A Virtual Success, The Rush Woman’s Board Exceed Expectations at their Spring Luncheon

The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center hosted its Spring Luncheon virtually in May, featuring keynote speaker Cindy McCain—a humanitarian, business leader and chairperson of The McCain Institute. Co-chaired by Katie Frekko and Brooke Kuehnle, funds raised were directed to the Rush Medical Center’s education, research and community service programs, as well as to its 2021 principal project—The Woman’s Board Fund for Precision Oncology Research.

Katie Frekko and Brooke Kuehnle, 26th Annual Spring Luncheon Co-Chairs

“Brooke and I were thrilled to welcome Cindy McCain as our keynote speaker for the 26th Annual Spring Luncheon,” says Frekko. “Her inspirational remarks about making the world a better place and doing it from the heart really hit home.” 

Cindy Hensley McCain has dedicated her life to improving the lives of those less fortunate both in the United States and around the world. As the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, she oversees the organization’s focus on advancing character-driven global leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity. 

McCain also chairs the Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council. This is an issue she cares deeply about and is committed to ending human trafficking and supporting victims in Arizona, the United States and around the world. Through her work with the McCain Institute, several partnerships have been formed with anti-trafficking organizations working on solving various aspects of the problem. McCain is the wife of the late U.S. Senator John McCain. Together, they have four children.

“We were truly grateful for the extremely generous support of our fellow board members, guests, friends and sponsors who helped us surpass our fundraising goals,” Frekko adds. 

Cindy McCain, Luncheon Keynote Speaker

The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center is one of the oldest hospital woman’s boards in the country, dating back to 1884. It is made up of more than 200 dedicated women who volunteer their time and talents. They’re currently working towards a pledge for Precision Oncology Research by raising funds through its Spring Luncheon, annual Fall Benefit, two Medical Center gift shops, and board and individual donations.

Cindy Mancillas became the president of the Woman’s Board in the fall of 2020, succeeding Cindy Nicolaides.

“We did the best we could to keep things moving forward when the pandemic shut everything down,” she says. “Cindy [Nicolaides] helped us pivot by taking our ways of doing things virtual—like our monthly meetings and Spring Luncheon. It required more logistical planning, but it worked. The nice thing was that it kept our board members connected when we couldn’t be together in person.”

Mancillas and the board are currently working tirelessly towards its annual Fall Benefit on October 1, “Be a Game Changer,” chaired by Sarah Alshouse and Bethany Crocker.

“Even in a year challenged by a pandemic and a months-long quarantine, the Woman’s Board was able to meet the 2020 principal project goal for the Transformation Fund and make additional grants to various department of the Medical Center,” Mancillas says. “For our Fall Benefit, we have a Plan A for being in-person and Plan B if we’re not,” Mancillas says. “Either way, our virtual Spring Luncheon proved that we can be successful regardless of the format.”

To learn more about the Rush Woman’s Board or the upcoming “Be a Game Changer!” event on October 1, visit

Originally published on August 19, 2021. Read the Better Magazine article online here.

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