JDRF Elects Two Highly Engaged Volunteers to Lead International Board of Directors

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Grant Beard, Executive Operating Partner, LP, and Co-investor at Blue Point Capital Partners, will serve as JDRF International Board of Directors (IBOD) Chair, succeeding current Chair Joseph (Joe) P. Lacher. Michelle Griffin, a management consultant with more than 25 years of experience, will serve as JDRF IBOD Vice Chair, succeeding current Vice Chair Lisa Fishbone Wallack. 

Grant Beard: Supporting JDRF’s Research Mission

Grant and his wife Susan have been volunteer leaders since their daughter Emily’s T1D diagnosis in 2006 at age 14. They were recognized for their support of T1D research and research related education with the 2016 Jane Jospey Cobb Promise Award. 

Grant has served eight years on the IBOD and sits on the JDRF T1D Fund Board of Directors. As part of the IBOD, he chairs the Audit & Risk Committee and is a member of the Funding Committee. Grant previously served as the President of  the Board of Directors for JDRF’s Metro Detroit/Southeast Michigan Chapter (now the Michigan and Northern Ohio Chapter). 

“Working with my colleagues on JDRF’s International Board of Directors to drive mission impact has been a deep honor for me,” Grant said. “Michelle and I, in partnership with our fellow JDRF leaders, will continue to move our mission forward. Today, given where the science is, we have an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those living with T1D–here and around the world.” 

Michelle Griffin: Supporting T1D Families

Michelle’s son Cameron was diagnosed with T1D in 2007 at age nine and she and her husband, Tom Parker, have been actively involved with JDRF since. 


Michelle served on the IBOD for six years and was Chair of the Development and Audit Committees. She is currently a member of JDRF’s Global Mission Board and Audit Committee and is a Special Advisor to the Funding Committee. She has worked in a variety of roles for JDRF’s Northern California Chapter, presently as Co-Chair of Leadership Giving. In 2017, Michelle received the Jim Tyree Chairman’s Choice Award for her noteworthy volunteer contributions to JDRF. 


“I have been a JDRF true believer ever since our son Cameron participated in a JDRF funded clinical trial two months after diagnosis in 2007,” Michelle said. “It is an incredible honor to be asked to serve as Vice Chair, especially at this time when we are seeing the fruits of the JDRF community’s longtime support of our mission to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs. I am very excited to partner with Grant, our talented staff, and passionate volunteers to keep the momentum going as we get ever closer to making cures a reality.” 


This new leadership is a positive evolution for JDRF, which has recently seen a number of exciting research breakthroughs. 


“In the past few months alone, we have seen incredible progress in cures research—most notably in cell therapies,” said Aaron J. Kowalski, Ph.D., JDRF Chief Executive Officer. “Having Grant and Michelle step into these leadership roles ensures we will continue to drive our mission forward globally through scientific advancements and advocacy.” 


“We thank Joe and Lisa, who began their leadership in the early months of the pandemic, which upended our fundraising model. Under their direction, JDRF devised strategic priorities to advance more therapies, raise more funds, and activate more volunteers,” Kowalski added. “We welcome Grant and Michelle, and look forward to partnering with them to amplify our impact as we improve lives around the world and move closer to curing T1D. It is truly an exciting time to be at JDRF.”  

About the JDRF International Board of Directors (IBOD) 

IBOD is the governing body for JDRF and is tasked with accelerating the organization’s mission progress toward life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent, and treat T1D and its complications. Learn more about JDRF’s volunteer and staff leadership.