AstraZeneca employees celebrated for commitment to volunteerism


Michele Meixell

AstraZeneca has long believed in the importance of philanthropy and community service whether focused on charitable contributions, in-kind donations, free or low-cost medicines for those in need, or employee volunteerism.

Over the past five years, AstraZeneca has recognized a number of employees as recipients of the Jefferson Awards for their outstanding dedication to community and public service. This year, AstraZeneca honored the following 10 winners of the Jefferson Awards:

  •  Kim Alvarez, Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist from Central Florida, serves as a certified facilitator with Darkness of Light and advocates for abandoned, abused and neglected children as a volunteer with the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program.
  • Paul Chaney, Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist in St. Louis, has volunteered for 10 years at the East Saint Louis Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated as a Guide Right mentor and also works  with the St. Louis Express Indoor Track Club, where he mentors and coaches athletes in grades 8 through 12.
  • MaryAnne Crawford, Administrative Coordinator in Wilmington, and Janeé Goraum, Executive District Sales Manager, have partnered for the past six years to spearhead Passionately Pink for the Cure® at AstraZeneca which enables companies to build a fundraising campaign around their unique organizational structure to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. Their coordination has resulted in one of AstraZeneca’s most successful philanthropic efforts and has contributed more than $175,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
  • Margie Craver, Administrative Coordinator in commercial readiness, turned her passion for music into a successful fundraiser for the AstraZeneca Hope Lodge by coordinating a holiday concert which raised more than $3,000 in 2011 and again in 2012 to benefit cancer patients who travel to Philadelphia for treatment.
  • Patty Nelligan, Diabetes Sales Specialist from Rockford, began working with the Northern Illinois Diabetes Coalition after creating a cartoon character to motivate children to make healthier choices as a result of the increasing obesity and diabetes epidemic. This turned into a full-blown campaign for which Patty eventually wrote a children’s book and developed a community education program.
  • Michelle Schrader, Executive Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist, serves on the Midwest Division of the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer Event and is also an active member of the Iowa Cancer Consortium, a partnership of researchers, legislators, health care providers, public health agencies, cancer survivors, volunteers and many other Iowans working together to conquer cancer.
  • Jude Smith, Diabetes Sales Specialist, has financed and operated a school in Elmina, Ghana, where he was born, since 2004 to serve children in kindergarten through 12th grade. He purchased the land, covered construction costs and continues to fund 80 percent of the daily operations to provide education for children who otherwise wouldn’t go to school.
  • Ken Thomas, Executive Diabetes Sales Specialist, has served on the board of the Cincinnati chapter of the American Diabetes Association since 2009 contributing to community outreach and promotion. In 2013, he took on a leadership role in the Live Empowered Initiative and also volunteers for The Center For Closing The Gap In Greater Cincinnati.
  • Theresa Uchytil-Etler, Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist, has worked with the Junior League of Kansas City, Mo. (JLKCMO) for 10 years where she has served in a number of different roles contributing to fundraisers, initiating new programs and enhancing overall member experience. Today, Theresa serves as the Director of Training on the JLKCMO Board of Directors, coaches baton-twirling students and volunteers for the Iowa State University Alumni Association’s Club of Kansas City.

The Jefferson Awards honor individuals for performing outstanding community and public service.

Theresa was selected among the 10 recipients as the Grand Winner and will represent AstraZeneca at the National Jefferson Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 18-19. There, she will have the opportunity to win a national award for employee volunteerism. Theresa gave her acceptance speech, sharing stories of her time as Miss Iowa and visiting all 22 North American Shriners Hospitals for Children. She closed with a reminder that “community service is the rent that we pay to live in this great nation.”

The Jefferson Awards for Public Service were founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, former US Sen. Robert Taft, Jr. and Delawarean Sam Beard to create a Nobel Prize for public service. The awards are presented both locally and nationally to encourage and honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through volunteer service.

AstraZeneca congratulates these winners and thanks them for their ongoing commitment to community service.