Our Story

Women Working Together Have Near Limitless Potential

Since 2014, Women Leaders in Oncology (WLO) has evolved from a single, annual networking event to an ongoing effort to establish, nurture, and support connections among women in oncology.

Founded by Deanna van Gestel, WLO is focused on creating research, business, and philanthropic connections for women in oncology drug development, clinical research, and clinical practice. WLO establishes and nurtures connections among women leaders through events, fundraising, and recognition.


WLO supports a number of events focused on celebrating the achievements of women leaders and supporting their professional development in hematology and oncology.


The Women Leaders in Oncology Women Who Conquer Cancer Young Investigator Award is funded by WLO with your support


WLO recognizes women leaders nominated by their peers for demonstrating exceptional leadership and mentorship

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A Passion for Paying It Forward

WLO aims to provide an opportunity for women to share their passion for oncology and hematology drug development and commercialization with other women. It grew from Deanna's interest in amplifying and supporting the voices of women leaders in the oncology community.
Deanna is the founder and CEO of Vaniam Group, a network of independent healthcare communication agencies focused on oncology and hematology, and the parent company of WLO. Outside of her work with Vaniam Group and WLO, Deanna is also a member of the Women Who Conquer Cancer Committee and a member of the Tugboat Institute.

“My inspiration for WLO is all the incredible women I collaborate and work with each day. We aspire to bring together our collective wisdom and experiences to encourage, mentor, and support one another. ”

— Deanna van Gestel, Founder and CEO, WLO

A Company That Connects Science & People

Vaniam Group, a certified woman-owned business, connects people and science while making a long-term difference in the way people create, communicate, think, and work within the fields of oncology and hematology. Founded by Deanna van Gestel in 2007, it has evolved from a one-person entity into a distinguished network of healthcare communication agencies with talented scientific writers, medical strategists, industry connectors, and agency experts. Vaniam Group is a 100% virtual “work wherever” office, and a certified Evergreen™ company.