Lynne Capozzi, CMO of Acquia, Shares Her Story of Turning Personal Tragedy into Helping Children Live Life to the Fullest

The CMO Club is showcasing CMOs who use their time and talent to make a positive impact and highlight charities that have benefited from CMO expertise through participation in the CMO Club Cares Program. This time around, we highlight member Lynne Capozzi, CMO at Acquia, The Christina Capozzi Foundation, and her enduring work with Boston Children’s Hospital.

CMO Club — Welcome. Can you tell us about the start of your family foundation? Who was Christina Capozzi?

Lynne Capozzi — My daughter, Christina, was born with Shone’s Syndrome, a form of heart disease targeting the left side of the heart. She underwent numerous surgeries in her short lifetime, including a heart transplant at Boston Children’s Hospital, and passed away from us when she was just eight years old. We started the foundation a few years later when we could finally come up for air.

The idea was that we wanted to be able to help other families that are experiencing the same things we did. Through research, specifically addressing the left side of the heart, we are able to make a real difference. The research has come so far just in the past fifteen years or so. It’s amazing what they’ve been able to do, the progress that they’ve made. We’ve expanded the scope since then, whether they are staying at Boston Children’s or not, just connecting families who are going through this, connecting them to others who have been there, showing them strong, healthy children who have been where they are now, who have been through cardiac surgeries and are now doing amazingly well. Our researchers have had some great inventions. One of them is a heart valve which expands and grows as the child grows, minimizing the number of surgeries that a child has to go through. Another is being able to do valve replacement laparoscopically, without having to open a child’s chest.

Christina Capozzi

CMO Club — Wow. What other things have you been able to do?

Lynne Capozzi — I’ve been on the Board of Directors at the Boston Children’s Hospital Trust for the past seven years. By being on the board with my marketing skills, I’ve been able to make an impact on the rest of the hospital as well, working on different strategic committees with their digital efforts in areas outside of the specific cardiac area.

CMO Club — Beside the very personal connection you have with your daughter’s foundation, and the overall fundraising and marketing efforts, are there any personal connections you’ve made with families and children who struggle with these issues?

Lynne Capozzi — I’m on the floor a lot, as they say. I spend a lot of time there, celebrating birthdays, holidays, working on projects for Halloween, arts and crafts, and bringing in artists like Michael Franti, who sat and played for the kids and young teenagers and left signed guitars for them. It was wonderful. I watched their faces as he sat and talked to them. It had a huge impact on those kids.

Watch Michael Franti with children at Boston Children’s Hospital

I also work with the hospital to support families as well. Mostly, we make connections with other families going through the same thing. Typically, a family wants to talk to another family that has a child who is thriving, so I’ve been a part of that, too.

CMO Club — Is there one particular child who touched your heart?

Lynne Capozzi — Yes. There was a young man, early teen, that had a cardiac issue and was brought into the hospital for one of the particular surgeries developed by our researchers that the foundation funded. This kid was a baseball player and, years later, the hospital brought a group of former patients back for a game at Fenway Park. I wasn’t able to tell him the surgery that saved his life was funded by our research, but it was quite amazing being there with him at Fenway, knowing he was healthy, and back on the baseball field, living his life and thriving. It was awesome.

CMO Club — What has this meant for your life?

Lynne Capozzi — It’s been amazing for me because I’ve been able to see some of the impact my family and I can have on others. Being able to see that positive impact is wonderful. I feel like I’m making a real difference, and remembering my daughter all at the same time. It comes full circle.

 

Check out how other CMOs have made an impact here.