Skin of Steel Board of Directors

Katherine Byrnes – Executive Director/Secretary

Katherine earned a BA from Dartmouth College and an MS in Clinical Neuropsychology from Rosalind Franklin University. She is a survivor of Stage III melanoma, diagnosed in 2006. She organized a “Quatrathon” (triathlon plus party) in 2010 that raised $14,000 for MRA and TGen. She has been active in community youth sports coaching, fundraising, and sits on multiple local non-profit boards. While she tries to avoid the sun, she loves being outside to run, bike, swim and play paddle while she wears large hats and reapplies sunscreen. Katherine joined the Skin of Steel Board after attending the inaugural Spyn of Steel event and became Executive Director in March 2017. She is also on the Executive Board of the Melanoma Action Coalition and the Melanoma Tissue Bank Consortium. Her 3 children have been active in the SOS Junior Auxiliary.

Karen Hirsch – Vice Chair

Background in health care administration. Coordinated strategic planning and marketing at Children’s Memorial Hospital. Previously at Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center and the Illinois Hospital Association. Board member of Daughters of Ayacucho Education Foundation. The SOS founder’s first melanoma advocate dating back to 2005, she focuses on Strategic Planning and Social Media for Skin of Steel. In 2012, Karen also became a board member of the Vasculitis Foundation.

Mas Ishida

Mas was active in commercial real estate for over 30 years, most recently as Executive Vice President with Colliers International’s Industrial Advisory Group, navigating global clients through the decision-making cycle they face when seeking real estate solutions. Mas’s late wife, Susan Steel, founded Skin of Steel in 2010. Mas is personally driven to realize Susan’s dreams for developing the first national bank of primary fresh/frozen melanoma tissue repositories for public and private use.

Kathy Kessenich

Licensed massage therapist and wellness facilitator working with clients of all ages to manage their physical wellness through massage therapy at Heartwood Center in Evanston and Synergy Health Partners in Northbrook. Partner with Moms Making Six Figures marketing for an international wellness manufacturing company. Over twenty-five years of experience in management for nonprofit organizations including AFS international and Rotary International driving communications and program operations. Focused on strategic planning, communications and operations for Skin of Steel.

Trip Lane

A native of Winnetka, Trip worked for more than 30 years on the Chicago Board of Options trading floor, and for Morgan Stanley. He is a fifteen-time melanoma survivor with the BAP1 gene and he sees his dermatologist every 3 months. Trip is committed to the development of the tissue bank to help others who have melanoma, to find better treatments, and to find a cure. He is married to Felicia, and has two grown children: Christopher and Charlotte (she is one of the co-founders of the SOS Junior Auxiliary).

Stephen A. Sullivan – Chair

NAI Hiffman Vice President of the Industrial Services Group and 25-year veteran of Chicago industrial real estate brokerage community. Native of Champaign, Illinois with a BA in Economics from Indiana University at Bloomington. Having lost his brother, Dan Sullivan, to melanoma in September 2010, he is fully committed to establishing Chicago as a center of excellence for top-tier melanoma research and ensuring its prominence as a host of the national Melanoma Tissue Bank. Past President of Chicago Parkways Foundation Young Professionals Organization, Winnetka Parks Foundation, and Old Willow Club. Currently serves on the board of Chicago-based Right Angle Foundation, a program of the Noble Network of Charter High Schools, as well as North Chicago-based PADS Lake County. He focuses on Strategic Relationships, Development, and Event Planning for Skin of Steel. His 3 daughters have been very active in the SOS Junior Auxiliary.