Board of Trustees

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is able to fulfill its mission and continue its battle against Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis because of our dedicated board of trustees.

You can learn more about each of our current board members below:


OFFICERS

John Crosson

John Crosson, Chair of the Board

John Crosson is the president of TrueRelief, a medical device company that markets and manufactures technology that eliminates acute and chronic pain.  While John has spent much of the past ten years in the medical technology space, he has also enjoyed a wide-ranging business career spanning consumer marketing, corporate wellness, resort hotels, and management consulting.

A consumer marketing strategist by trade, John has over 25 years of experience in executive roles in advertising agencies large and small, including over six years as CEO of the Los Angeles subsidiary of Grey, the then-largest advertising agency in the United States.  John has helped build some of the most successful and famous brands in the world including BMW, Gallo, Nestlé, Harry Potter (Warner Bros.), Hilton, Bartles & Jaymes, Dairy Queen, Callaway Golf and Caesars Palace.

John serves on the board of Meritage Ventures, which owns the largest hotel resort in Napa, CA.  In addition to being an investor in the resort, he is also active in the marketing of this resort, as well as its three sister properties in California and Hawaii.  

John has an MBA from the University of Southern California (USC).  He and his wife, Carolyn, have three children and live in Los Angeles.


D. Brent Polk, MD

D. Brent Polk, MD, Chair of the National Scientific Advisory Committee

Dr. Brent Polk is Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego and Executive Vice Chair for the Department of Pediatrics and Professor of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Dr. Polk is a former Professor of Pediatrics and Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine and Vice Dean for Child Health at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. He was also the former Chair of the Department of Pediatrics for USC and past Chief of Pediatrics, Physician-in-Chief and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of the Saban Research Institute at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Dr. Polk previously held the Dean's chair and served as Chief of the D. Brent Polk Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Director of the Digestive Disease Research Center and a tenured Professor of Pediatrics and Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University, where he received the Grant W. Liddle award for exemplary leadership in the promotion of scientific research careers of faculty and trainees including medical students.

A distinguished investigator, clinician and educator, Dr. Polk has more than 30 years of experience as a pediatric physician-scientist focused on the care of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, with the goal of asking questions through laboratory investigations informed by patient care challenges that may be translated back to identify risks of disease and targets for prevention or treatment. His laboratory is focused on the regulation of growth and development of the intestinal cell as it relates to development and disease, with a particular focus on signal transduction mechanisms in IBD. He currently serves as the Chair of the National Scientific Advisory Committee of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation.

Dr. Polk received bachelor degrees in biology and chemistry from Ouachita University and his medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He completed his pediatrics training at Arkansas Children's Hospital and UAMS, and his gastroenterology and nutrition training at Stanford University.


David T. Rubin, MD

David T. Rubin, MD, Chair-Elect of the National Scientific Advisory Committee

Dr. David T. Rubin is the Joseph B. Kirsner Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition and the Co-Director of the Digestive Diseases Center at The University of Chicago Medicine. Dr. Rubin earned a medical degree with honors at The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowships in gastroenterology and clinical medical ethics at the University of Chicago, where he served as Chief Resident and Chief Fellow. Prior to his current appointments, Dr. Rubin served for 11 years as Director of the Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition fellowship program. He also currently serves as an associate faculty member at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and an associate investigator at the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Rubin is a Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the American College of Physicians (ACP) and an active national member of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, and is on the Board of Trustees for the ACG. Among numerous awards and honors, Dr. Rubin was chosen by his peers as a member of Best Doctors (recognized for superior clinical ability) and America’s Top Physicians (gastroenterology). Additionally, he twice received the ACG’s Governor’s Award of Excellence in Clinical Research (2003 and 2013), the Cancer Research Foundation Young Investigator’s Award (2004), and the UC Postgraduate Teaching Award in recognition of significant contributions for fellowship education (2006). In 2012, he received the CCF Rosenthal Award, a national leadership award bestowed upon a volunteer who has contributed in an indisputable way to the quality of life of patients and families. He is currently the Chair-elect of the National Scientific Advisory Committee of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. He is an Associate Editor of the journal Gastroenterology and Editor of the ACG On-Line Educational Universe.

Dr. Rubin is the editor of a best-selling book on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), now in its 3rd edition, an associate editor of the 11th edition of Sleisenger and Fordtram’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, and an author or coauthor of many peer-reviewed articles on treatment and management of IBD, cancer in IBD and novel paradigms, as well as the first author of the in progress ACG Guidelines for ulcerative colitis. His current research is in the area of progressive complications from uncontrolled inflammation, the doctor-patient relationship in IBD, and a variety of collaborative studies related to the microbiome and intestinal disease. He is also a featured media contact for issues related to IBD, appearing on satellite radio, television, print media and maintains a popular twitter feed @IBDMD (>8000 followers). His principal research interests include novel IBD therapies and outcomes, colon cancer prevention, and clinical medical ethics.


Andrew Stern

Andrew Stern, Esq., Secretary

Andrew Stern is a partner and co-chair of the Securities and Shareholder Litigation practice at Sidley Austin LLP in New York. He focuses on commercial litigation, including in particular cases involving the federal securities laws and corporate governance issues. Mr. Stern received his undergraduate degree from Lafayette College in 1987 and his J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1991. Mr. Stern and his family have been involved with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's New Jersey chapter for many years.

 

 


Robert "Van" Pulley

Robert "Van" Pulley, Treasurer

Robert "Van" Pulley is a highly accomplished senior executive with a long and successful 28-year career with the World Bank in Washington. His senior leadership positions included service as Vice President of Corporate Finance and Risk, where he had oversight of the Bank’s capital, financial polices, credit risk, net income and the administrative expense budget of 2.5 bln p.a. Van also served 10 years as Sr. Director of General Services, a large department delivering shared corporate services globally including inter alia security, real estate, procurement, information security, travel, translation and corporate social responsibility. Van spent 15 years in a variety of operational posts in Washington and overseas, including in Turkey, Jamaica, and Eastern Europe and as Country Director in the Philippines. He is a 1981 graduate of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and holds a Masters in Economics from the Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. He retired from the World Bank last year and currently serves on boards including the World Bank/IMF Credit Union, the American Research Institute in Turkey and he chairs the World Bank’s Community Connections Fund that channels staff and corporate donations to a wide array of NGOs in the D.C. metro region and overseas. He is a Team Leader with Habitat for Humanity. Van lives with his wife in McLean, Virginia and has 3 sons, one of whom was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2011. 


FOUNDER

Shelby Modell, Co-Founder

Mrs. Modell serves as Vice President for Modell's Sporting Goods. As National Co-Founder, she has devoted her life to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. As the Greater New York Chapter's Annual Dinner Co-Chair for more than 40 years, she raised many millions of dollars for the Foundation's research program. She also founded the Foundation's Long Island Chapter and its Florida Chapter. Her distinguished career in philanthropy has benefited the fields of health, education, and the arts. Along with her husband Bill Modell (1921–2008), she is a founding member of the American Digestive Disease Society, the Jeffrey Modell Foundation for immunological research, the Gilda Radner Foundation, "Gilda's Club," and Hewlett House, a breast cancer resource center. She also is a former member of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center's prestigious National Health Council and was responsible for raising $150 million to build its Psychiatric Institute. Her commitment to the arts is equally impressive. She is a founding patron of the Metropolitan Opera and served as chairman of the Five Towns Development Fund for Lincoln Center. In 1987 she was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to the New York State Council of the Arts. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Mrs. Modell to the negotiating committee of the U.S. Panama Canal Treaty. Two years later, Mayor Abraham Beame appointed her as a commissioner on the New York City Youth Board. Mrs. Modell received her BA from Brooklyn College and an MA from Columbia University's Teachers College. She continues to serve as a vital member of the Foundation's National Board of Trustees.


NATIONAL BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Amber Backhaus

Amber Backhaus

Amber has over 20 years working as a government relations professional, representing clients before the Minnesota Legislature and state agencies.  Currently, she leads the advocacy efforts for the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association (MADA), a trade group representing Minnesota’s franchised new car and truck dealers.

Prior to joining MADA, Amber worked in the government relations practice of Leonard, Street & Deinard, acting on behalf of high-profile clients such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, State Farm Insurance, Express Scripts, and Supervalu. She also served as the Director of Public Affairs for the Minnesota Trucking Association.  In 2012-2013, Amber was honored to be elected by her peers to serve two years as President of the Minnesota Government Relations Council and its 500 members.

Amber began her work with the Foundation as a participant in the Team Challenge program in 2011, running her first half-marathon ever.  Since then, she has completed five more races with Team Challenge in memory of her brother Phil, and joined the board of the Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter, serving as its president from 2014-2016.

Amber is married to Christopher Backhaus and has a nine-year old son, Andrew.


Meenakshi Bewtra, MD, MPH, PhD

Meenakshi Bewtra, MD, MPH, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine; and a Senior Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bewtra sees patients with inflammatory bowel disease at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. 

Dr. Bewtra has been conducting clinical research for nearly 20 years in inflammatory bowel disease with a focus on natural history of inflammatory bowel disease; outcomes of disease and medication safety using observational data and statistical modeling; measures of risk and risk tolerance for therapies using discrete choice experiment; and clinical trials for educational interventions and novel therapies. 

Dr. Bewtra is also the PI of the IBD-Immunology Initiative (I3), a prospective clinical and tissue biobank actively enrolling all inflammatory bowel disease patients seen at the University of Pennsylvania. The I3 has collaborators within the University of Pennsylvania, nationally and internationally in academia, private foundations and industry, and is participating in several studies examining the basic mechanisms of IBD and predictors of response to therapies with the goal of improving personalized medicine in inflammatory bowel disease. 

Dr. Bewtra’s work has been funded by the NIH, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, AGA, PCORI, pharmaceutical industries, and private philanthropy.  She is currently a member of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, the American Gastroenterology Association, the American College of Gastroenterology, and a founding member of the International Academy of Health Preference Research.


Rhonda L. Bolding

Rhonda has more than 20 years’ experience marketing for professional services firms. She currently serves as Marketing Manager at Strada Architecture, LLC where she manages firm-wide marketing and public relations to support the strategic goals and vision of the firm, and to enhance their competitive position. Rhonda’s focus includes local and regional markets as well as emerging national and international growth opportunities.

Rhonda is a Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM), emphasizing her commitment to professional excellence, career advancement, and an ongoing pursuit of knowledge. Prior to joining Strada, she held marketing positions at Highmark Health, Mascaro Construction, Moss & Associates (Fort Lauderdale), JOMAR Building Company (Detroit), HOK Architects (Atlanta), and Barton Malow Company (Detroit & Atlanta).

Rhonda believes service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on earth and has demonstrated this through her volunteerism with several organizations and non-profit boards/committees including, The United Way of Southwest PA’s United for Children Strategic Planning Committee, Women’s Leadership Council and Tocqueville Society; Ivy Charitable Endowment of Pittsburgh Foundation; The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS); Jack and Jill of America, Inc.; and the Highmark Caring Place. Additionally, she volunteers as a mentor through Communities in Schools of Pittsburgh. Rhonda is an active Silver-Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and a Life Member of Optimist International.

Rhonda began her work with the Foundation as a team captain in the Guts & Glory Walk in Detroit, MI in 2006. Rhonda has served on the the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's Western PA / West VA Chapter board for the past six years and currently serves as Board President.

Rhonda is a graduate of the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University. A native of Detroit, MI, Rhonda lives with her husband, Kevin, and daughter, Kira, in Pittsburgh, PA.


Noel Brown

Noël Brown

Mr. Brown is a Managing Director in the Healthcare Investment Banking Group at Cantor Fitzgerald and is focused on the Biopharma sector.

Mr. Brown has over 20 years in the securities industry with extensive experience in life sciences transactions including mergers and acquisitions, and both equity and debt financings raising over $15bn in capital. Prior to joining Cantor, he was a Managing Director in the Healthcare Investment Banking group at RBC Capital Markets. Before that, he was at both Piper Jaffray and Lehman Brothers/Barclays Capital, also in those Healthcare groups.

Mr. Brown received his MBA with a concentration in Financial Management from the MIT Sloan School of Business as well as his LL.B. from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and his B.A. in Biology and Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario.


Jason Burr

Jason Burr

Jason Burr is a strategic innovator, futurist, and entrepreneur. Currently, Jason serves as Founder and CEO of SoT (Security of Things), a for-profit technology and research Benefit organization dedicated to the advanced innovation of security standards and security certification for all things connected (IoT). SoT serves as facilitator for participating organizations and stakeholders in the collaborative design and functional integration of security and privacy; as well as the development of cyber education programs, and furthering the impact of policy and adoption of security frameworks among major global corporations and government.

As a serial entrepreneur and business-technologist, Mr. Burr began his career in banking, launching financial technology platforms; later designing mortgage origination systems and leading their operations. He holds a bachelor's degree in business economics from the State University of New York at Oneonta, and has provided mentorship to transitioning executives and startup founders through the Founder Institute and IvyExecs. His efforts have been responsible for driving over $8B in revenues and upwards of $700MM in profits over his career.

Jason currently advises select executives whose companies are in growth-stage, providing deep strategy around monetization, product innovation, client/partnership development, and exit design. He is a strong advocate for the smart and ethical application of machine learning and blockchain upon big data, in order to understand and drive near-term solutions to major global problems within security, banking, education, and health.


Chris Collette

Christopher Collette 

Christopher L. Collette is Senior Vice President Corporate Services for United Health Group. Chris is responsible for leading United Health Group’s Enterprise Sourcing and Procurement, Enterprise Real Estate, Enterprise Resiliency and Recovery Teams, and Aviation. He began his responsibilities September 1, 2014.

Chris came to United Health Group after a 24 year career at Delta Airlines where he served as Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Management since November 2008 where he was responsible for establishing and effectively managing the global supply chain for more than $6B in goods and services in partnership with each division of Delta and it’s Delta Connection partners. Prior to joining Delta in 2008, Chris served as Vice President – Airport Operations and Customer Service Planning for Northwest Airlines where his responsibilities included finance, airport staff planning, airport policy and procedures, baggage operations and recovery, front line employee education, airport technology and process improvement planning and implementation, and World Clubs.  Chris also held a series of positions with increasing responsibility in Northwest Airlines Technical Operations Division including Managing Director Technical Operations Finance and Planning, Director Commodity Management, Director Inventory Analysis, and Director Financial Projects. In addition, Chris served as Delta’s representative as a board member and leader of the Strategy and Finance Committee for Aeroxchange Ltd., the airlines e-commerce exchange provider. Chris was a key leader in the foundation and development of the exchange’s operating processes and products.

Chris has served on the the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter board for the last six years and participates as a member of its capital structure committee.


Deborah Crawford

With over 25 years of experience and interest in the healthcare field, Deborah Crawford spent her formative years with McKinsey & Company. As a consultant in the healthcare, insurance and energy industries, she primarily focused on strategic analysis and cost reduction. Prior to McKinsey, Deborah worked with Deloitte consulting with an emphasis on streamlining operations. In addition, she was Executive Director of Red {an orchestra}, an early stage, non-profit organization.

Active in the community, Deborah currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Clinic as Vice Chair of the Research & Education Committee and as a member of the Finance Committee. She also serves as a Trustee of Hathaway Brown School, where she is a member of the Executive Committee and Chairs the Strategic Horizons Task Force. Previously, Mrs. Crawford served on the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Foundation Board as Vice President of the Board, as member of the Executive Committee, Treasurer and Benefit Co-Chair.

Mrs. Crawford received her MBA degree with honors from the University of Chicago and Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Miami University.


The Honorable Ander Crenshaw

The Honorable Ander Crenshaw

Former Congressman Ander Crenshaw was elected to Congress in 2000 and represented Florida’s Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for eight terms. Over the years, he represented 12 counties including Baker, Nassau, and Duval counties. When he retired, he was a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Prior to going to Washington, Crenshaw worked both in the private sector, as an investment banker, and served as an elected official in the State Legislature. His life in public service ultimately led to the Florida State Senate where he served as its first Republican President.

During his tenure in Congress, Crenshaw established himself as a respected voice on defense issues and a champion for our men and women in uniform. He fought for key priorities for Northeast Florida like making Naval Station Mayport the East Coast homeport for all Littoral Combat Ships and Naval Air Station Jacksonville the East Coast station for all P-8 aircraft. These moves not only brought missions and jobs to our Northeast Florida community but also secured the future of both bases from forthcoming BRACs. Crenshaw led the way to bring the Jacksonville National Cemetery to NE Florida. He fought to make Naval Station Mayport a nuclear aircraft carrier homeport and secured the funding for three of the five required projects to do so. Knowing that at the time, a carrier would not come to Jacksonville, Crenshaw insured that an Amphibious Ready Group, including the Iwo Jima, the New York, and the Fort McHenry were homeported at Mayport. In 2013, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus recognized Crenshaw’s dedication to the nation’s Sailors and Marines and awarded him the Navy’s highest civilian honor – The Navy Distinguished Public Service Award.

Other projects that are credited to Crenshaw are the USMC’s purchase of Blount Island to establish its pre-positioning command, the renovation of the Naval Hospital at NAS Jax, the building of both the navy’s largest helicopter hangar and largest hangar in the navy to house the P-8s at NAS and the navy’s premier fitness and aquatic center at Mayport. Additionally, he worked to build military housing, high-tech training centers for the LCS and the P-8s, and guided the establishment of the unmanned Patrol Squadron 19 headquarters at NAS. Additionally, he made sure the Florida National Guard, the Coast Guard and the Customs and Border Protection services received new facilities for their missions.

Originally a member of the House Armed Services, Budget, and Veterans Affairs committees, Crenshaw ended his service as a member of the Appropriations Committee where he chaired the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, sat on the prestigious Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and served on the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee. Additionally, he was a member of the Republican Leadership Whip Team serving as a Deputy Majority Whip.

Representative Crenshaw gained a reputation for being a strong advocate for strengthening and rebuilding our military, enacting responsible and permanent tax relief, and standing up for projects vital to Northeast Florida. Long an advocate of job creation and economic prosperity for Florida, Crenshaw worked to secure projects that benefit the Port of Jacksonville, local beaches, and other important economic drivers.

His major legislative accomplishment was to shepherd the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act through Congress. This legislation impacted millions of citizens who have disabilities as it allows pre-tax, private fund savings accounts to be established for the purpose of supporting the needs of those with special needs.

A third-generation resident of Northeast Florida, Congressman Crenshaw attended Robert E. Lee High School, the University of Georgia on a basketball scholarship, and later received his law degree from the University of Florida. Crenshaw and his wife, Kitty, continue to live in Jacksonville. They have two grown daughters and two granddaughters.


Alessandro Dinello

Alessandro DiNello

Alessandro (Sandro) DiNello has served as president, CEO, and a director of Flagstar Bank and Flagstar Bancorp since mid-2013. Prior to his current position, he was president and chief administrative officer of Flagstar Bank, and for a number of years, executive vice president of Retail Banking.

He began his banking career as a bank examiner and later joined Security Savings Bank in Jackson, Mich., where he ultimately served as president. In 1994, Security Savings was acquired by First Security Savings Bank, which later became Flagstar Bank. He continued with the combined organization as an executive officer responsible for growing the bank’s funding sources.

During his career at Flagstar, he has served as head of branch banking, retail product strategy, Marketing, Communications, internet banking, and branch expansion. He also led the bank’s government affairs and community relations initiatives. As CEO, he has played a critical role in strengthening the bank's risk management, compliance, and quality control.

His community and professional affiliations include membership on the board of directors of the Business Leaders of Michigan, the American Bankers Council of the American Bankers Association, the Detroit Regional Chamber Economic Development CEO Advisory Board, and the Fannie Mae Single Family Advisory Board.


Tolulope Falaiye, MD

Dr. Falaiye is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs with an interest in Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis) and the transition from pediatric to adult medical care. She is currently on the Pediatric Affairs National Scientific Advisory Committee of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. She previously worked at the Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey, PA where she established a pediatric IBD clinic and pediatric IBD transition clinic. She received her pediatric gastroenterology training at the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and pediatrics at the Shands-University of Florida Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. She is always looking for innovative ways to improve the care of her patients.


Alex Funderberg

Alex Funderburg

Alex Funderburg is currently a Managing Director with Bank of America, engaged in product development, strategy and management support activities in the company’s leasing and equipment finance division.  His professional experience includes lending, leasing, syndications, financial modeling, portfolio analysis and corporate reorganizations.  He has served as a board member for a Bank of America subsidiary which provides equipment finance to tax-exempt, healthcare and renewable energy clients.  He was also a principal in establishing Bank of America’s aircraft leasing subsidiary in Ireland, where he was responsible for addressing US and Irish tax, regulatory and accounting issues.

Alex’s non-profit activities include his past role as president of the Carolinas Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation over the last five years, where the chapter’s active membership and fundraising tripled during his tenure.

He is also a member of the national board of ImproveCareNow (“ICN”), a network of over 90 pediatric hospitals in the US and UK which serves over 26,000 children suffering from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.  ICN’s mission is to improve treatments and outcomes for these children through the implementation of healthcare quality improvement processes and disciplines.

Alex’s other current non-profit leadership activities include board member roles on the Novant Health Foundation (Executive Committee) and the Charlotte Ballet (Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee), and vice president of a private foundation which supports selected arts, cultural and medical research initiatives.  He and his wife are active donors and supporters of many Charlotte area educational, healthcare, human services and cultural causes.

Alex holds a BA degree in economics from Amherst College and an MBA degree from Northwestern University.  He currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife, Patty, and three children.


Sean Kelley

Sean Kelley is currently the Director, Talent Acquisition, for Amazon World-Wide Operations based in Seattle, WA. Over his 30-year career, Sean has held various leadership roles in Operations/Supply Chain Management, Inclusion & Diversity and Talent Acquisition, as well as being an advocate for U.S. military veterans. Sean began his career serving as a U.S. Navy Supply Corps officer specializing in submarine logistics. Following separation from the Navy, Sean has built a successful career with three Northwest icons: Starbucks Coffee Company, Microsoft Corporation and Amazon.com.

Sean has been a tireless advocate for the employment of U.S. military veterans since leaving active service. In 2014, Sean had the opportunity to testify before the United States Congress, as a subject matter expert on military hiring programs. At Microsoft, he led the creation of the company’s military recruiting organization as well as its flagship veteran program, the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy. His resilience and passion to build programs for the military community led the successful campaign for Amazon’s 2016 Joining Forces pledge to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2021. He was awarded the 2018 US Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes Colonel Michael Endres Leadership Award recognizing Individual Excellence in Veteran Employment.

Sean and family have committed fully to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and its vision of a future free from these diseases. Sean and his wife, Leslie, have been married 30 years, and she has been a Crohn’s warrior since just before they met, 35 years ago. They are the proud parents of two amazing people, Connor and Natalie. Natalie was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2017, as she was preparing for her senior year of college. She speaks about her journey through her web presence and social media (www.plentyandwell.com).

Sean holds a B.S. Economics from the U.S. Naval Academy and a M.S. Global Leadership from the University of San Diego. In his local community, Sean has been an active supporter of Hopelink, which serves families experiencing homelessness, joblessness and general distress, for over 15 years.


Michele Kissous-Hunt

Michele Kissous-Hunt, PA-C

Michele Kissous-Hunt, PA-C, DFAAPA, received her Bachelor of Science degree from State University of New York at Albany. She graduated with a Physician Assistants degree from Weill Cornell Medical College, NY, NY, with an additional surgical focus.  She has been awarded Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.  Ms. Kissous-Hunt is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, American Gastroenterological Association, the American College of Gastroenterology, American Academy of Physician Assistants, and New York State Society of Physician Assistants.  She is a volunteer for the NYC Medical Reserve Corps, and is the President of Gastroenterology Physician Assistants.  She is an active member of the the Foundation's National Nurses and Advanced Practice Committee and is on the expert panel of the ACG and the Foundation's IBD Circle. In addition, as an adjunct faculty member of Touro College of Health Sciences in New York, she teaches the Gastroenterology Course for the Physician Assistant program for the didactic students, clinical rotations, as well as the GI board review.

Ms. Kissous-Hunt is a board certified Physician Assistant, and has been treating patients with a wide range of gastrointestinal diseases in the gastroenterology group of Drs. Kornbluth, George and Legnani (Fifth Ave GI) over 20 years.  This group is affiliated with Mount Sinai Medical Center in NYC and has particular expertise in treating patients with complex Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.  In addition to disease management and patient education, she is a sub-investigator on multiple clinical trials in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). She is a coauthor of a number of research manuscripts and abstracts, and lectures on the topic of IBD nationally.


Donald Kortz

Donald Kortz

Don Kortz serves as Vice Chairman of Cushman & Wakefield, a global Real Estate services company with offices in 60 countries employing 43,000 people. He has been with the organization and its predecessors for over 40 years. He is a graduate of Tulane University and the University Of Denver College Of Law. He is a Colorado Native. Kortz devotes much of his community service efforts to health related activities. The new Children’s Hospital Colorado opened during his term as Chairman of the board. He served as Chairman of the board of Rose Medical Center & Colorado Children’s Health Foundation. He currently serves on the Board of HealthOne (HCA in Colorado). Kortz was appointed by Colorado Governor Owens to the Task Force on Child Welfare, by Governor Ritter to the Blue Ribbon Commission for Heath Care and by Governor Romer to the Commission on Early Childhood Care. Mr. Kortz is a past chair of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, past Commissioner of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners, Trustee Emeritus of the Denver Zoo, past Board member of Rose Community Foundation and past Board member of National Jewish Health. He has served on the Board of various bank and financial institutions both private and public. 

Mr. Kortz is also an active member of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's Rocky Mountain Chapter and in the fall of 2016, he and his wife Mary Lou will be honored at its Annual Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Distinction Awards dinner for their longtime dedication to the Foundation's mission.


Joseph Monk

Joseph Monk

Joe Monk is Senior Vice President – Financial Services, and President and Chief Executive Officer of State Farm Bank.

Monk joined State Farm in 1985. He has served in a number of distribution and operations-related roles throughout his career. Monk was named Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of State Farm Life Company in April 2010, and was named Vice President of Mutual Funds in December 2010. He was named President and CEO, State Farm Bank in July 2017.

Monk has served in a number of industry roles, including the board of directors for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), and LL Global, where he is past-chair. In addition to his industry roles, Monk has served on a number of boards, including the Council for Economic Education and Eureka College.

A native of Missouri, Monk attended Missouri State, where he received a bachelor’s degree in finance/insurance.


Mark Murray

Mark Murray, Ph.D

Mark Murray, Ph.D. was the President and CEO of Tekmira (and its predecessor company Protiva) a development stage biotechnology company which became Arbutus following a merger in March 2015. Dr. Murray now serves as Arbutus’ Chief Executive Officer and Director. He has over 20 years of experience in both the R&D and business development and management facets of the biotechnology industry. He has held senior management positions at ZymoGenetics and Xcyte Therapies prior to joining Protiva. Since entering the biotechnology industry, Dr. Murray has successfully completed numerous and varied partnering deals, directed successful product development programs, been responsible for strategic planning programs, raised over $30 million in venture capital and executed extensive business development initiatives in the U.S., Europe and Asia. During his R&D career, Dr. Murray worked extensively on three programs that resulted in FDA approved drugs, including the first growth factor protein approved for human use, a program he led for several years following his discovery. Dr. Murray obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Oregon Health Sciences and was a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell post-doctoral research fellow for three years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Murray has been a member of the Northwest Board since 2010. He and his wife Joan became involved with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation because of their son Peter who has Crohn’s disease. He has been active in working with the local volunteer leadership and staff to implement a Chapter strategic plan that aligns with the goals of the Foundation. He is focused on developing a more strategic Board in the Northwest with the goal of adding both members with and without direct and personal connections to IBD. He was involved during the beginning stages of IBD Plexus where he served as a member of its Oversight Committee and sought potential partners for its data management. Most recently, Dr. Murray has become a great asset with donor cultivation in the Northwest. 


Marcy Nanus

Marcy Nanus

Marcy Nanus joined the Trout Group in 2003. She combines her background in finance, knowledge of the capital markets and deep understanding of a client’s business to develop financing strategies and investor relations programs. Marcy has experience working with IPO and reverse merger companies, and has provided communications support for product launches, M&A transactions and partnership agreements. Prior to joining Trout, Marcy worked in the consumer healthcare division of McCann Erickson.

Marcy received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance, and consulting & venture management from Emory University's Giozueta School of Business. She also holds Series 7, 79 and 63 securities licenses. She is the co-founder and program director of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's Camp Oasis and sits on the foundation's Greater New York Board of Directors.  She is heavily involved in events such as the Take Steps walk and was honored as a Rising Star with her sister Lauren Yarbrough at the 2004 Woman of Distinction Luncheon.  


Jennifer O’Neill 

Jennifer O’Neill is a managing director of Deloitte Partner Matters, which serves the leadership development, succession, performance management and wealth management needs of Deloitte’s 5,500 partners, principals, and managing directors (PPMDs) in the United States. Working closely with Deloitte’s C-suite executive team and its board of directors, Jennifer develops and executes strategies that support the mission of Partner Matters. Her efforts influence Deloitte’s award-winning PPMD leadership development practices, the implementation of strategic succession practices for PPMDs, and the continued growth and evolution of best-in-class performance management and wealth management programs, among others. Previously, Jennifer served as director of operations and chief of staff for Deloitte’s U.S. Financial Services practice, where she led client strategies and portfolio management, leadership development and succession, performance management, finance management, internal communications and quality assurance across each of Deloitte’s service offerings, including audit, tax, consulting, and advisory services. Prior to these roles, Jennifer was with Deloitte Consulting, where she served key clients in the financial services industry, specializing in corporate and IT strategic planning, process reengineering and technology implementation solutions. Jennifer has extensive experience in large scale project management and strategic relationship management, and has developed customized career development programs for her clients, helping newly appointed CXOs make efficient and effective transitions. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Boston College. She serves on the National Board of Trustees of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, the Council for Women at Boston College, and the Board of Directors of CO/LAB (Creative Opportunities without Limits And Boundaries) Theater Group, a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to offering individuals with developmental disabilities a creative and social outlet through theater arts. Jennifer is also active in her community locally and abroad, as a classical vocalist and recording artist. She lives in New York City with her husband Evan McCormack, and their adopted cat Wolfie.


Joel Rosh

Joel Rosh, MD, FAAP, FACG, AGAF

Joel R. Rosh received an Honors Degree from Brown University and his Medical Degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. His postdoctoral training included an internship and residency at the Children’s Hospital of New York–Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and a Fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. He remained on faculty at Mount Sinai until 1994 when he moved to the Goryeb Children’s Hospital/Atlantic Health in Morristown, NJ where he founded the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and the Pediatric IBD Center.

Dr. Rosh is a long-standing member of many professional societies and has served as an advisor to the FDA as well as numerous foundations and advisory bodies.  He has served as National Chairman of the CCFA Pediatric Education Committee, a National Councilor for NASPGHAN and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. Dr. Rosh has been honored as the CCFA Physician of the Year, New Jersey Chapter; the New Jersey Pediatric Society Physician Recognition Award; and Castle Connolly’s New York Metro Area Top Doctor (1998–2016). Dr. Rosh frequently serves at the regional and national level as an IBD speaker and educator. He is widely published in the field of pediatric IBD and his current research focus is the safety and efficacy of standard as well as emerging pharmacotherapy.


Frank Russomano

Frank Russomano

Frank Russomano is the President and Chief Executive Officer of US HealthConnect, Inc. (USH), a global organization whose subsidiaries are dedicated to improving the lives of patients and healthcare professionals through evidence-based education for clinicians. USH companies develop, produce, distribute, and measure the impact of education designed to improve the practice of medicine. 

USH subsidiaries include ReachMD, voted multiple times by Medical Marketing & Media (MM&M) as the Best Healthcare Professional Media Brand; Omnia Education, a global leader in healthcare education for women’s health providers;  Prova Education, experts in adult professional learning in oncology, primary care, cardiology, auto-immune diseases, and many more clinical areas; Connect Healthcare Communications, a boutique strategic marketing firm focusing on drug and device marketing lifecycle management; and Winding River Productions, a full-service creative studio offering audio-visual and animation services, a full in-house production studio, and remote studios across the nation.  Mr. Russomano also serves as CEO of AGILE – the Academy for Global Interprofessional Learning and Education. AGILE, based in Europe, provides education in multiple languages to healthcare professionals across the globe.

With more than 25 years of senior-level experience in the healthcare industry, Mr. Russomano has held key positions overseeing innovation, partnerships, global expansion, and business management. As a founder of US HealthConnect, he continues to oversee all aspects of subsidiary growth and corporate expansion, including M&A management.

He currently serves as Chair of the Villanovans in Healthcare, a Villanova University alumni group representing the interests of students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of Villanova (designed in partnership with the 2015 Leadership Summit focused on Healthcare). ReachMD hosts the Villanovans in Healthcare Summit each year. Mr. Russomano also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Philadelphia Chapter. 

Mr. Russomano received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration (Finance) from Villanova University and his MBA from the Fox School of Business at Temple University.


Troy Vollertsen

Troy Vollertsen leads Deloitte’s banking and finance audit practice in the United States and is the co-leader of Deloitte’s offerings related to FASB’s Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) model. He has 26 years of experience serving complex global clients in the financial services industry, with a primary focus on large financial institutions and finance-related companies.  He has led engagements with many of Deloitte’s financial services clients, where he was responsible for coordinating all audit and related services, serving as the single point of contact for issue resolution. He works closely with corporate boards and senior management on governance, risk management, mergers and acquisitions, and various complex accounting and SEC reporting matters.


Jodi F. Yellen

Jodi F. Yellen

Jodi Yellen advises clients in all phases of forming, managing and terminating charitable organizations, including public charities, private foundations and private operating foundations. She advises clients, individually and on behalf of the organizations they represent, in connection with making contributions and grants, nationally and internationally, including preparing grant agreements for contributions to domestic and foreign entities. Jodi works with clients on multiyear grants, endowments and long-term capital projects. Jodi is impassioned by helping clients find impactful and creative ways to utilize their wealth in support of charitable and social causes they believe in. 

Another important focus of Jodi’s practice is estate planning and administration. Jodi advises high-net-worth individuals, including resident and non-resident aliens, concerning income, gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax matters and estate planning. She prepares wills, trust agreements, including insurance trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, qualified terminable interest property trusts, qualified domestic trusts, intentionally defective grantor trusts, and credit shelter trusts, and other planning-related documents. She represents clients in all phases of complex estate and trust administration and advises them with respect to estate litigation issues. 

Jodi also advises clients in marital planning, including the preparation and negotiation of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.