Movers & Shakers 2017: Floyd Larsen, CEO

Movers & Shakers 2017:

Floyd Larsen, CEO, Cure Cancer Australia Foundation

We were delighted to see our very own Floyd Larsen profiled in a recent edition of Fundraising & Philanthropy Australia Magazine as one of their chosen industry Movers & Shakers for 2017. You can read the full article below.

Floyd and Dr Natalia Castano Rodriguez, one of our 2017 grant recipients.

Floyd and Dr Natalia Castano Rodriguez, one of our 2017 grant recipients.

Floyd Larsen joined Cure Cancer Australia Foundation as CEO in June 2015, having previously held positions with Mission Australia, National Breast Cancer Foundation, and most recently as the CEO of Heart Research Australia.

Her brief, explains Non-Executive Chairman Philip Corne, was to relaunch the brand, consolidate existing revenue streams, identify new and sustainable sources of income, build brand awareness and ensure the talent and organisation was at a level that could manage growth and innovation into the future.


Floyd Larsen and Cure Cancer Australia Ambassador Lisa Greissl.

Floyd Larsen and Cure Cancer Australia Ambassador Lisa Greissl.


“Floyd has demonstrated a highly impressive level of energy and commitment towards fulfilling the board’s brief,” he told F&P. “In addition to recruiting a high performing and committed team, and clearly imparting the goals and aspirations of the brand, Floyd has also identified new and innovative fundraising opportunities and communication initiatives that have realised new sources of revenue and recruited a new generation of donors/supporters.

“Floyd leads by example and is an inspirational role model for her team, an impressive face for the brand, and most importantly drives the organisation in its goal to fund early career cancer researchers
in the knowledge that without research there will be no cure.”

Based on her brief and with a strong background in and knowledge of the nonprofit sector, Larsen’s aim was to make a difference to the organisation from a grassroots level.

“My primary intent has always been to increase Cure Cancer Australia’s presence as Australia’s principal funder of emerging researchers across all cancers,” she says.

“Since I joined the business, I have been committed to increasing awareness of the organisation. As a result, our funding has continued to grow, meaning that many early career researchers who would not have otherwise been able to access grants have been given the opportunity to investigate innovative new ideas in the field of cancer research.”

Approaches, achievements and challenges

Innovation and outside-the-box thinking are approaches Larsen cares deeply about and are what makes her one of our Movers & Shakers.

“Cure Cancer Australia funds an incredibly talented and passionate group of early career cancer researchers at a time when innovative ideas burn brightest, such as Dr Natalia Castano Rodriguez, one of our 2017 grant recipients. Natalia researches the role of ‘autophagy’ in stomach cancer, the biological process which plays a key role in your body's ability to detoxify, repair and regenerate itself, which Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi was recognised for in the 2016 Nobel Prize for Medicine,” she explains.

Stomach cancer is a major cause of cancer-related death throughout the world, and Rodriguez’ research is looking for genetic markers to be used when screening people at high risk, and ways to identify patients who could benefit from existing therapies.

“It’s important that we as an organisation get behind researchers like Natalia every step of the way. By instilling strong leadership skills coupled with the introduction of a new strategic direction for the business, I have worked to create a culture where people are passionate, empowered and self-motivated to create change.”

Soon after joining the organisation, she identified the urgent need for a new signature fundraising initiative that could be readily replicated on any scale by anyone, anywhere – simplicity, scalability and adaptability were paramount to secure nationwide adoption.

“I worked collaboratively with my team – high performers who truly care about the cause – as well as suppliers, to create BARBECURE, a nationally executable campaign that encourages Australians to turn their Aussie barbecues into BARBECUREs, and raise money to help fund early career scientists
in cancer research,” she says.

Featuring Australian icon Paul Hogan AM as its lead ambassador, the campaign was launched in November 2016 with a bipartisan BARBECURE at Parliament House, Canberra, attended by Australian politicians from all sides of politics.

“Our philosophy is that cancer doesn’t discriminate and neither do we. We fund research in to all cancer types and all areas of cancer research. Importantly, we believe all Australians can play a part in finding a cure for cancer simply by holding a BARBECURE every year, whether it be backyard, beach, corporate, community or black tie. The goal is to create a new tradition which is marked on every Australian’s calendar: The Summer of BARBECUREs.

The campaign has become one of Cure Cancer Australia’s most successful national awareness initiatives and has raised over $208,000 in its first year.

“We are excited to continue and expand on this success for our summer 2017/2018 rollout, and are delighted to have the initiative continue to be supported by lead celebrity ambassador Paul Hogan, along with His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) Governor of New South Wales, who is Cure Cancer Australia’s Patron,” says Larsen.

The next 12 months

Going forward, Larsen will continue to ensure Cure Cancer Australia becomes a household name: “Cure Cancer Australia is exclusive in its dedication to funding crucial cancer research from Australia’s brightest emerging minds. We believe early career researchers who offer new ideas and challenging perspectives are the key to advancing the fight against all types of cancer, and we want Australians everywhere to join us on our mission.”

Floyd's advice to fundraisers

We as fundraisers are in the business of relationships and storytelling. We need to be active listeners as much as proactive communicators and ensure we eagerly engage in ongoing conversations with our donors. In order to succeed as fundraisers, we must be innovative. If we embrace new technologies and embrace the change they bring, we will be in a stronger position to effect change ourselves.

To passionate fundraisers keen to reach new heights in their careers, I would encourage them first and foremost to think big. It’s important to begin any project with the end goal in mind. Believe in your vision and the possibilities the commitment to your vision can bring to your chosen philanthropic cause. Believe in everything you do – and make magic happen. Working in philanthropy really can be true sustenance to one’s soul.


*This article has been republished in full with permission from FP Magazine

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