West Cancer Foundation Staff

Leighanne Soden

Executive Director

Leighanne came to West Cancer Center in 2012 to launch a philanthropic program. Prior to West, she was with the American Cancer Society. While with the ACS, she successfully directed a $9m capital campaign to build the Harrahs’ Hope Lodge in Memphis.

While working for the ACS, she met Dr. Lee Schwartzberg and saw first-hand the incredible work being done for adult cancer patients in Memphis. The rest is somewhat historical and the result is the West Cancer Foundation.

Losing her father to cancer in 2018 made the fight against and the drive to raise funds for cancer research and support a personal mission for Leighanne.

She earned her BA in Communications at The University of Alabama-Huntsville and MA in Communications from The University of Arkansas. She is a former President of Rotary Club of Memphis East, a Paul Harris Fellow and received an award from the American Cancer Society for the largest single gift for the Memphis area.

She is married to Jack Soden and resides in Germantown.

Keri Burnette

Manager, Operations & Donor Relations

Keri Burnette is the manager of operations and donor relations for West Cancer Foundation. In addition to handling day to day operations and working with donors, Keri also works with the Ride 2 Rosemary team of riders to assist with their fundraising efforts as well as other DIY fundraising events.​

Keri is originally from Minnesota but has made Memphis her home. Graduates of the University of Memphis, she and her husband Michael are long time season ticket holders for Tiger football. As a breast cancer survivor Keri is very passionate about the work we do here at West Cancer Foundation knowing what a difference it can make in one’s life.

Jennifer Strain

Manager, Special Initiatives

Jennifer Strain is Manager of Special Initiatives at West Cancer Foundation. Her primary fundraising focus is West Fight On, West Cancer Foundation Gala, and employee giving.

Jennifer is a Memphis native and earned an undergraduate degree in Social Work at University of Memphis and a Master of Business Administration at University of Phoenix Denver, Colorado campus. She is currently pursuing a certification in Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and is especially interested in the study of resilience and the cancer patient.

Jennifer has extensive nonprofit experience, working at Catholic Charities’ Refugee Services, Ecumenical Refugee Services, and as Development Officer at Campbell Clinic Foundation for 19 years prior to joining West.  She currently serves as the Association of Fundraising Professionals Memphis Chapter Past- President and she earned the Certified Fundraising Executive designation in March 2017.

As a grateful patient of West Cancer Center, she aspires to use her cancer experience to instill hope in others and inspire the community to join West in the fight against cancer.



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