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Susan G. Komen for the Cure has written the textbook on how not to manage an institutional crisis.  Last Tuesday, we learned the breast cancer charity was no longer going to fund Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screening and referral work.  Their reason for the reversal was that PP was subject to federal and state "investigations," ignoring the political animus that led to the fishing expeditions.

The response from both their own (former) supporters, and supporters of PP, was outraged.  Komen then demonstrated how to respond to a confluence of institutional and social media blowups.  

Within the past week, Komen has  demonstrated the useful techniques of:

  • Ignoring the problem
  • Denying there was a problem
  • Stonewalling the problem
  • Lying about the problem
  • Changing their explanations for why there was problem
  • Becoming the focus of Congressional displeasure
  • Announcing a weasel-worded "reversal" on their problem policy
  • Continuing to hope the whole thing would just go away while their Facebook and Twitter devolved into the Mother of All Abortion Debates

But Komen wasn't sinking below the news cycle yet.  And one of the repeated demands  from aggrieved former supporters was to fire the person responsible for getting a breast cancer charity to take a stand on the divisive politics of abortion.  Yes, I'm talking about Karen Handel, Komen's Vice President for Public Policy.

Karen Handel was fingered early on as the architect of the "let's find a way to defund Planned Parenthood" policy change.  She may also be responsible for the withdrawal of research grants that involved stem-cells, also implemented this November.  And now we learn that despite CEO Nancy Brinker's insistence that these were not political decisions, it was Handel, who ran for Governor on a pro-life, "I will stop funding to Planned Parenthood" platform, who was pushing these changes.

We haven't heard from either Handel, or anyone at Komen willing to make a statement on their leadership make-up, but this job opening is of interest.  It was posted last Thursday, two days after Komen's dubious new policy made them so many new detractors.

Director, Public Policy

Job ID:    9526138
Position Title:    Director, Public Policy
Company Name:    Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Category:    Government Relations, Legislative, Lobbying, Policy, Political, Public Affairs
Entry Level:    No
Location(s):     Washington, Dist. Columbia, United States  
Posted:    February 2, 2012
Job Type:    Full-Time
Min Education:    BA/BS/Undergraduate
Min Experience:    5-7 Years
Required Travel:    10-25%

Apply URL:    https:/


Based in the Washington, DC office, the Director, Public Policy is responsible for developing, directing, and implementing Susan G. Komen’s (SGK) federal legislative, regulatory, and public policy activities.  


Serves as strategic partner to the SVP in setting SGK’s overall public policy and advocacy priorities and agenda.
Leads the federal legislative and regulatory efforts, identifying emerging issues, conducting analysis, and providing strategic counsel.
Develops and maintains a broad network of contacts with key federal policy makers  and staff (the White House, Congress, federal agencies).
Develops (and/or oversee the development of) supporting documentation related to key issues, including white papers, position papers, formal comment letters and testimony, talking points, articles, etc.
Works collaboratively with the State Advocacy team to create and direct opportunities for SGK’s network of Affiliates and Advocates to participate in public policy activities.
Serves as SGK representative with coalition partnerships and attends a variety of meetings, conferences, and hearings on behalf of SGK.
Oversees legislative/regulatory tracking process.
Coordinates with outside consultants as needed.
Manages the activities of the Public Policy Specialist and Public Policy Coordinator.
Oversees Lobby Disclosure Act filings, ensuring that they are accurate and filed in a timely manner.


Bachelor’s degree in a related field such as Public Policy, Public Administration, or Law and 7+ years of experience on Capitol Hill and/or in government affairs or nonprofit advocacy.  
Demonstrated success in achieving policy outcomes and in developing / cultivating relationships with key policy makers and staff (Congress, White House, federal agencies).
Ability to think strategically while also ensuring successful implementation in a fast-paced environment.
Must be sharp and politically savvy with excellent written and public presentation skills.
Strongly prefer candidates with health care policy background and existing relationships with Members of Congress and their staff.

Apply URL:    https:/

Okay, it's Director, not Vice President of Public Policy.  It's based in Washington DC, while Karen Handel is still in Atlanta.  And it requires a health-care background, something Handel didn't bring to the job.  Perhaps if she had, Komen might not be in the mess it's in today.

Komen may never recover as a brand-name Americans trust.  But it's clear that one of the many stumbling blocks toward recovery is the overly-ideological Karen Handel.  Perhaps the board realizes this.

Hat tip: Jezebel

Click here to contribute $5 to Planned Parenthood.

4:06 PM PT: Looks like the link to the job on Roll Call has been pulled!  Thanks to Lorikeet for pointing that out.  And BleacherBum153 suggests that this is a job for a direct report to Handel's position, not a replacement.

Originally posted to madhaus on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 02:07 PM PST.

Also republished by Kos Georgia.

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