Jane Kollmer is the director for communications at the University of Chicago Health Comprehensive Cancer Center. She joined PAMN in 2018.
What led you to work in cancer communications?
I kind of fell into working in cancer communications, but I have stayed with it so long because of my personal connection with the purpose and the mission. My first job out of college was at a publishing company that produced a weekly magazine for radiology professionals. From there, I worked for a professional society for nuclear medicine, then came to the University of Chicago and focused on cancer.
My dad passed away from terminal brain cancer when I was 11, so I remember feeling so powerless as he went through chemo and radiation. He suffered a lot, so I always felt this desire to both understand cancer and to bring more awareness to the importance of cancer research.
What do you like most about working in the cancer field?
I like constantly learning about the latest developments in science and medicine. I like working with brilliant people who are doing inspiring work. I like dedicating my time and talents to the collective effort that can make real-world impact on patients’ lives.
What’s your best advice for someone new to the field?
What a great question. I would say to stay intellectually curious – be a lifelong learner. Seek out professional development opportunities, especially PAMN. Learn how to communicate the importance of what you do so that your boss values your work. Keep growing and evolving.
How do you balance your career and family/personal life?
I try to prioritize self-care so that I don’t get burned out with work. This could mean reading books, doing yoga or running, and spending time in nature to re-center myself. What helps is that some times of year are less busy than others. I also make sure I unplug when I go on vacation.
Do you have a favorite line from a movie?
“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
When Harry Met Sally | Watch
What was your best vacation?
My partner and I went to Iceland and I proposed by a waterfall. It was magical.
If you could drink only one beverage for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Iced tea or iced coffee
If you had to eat one meal, every day, for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Anything my mom cooks!
What is your biggest pet peeve?
When people don’t push their chairs in after they get up
What is your hometown?
Vineland, New Jersey
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