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Senior Leadership Team

John L. Lehr, Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Lehr can be reached at jlehr@parkinson.org

John L. Lehr brings to the Parkinson's Foundation more than two decades of nonprofit fundraising and management experience, with a strong focus in the voluntary healthcare and medical research sectors.

Before joining the foundation, John served as President of Orr Associates, Inc. (OAI), a consulting firm that serves the nonprofit sector. At OAI, John was responsible for daily operations of the firm, as well as management of leading clients including Georgetown University, MedStar Health and Special Olympics.

Prior to OAI, John served as Chief Executive Officer of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), where he merged two legacy organizations into one national organization focused on finding medical solutions for and educating the public on food allergy. While at FARE, revenue increased by more than 20 percent in the first year post-merger. In addition, John led a strategic planning initiative to develop a comprehensive plan for drug discovery and development for food allergy over the next decade. He also led advocacy efforts that resulted in the signing of the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act by President Obama in November 2013.

Previously, John also served as Chief Executive Officer of CureSearch for Children's Cancer, a national research and advocacy organization. CureSearch's fundraising efforts doubled during his tenure, providing increased support for cancer drug trials at more than 200 pediatric medical centers in the United States and Canada. From 2004 to 2009, John directed the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation's Milestones to a Cure Campaign that raised $175 million in support of CF drug discovery and development. The CF Foundation's venture philanthropy model and John's role in leading the campaign were highlighted in a series of Harvard Business School Case Studies. Earlier in his career, John spent many years at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in various fundraising roles.

John earned his B.A. and M.A. in History from Villanova University. From 1990-1991, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sri Lanka where he led rural business development efforts and taught English.

James Beck, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Beck can be reached at jbeck@parkinson.org.

James Beck, Ph.D., has led the scientific affairs of the Parkinson's Foundation since 2008. Dr. Beck oversees the foundation’s research strategy and programs, including management of grants that support research centers, individual investigators, fellows and collaborative projects. In his role, he has changed the parameters of investigator-initiated grants programs to provide additional funding and multi-year support to Parkinson’s-focused scientists; expanded funding for early-career Parkinson’s researchers, established Conference Awards and instituted the inclusion of Parkinson's Foundation’s Research Advocates in the foundation's own programs. Dr. Beck is a member of the Forum on Regenerative Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences and the Udall Center Coordinating Committee.

Previously, Dr. Beck was the Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Long Island University. He remains an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology and Neuroscience at New York University School of Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Beck was a recipient of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has been published in journals, such as the Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurophysiology and Journal of Comparative Neurology. His research focused on the neural control of vertebrate motor systems and behavior.  

Dr. Beck holds a B.S. from Duke University and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle. He completed his postdoctoral training at the New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Beck frequently comments in the media about the implications of the latest Parkinson's science headlines.

Yasnahia Cortorreal, Vice President, Human Resources and Administration

Yasnahia can be reached at ycortorreal@parkinson.org.

Yasnahia Cortorreal directs all Parkinson’s Foundation employee functions in accordance with the organization’s policies and practices, the ethical and social consciences of business, society and the laws, regulations and administrative rulings of governmental organizations. She is also responsible for the strategic human resource planning to provide the organization with the best potential employees available and to position the organization as the employer of choice by being aware of policies, practices and industry trends. Yasnahia also directs all the foundation’s administrative functions in accordance with objectives and policies, industry standards and regulatory agencies.

Yasnahia brings more than 20 years of experience in business administration, human resources, finance and information technology. She began her career in non-profit management for the Dominican American Chambers of Commerce in New York, where she helped raise awareness. She is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management.

Yasnahia and her husband, Emmanuel, live in New Jersey with their two sons. Yasnahia serves as a volunteer board member for her local Congregation (CDV), a New York nonprofit organization that works with the community to serve those in need. 

Curt De Greff, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Curt can be reached at cdegreff@parkinson.org.

Curt joined the Parkinson’s Foundation in 2016. In his role, he manages all financial aspects of the foundation’s operations and information technology. Curt also provides leadership and coordination in business planning, accounting, finance and budgeting functions.

Previously, Curt founded World Wide Financial Consulting, LLC, to help firms implement profitability improvement initiatives. He was also an adjunct professor at Johnson and Wales University and Miami Dade College, where he taught Accounting, Marketing and Statistics. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of Finance at Americas at Regus, the world's largest operator of business centers, where he oversaw mergers and acquisitions, shared service centers and the finance function. He also led the Regional Finance and Administration function for the Americas at Bureau Veritas. Curt also previously served as country Managing Director in Latin America and in West Africa at Texaco, where he held senior financial roles. Earlier in his career, he was a consultant for the predecessor to Accenture.

Curt and his wife, Sheryl, who owns a Pilates Studio, have two children. He is active in the community as a member of the Miami Rotary Club and South Miami Toastmasters Club.

Christiana Evers, Vice President, Community Engagement

Christiana can be reached at cevers@parkinson.org.

Christiana Evers is responsible for leading efforts to ensure that the foundation is continually identifying, listening and responding to the needs of the Parkinson’s community as collaborators and partners. She previously served as the foundation’s Vice President of Communications, where she led the development, implementation and evaluation of all strategic communications and patient education initiatives and ensured that the efforts aligned with the foundation's goal to end Parkinson’s.

Previously, Christiana served as the Director of Special Projects at the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Director of the Evergreen Network, Inc., a grassroots organization in Bridgeport, CT, serving families impacted by HIV/ AIDS. Christiana has authored numerous posters that were presented at meetings of the American Academy of Neurology, International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society and the World Parkinson Coalition.

Christiana holds an M.A. in Public Administration with a specialization in Public and Nonprofit Management from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and her B.A. in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross. She has received several awards for public service and is active in youth and community affairs.

Sean Kramer, Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer

Sean can be reached at skramer@parkinson.org.

Sean Kramer is a natural relationship-builder who specializes in bringing teams of experts together to accomplish specific objectives, an important role he plays as the Parkinson's Foundation Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer.

His extensive experience leading capital campaigns has involved working closely with high net worth donors and their professional advisors to integrate charitable giving strategies with estate and business plans. For two decades, Sean Kramer has worked with senior executives and community leaders in Southeast Florida to plan, organize and implement strategies for creating capital for numerous organizations, including the Miami Cancer Institute, the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute, the American Cancer Society, Florida International University and Barry University.

Sean holds an M.B.A. in Management from the University of Miami School of Business, where he graduated with honors and a B.A. in Political Science from Florida International University. Sean and his wife, Anna, a pediatrician, live in Miami, FL, with their three daughters. In his spare time, Sean and his family enjoy obstacle course races, including the Spartan Race and Battle Frog.

Leilani Pearl, Vice President, Chief Communications Officer

Leilani can be reached at lpearl@parkinson.org.

Leilani Pearl guides the communications strategy of the foundation and executes marketing campaigns to increase awareness of Parkinson's disease. Leilani is passionate about global health issues and health care advocacy.

Leilani began her career in non-profit healthcare communications for Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, where she partnered with local media to promote women's health initiatives. Prior to that, she spent nearly a decade in education, teaching literature and writing at Boston College and the University of Puerto Rico. She also worked closely with high school students as an English teacher and administrator in Boston, MA.

Leilani holds an M.A. in English from Boston College and a B.A. in English from the University of Vermont. She serves as a volunteer mentor for the Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program, a nonprofit organization in Miami, FL, that works with at-risk young women in high school.

Elizabeth "Eli" Pollard, Vice President, Professional Education 

Eli can be reached at epollard@parkinson.org.

Eli Pollard designs and oversees the foundation’s Professional Education and online programs. She recognized early on that the best way to ensure people with Parkinson’s receive quality care is to ensure that health professionals better understand Parkinson’s. She leads the foundation’s push to make training and educating healthcare providers a top priority from early on in their professional training. 

She started working in the Parkinson’s field in 2004, when she began overseeing the creation of the World Parkinson Congress. She splits her time between the foundation and the World Parkinson Coalition. She is passionate about social justice issues, including access to information and education, which she feels can eliminate inequities and help people with Parkinson’s live better lives. This includes ensuring people with Parkinson’s understand the disease, have access to treatment options and qualified healthcare professionals.

Eli holds an M.A. from the School for International Training in Vermont, a B.A. in Education from Michigan State University and a certificate of African Studies from the University of Zimbabwe. After earning her degree, she spent almost 10 years living in Zimbabwe, Switzerland and Japan.

Peter N. Schmidt, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Research & Clinical Officer

Dr. Schmidt can be reached at pschmidt@parkinson.org.

Peter Schmidt, Ph.D., is Senior Vice President, Chief Research & Clinical Officer, at the Parkinson’s Foundation and oversees research, education and outreach initiatives. Dr. Schmidt leads the foundation’s Parkinson's Outcomes Project, the largest clinical study ever conducted in Parkinson's disease and is active in research on diverse clinical areas in Parkinson's. He serves as an advisor to several government, industry and foundation initiatives, with the focus to set clinical standards. He is involved in several national-scale quality initiatives, including with the U.S. National Quality Forum and the Fresco Network in Italy. He serves on advisory committees for projects in wearable sensors, Huntington's disease, Glut1 deficiency syndrome, cystic fibrosis, inpatient rehabilitation and telemedicine. His work has been covered widely in the press.

Previously, Dr. Schmidt worked with Cronus Partners, an investment bank where he focused on healthcare innovation. He also created chronic disease management systems and served as Chief Operating Officer of a joint venture of the University of Oxford, Stanford University and Yale University. Dr. Schmidt has contributed to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Commonwealth Fund publications and has been an invited speaker for NIH and international patient and professional conferences.  

Dr. Schmidt earned his B.S. at Harvard University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University, Sibley School of Mechanical Engineering, where he studied gait and balance and total joint replacement. He completed a fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Veronica “Ronnie” Todaro, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer

Ronnie can be reached at rtodaro@parkinson.org.

Ronnie Todaro has served the Parkinson's Foundation for more than a decade. As Chief Operating Officer, she ensures that the foundation’s resources meet the needs and priorities of people living with Parkinson’s through organizational strategy, execution and day-to-day operations. She is a recognized leader in patient engagement at the foundation and in the community. As an advocate amongst industry, government, academia and nonprofits, she has worked to change the understanding of people with Parkinson’s, seeing that their insights are recognized and drive the foundation’s work in improving treatments and finding a cure.

Previously, Ronnie held several leadership positions in the public health field, including her time with Planned Parenthood. She was formerly the Chair of the Patient Leadership Council, which was part of the Executive Committee for the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI). She has been an invited speaker at national and international conferences hosted by the NIH, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Society for Clinical Trials and the World Parkinson Congress. Ronnie currently serves as a member of the Advisory Panel on Patient Engagement for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and on the Advisory Committee of North America for the Drug Information Association and the Institutional Review Board at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.

Ronnie earned her M.A. in Public Health in Planning and Administration from the University of Michigan and her B.A. in Public Policy at Cornell University.

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