance for the Cure. By then Lynn had married her husband Joe Grillo, a musician and composer, and together they recorded the music that was used by the tap dancers at DFC events, including a version that was used for DFC's appearance on the Rosie O'Donnell Show. Lynn began taking on small projects for DFC that involved technology, such as creating a video, photo gallery or slide show. Eventually, Lynn built the organization a website.
In 2000, Lynn started a full time job at Adobe, the creative-software giant, which began a 20-year career that took her from an entry level position to a Sr. Director responsible for keeping Adobe's largest enterprise customers happy and for maintaining recurring revenue of over 3/4 of a billion dollars in the Americas. During that 20-year span, Lynn continued to volunteer with DFC when she could, primarily helping out with things like the program for the annual fundraiser, Ribbons of Hope.
"After so many years of recitals and fundraisers you really get to know people. Did you know Kathleen hates berries and Joanne loves Twizzlers? These women are not just my colleagues, they are my dear friends. They have the biggest hearts I've ever seen, and women in our community have benefitted greatly from their benevolence."
In early 2020 Lynn retired from Adobe right into pandemic lock-down. With time on her hands and experience under her belt, she joined Dance for the Cure's leadership team as Media Director. After many conversations with Kathleen and Joanne about the organization's goals and challenges, she set about modernizing Dance for the Cure's image with a brighter color palette, a responsive website, new social media campaigns, refreshed print assets and updated collaboration processes.
"It's been fun and rewarding and I'm so grateful to be a part of this incredible organization."
Are you interested in volunteering?
Visit our Volunteers page to see our great team!