Lauren Larsen is the President and Chief Ambassador of the Foundation for America’s Blood Centers, which supports the independent blood centers that collect half the U.S. blood supply. She is also the author of the memoir, Zuzu’s Petals: A True Story of Second Chances (In The Telling Press, © 2011), which chronicles her experience with near-fatal preeclampsia and the unexpected life that unfolded as a result.
Larsen spent sixteen years in the corporate world, focused largely on youth and young-adult marketing. Past management roles include vice president of marketing for The 3DO Company, an entertainment software company; vice president of marketing for Thomson Learning, one of the world’s largest educational publishers; director of marketing for Simon & Schuster; and brand manager for The Pepsi-Cola Company. She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona, and an M.B.A. from U.C.L.A.
Larsen’s life made a dramatic shift in the spring of 2000 when pregnancy complications triggered the need for more than 200 pints of blood, and put her on her current path as a crusader for volunteer blood donation. Larsen furthered her unexpected role as a blood donation advocate in numerous ways, such as appearing in television public service announcements; speaking at more than 200 national and regional transfusion medicine conferences, service organization meetings, and blood center events; acting as a spokesperson for the American Red Cross’s 2003 “Save a Life Tour,” as well as for “Red Gold,” a PBS special about blood; testifying before the Food and Drug Administration regarding the U.S. blood supply; serving on the board of directors for the Foundation for America’s Blood Centers from 2002 – 2008, giving more than 200 media interviews, and producing a series of extended online public service announcement videos called Blood Bytes, which are currently in use by blood centers and advocates across the country.
For all of her grassroots efforts to promote blood donation, Larsen was awarded the 2001 Larry Frederick Award from America’s Blood Centers. She is also the recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Achievement Award presented by AABB. And most recently, Lauren was named one of the "100 Most Inspiring Alumni" in the 75-year history of the U.C.L.A. Anderson Graduate School of Management.
In addition to her work with nonprofit blood centers, Larsen is also active in several other causes. In 2006, she hosted the largest fundraiser to date for the Preeclampsia Foundation, and she offers CEU courses for nurses, seeking to raise awareness about the warning signs and potential devastation of preeclampsia. In 2007, she and her husband, Jeff, launched a grassroots initiative to drill wells in war-torn areas of Southern Sudan, bringing a clean and safe water supply to thousands of local villagers. Their next drilling expedition is scheduled for December 2011.
Larsen and her husband, Jeff, daughter Clare, and dogs, Gigham, Duke and Jack, live in Boulder, Colorado, where they laugh often and take nothing for granted.
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