Board of Directors

Jack Aronson – In Memoriam – With Grace and Gratitude

Jack, when you joined our board in 2019, we didn’t know you’d soon be facing your own cancer diagnosis. But that didn’t stop you. It only fueled your passion for our mission. You fought cancer valiantly, loved others fervently, and served with humility. It has been a privilege to know you and serve along side you. Thank you for saying yes.

You elevated our organization and left us with a beautiful legacy to carry forward. We will continue to glorify God by serving the cancer community with the grace and gratitude you taught us embrace and share. We love you brother. Rest in peace.

Jack Aronson is a former restaurateur who, with his wife Annette, founded Garden Fresh Gourmet in Ferndale, Michigan, back in 1998. Having grown it into one of the premier deli supply companies in North America, with over 400 employees, the Aronsons sold Garden Fresh to the Campbell Soup Company in 2015, on the condition that they commit to keeping manufacturing operations in Ferndale and further invest in the local community. In 2016, Jack and Annette founded Great Fresh Foods, which makes clean, ready-to-heat proteins and other healthy entrées.

Jack serves on the board of Beyond Basics, an organization promoting youth literacy. He and Annette, through their Artichoke Garlic Foundation, established the Ferndale Literacy Project, and are inaugural supporters of Metro Detroit Youth Clubs. Without a doubt, Jack and Annette’s belief in the youth of our communities is unquestionable.

Beyond philanthropy, Jack’s passion for healthy food, combined with his abiding interest in innovative food manufacturing processes, has driven him to become a thought leader in the application of High-Pressure Processing (HPP) to the production of safe, wholesome food products.

Alicia Jeffreys

Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Detroit Pistons

Alicia has been in marketing and branding with the organization for 19 years and leads a team of 40+ people over different areas including Community in Social Responsibility, Brand Strategy, Marketing Operations, and Content and Creative Production. She is the mother of four wonderful daughters and a cancer survivor who has a strong affinity and understanding for the mission of New Day.

 Caron Koteles Riha

Caron is a leader in the real estate community as consistently the top Associate Broker at Real Estate One/Max Broock in downtown Rochester.  While building a strong legal and business career since the early 1990’s, as well as raising her children who have all graduated the local Stoney Creek High School, Caron is proud to have always dedicated herself to the Community.  New Day Foundation is a vital part of helping others, which is what Caron loves to do.  Whether it is dominating her business, spending quality time with her husband, Keith, and their five grown children and Corgi named Bean, or volunteering to raise awareness in the community, Caron makes time for what is important.

David Kwon, MD

Interim Deputy Director-Surgical Oncology Specialties, Henry Ford Cancer Institute, Physician In Charge, Cancer Pavilion, Division Head, Surgical Oncology, Medical Director, Cancer Care Pathways, Clinical Director, Henry Ford Pancreatic Cancer Center

Dr. David Kwon is a board-certified surgeon and fellowship-trained surgical oncologist. He also is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He received his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from Columbia University and earned his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego. He completed his residency in general surgery at Henry Ford Hospital where he received multiple research and clinical awards. He completed a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where he developed clinical expertise in the multidisciplinary care of cancer patients.

As the Clinical Director of the Henry Ford Pancreatic Cancer Center, Dr. Kwon is leading the effort to bring together the world’s best minds to accelerate the pace of discovery in early detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer. His personal research interests are related to identification of radiographic biomarkers indicating early presence of disease, health and healthcare disparities, and surgical outcomes.

Steven Meyer

Steve Meyer has been involved with the New Day Foundation as a board member since 2016 and recently accepted the role as board chair. Steve is passionate about helping families battle the financial toxicity of cancer since losing an aunt, uncle, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law to cancer; all whom had children in their home at the time of their passing. Steve holds a doctorate in Education from Oakland University where he has worked since 2006. He has a broad background and experience in budget management, information systems, gift accounting, and advancement services. Steve and his wife of 16 years, Michelle, have three kids (CadenDeclan, and Linden) and reside in Shelby Township. Michelle has been practicing veterinarian in Sterling Heights since 2007.

joannepJoAnne Purtan

JoAnne Purtan helps start people’s day with a smile as co-host of “Mornings with Stephen Clark & JoAnne Purtan” on 104.3 WOMC. She joined WOMC Radio in April 2018 after spending 27 years as a broadcast journalist. During that time, she won 4 Emmys for her work, including Best New Anchor. JoAnne’s always been passionate about communicating, and she’s enjoying using her skills in a new way now at a station where her father spent the last 15 years of his iconic career in morning radio.

JoAnne and her family know the struggle of cancer all too well.  Not only did she lose her mother-in-law to ovarian cancer, but her own mother battled the disease five times. The entire Purtan family is dedicated to raising awareness about the disease and the money needed for a more effective early detection method.

While JoAnne knows how devastating cancer alone can be, she has a heart for those faced with the added burden of financial distress. That’s why she is so passionate about her role on the Board of Directors for the New Day Foundation. She looks forward to making a difference in people’s lives as they face such a heartbreaking time. JoAnne and her husband Eric are proud Spartans, both graduates of Michigan State University. They have two children, Lauren and Adam.

Photo of Amy Whipple smilingAmy Whipple

In November 2019, Amy joined the premier global Accounting/Tax/Advisory firm, BDO, as the Business Development Director. Amy has over 20 years of business development, marketing, event-planning, fundraising, recruiting and consulting experience. Prior to joining BDO, Amy co-founded Purple Squirrel Advisors, a Detroit-based boutique executive search firm. While at Purple Squirrel Advisors, Amy led or supported hundreds of executive level searches, in a broad range of industries, for privately-held, PE-backed and family-owned businesses. The vast majority of the search engagements were for executive-level finance/accounting roles. Amy prides herself on building strong relationships and providing caring and trusting guidance to clients, peers and strategic partners.  She is passionate about positively impacting companies and truly loves being an integral player on a winning team.  Amy genuinely enjoys networking (she prefers the “NetGiving” approach), leading peer-to-peer groups, and attending events for professional development. She considers herself to be a lifelong and curious learner, which has proven beneficial in her role as a trusted advisor. 

Amy is passionate about bringing together like-minded people and steering funding to local non-profits. In 2013, she and two friends co-founded 100 Women Who Care, Greater Rochester Area. As of November 2019, this group of 240+ members has steered over $540,000 to 26 different non-profits.  Amy has also provided support and guidance to other groups around the country who have replicated the crowd-funding giving model including: 100 Millennials Who Care, 100 Mayors Who Care, 100 Faithful Friends, 100 Men Club and 100 Women Who Care groups in:  Forsyth & St. Simons, Georgia; Treasure Coast & Sarasota, Florida; and groups in North Macomb, Owosso, Grosse Pointe, Troy and Durand, Michigan.  In January 2017, Amy and her co-founders, replicated the model for the business community and launched 100 Businesses Who Care.  To date, the group has gifted over $250,000 to six Southeast Michigan non-profits. Amy finds it incredibly rewarding to bring together people and businesses to positively impact the organizations, communities and people who need our help.

In 2011, Amy lost her 29-year old cousin, Janet O’Connor, to colon cancer.  That same year, Amy’s 29-year old sister-in-law, Nicole Cooper, was diagnosed with AML Leukemia.  Both Janet and Nicole passed away from their courageous battles with cancer in December 2011.  Amy is passionate about the impact she is able to make on local non-profits.

Gina Kell Spehn and Michael Spehn

In 2007, motivated by their personal experiences, Michael and Gina started New Day at the kitchen table with no nonprofit experience, but with a deep desire to help families cope with the financial and emotional burdens of cancer. The legacies of their first spouses, Matt Kell and Cathy Spehn, are the heart and soul of New Day Foundation for Families. The origins of New Day are told in the Spehn’s New York Times bestselling memoir, “The Color of Rain”, which also became a Hallmark Original movie in 2014. 

Together they have a blended family with five fun-loving young adults. They have been featured on The Today Show, Huckabee and ABC World News, and have been national speakers and radio talk show hosts, sharing their message of faith, hope and love. Gina currently serves as President of New Day Foundation and is on the Advisory Board for Camp Kesem MSU. Michael is a Personal Financial Representative with Equitable. The legacies of their late spouses and their faith in Jesus Christ are what guide their lives and commitment to the cancer community.