Center for Transparency founder Bobbie Shay Lee to speak at URI, April 13

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Former NFL Cheerleader tells stark truth about cause-related marketing

KINGSTON, R.I. — March 28, 2016 — Bobbie Shay Lee, founder and current executive director of The Center for Transparency, will be the guest speaker at the University of Rhode Island’s College of Business Administration’s 9th Annual Vangermeersch Lecture.


In her address, “Profit or Purpose? Looking beyond the surface,” the former NFL cheerleader will tell the stark truth about some cause-related marketing and how consumers can be well informed about purchasing products with ties to charitable organizations. Free and open to the public, the lecture will be held on Wednesday, April 13, at 4 p.m., at the Pharmacy building, Room 170, 7 Greenhouse Road, Kingston campus. The event will be live streamed.


A breast cancer survivor, it was Lee’s quest for information about funding from the NFL’s “Crucial Catch” breast cancer campaign that led her to create the Center for Transparency. Through the Center, she has worked to provide clarity about the profits being made and details of exactly how much money is actually contributed to a company’s selected non-profit.


“Cause-related campaigns demand transparency, not companies that hide behind pink ribbons just to generate profits from a horrible disease,” according to the Center’s for Transparency website. The center is dedicated to providing full disclosure of sponsorship activities, and rewards companies that are open about their campaigns and show how much money they’ve contributed.


An 18-year breast cancer survivor, Lee, who holds an MSW from Florida State University, is a national advocate for health care and consumer protection. She regularly writes and comments on health- and cause-related marketing issues as a contributor to Huffington Post and Everyday Health. She has also been featured in the Tampa Bay Times and Washington Post TV, and has served as a guest speaker for many organizations nationwide.

Prior to forming The Center for Transparency, Lee had worked in account management and business development for a marketing firm and served as a consultant for several non-profit foundations after leaving the NFL. She managed political campaigns for national and state candidates and issue-related campaigns and was a lobbyist for one of the largest utility groups in Florida.


The Vangermeersch Endowed Lecture was established in 2008 with a gift from Deborah Ciolfi ’80 in honor of her former accounting professor, Richard Vangermeersch, who retired in 2004 after 34 years of teaching at URI.