Elissa (EJ) Levy, President and Board Chair
Elissa J. Levy (EJ) was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease of the central nervous system, when she was 33. Since her diagnosis, EJ has devoted a considerable amount of time to raising money and awareness to find a cure for the disease.
In February of 2007, she founded MS Hope for a Cure, a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to raising funds that can make the biggest difference in the shortest amount of time in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. As president of MS Hope for a Cure, EJ leads the fundraising efforts and in its five years the organization raised over 3.5 million dollars and has funded critical research and programs to help all who are living with this debilitating disease.
Prior to founding MS Hope for a Cure EJ focused her efforts on raising money for the National MS Society (NMSS). In 2002 she formed her first MS Walk team to raise money for the NYC Chapter of the NMSS. Over the next six years EJ’s Walk team raised over a half a million dollars. She was the number one individual fundraiser for the New York City MS WALK for four years and her team was the top Friends and Family team in the Country for three years. EJ also raised an additional $100,000 for local MS Centers in order for them to be able to increase their research, programs and services.
EJ strongly believes that spreading awareness is as important as raising money. In October 2009, she testified before the FDA Advisory Panel on the experimental drug, Fampridine-SR, that she has been taking for several years. The drug was approved in January 2010 as Ampyra and EJ was featured in a CNN.com article regarding her experiences with the medication. In May of 2011, she appeared on the Today Show with her doctor to discuss this breakthrough drug.
She has also appeared on the ABC Morning Show, the CBS Morning Show and along with her WALK co-captains was on the cover of the spring 2004 issue of Inside MS. She was featured in the first edition of Neurology Now and in December of 2005 was featured in a New York Times article where her section was entitled “Hope”. In 2008 she hosted an educational DVD for the National MS Society in which she interviewed scientists regarding the current research efforts in nervous system repair and protection.
EJ continues to work closely with the National MS Society and in 2011 was appointed to the prestigious NOW Campaign Cabinet, which consists of six people across the country who are dedicated to helping raise 250 million dollars for research by 2015. In July of 2012, EJ was inducted into the NMSS’s Circle of Distinction, which honors individuals who have raised or donated over 1 million dollars to the Society.
EJ is an avid traveler and lover of the outdoors. She is finding new ways to enjoy these activities, in spite of the effects of MS on her physical abilities. She holds a BA from the University of Vermont and an MA in Education from New York University. She was born and raised in New Jersey and currently resides on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
In 2004, when EJ was inducted into the National MS Society’s Hall of Fame, she was asked to finish the sentence, “I believe…” She responded; “I believe I have MS because I was meant to make a difference by raising money to find a cure, spreading awareness of the disease and setting an example of what someone with a disability can accomplish.”
Jane Greene is an attorney and the former Executive Director of the Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. She also worked as an associate at the New York office of Winston & Strawn. Jane previously served on the Board of Directors of the Innocence Project.
Jane received a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She lives in New York City with her husband Mark, and her 3 children, ages 10, 9 and 7.
Stephen Krieger, M.D.
Stephen Krieger, MD, joined The Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for MS as a fellow in multiple sclerosis after completing his Neurology residency training at Mount Sinai. He was the recipient of a 2006 American Academy of Neurology Scholarship and received a Sylvia Lawry Fellowship in clinical research from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College, and received his MD degree from Yale University. He completed his medical internship at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Manhattan, and is board-certified in Neurology by the ABPN.
Dr. Krieger has a clinical practice at the CGDC for MS, and is participating in several MS clinical trials, including oral therapies and monoclonal antibodies used as disease-modifying agents for MS. He has worked on clinical trials for Fingolimod (FTY720), Campath (alemtuzumab), Daclizumab, Rituxan (rituximab), BG12 (oral fumarate) and Ampyra (Fampridine). In addition to his clinical work, he has an academic appointment as Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he is Director of the Neurology Residency Training program, and a member of the Neurology Education Committee and the Clinical Curriculum Committee. He has also served as director of the Brain and Behavior seminar series for the medical school. Dr. Krieger is on several advisory boards and steering committees in the field of Multiple Sclerosis, and is an active member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) who awarded him an A.B. Baker teaching recognition award in 2010. He has presented work at AAN, CMSC, ACTRIMS and has written review articles on and lectures nationally about MS with an emphasis on emerging therapies.
Eden L. Lopez
Eden, 37, is the daughter of Lois & Harold Wolland. Lois has lived with MS for 30 years. The youngest of four, Eden has watched her mother struggle, fight and always, incredibly, pull through. Eden will not rest until a cure is found.
Eden started her Loving Lois team for the NYC MS Walk in 2001, when 15 people raised $16,000. Since that time, Loving Lois has grown to more than 100 members, has consistently ranked among the top five teams in New York City and has raised a cumulative total of more than $500,000. Eden personally raised more than $183,000 and has ranked among the top five fundraisers. For the 2005 MS Walk, Eden teamed up with Elissa Levy, captain of Team EJ, to host a charity poker tournament to benefit their teams. This “last minute” event raised more than $265,000, taking both teams above the $200,000 level. In 2006, Eden & EJ served as co-chairs of the tournament which raised over $325,000. In the fall of 2006, Eden was inducted into the National MS Society’s Hall of Fame. In 2007, Eden became one of the founding board members of MS Hope for a Cure. Since then, Eden and EJ have joined forces to continue raising money to help find a cure for MS and help those living with the disease.
Eden has been instrumental as an MS Ambassador for the New York City Chapter of the National MS Society, appearing on NY1-TV, NBC-Today in New York, CBS Radio, and being featured in The Daily News. Eden has also appeared in a Society PSA for United Airlines. By sharing her story, she inspires others to play a part in the fight against MS. Eden’s fundraising success and the wide scope of people she has touched is a true testament to her talent as an effective leader and genuine innovator.
Professionally, Eden is a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Securities where she and her partners manage over $1 billion in assets. When Eden is not recruiting team members and raising money for the Loving Lois team, she enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family. She lives in Manhattan with her 4 year old son, Maxwell.
Fred D. Lublin, M.D.
Dr. Lublin received his medical degree in 1972 from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, PA. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine from the Bronx Municipal Hospital, Albert Einstein Medical Center, and his residency at the New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center.
As a neuroimmunologist, Dr. Lublin has a special interest in immune functions and abnormalities affecting the nervous system. He has been involved in both basic science and clinical research. He and his colleagues were among the first in the country involved with studies of Interferon beta-1b, which was approved by the Food & Drug Administration in 1993 to treat the relapsing-remitting form of Multiple Sclerosis. He is currently involved with several new clinical research protocols on promising agents for treating various aspects of MS and is the national Coordinating Investigator for a multi-center trial of combination therapy in MS. He was chairman of the National MS Society (USA) advisory committee on clinical trials of new drugs in Multiple Sclerosis and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Research Programs Advisory Committee. Dr. Lublin and his colleagues at the National MS Society (USA) have re-defined the clinical course definitions of MS using data from a survey of the international MS community. He has chaired a task force on the ethics of placebo-controlled trials in MS. Dr. Lublin was a member of the panel that has re-defined the diagnostic criteria for MS. Dr. Lublin has published numerous scientific articles and belongs to many professional societies and advisory boards. Dr. Lublin has served as a consultant to the National Institutes of Health and to many pharmaceutical/biotech companies in all phases of new drug development and in preparation for presentation to the FDA and their advisory panels. He is the Principal Investigator of the NIH-sponsored multicenter Combination Therapy study in Multiple Sclerosis.
Catherine “Cat” McKenzie
Catherine “Cat” McKenzie is a Senior Producer at ABC News. Her primary responsibilities are at Good Morning America. At GMA she gets to fulfill both parts of her personality; traveling with George Stephanopoulos to cover the Gabriel Giffords shooting in Tucson and producing her favorite segment “Your Three Words”.
Before joining GMA three years ago, Cat was a producer at WABC-TV’s Eyewitness News for 14 years, winning awards for her coverage of the 9-11 Attacks, Alvin Ailey’s 50th Anniversary, and the Greenpoint Tank Implosion. She also was the behind-the-scenes manager for their coverage of the NYC Half-Marathon, the Holiday Tree Lighting, and the 5 Mile Fight Against Prostate Cancer.
Cat is excited about serving on the Board of MS Hope for a Cure and expanding her role in the fight against MS. A musician and theater lover, Cat also sits on the board of Gotham Stage Company, a non-profit theater company. In addition, she has volunteered her time at Jazz at Lincoln Center and St. Joseph’s School in Harlem. Cat has a BA Degree from St. Olaf College in Minnesota.
Lisa C. Risi was recently appointed as the Chief Financial Officer for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation following an interim CFO role at the American Lung Association. Lisa served as the CFO for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society from January 2009 through March 2012. Ms. Risi began with the MS Society in March 1997 as the Accounting Manager. She was promoted to Controller in September 2000 and served as Vice President of Finance from January 2003 to May 2005.
Ms. Risi also served the Society as Chief Operating Officer of the New York City chapter where she was responsible for Finance, Administration, Information Technology, and Volunteer Development from December 2005 through December 2008.
Prior to joining the National MS Society, Ms. Risi worked in Ernst & Young’s financial services audit group and as Audit Manager for Citibank’s Investment Banking Division. She also managed the accounting department for Hilton International’s US based real estate development subsidiary, London and Leeds.
Ms. Risi has family and friends who have been affected by MS and she has a deep commitment to finding a cure and ensuring the quality of life for all people with MS today.
Howie began his career in mortgaged-backed securities at Salomon Brothers in 1982 working for legendary traders Lewis Ranieri and Michael Mortara. While there in 1984, Howie priced the first Collateralized Mortgage Obligation (CMO) with Fannie Mae. He is featured in Michael Lewis’s book, “Liar’s Poker”, in William Cohan’s book “House of Cards”, and in the Wall Street Journal article “Street’s New Stars Shine in Hazy Mortgage Bond Sky”.
In 1987, Howie joined the mortgage Department at Bear Stearns. A year later, he was promoted to Senior Managing Director and placed in charge of the CMO trading desk. Due to the complexity of restructuring cash flows, CMO’s became the most profitable area of the mortgage department. Howie’s CMO desk carried some of the largest positions on Wall Street and never experienced a negative year. For several years, the CMO desk was the largest single contributor to the overall mortgage department earnings. When he retired in 1999, he left a Mortgage Department that during his tenure became one of the most respected on Wall Street and a CMO Desk that was consistently ranked number 1.
Several of the people that worked for Howie over the years now head Mortgage and Fixed-Income Departments at UBS, Goldman Sachs, BOA/Merrill Lynch, GMAC, and RBS.
Howie received an M.B.A. in 1982 from Harvard Business School and a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Lafayette College in 1977, where he received a 4.0 major grade point average and the Outstanding Engineering Student Award by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. When he was applying for jobs on Wall Street, however, his potential employers were far more interested in his two years counting cards in blackjack in Las Vegas, rather than in his academic credentials. Howie now divides his spare time between family, trading, tennis, Texas Hold’em Poker, and his “fast and furious” 550 hp 1968 Camaro.
David S. Schafran is a Managing Partner of Cogent Growth Partners (www.CogentGrowthPartners.com), a “buy-side” mergers and acquisitions advisory firm specifically focused on IT and managed IT service businesses. He is widely respected in the managed services industry as a consultant and speaker. David has 25 years of experience working in IT Services firms and helping managed service providers grow their businesses. David began focusing on managed services in 1999 and his expertise encompasses all aspects of managed services including merger & acquisition planning and integration, managed services sales, marketing, operations, technology, service definition and corporate governance.
In addition to serving on the board of MS Hope for a Cure, he served on the Board of Trustees of the New York City chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Mr. Schafran has held several executive volunteer positions with its fundraising auxiliary, The Manhattan Society, including Co-Chair and Senior Co-Chair. In 2002 he formed, and continues to lead, a MS Walk team which to date has raised over $450,000.
Joel D. Siegel
Joel D. Siegel is a partner in the Roseland law firm of Orloff, Lowenbach, Stifelman & Siegel where his primary professional focus is the counseling of closely held businesses, multi-generational families and high net worth individuals in a manner which integrates estate planning, income tax planning and financial planning. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
Mr. Siegel served as a Director, Chairman of the Compensation Committee and member of the Executive Committee of KCS Energy, Inc., a New York Stock Exchange company from 1988 to June 2006 and as a Director and Chairman of the Board of the Constellation Bank prior to its 1994 merger with CoreStates Financial Corporation. In 1991, Mr. Siegel served for seven months as the interim President and CEO of Constellation Bank.
Mr. Siegel is the President of the Liberty Hall Foundation and a trustee of the Liberty Hall Museum in Union, New Jersey. Liberty Hall was built on the eve of the American Revolution and has been associated with many of the events and individuals that have shaped the history of New Jersey and our nation.
Mr. Siegel is a Trustee and former President of GlassRoots located in Newark, New Jersey. GlassRoots works with at-risk inner city youth ages 10-18 to realize their potential through the creation of glass art.
Mr. Siegel is a resident of West Orange. He previously resided in Livingston where he served as a Member and Chairman of the Zoning Board of Adjustment. He has served as Chairman of the Lawyers Division of the United Jewish Appeal of Metrowest.
Mr. Siegel is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce of the University of Pennsylvania and a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School where he was an Editor of the Law Review. He received his master’s degree in taxation from New York University.
Mark Tullman, M.D.
Mark Tullman, M.D., is the Director of Clinical Research at the MS Center for Innovations in Care at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. After earning his medical degree from the University of Missouri, Dr. Tullman completed an internal medicine internship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and then a neurology residency and multiple sclerosis fellowship at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Tullman was an Attending Neurologist at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickenson Center for Multiple Sclerosis at the Mount Sinai Medical Center from 2003-2005. He then served as Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York from 2005-2011 before joining Missouri Baptist Medical Center in July of 2011.
Dr. Tullman is a leading authority in the diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis. He specializes in all aspects of MS patient care, including treatment with the disease-modifying drugs and symptomatic therapies. Dr. Tullman is also a leading clinical researcher and expert in MS experimental therapies. He has investigated numerous new treatments to lessen disability and improve functioning and quality of life in individuals affected by MS.
Dr. Tullman has co-authored numerous MS-related scientific articles, abstracts, and book chapters and lectured both in the United States and internationally. Dr. Tullman is a member of the Client Education Committee of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the American Academy of Neurology, and the editorial board of Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology – the continuing medical education publication of the American Academy of Neurology.