The People of IMF

Founders
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Brian Novis
Founder, IMF
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Brian Novis
Founder, IMF

Diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1989 at age 33, Brian D. Novis founded the IMF in 1990, along with wife Susie, and Brian’s then-physician, Dr. Brian G.M. Durie. Together, the three join forces and set out to educate patients about the little-known blood cancer and available treatment options.

A former executive headhunter, Brian started the IMF with humble beginnings in a garage— armed only with high hopes and a borrowed typewriter while sitting on a lawn chair. By 1991, the disease took an enormous physical toll on Brian — extensive bone damage forced him to work from his bed at home.

Brian passed away in July 1992, but his dream continues to live on.

Each day since then, the IMF has pushed ahead — with compassion, innovation, and urgency— to improve the lives of myeloma patients and, ultimately, to find a cure for this disease.  

IMF President, Founder, and CEO Susie Durie
Susie Durie
Founder
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IMF President, Founder, and CEO Susie Durie
Susie Durie
Founder

In 1990, Susie Novis Durie founded the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) along with her late husband, Brian Novis and Dr. Brian G.M. Durie, with these key objectives in mind: advancing myeloma research; and developing and implementing patient and physician educational programs in myeloma. 

Novis Durie was elected Executive Director of the IMF in 1992. For 31 years, under her careful direction, the IMF experienced remarkable growth—programs she developed became models for other organizations worldwide.  

While attending a physician conference in London, Novis Durie saw doctors “meet the professors.” She strongly felt that myeloma patients should be afforded the same opportunity so they can learn more about the disease and share their experiences with other patients.  

In 1994, Novis Durie held the first ever Patient & Family Seminar in Los Angeles—the program that she is most proud of conceiving. Shortly after, the IMF began holding Patient & Family Seminars across the US, then expanded to the UK in 1997. To date, Patient & Family Seminars are being held around the world.  

Novis Durie has also testified before the United States Congress to acquire greater resources for multiple myeloma research.  

In 2002, Novis Durie was presented with the Joseph Michaeli Award for her outstanding contributions to the understanding, advancement, and treatment of multiple myeloma.  

Novis Durie was featured by Investor’s Business Daily in its Leaders & Success column and has since been recognized by worldwide media for important work she has done for multiple myeloma patients and their families. 

In April 2019, Novis Durie received a joint honorary doctorate for scientific excellence at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Brussels, Belgium. 

After successfully leading the IMF for 31 years, Novis Durie passed the baton to Yelak Biru, who became the organization’s new President & CEO in 2021. She is confident that “Yelak will put his talent and experience as a patient advocate to good use in leading the organization I founded, nurtured, grew, and love so much."  

Currently working as the IMF’s Founder & Director of Global Initiatives, Novis Durie is focused on improving the lives of myeloma patients on a global scale.  

Brian GM Durie, MD.
Brian G.M. Durie, MD
Chief Scientific Officer, Professor of Medicine, and Hematologist/Oncologist
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Brian GM Durie, MD.
Brian G.M. Durie, MD
Chief Scientific Officer, Professor of Medicine, and Hematologist/Oncologist

 

Dr. Brian G.M. Durie is co-founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Scientific Officer of the International Myeloma Foundation. He is also Chairman of the International Myeloma Working Group and the Black Swan Research Initiative®. 

Dr. Durie is a Hematologist/Oncologist specializing in multiple myeloma and related disorders at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was former Medical Director of Myeloma Research for the Academic Myeloma Consortium and co-chairman of the myeloma committee for the SWOG Cancer Research Network. Previously, he was a professor at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine, and the Charing Cross and Westminster School of Medicine at the University of London.

Dr. Durie is known for his notable research on multiple myeloma and blood disorders, most especially for developing the Durie-Salmon Staging System which continues to be used worldwide for clinically staging myeloma. 

One of his key BSRI® projects, iStopMM (Iceland Screens, Treats, or Prevents Multiple Myeloma) is the first large-scale screening study in the field of myeloma aimed at preventing myeloma before it develops. His other key projects include the i2TEAMM (International Independent Team for Endpoint Approval of Myeloma MRD) Initiative and the BSRI® ASCENT Cure Trial. 

Dr. Durie has received numerous accolades for his outstanding contributions in the field of myeloma: an Honorary Doctor of Medicine award from the Vrije Universteit Brussel in 2019, the Waldenström's Award in 2009, and the Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. He is also a Leukemia Society of America Scholar and a U.S. Hematologic Research Foundation Annual Awardee. 

He has written over 700 research papers, 16 book chapters, and 5 books. He also holds an international patent for scintillation autoradiography.

Dr. Durie is actively involved in global congress events in Europe, which include the annual Heidelberg Myeloma Workshop and annual conferences hosted by the Eurasian Hematology-Oncology Group. 

He has produced over 200 videos for his weekly series, “Ask Dr. Durie,” where he addresses patient questions about multiple myeloma and provides information on the latest developments in myeloma treatments. Complementing the video series is his weekly blog, where he also features highlights of annual events including the ASH Educational Program, IMWG Summit, AMN Summit, GMAN Summit, and the Support Group Leaders Summit. 

Dr. Durie hosts IMF Patient & Family Webinars and Regional Community Workshops to provide up-to-date and direct information from leading myeloma experts to myeloma patients and their families.   

Born in Scotland, Dr. Durie received his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh Medical School. He completed residencies and fellowships at Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialties in both medical oncology and hematology.
 

Board Members
Vincent Rajkumar
S. Vincent Rajkumar, MD
Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Professor of Medicine
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Vincent Rajkumar
S. Vincent Rajkumar, MD
Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Professor of Medicine

Dr. S. Vincent Rajkumar is Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and Chair of the Mayo Clinic Myeloma, Amyloidosis, and Dysproteinemia Group. He is also Chair of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Myeloma Committee. He has published more than 230 peer-reviewed papers primarily in the field of multiple myeloma and related plasma cell disorders. Dr. Rajkumar is the Section Editor for multiple myeloma and related disorders for Leukemia and is an Associate Editor for the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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Matthew Robinson
Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, Owner/General Manager
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Matthew Robinson
Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, Owner/General Manager

Mr. Robinson is the Founder and Managing Partner of The Mid Atlantic Company, a Los Angeles-based consultancy which provides strategic and operational advice to both public and private companies with a focus in the Television, Film, and Online spaces. Prior to founding Mid Atlantic, he spent more than 25 years in senior executive posts in the entertainment industry at Twentieth Century Fox in Los Angeles and Paris, Warner Bros. in Los Angeles, and The Walt Disney Company in London. Before his work in the entertainment industry, Mr. Robinson had a successful career in investment banking, working in the mergers and acquisitions group of Smith Barney Harris Upham and UK firm Kleinwort Benson. He holds a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Economics from Harvard University and an MBA from London Business School.

Jack Aiello
Myeloma Support Group Leader & Patient Advocate
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Jack Aiello
Myeloma Support Group Leader & Patient Advocate

Diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1995, Jack Aiello has been a long-time Myeloma Support Group Leader in the San Francisco Bay Area and a member of the IMF’s Global Myeloma Action Network (GMAN) since 2013. Currently, he is a Patient Advocate on NCI Symptom Management and Quality of Life (SxQoL) Steering Committee; a member of NCI’s Patient Advocate Steering Committee (PASC); a member of the SWOG Cooperative Group Myeloma and Patient Advocacy Committees; an Emeritus Board of Director of the Patient Empowerment Network; a participant at Stanford’s Scientific Review Committee; and a volunteer for the LLS First Connection and Cleveland Clinic Fourth Angel programs.

Aiello brings more than two decades of experience in extensive patient advocacy in Washington, DC, and state governments. He was a former Patient Advocate on the NCI Myeloma Steering Committee (MYSC); and the CIBMTR Consumer Advocacy Committee (CAC) (2013-2022). He is also an active participant of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) Annual Meeting, and the IMF Support Group Annual Leaders Summit. 

IMF CEO Yelak Biru
Yelak Biru
President and Chief Executive Officer
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IMF CEO Yelak Biru
Yelak Biru
President and Chief Executive Officer

 

IMF Patient, President & CEO Yelak Biru drives the organization’s mission of improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure. He sees his role as a way “to pay it forward and carry the baton as far and as fast as possible so those who come after me, those who come after us, can go even further.” 
 
Diagnosed with multiple myeloma at the young age of 25, Yelak has lived with the disease for more than two decades. His journey as a patient brought him to the IMF, first in support groups and then as a member of the organization’s Board of Directors. 
 
With his leadership, the IMF has continued to conduct more than 50 ongoing research studies worldwide, to foster support and education for patients and caregivers, to advocate for equitable healthcare access, and to enhance alliances around the globe. His vision is “to find a cure for myeloma so no one dies from the disease by the year 2035.” 
  
Yelak’s decades-long passion for improving the lives of myeloma patients combined with his 25 years of working in Fortune 50 corporations (PepsiCo and Walmart), expertise and deep know-how of technology and HR Analytics, as well as his unique understanding of people, team building, strategy, and operations make him the perfect fit to lead the International Myeloma Foundation—the 32-year-old organization always puts patients at the center of all its endeavors.  

Yelak possesses domain expertise in People Analytics and cross-functional skills in supply chain, finance, marketing, and Data Analytics and Strategy development. He has a track record of leading large, diverse, and geographically disparate teams in a global, matrixed business–IT setting; championing data-driven agile product development; and leveraging user experience design principles. He is a change agent with the ability to influence senior stakeholders, to collaborate across lines of business, and to deliver strategic initiatives.  


Yelak’s extraordinary set of life experiences—as a 27-year myeloma survivor; an IMF board member; a dedicated member of the National Cancer Institute’s Myeloma Committee, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, National Cancer Research Advocate organizations; a co-author of published research; a prolific speaker on patient care and myeloma research issues; and his collaborations with both for-profit and non-profit organizations—has afforded him a deeper understanding of the challenges, disappointments, and triumphs that myeloma patients and their care team face on a day to day.  
 
Born in Ethiopia, Yelak completed his undergraduate and master's degrees in Computer Science from the University of North Texas. He and his wife, along with their two dachshunds, live in Los Angeles, California.  

 

Christine Battistini
Christine Battistini
President, International Myeloma Foundation Latin America and President, Instituto Espaço de Vida
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Christine Battistini
Christine Battistini
President, International Myeloma Foundation Latin America and President, Instituto Espaço de Vida

Christine Battistini is the President of the International Myeloma Foundation Latin America and President, Instituto Espaço de Vida.

Mario Boccadoro
Professor Mario Boccadoro
Professor of Medicine
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Mario Boccadoro
Professor Mario Boccadoro
Professor of Medicine

Prof. Mario Boccadoro is the Head of the Hematology Section of the Oncology Division at the University of Torino. He is the founder of the Italian Myeloma Study Group, the first research consortium in Italy and one of the first in Europe. He is the recipient of the Sixth Annual Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award.

Loraine Alterman Boyle
Loraine Alterman Boyle
Writer/Producer
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Loraine Alterman Boyle
Loraine Alterman Boyle
Writer/Producer

Loraine Alterman Boyle joined the IMF board after her husband, famed actor Peter Boyle, passed away from myeloma in 2006.  She began chairing the IMF’s annual Comedy Celebration benefiting the Peter Boyle Research Fund in 2007. She enlisted his Everybody Loves Raymond co-star, Ray Romano, as the host of the comedy show. A former rock journalist for publications like Rolling Stone and The New York Times, she has also co-produced Broadway shows like Memphis, Beautiful, Mothers & Sons and Ain’t Too Proud: The Life & Times of the Temptations.

Brian GM Durie, MD.
Brian G.M. Durie, MD
Chief Scientific Officer, Professor of Medicine, and Hematologist/Oncologist
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Brian GM Durie, MD.
Brian G.M. Durie, MD
Chief Scientific Officer, Professor of Medicine, and Hematologist/Oncologist

 

Dr. Brian G.M. Durie is co-founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Scientific Officer of the International Myeloma Foundation. He is also Chairman of the International Myeloma Working Group and the Black Swan Research Initiative®. 

Dr. Durie is a Hematologist/Oncologist specializing in multiple myeloma and related disorders at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was former Medical Director of Myeloma Research for the Academic Myeloma Consortium and co-chairman of the myeloma committee for the SWOG Cancer Research Network. Previously, he was a professor at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine, and the Charing Cross and Westminster School of Medicine at the University of London.

Dr. Durie is known for his notable research on multiple myeloma and blood disorders, most especially for developing the Durie-Salmon Staging System which continues to be used worldwide for clinically staging myeloma. 

One of his key BSRI® projects, iStopMM (Iceland Screens, Treats, or Prevents Multiple Myeloma) is the first large-scale screening study in the field of myeloma aimed at preventing myeloma before it develops. His other key projects include the i2TEAMM (International Independent Team for Endpoint Approval of Myeloma MRD) Initiative and the BSRI® ASCENT Cure Trial. 

Dr. Durie has received numerous accolades for his outstanding contributions in the field of myeloma: an Honorary Doctor of Medicine award from the Vrije Universteit Brussel in 2019, the Waldenström's Award in 2009, and the Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. He is also a Leukemia Society of America Scholar and a U.S. Hematologic Research Foundation Annual Awardee. 

He has written over 700 research papers, 16 book chapters, and 5 books. He also holds an international patent for scintillation autoradiography.

Dr. Durie is actively involved in global congress events in Europe, which include the annual Heidelberg Myeloma Workshop and annual conferences hosted by the Eurasian Hematology-Oncology Group. 

He has produced over 200 videos for his weekly series, “Ask Dr. Durie,” where he addresses patient questions about multiple myeloma and provides information on the latest developments in myeloma treatments. Complementing the video series is his weekly blog, where he also features highlights of annual events including the ASH Educational Program, IMWG Summit, AMN Summit, GMAN Summit, and the Support Group Leaders Summit. 

Dr. Durie hosts IMF Patient & Family Webinars and Regional Community Workshops to provide up-to-date and direct information from leading myeloma experts to myeloma patients and their families.   

Born in Scotland, Dr. Durie received his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh Medical School. He completed residencies and fellowships at Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialties in both medical oncology and hematology.
 

Martine Elias
Martine Elias
Executive Director, Myeloma Canada
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Martine Elias
Martine Elias
Executive Director, Myeloma Canada

Martine Elias is the Executive Director at Myeloma Canada, the only patient-driven, grassroots organization bringing the Canadian myeloma community together and promoting a strong, unified national voice for people living with multiple myeloma. In addition, Martine is Chair of the Collective Oncology Network for Exchange, Cancer Care Innovation, Treatment Access and Education (CONECTed), a Canadian based organization. 

Martine started her career in clinical research in the pharmaceutical industry and has since dedicated her professional life to patient advocacy, empowering the patient voice, and helping patients gain access to essential medical treatments. She is passionate about ensuring that the patient voice is included in all aspects of health policy decisions. 

Previously, Martine was Director Access, Advocacy, and Community Relations at Myeloma Canada where she developed, led, and executed all advocacy strategies and programs. 

Before that, Martine held roles as National Patient Engagement Strategy at Janssen as a member of an international working team to advance a global patient advocacy strategy, and as National Director of Community Relations, as well as a Market Access and Health Economics team leader. Martine and her husband live in Quebec, Canada, have three children, three dogs, a cat, and a horse!

George Hayum
George T. Hayum
Entertainment Law
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George Hayum
George T. Hayum
Entertainment Law

George T. Hayum graduated from Princeton University with honors from its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He continued his work in this area on a Fulbright Fellowship in France. Mr. Hayum obtained his law degree from Yale Law School, where he served as Professor Alexander Bickel’s head teaching assistant in Yale College. For the past approximately 40 years, his practice has been in the field of entertainment law. He represents actors, directors, writers, producers, rights holders, production, and distribution entities in film, television, legitimate stage, video games, film distribution, remake rights, and the acquisition of literary properties. His practice includes many international clients. His pro bono work has included Doctors Without Borders, Board of Trustees of Antioch University, and the eQuinoxe writing/producing program. He is a member of the bars of California, New York, and the District of Columbia, and speaks French fluently.

Jason Katz
Jason S. Katz
Growth Marketing
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Jason Katz
Jason S. Katz
Growth Marketing

Jason S. Katz is Head of Marketing Technology at Shutterstock and Founder of Growth Marketing Advisors LLC. As a creative executive, he brings with him ~20 years of marketing and technology experience in both Fortune 100 and startups. As a member of the IMF Board of Directors, Jason carries on the tradition of his father, Michael S. Katz, longtime IMF Director, highly accomplished and widely respected myeloma patient advocate, and beloved member of the IMF family.

Benson Klein, JD
Benson Klein, JD
Attorney
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Benson Klein, JD
Benson Klein, JD
Attorney

Benson Klein is a Principal Member of the law firm Ward & Klein, Chartered. He received his JD from Georgetown University College of Law in 1970 and is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar Association, and the Montgomery County Bar Association. He has served and continues to serve on the board of organizations such as Eagle Bank, Chairman of the Eagle Bank Healthcare Advisory Board, President of the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital Foundation, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital Governance Board, and other organizations in both the business and nonprofit sectors.

Andrew Kuzneski
Andrew Kuzneski III
Investment and Banking
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Andrew Kuzneski
Andrew Kuzneski III
Investment and Banking

Mr. Kuzneski is currently active in the insurance, investment, and banking industries. He is a Principal at Kuzneski Financial Group, an insurance broker, and President of Greyhawk Capital, a provider of equity capital and advice to seed and early stage growth companies. He is also President and board member of Berkshire Securities, a private investment company that has invested in Pennsylvania-based community and regional banks for over 30 years.

Heinz Ludwig
Professor Heinz Ludwig
Professor of Medicine
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Heinz Ludwig
Professor Heinz Ludwig
Professor of Medicine

Dr. Heinz Ludwig is the Director of the Department of Medicine I, Center of Oncology and Hematology at Wilhelminenspital, Vienna. He is a former president of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the recipient of the Fifth Annual Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award.

Charles Newman
Charles Newman, MS
Entrepreneur
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Charles Newman
Charles Newman, MS
Entrepreneur

Mr. Newman has been an entrepreneur since starting his first company while a college undergraduate in 1961. He has been instrumental in the development of the secondary user market for used wireless handsets and founded a company that collected over 50,000,000 used cellular phones. He is currently Chairman of the Board of ContentOro, a content marketing company. In addition, Mr. Newman founded Protectors of Equality in Government, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, and was a founder and member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Ann Arbor. Mr. Newman received his Bachelor of Science in 1963, and his M.S. in 1964, both from the University of Michigan.

Poornima Parameswaran, Ph.D headshot
Poornima Parameswaran, Ph.D.
CEO, Board Director, and Co-Founder of Trace Genomics
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Poornima Parameswaran, Ph.D headshot
Poornima Parameswaran, Ph.D.
CEO, Board Director, and Co-Founder of Trace Genomics

Poornima is passionate about the application of science, technology, and data towards building a healthier planet. She is a tenacious entrepreneur, skilled at leading dynamic teams through transformative changes and transitions. 

As CEO, Board Director, and Co-founder of Trace Genomics, she leads the Company's efforts in DNA mapping to unlock the hidden potential of soil for transformative change in sustainable agriculture. Under Poornima’s leadership, Trace Genomics has developed a sophisticated soil engine and has earned several accolades—the FoodShot Global’s Innovating Soil 3.0 Challenge; Forbes Top 25 Most Innovative AgTech; 2020 Technology Pioneer at the World Economic Forum; Agfunder’s Most Innovative U.S. Startup Pre-Series A; THRIVE Top 50 AgTech; and more. 

With a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of California at Berkeley, a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Stanford University, and a B.S. degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Texas at Austin, Poornima has pioneered breakthroughs to make genomics more affordable and accessible. 

She taught the first-ever class on applications of genomics at Stanford, led successful partnerships and collaborations across academia, government, and industry, and has authored a dozen highly referenced publications in the genomics space. She is also an inventor on several microbiome patents.  

As a multiple myeloma patient, Poornima will bring a unique perspective to her new role on the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) Board. Her experiences equip her to serve as a strategic thought partner—advocating for patient-centric approaches and helping guide the IMF’s strategic directions for continued success and innovation in therapies and cures. 

Michael Scott
E. Michael D. Scott
Scientific & Medical Communications
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Michael Scott
E. Michael D. Scott
Scientific & Medical Communications

Mr. Scott is the founder of an independent strategic ideation and healthcare communications firm – Ex Archa -- in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He is a former Chairman and board member of the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), a co-founder and president of Prostate Cancer International, a member of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), an affiliate member of the American Urological Association, and an associate member of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO). He graduated from the University of Sussex, where he earned an honors degree in biochemistry

Sanjay Singh 
Global Finance & Strategy Leader
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Sanjay Singh 
Global Finance & Strategy Leader

Sanjay Singh is a global finance and strategy leader who leverages his broad financial expertise to shape and influence business strategy and drive transformation. He is currently a Consultant and Board Member. He has worked as a Chief Financial Officer and Senior VP for Business Planning and Analysis at Qurate Retail Group (parent company of QVC Inc.); as Senior VP of Finance at Abercrombie & Fitch; and has had 22 years of experience in progressively senior financial leadership positions at Procter & Gamble.

Executive Team
IMF CEO Yelak Biru
Yelak Biru
President and Chief Executive Officer
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IMF CEO Yelak Biru
Yelak Biru
President and Chief Executive Officer

 

IMF Patient, President & CEO Yelak Biru drives the organization’s mission of improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure. He sees his role as a way “to pay it forward and carry the baton as far and as fast as possible so those who come after me, those who come after us, can go even further.” 
 
Diagnosed with multiple myeloma at the young age of 25, Yelak has lived with the disease for more than two decades. His journey as a patient brought him to the IMF, first in support groups and then as a member of the organization’s Board of Directors. 
 
With his leadership, the IMF has continued to conduct more than 50 ongoing research studies worldwide, to foster support and education for patients and caregivers, to advocate for equitable healthcare access, and to enhance alliances around the globe. His vision is “to find a cure for myeloma so no one dies from the disease by the year 2035.” 
  
Yelak’s decades-long passion for improving the lives of myeloma patients combined with his 25 years of working in Fortune 50 corporations (PepsiCo and Walmart), expertise and deep know-how of technology and HR Analytics, as well as his unique understanding of people, team building, strategy, and operations make him the perfect fit to lead the International Myeloma Foundation—the 32-year-old organization always puts patients at the center of all its endeavors.  

Yelak possesses domain expertise in People Analytics and cross-functional skills in supply chain, finance, marketing, and Data Analytics and Strategy development. He has a track record of leading large, diverse, and geographically disparate teams in a global, matrixed business–IT setting; championing data-driven agile product development; and leveraging user experience design principles. He is a change agent with the ability to influence senior stakeholders, to collaborate across lines of business, and to deliver strategic initiatives.  


Yelak’s extraordinary set of life experiences—as a 27-year myeloma survivor; an IMF board member; a dedicated member of the National Cancer Institute’s Myeloma Committee, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, National Cancer Research Advocate organizations; a co-author of published research; a prolific speaker on patient care and myeloma research issues; and his collaborations with both for-profit and non-profit organizations—has afforded him a deeper understanding of the challenges, disappointments, and triumphs that myeloma patients and their care team face on a day to day.  
 
Born in Ethiopia, Yelak completed his undergraduate and master's degrees in Computer Science from the University of North Texas. He and his wife, along with their two dachshunds, live in Los Angeles, California.  

 

Peter Anton Headshot
Peter Anton
Vice President, Marketing
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Peter Anton Headshot
Peter Anton
Vice President, Marketing

Peter Anton is a seasoned digital media and marketing veteran whose experience spans more than 25 years across large and small companies, including several startups. He has a rich background in media and entertainment, with long tenures at business units across Sony Music and Sony Pictures Digital, and TMINUS10, a Sony Broadband venture, where he was co-founder, president, and CEO. Peter also served as VP of Digital Strategy and Digital Marketing for The Grammys, where he built the department from the ground up and advised the Grammy Foundations (MusiCares and Grammy in the Schools). Peter also conceptualized and executive-produced “Grammy Live,” a multi-day behind-the-scenes participatory online experience throughout “Grammy Weekend.” He also worked with Brammo Electric Motorcycles, where he helped build the Brammo consumer brand and launch Brammo electric motorcycles internationally. Most recently, Peter ran global marketing and creative services for homeexchange.com, the world’s largest and most established home-sharing/swapping network.

Mimi Choon-Quinones
Mimi Choon-Quinones, PhD, MBA
Senior Vice President, Global Advocacy, Access, Policy & Research
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Mimi Choon-Quinones
Mimi Choon-Quinones, PhD, MBA
Senior Vice President, Global Advocacy, Access, Policy & Research

Dr. Mimi Choon-Quinones joined the IMF in 2018, bringing with her more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, her strategic leadership in 88+ countries focusing on Medical and Clinical Operations. Mimi was raised in the US, has lived and worked in Canada, and currently resides in Switzerland. She is working diligently with the i2TEAMM initiative to gain approval of MRD as a surrogate endpoint in myeloma in Europe, through efforts with the European Medicines Authority (EMA). Additionally Mimi will focus her efforts on IMF research initiatives and policy issues related to access to care and therapy in Europe.

Sylvia Dsouza headshot
Sylvia Dsouza
Vice President, Development
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Sylvia Dsouza headshot
Sylvia Dsouza
Vice President, Development

Sylvia is a strategic fundraiser with a diverse background bringing more than a decade of experience in developing and implementing principal and planned gift strategies; managing principal gifts and planned giving events, meetings, and engagements while working in prestigious institutions such as RAND Corporation, Pardee RAND Graduate School, the University of Southern California (USC), and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  Sylvia comes to the IMF with a proven track record of implementing best practices to strengthen donor engagement and expertise in building a culture of philanthropy.  Sylvia earned her M.P.A. from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in communication studies from the University of California, Los Angeles

Brian GM Durie, MD.
Brian G.M. Durie, MD
Chief Scientific Officer, Professor of Medicine, and Hematologist/Oncologist
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Brian GM Durie, MD.
Brian G.M. Durie, MD
Chief Scientific Officer, Professor of Medicine, and Hematologist/Oncologist

 

Dr. Brian G.M. Durie is co-founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Scientific Officer of the International Myeloma Foundation. He is also Chairman of the International Myeloma Working Group and the Black Swan Research Initiative®. 

Dr. Durie is a Hematologist/Oncologist specializing in multiple myeloma and related disorders at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was former Medical Director of Myeloma Research for the Academic Myeloma Consortium and co-chairman of the myeloma committee for the SWOG Cancer Research Network. Previously, he was a professor at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine, and the Charing Cross and Westminster School of Medicine at the University of London.

Dr. Durie is known for his notable research on multiple myeloma and blood disorders, most especially for developing the Durie-Salmon Staging System which continues to be used worldwide for clinically staging myeloma. 

One of his key BSRI® projects, iStopMM (Iceland Screens, Treats, or Prevents Multiple Myeloma) is the first large-scale screening study in the field of myeloma aimed at preventing myeloma before it develops. His other key projects include the i2TEAMM (International Independent Team for Endpoint Approval of Myeloma MRD) Initiative and the BSRI® ASCENT Cure Trial. 

Dr. Durie has received numerous accolades for his outstanding contributions in the field of myeloma: an Honorary Doctor of Medicine award from the Vrije Universteit Brussel in 2019, the Waldenström's Award in 2009, and the Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. He is also a Leukemia Society of America Scholar and a U.S. Hematologic Research Foundation Annual Awardee. 

He has written over 700 research papers, 16 book chapters, and 5 books. He also holds an international patent for scintillation autoradiography.

Dr. Durie is actively involved in global congress events in Europe, which include the annual Heidelberg Myeloma Workshop and annual conferences hosted by the Eurasian Hematology-Oncology Group. 

He has produced over 200 videos for his weekly series, “Ask Dr. Durie,” where he addresses patient questions about multiple myeloma and provides information on the latest developments in myeloma treatments. Complementing the video series is his weekly blog, where he also features highlights of annual events including the ASH Educational Program, IMWG Summit, AMN Summit, GMAN Summit, and the Support Group Leaders Summit. 

Dr. Durie hosts IMF Patient & Family Webinars and Regional Community Workshops to provide up-to-date and direct information from leading myeloma experts to myeloma patients and their families.   

Born in Scotland, Dr. Durie received his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh Medical School. He completed residencies and fellowships at Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialties in both medical oncology and hematology.
 

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Emma Hatcher
Global Vice President for Patient Engagement & Advocacy
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Emma Hatcher
Global Vice President for Patient Engagement & Advocacy

Emma Hatcher holds the position of Global Vice President for Patient Engagement & Advocacy, leveraging her extensive 20+ years of healthcare experience. Notably, she spent 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry with a focus on rare disease treatments in global markets. Emma's expertise was built by working at the intersection of health policy, patient advocacy, and strategic planning, a background built through roles spanning industry, consulting, and trade associations. Emma holds a master's degree in public health with a policy concentration from Brown University, and a Bachelor of Sciences from the University of Rhode Island. Emma resides in the Washington D.C. area with her husband and two children.

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Joseph Mikhael, MD
Chief Medical Officer
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Joseph Mikhael, MD
Chief Medical Officer

 

Dr. Joseph Mikhael is a Professor in the Applied Cancer Research and Drug Discovery Division at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope Cancer Center. He is also the Chief Medical Officer of the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF).   

Dr. Mikhael is a consultant hematologist and Director of Myeloma Research at the HonorHealth Research Institute where he conducts phase 1 clinical trials. He just completed a term as Councilor on the American Society of Hematology Executive. He also recently led the ASCO guidelines for multiple myeloma.  

Dr. Mikhael was recently a hematologist at Mayo Clinic Arizona where he served as a Professor at the Mayo College of Medicine, Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education, and Deputy Director - Education of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. He has been recognized with numerous awards in education including being in the Mayo Clinic Resident and Fellow Association Hall of Fame as Educator of the Year. He was also recently named in the Top 100 Doctors in the United States. 

Dr. Mikhael did his initial medical school training in Ottawa, Canada, followed by his Hematology Residency at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. He then did a Multiple Myeloma Fellowship there along with a master’s degree in Education from the University of Toronto. He was on staff at PMH until being recruited to Mayo Clinic in 2008. 

He specializes clinically in plasma cell disorders, namely multiple myeloma, amyloidosis, and Waldenström's macroglobulinemia. Dr. Mikhael is currently the principal investigator of many clinical trials, primarily in multiple myeloma. His other clinical research interests also include pharmaco-economics, communication skills, and media relations. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles in these fields. He lectures internationally on a regular basis. He is an active member of the IMF’s International Myeloma Working Group and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.  

Dr. Mikhael is leading the IMF’s M-Power Project, which seeks to improve the care delivered to African Americans with myeloma – a disease with double the incidence in African Americans than white people. Dr. Mikhael also spends about twenty percent of his time in the developing world, seeking ways to enhance access to myeloma therapies in underprivileged countries. 

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Diane Moran, RN, MA, EdM
Senior Vice President Business Relationship Management
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Diane Moran, RN, MA, EdM
Senior Vice President Business Relationship Management

Diane Moran, RN, MA, EdM, is an experienced nurse with advanced degrees in education and organizational management, and a highly accomplished healthcare executive with more than two decades in the pharmaceutical industry prior to joining the IMF in April 2006.

Diane is the Senior Vice President Business Relationship Management for the IMF and reports directly to the President and CEO.

Daniel Navid
Daniel Navid
Senior Vice President, Global Affairs
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Daniel Navid
Daniel Navid
Senior Vice President, Global Affairs

Dan Navid is an American lawyer now based in Thailand, and prior to that in Europe, for 35 years. He has extensive experience in the fields of international law, diplomacy, capacity building, as well as management in the environment, development, and health fields. Dan coordinates IMF's Asian Myeloma Network and helps promote the Foundations's international initiatives. Dan served for several years as a diplomat in the United Nations at Geneva, was the Chief Executive Officer for the Swiss-based International Osteoporosis Foundation, and has helped to establish several international NGOs including the Fragility Fracture Network, a scientific society dedicated to supporting osteoporosis patients. Dan has also enjoyed a long career as a legal expert in the environment field, serving as the First Secretary General to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, and working as a legal officer and Executive Officer at the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Dan has worked on the elaboration of several international nature conservation agreements and has assisted governments throughout the world in the elaboration of environmental legislation. Most recently, he has been active assisting the National Parks Department of the government of the Kingdom of Thailand as an advisor for policy and legal matters.

Lisa Paik
Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs
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Lisa Paik
Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs

Lisa Paik joined the IMF in June 2001 as Director of Meeting Services, bringing with her extensive public relations and special events planning experience. Previously, Lisa was an Account Executive with Ogilvy Public Relations in Washington, DC. At Ogilvy, she specialized in consumer education programs and disease-awareness campaigns. At the IMF, Lisa currently oversees the IMF's research grant awards process, as well as all of the Foundation's CME & CE programs. She is the point person for the Health Medical companies accrediting clinical meetings and coordinates workshops for the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative group of leading multiple myeloma specialists that is charting the course to a cure, mentoring the next generation of innovative investigators, and improving lives through better care.

Jennifer Scarne
Jennifer Scarne
Chief Financial Officer
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Jennifer Scarne
Jennifer Scarne
Chief Financial Officer

In her role as Chief Financial Officer, Jennifer Scarne manages the finances and operations of the Foundation. Having served in the public and private sectors, Jennifer has over 20 years of financial, accounting, and operational experience. Prior to the Foundation, she was the Controller of Morgan Creek Productions, a successful independent film company. Earlier in her career, Jennifer served in public accounting in the business and audit assurance areas at Ernst & Young LLP and KPMG, primarily serving clients in the entertainment, technology, and not-for-profit industries. She has a background as a certified public accountant, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting with a minor in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University. Jennifer previously served on the board of the Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children serving as Vice President of Finance. She joined the Foundation in March 2007. Her deep commitment to the IMF’s mission makes her a strong leader in the fight to cure multiple myeloma.

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Robin Tuohy
Vice President, Support Groups
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Robin Tuohy
Vice President, Support Groups

Robin Tuohy worked as a paralegal for over 10 years at a Fortune 500 company before marrying Michael, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2000, and having children Ally and Mikey. She became involved with the IMF and attended Advocacy Days in Washington, DC, in 2001, and then began the first support group for multiple myeloma patients in Connecticut with the help of the IMF. She feels her experience as Michael's caregiver gives her a unique perspective on multiple myeloma. The Tuohy family carried their message of life after diagnosis across the country in 2007 on the Myeloma Mobile. Robin's motto is "The purpose of life is a life of purpose," and she hopes that she is able to help others dealing with multiple myeloma.

Staff
Betty Arevalo
Betty Arevalo
Inventory Control Manager
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Betty Arevalo
Betty Arevalo
Inventory Control Manager

Betty Arevalo is a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). For three years prior to joining the IMF, she provided patient care at CHA-Presbyterian Medical Center and at a convalescent home for disabled and subacute patients in Los Angeles. At the IMF, Betty helps maintain the computer database and stock inventory and prepares materials for all IMF meetings, seminars, and conferences. In addition, she answers Spanish-language IMF Hotline calls, assists Spanish-speaking participants at IMF Patient & Family Seminars, and coordinates Spanish multiple myeloma support group meetings.

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Becky Bosley
Director, Support Groups
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Becky Bosley
Director, Support Groups

Becky has been an Oncology RN since 2006, including professional roles as an inpatient bedside nurse, healthcare informatics, as well as Transplant Nurse Coordinator, navigating Myeloma patients through the Transplant process. She has facilitated a Myeloma Support Group as a volunteer since 2018 and has been involved with the IMF for several years, attending ASH and SGLS several times. Her professional role at the IMF includes educationally supporting 50 Support Groups across the US. She is passionate about her daily work with Myeloma patients and care partners and feels blessed to be a part of a team at the IMF that is just as passionate.

Becky lives in Pennsylvania with her large, blended family and values her quality time with them, including being actively involved in their children’s soccer, baseball, softball, theatre, band, and chorus activities.

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Brittnay Brandon
Meeting Coordinator
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Brittnay Brandon
Meeting Coordinator

Brittnay Brandon joins the IMF after 12 years of hospitality in hotels where she was involved in the planning and execution of many events from small medical meetings to large scale social galas.  She has a background in planning many social events outside of the hotels including weddings, fundraisers, and personal parties.

Brittnay was raised with a “heart of service” which included volunteering at many community events, being a mentor to youth through the Tarik Glenn Foundation (Dream Alive).  Also heavily involved in community outreach and social justice forums Brittnay hopes to continue her service at IMF.  Brittnay lost her father to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in January 2014 and currently has an aunt battling Multiple Myeloma so the IMF’s mission resonates with her. 

Nancy Bruno
Director, Support Groups
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Nancy Bruno
Director, Support Groups

Nancy Bruno has been active in Support Groups since shortly after her husband Mike was diagnosed with mulitple myeloma in late 1998. What began as comprehensive note-taking during support group meetings led to her becoming a writer for the group’s newsletter. When Andy Lebkuecher’s wife, Cathy, died in December 2006, Andy asked Nancy to lead their local Atlanta group temporarily, "and I haven’t stopped." Her energy and commitment will continue as Director, Support Groups.

Sarah Chambliss
Meeting & Project Manager, Medical Programs
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Sarah Chambliss
Meeting & Project Manager, Medical Programs

Sarah Chambliss holds degrees of Bachelor of Sciences and Master of Arts from Florida State University in Spanish, German, and Multicultural and Multilingual Education.  Her background in the Event Marketing field consists of 12+ years with management and event planning experience.  She is currently working on the Meetings team within the IMF and is looking forward to helping to bring in-person meetings back to a reality.  She has a passion for the outdoors, hiking, yoga, and music festivals.

Kelly Cox
Kelly Cox
Director Support Groups and Senior Director of Regional Community Workshops
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Kelly Cox
Kelly Cox
Director Support Groups and Senior Director of Regional Community Workshops

Kelly Cox spearheads IMF’s Regional Community Workshops, events that bring the most cutting-edge research and top multiple myeloma doctors to patients, caregivers, and healthcare workers across the country. Kelly also works closely with 40 support groups nationwide, carrying the IMF’s mission directly to those affected by multple myeloma. Kelly brings enthusiasm and energy to multiple myeloma awareness and outreach wherever he travels for personal visits, as well as via phone calls and emails.

Kelly worked for Warner Bros. International Television for three years prior to arriving at the IMF. He specialized in marketing, product management, and international placement for shows such as “Friends,” “E.R.” and “Smallville,” among others. Prior to this Kelly was involved with fundraising for specialized research into diseases of the retina, including macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.

Danielle Doheny
Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
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Danielle Doheny
Director of Public Policy and Advocacy

Danielle Doheny joined IMF after a six-year career on Capitol Hill where she worked as an adviser to two members of Congress. As a Congressional staffer, Danielle’s primary focus was on healthcare and issues related to energy, the environment, science, and technology. In her role with the IMF, she advocates on behalf of the multiple myeloma community to the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. Danielle’s father is a multiple myeloma patient, and she has a unique passion for her work on behalf of patients and their families. Danielle graduated cum laude from Thiel College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.

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Serdar Erdoğan
Director, Global Myeloma Action Network and European & Middle Eastern Patient Programs
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Serdar Erdoğan
Director, Global Myeloma Action Network and European & Middle Eastern Patient Programs

Serdar joined the IMF in September 2018 with seven years of experience in the non-profit sector, specializing in corporate communications and development. For the prior four years, he was part of the business development team at the Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey (TEGV). Earlier in his career, Serdar spent more than 15 years working with global corporations. He is the co-founder of Living With Myeloma Initiative and Cancer Survivors Association that has organized patient and family seminars in several cities in Turkey. Serdar is also a journalist, translator, editor, content provider, and musician.

Jonathan Fitzpatrick
Jonathan Fitzpatrick
Meeting & Project Manager, Patient Programs
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Jonathan Fitzpatrick
Jonathan Fitzpatrick
Meeting & Project Manager, Patient Programs

Jon Fitzpatrick worked with the IMF for several years as a volunteer before joining our team as the Support Group Coordinator. He is excited to turn his passion for helping others into a career. Jon’s interest in working closely with multiple myeloma patients and caregivers was sparked as a result of his experience in the field of emergency response.

 

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Lauren Gapinski
Administrative Assistant - Travel & Registration
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Lauren Gapinski
Administrative Assistant - Travel & Registration

Lauren joined the IMF as a recent college graduate from Arizona State University and has a degree in Business Tourism. She has previous experience with various travel agents and a passion for sustainable tourism within the industry. Lauren is developing her professional role as an Administrative Assistant with a focus on Travel and Registration for the meetings department at the IMF. She enjoys spending time with her family in Wisconsin and reading in her spare time. She is excited about working alongside the strong IMF team towards the future of Myeloma.

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Sherrie Guerrero
Director, Human Resources
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Sherrie Guerrero
Director, Human Resources

Sherrie Guerrero, SHRM-SCP is an accomplished business executive who has held leadership roles in both the private and nonprofit sector.  She has an extensive background in communications and specializes in human resources with a senior certification from the Society of Human Resources Management. 

Prior to her career in non-profit, Sherrie served as vice president of international distribution working in the entertainment industry where she developed a strong aptitude for building productive relationships. She believes that positive work environments are built through effective communication and serve as the foundation for a happy and rewarding work experience.  Sherrie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Cal State University, Fullerton and a Certificate of Cultural Studies from the University of Granada, Spain.

Paul Hewitt
Paul Hewitt
InfoLine Coordinator
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Paul Hewitt
Paul Hewitt
InfoLine Coordinator

Paul Hewitt joined the IMF in 2001 and has been one of the IMF's InfoLine Coordinators since 2005. Paul is dedicated to helping patients and caregivers focus on putting a game plan in place to cope with life with multiple myeloma. That structure, coupled with the information the InfoLine provides, can alleviate fear and give confidence to those affected by multiple myeloma. Paul finds this work to be very satisfying. In addition to his work at the IMF, Paul maintains an active acting career. He has starred on Broadway and in many movies and TV shows. Paul is a graduate of the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University.

Kevin Huynh
Kevin Huynh
Tech Solutions Specialist
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Kevin Huynh
Kevin Huynh
Tech Solutions Specialist

Kevin’s responsibilities include offering individualized website assistance to the large network of IMF-affiliated multiple myeloma support groups. He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Business – Computer Information Systems. Kevin has diverse hobby interests, including the culinary arts. He is also in L A Jin Yin, a martial arts organization that studies and participates in Dragonboat competitions and Lion dancing during Chinese New Year celebrations. He is an avid runner, completing the Los Angeles Marathon in 2014 and 2016.

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Katie Ives
Administrative Assistant, Meetings Department Content and Speaker Communications
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Katie Ives
Administrative Assistant, Meetings Department Content and Speaker Communications

Katie joined the IMF in early 2023, bringing in a strong background in event planning and client management. Katie was born and raised in Iowa, competing in many sports starting at a very early age. This led to a successful soccer career at the collegiate level, where she also studied communications and digital media. She is the mother to an amazing boy named Jaxon and spends a lot of her free time with him and traveling to new places. Katie loves what the IMF stands for and can’t wait to continue to be a part of the further education of all Myeloma patients and families.

Marya Kazakova
Marya Kazakova
Senior Director, Editor-in-Chief, Publications
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Marya Kazakova
Marya Kazakova
Senior Director, Editor-in-Chief, Publications

Marya Kazakova is the Senior Director, Editor-in-Chief of Publications.

Ilana Kenville
Director of Development, Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
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Ilana Kenville
Director of Development, Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Ilana Kenville became one of the IMF's first volunteers when the IMF was first founded. When the IMF supported the establishment of Myeloma UK, Ilana traveled to Scotland to work with Eric Low on launching that new organization. Ilana joined the IMF Staff in 2014 to work alongside Suzanne Battaglia in the Member Events Program. Ilana specializes in challenge events where she combines her passions of being active and fundraising in unique ways for the IMF. She holds a degree in Liberal Studies from National University, San Diego, CA. and resides in Phoenix, Arizona.

Missy Klepetar
Missy Klepetar
InfoLine Coordinator
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Missy Klepetar
Missy Klepetar
InfoLine Coordinator

Missy Klepetar graduated from Reed College. She joined the IMF in the fall of 2006 and became part of the InfoLine team during the summer of 2008. Missy says that working on the InfoLine is the most rewarding thing she has done in a professional realm, and she feels privileged to be able to help patients and caregivers in this capacity. She understands the importance of imparting the latest and best information regarding treatment options, as well as discussing the complex issues surrounding multiple myeloma.

Missy also assists the IMF by proofing content for all IMF publications, including Myeloma Today.

She enjoys Colorado Avalanche hockey.

Sapna Kumar
Marketing Strategist
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Sapna Kumar
Marketing Strategist

For six years, Sapna Kumar served as the IMF's Manager, Marketing and Communications. She brings editorial expertise from the publishing industry, from roles at companies including McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, and Encyclopedia Britannica. In 2021, she served as a Digital Learning Manager with the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, where she worked with medical professionals to develop Continuing Medical Education courses. She holds a B.A. in Writing from Purdue University and certificates in digital marketing, Google Analytics, and web-based communications. In the fall of 2022, she rejoined the IMF team to return to focusing on mission-driven work, always with the patients, caregivers, and the myeloma community at top of mind.

Phil Lange
Phil Lange
Accounting Director
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Phil Lange
Phil Lange
Accounting Director

Phil Lange brings over 20 years of accounting experience to IMF. He graduated from Loyola Marymont University in 1979. Phil has extensive accounting experience, working for a wide variety of companies in entertainment, commercial real estate development, banking, manufacturing, publishing, non-profit, and healthcare. Phil is excited about working with the incredible team at IMF. Phil and Steve, his life partner of 18 years, were legally married in California on July 24, 2008. This year, they rescued a pair of American Rat Terriers named Jocko and Oreo.

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Jason London
Manager, Marketing & Communications
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Jason London
Manager, Marketing & Communications

With over 7 years of experience in marketing and communications, I am currently leading the development and execution of effective marketing and communications strategies at the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by multiple myeloma. I have helped grow tent pole campaigns to a reach of 40+ million across 46 countries, raising awareness and funds for the organization's mission and programs.

My core competencies include creating compelling content that engages and informs target audiences, producing and editing various digital media content, including video series, webinars, and social media posts, and building strong relationships with stakeholders, partners, and donors. I am also Google Analytics certified and skilled in WordPress and digital strategy. I am passionate about storytelling and creating impactful marketing and communications strategies that help organizations achieve their goals. 

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Lauren Manner
Development Coordinator
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Lauren Manner
Development Coordinator

A proud alum of Florida State University, Lauren, a Miami native, serves as the Development Coordinator at the IMF. Leveraging her experience as a Stewardship Coordinator at the University of Denver, she now handles the process gift entry to donor stewardship. Along with providing support for other fundraising projects, her work ensures every contribution propels our cause forward.

Jim Needham
Jim Needham
Publication Design
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Jim Needham
Jim Needham
Publication Design

Jim Needham is responsible for assisting the IMF with graphic design and production of the IMF's vast array of printed materials. He was born and raised in Southern California, graduated from UCLA in Design, and has worked in that field ever since. He is experienced as an art director, graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, copywriter and copy editor, and has done a wide range of projects in a spectrum of industries. After joining the IMF staff, he exclaimed, "Over the years I've done a lot of work to help companies successfully sell products and make money. In 2005, I had a strong desire to use my experience, skills, and talents to help people who needed help. I wanted to work for a nonprofit organization, and marvelously, this job at IMF has made my wish come true."

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Meghan O'Connor
Meeting & Project Manager, Content & Communications
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Meghan O'Connor
Meeting & Project Manager, Content & Communications

Meghan joined the IMF in 2019, bringing with her a strong background in administrative work in the healthcare sector, coordinating patient care with physicians and nurses. Meghan lives in Rhode Island and works at the local IMF Meetings Department office in Barrington, RI. She is the mother of an amazing 12 year old son, Brennan, and enjoys spending time with her family. Meghan’s grandmother lost her life to myeloma in May 2013, and Meghan is honored to be part of a team that supports the IMF’s mission.

 

Selma Plascencia
Selma Plascencia
Senior Director, Operations
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Selma Plascencia
Selma Plascencia
Senior Director, Operations

Selma has spent more than 25 years working in the non-profit sector for organizations providing humanitarian services nationwide. She joined the International Myeloma Foundation in 2009 and is currently the Director of Operations. Selma is a native Californian, a mother, loves animals and enjoys helping others.

Annabel Reardon
Annabel Reardon
Sr. Director of Program Operations & Chief of Staff
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Annabel Reardon
Annabel Reardon
Sr. Director of Program Operations & Chief of Staff

Annabel Reardon has previously worked with the IMF Events team on planning their various events and meetings. From floor plans to menu selections and restaurant reservation, she ensured that each event ran smoothly and all logistical details were taken care of. In 2013, she decided to work full-time for the IMF as its Meeting Coordinator. Aside from planning and managing the multiple year-round national and international meetings the IMF holds and attends, she also manages the auction of the IMF's Annual Gala.

She holds a degree in International Hospitality Management from Northern Arizona University and studied International Management at the London Metro University.

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Joy Riznikove
Database Analyst
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Joy Riznikove
Database Analyst

Joy’s background in the field of entertainment includes working in client services at BFM Digital and at Shapeshifter Inc. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti with a degree in Film Studies and a minor in Art. She is an avid reader, writer, singer, and hiker.

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Cecilia Romero
Project and Technology Manager, Support Groups
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Cecilia Romero
Project and Technology Manager, Support Groups

Cecilia joined the IMF in April 2023 as a member of the Support Group team. She brings more than 10 years of experience in project management and is passionate about keeping projects, programs and initiatives running smoothly through effective processes and procedures. Her prior positions have been in higher education with a focus on improving the health and wellbeing in the communities we serve. She is excited to join such a passionate team focused on improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure.

She holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from Arizona State University and resides in Phoenix, Arizona.

Miko Santos
Senior Tech Solutions Manager
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Miko Santos
Senior Tech Solutions Manager

Miko Santos has extensive experience in mass media and news organizations. A graduate of De La Salle University, he holds a dual degree in Marketing and Behavioral Science. He started out as a photojournalist for Manila Times and Sun Star, covering everything from community events to coups d'etat and eventually becoming the New Media Editor for Asian Journal, one of the largest Filipino-American news organizations in the US. He has also worked as a stringer for Philippine-based broadcast networks ABS-CBN and GMA-7. No stranger to the cancer cause, he once biked a thousand miles for three weeks around the Philippines with the Cancer Warriors Foundation to raise awareness and funds for children afflicted with cancer.

Narmeen Shammami
Senior Research Project Coordinator
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Narmeen Shammami
Senior Research Project Coordinator

As the Senior Research Project Coordinator, Narmeen Shammami facilitates all aspects of contract management and research projects. Narmeen's diverse experience as Director of Operations in digital media enhanced her leadership roles within research and development. She specializes in innovative medical strategies.

Narmeen earned her Master of Science from Barry University, where she graduated cum laude, and obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

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Brando Sordoni
Senior Associate - Accounting & Distribution
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Brando Sordoni
Senior Associate - Accounting & Distribution

A Los Angeles native, with the IMF for over 5 years. Work in both the Accounting and Distribution departments doing a variety of tasks. Assist with financial analysis, payables, invoices and many other financial operations to ensure all details and activities have been accounted for and allocated correctly.  In addition to fulfilling daily order requests, assist in distribution preparing shipments, deliverables and materials necessary for IMF’s larger meetings and events throughout the year. "I am a proud member of team IMF and could not be happier for all the success and growth the foundation has seen over the years." 

 

Rafi Stephan
Assistant to the President
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Rafi Stephan
Assistant to the President

Rafi Stephan comes to the IMF from the world of entertainment, where he last served as an executive assistant in International Television Distribution at Warner Brothers. He was at Warner Brothers from 2006 to 2014, during which time he also served as special events director for the business resource group Network for Asian Pacific Americans (NAPA). Rafi’s film industry experience includes being a producer and production manager for independent films, including Sundance selection Must Be the Music and Gus Van Sant’s Speedway Junky. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth with a degree in Film/Television and a minor in History.

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Daria Tabota
Marketing Communications Coordinator
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Daria Tabota
Marketing Communications Coordinator

Based in St. Petersburg, Florida, Daria Tabota joins the IMF with a wealth of digital marketing, social media, and public relations experience. As the IMF’s MarCom Coordinator, she is responsible for helping manage the organization’s digital assets and works with the MarCom team on social media and email campaigns. Daria also helps coordinate MarCom projects with a variety of stakeholders to support timely delivery.

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Source URL: https://www.myeloma.org/board-of-directors-staff