First Descents, a non-profit providing outdoor adventure programs for young adults with cancer is starting off the new year with new leadership at the Director level. Nina Sharma joins the team as Director of Development and Chris Sizemore is the new Director of Operations.

Sharma is responsible for overseeing all aspects of fundraising, including individual and major gifts, corporations, foundations, Team First Descents and planned giving. She will manage all stewardship and cultivation of new and existing donors. And she’s in charge of developing the organization’s next long-term fundraising strategy. Sharma comes to First Descents with many years of non-profit development experience, most recently working as the Director of Major Gifts at Millennium Promise, a non-profit organization empowering communities across sub-Saharan Africa.

“As a new Colorado resident, I am so excited for the opportunity to work at First Descents,” says Sharma. “I was attracted to First Descents not only for its unique approach to serving the YA cancer community, but for its dedicated family of supporters, athletes, staff, and alumni. I am thrilled to be a part of this growing team and look forward to helping the organization increase its funding to ultimately serve more and more young adults with cancer.”

Sizemore is the former Executive Director at Volunteer Kalamazoo and comes equipped with a wealth of non-profit leadership experience. At First Descents he’ll be responsible for leading the executive management team and strengthening the performance culture among the staff and volunteers.

“This position combines the passion I have for helping others with my love for the outdoors,” says Sizemore. “It doesn’t get any better than that when you walk into work every day and are able to make a difference with amazing young adult cancer survivors and fighters.”

Of the new hires, First Descents Founder and CEO Brad Ludden says, “The passion and commitment of all those who have touched First Descents since it was just an idea in 1999 to this present day never ceases to amaze me. In keeping in line with those values and that tradition, we’re excited to bring both Chris and Nina in. Their experience in the world of non-profit and passion for this cause will no doubt take this organization to the next level. I’m honored to work alongside of them as they help us grow First Descents and change the lives of more and more young adults with cancer through outdoor adventures.”

First Descents is a non-profit organization offering young adults with cancer a free outdoor adventure experience designed to empower them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same.

Image courtesy First Descents

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