Michelle Popoff is Executive Director of the JDRF Orange County Chapter. In this role, Michelle works closely with our staff, Board of Directors, our strong volunteer base, and our type 1 diabetes (T1D) community. Michelle has been with JDRF Orange County since 2005, when she was brought on board to start the chapter’s outreach program. Since then, the program has grown extensively and provides many resources, events and connections for the T1D community, including the Bag of Hope, annual TypeOneNation Summit, T1D Care Kit, Walking the T1D Tightrope events, Research Updates, Youth Ambassador program and more. Michelle has served a variety of roles within the chapter, including Outreach Manager, Senior Development Manager, Outreach Captain for JDRF’s West Region and her current role as Executive Director.
Michelle was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 11 and is passionate about helping the T1D community and the JDRF mission to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. She is the proud mom of her son, Jake, who was her inspiration to get involved with JDRF when he was born. Michelle graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Communications and is a die-hard Bruin!
Senior Development Manager
Lauren Christ joined JDRF in May of 2018. As Senior Development Manager, Lauren will oversee the JDRF Fore the Kids Classic and Corporate Sponsorships for the OC One Walk. Lauren has spent the last 8 years working in the non-profit community in Orange County and is truly excited to be part of the JDRF team.
Jane Gagne joined JDRF in August 2014 after relocating from New York City to the Orange County area. She previously worked at a family owned investment firm in downtown Manhattan. Her motivation for turning Type One into Type None is her husband Dave, who has successfully been living with T1D for over 35 years. She has a BS from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. Jane lives in Newport Beach with Dave and their and son.
Robby joined JDRF in January of 2018 after recently working for the LA Dodgers. He was diagnosed with T1D when he was 11 and recently graduated from the University of the Pacific, where he played 4 years of Collegiate baseball.. In addition to playing baseball, Robby is an avid outdoors-man, where he has experience backpacking, hiking, snowboarding, and fishing. Robby has been very involved with JDRF since he was diagnosed, as he has participated in the One Walk, traveled to Washington DC with Advocacy, and is participating in his second 100 mile bike ride later this year in Amelia Island.
Senior Development Coordinator
As the Senior Development Coordinator, Brittany serves a vital support role for the Orange County Chapter. Brittany is the lead staff member for silent auction and raffle items for all special events (Gala, Dream Guild events, Fore the Kids Golf Classic).
Aspen joined JDRF in September 2017. She was diagnosed with T1D in 2012 and is thrilled to be part of an organization that gives back so much to the type 1 community. Originally from Colorado, Aspen graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a BA in Communication and moved to California in 2014 with her husband Chase and her two dogs. Although Type 1 Diabetes is a challenge to live with, she has never let it stop her from living her life to the fullest and has never given up hope that we will one day find a cure. Aspen is the volunteer lead and registration lead for all events as well as handles all financials and donations for the chapter.
Paula Aragone has been working alongside with JDRF to raise awareness for Type 1 Diabetes. Her commitment to find a cure came after her son JC was diagnosed with T1D back in 2012. JC is a professional tennis player who is also involved with JDRF and has been able to speak on National television about what is means to live with T1D.
Professionally, Paula is the CEO of Aragone & Associates at First Team-Christie’s , a real estate group representing clients throughout Orange County and providing a unique approach to today’s complex residential real estate market. Paula brings almost two decades of real estate experience to every transaction, where she specializes in coastal communities from San Clemente to Huntington Beach and inland to Yorba Linda. Paula’s expansive network, unparalleled client service, and proven marketing strategies have made her an elite member of First Team Real Estate, which represents the top 1% of sales associates nationally. Paula attended 4 years of Law School in her native country, which has been proven to be an edge in Real Estate contracts and effective negotiation technique. She believes in ensuring the highest standards of ethic and practice are maintained at all times. Paula’s extensive experience with complex transactions, her strong law background and unique skill set is especially appreciated by high – net – worth clients with equally high expectations and standards.
Chris has been actively involved with JDRF since 2014 and currently serves on the Board of Directors. He has been largely involved with One Walk, serving as a lead volunteer for the past 3 years.
Professionally, Chris works with BBSI in Orange County as the Director of Business Development.
Judy Brandt has been personally committed to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D) since her daughter Patty was diagnosed with T1D in 1994. Along with her husband Ray, she has been intimately involved with the JDRF Orange County Chapter for years, volunteering at a number of levels, including serving on committees such as the Gala and Walk. While employed at Allergan, she formed the Allergan Walk team which brought in new supporters and raised awareness as well as dollars. Judy chaired the Nominating Committee for 2 years and has chaired the Donor Relations Committee for the past two years, continuing in that role. She also served on the founding Board of the Dream Guild and continues to support that vitally important JDRF organization. Judy is also involved with several other Orange County non-profit organizations, both health related and focused on human services.
Professionally, Judy is an HR Consultant. Her business experience includes 25 plus years in Human Resources with small and large organizations, including 10 years with Allergan. During her last five years there, she headed the staffing department for the Irvine headquarters. Her consulting practice includes workshops on “Hiring for Emotional Intelligence”.
Shannon became involved with JDRF fairly quickly after her son Kurt was diagnosed with Type 1 at age 2. Their first walk was at Guasti Park, Ontario in 2006 and they have participated in walk almost every year since. Her volunteering for the Inland Empire included several years as the Walk Team Chair and later the Advocacy Team Chair. She enjoys advocating not only on her son’s behalf, but for all living with Type 1 Diabetes and their families. Professionally, she is the Director of Corporate Partnerships for Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont – a graduate school focused on the applied life sciences, and always has an ear out for the latest research with respects to Type 1. She lives in Alta Loma with her husband Kurt and 3 kids.
Janet has over 36 years of experience in pharmaceutical research in bringing new products to market; most of these has been in ophthalmology with Allergan. Since leaving Allergan, she has been consulting for start-up companies and a non-profit to assist them with their drug development strategies.
Janet is in her 3rd year of a second term on the Orange County JDRF Board of Directors. Besides participating in Walk and the Gala, Janet is an active member of the Donor Development Committee.
Rich Cocuzzo is the Founder and President of Sales Velocity Advisors. He has co-chaired the wine auction at the annual “Dream Gala” for several years. This year Rich was honored at the Gala as one of the “Wine Guys” who have helped to raise over $350,000 since the inception of the wine auction in 2006. Rich has been married to his wife Jodi, since 1989, and they have lived in Laguna Niguel since 1999. They are parents to three adult daughters. They enjoy spending time with friends and family, love to travel, and enjoy all things that are food and wine related.
Ellen Darling’s best friend is Tracey McCarter. Tracey’s youngest daughter, Charlize, was diagnosed with T1D 8 years ago. Ellen immediately became dedicated to finding a cure for this disease, and got involved with JDRF and devoted her time and resources to this organization. She has educated others about the disease and her friends/contacts have, in turn, donated money to the cause. Ellen and her family have devoted substantial time and efforts to the cause as well.
Ellen is a trial attorney at K&L Gates LLP. She primarily handles products liability cases for life science companies. She also handles class action cases involving various false advertising claims.
Lauri’s involvement with JDRF began in 1991 when her daughter, Brooke was diagnosed at age 10 and two years later her daughter Shelby was diagnosed i at age 12 in 1993. Lauri is a board member for the Hoag Hospital Foundation, The Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center and the Herbert Program for Young Adults with T1D.
In June of 2017, Cami’s 7 (now 8) year old daughter was shockingly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Having very little prior knowledge of the condition, she immediately began leveraging the resources of the JDRF and has been passionately devoted to the cause ever since. She is fearless in her advocacy efforts and joins us on the Board to continue our fight toward a cure.Cami graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Communication. She and her husband, Torrey, own a full service corporate real estate firm, Sidra, which is headquartered here in Orange County. Together, they have 3 children and live in North Tustin.
Dream Guild President
Graduated from The University of the South: Sewanee with a BA in Anthropology. Worked at Charles Schwab for 8 years developed their Managed Account/Alternative Investment division. Moved to California in 2007 to work with a start up international investment management firm Strategic Global Advisors as their Chief Operating Officer/Chief Compliance Officer until 2012. Ashley and Mark Duva formed Duva International Group in 2011 as a global consulting and sales company, generally working with factories in Hong Kong, Japan and China. Past charity involvement includes, St. Jude Research Hospital (past 4 years Auction Chair for SoCal Gala), JDRF Dream Guild Board Member (3 years), JDRF (past 2 years Auction chair for Gala), Heart Ball (3 years Gala Committee Member) and Women of Chapman member past 5 years.
Scott Farber has been personally committed to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D) since his daughter was diagnosed with T1D in 2001 at the age of seven. Along with his wife Bronwyn, they has been intimately involved with the JDRF Orange County Chapter for years, volunteering at a number of levels, including president of the Orange County Chapter Board, Walk Chair and Treasurer. Stephanie graduated from the University of Oregon and is working for a digital media advertising agency in Newport Beach.
Professionally, Scott has been a Partner at Grant Thornton LLP since 1992. He is currently the West Region Audit Practice Leader and International Business Center Director. Additionally, he served as an elected member of the firm’s Partnership Board from 2005 to 2011. Scott and his family lived in Hong Kong from 1995-1998 when he served as Grant Thornton’s Asia Pacific Technical Director and Liaison Partner with responsibility over 16 countries.
Scott has more than 35 years of experience in the areas of complex financial reporting, international trade, risk assessment and strategic financial transactions. He has provided guidance to a wide range of companies, from emerging start-ups to large publicly-held entities with global operations.
Nominating & Board Development Chair
Julie Hellmers graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a BA in Liberal Studies. Julie spent her career selling Cardiovascular products for Merck Pharmaceuticals for 10 years before committing full time to become a mother of 3 as well as a community leader. Julie’s commitment with JDRF started nearly 11 years ago after her Daughter Katherine was diagnosed at age 4 and not long after her son Brennen was also diagnosed with T1D. Julie is the Nominating and Board Development Chair and is also involved with Gala and the Dream Guild committee.
Christina has been committed to JDRF after witnessing what her close friend’s children went through after being diagnosed. Christina has been active with the JDRF Dream Guild for 6 years and on the Board of Directors for 3 years. Christina also served as President of the Dream Guild in 2015/2016 as well as co-chaired countless events including the 2017 Dream Gala.
Jeff Klein has been personally committed to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D) since his son Hunter was diagnosed with T1D in 2009 at the age of 11. Along with his wife Kristi, he has been intimately involved with the JDRF Orange County Chapter, including a member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Golf Committee as well as walk committee member.
Professionally, Jeff is a business owner at The Boston Group and DC Environmental operating in the recycling and environmental services business sector.
Chris is the Chief Financial Officer for First American Credit Union. His wife, Lindsay, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a child and is his inspiration for getting involved with JDRF. Chris says, his wife “broke the mold” in regards to the perceptions of what someone with T1D can do and he wants to educate people about type 1 diabetes and let them know it is not a restriction on life. Chris earned his BA in Business Economics from UC Santa Barbara, an MS in Neurobiology from UC Irvine and an MBA from The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine. He and his wife live in Corona del Mar with their two children.
Bob Loewen first began supporting JDRF in the 1990s as a donor when Ally, the daughter of his friend and partner Phil Bosl and wife Charlene was diagnosed with T1D at age 3. When Bob’s own son, Todd, was diagnosed at age 19 in 2004, Bob joined the JDRF Board. Tragically, Ally died from low blood sugar the following year shortly after graduating from college, compounding Bob’s commitment to find a cure to this terrible disease.
Bob is a retired attorney, who concluded his career as a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP after 36 years in 2014. Bob is a veteran, having served a tour in the Army in Vietnam. He is Chairman of the California Policy Center, a think tank devoted to public education reform and fiscal responsibility in government. A longtime officer and board member of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, Mr. Loewen is a member of its Board of Counselors and is Chairman Emeritus. He also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. Married to Jacinta Loewen in 1972, the couple has three grown children and has lived in Laguna Beach for over thirty years.
Laura joined the JDRF Orange County board in 2014. She is passionate to help find a cure for T1D and serves on the golf committee. Laura has been part of the restaurant landscape for her entire life and opened her first restaurant at the age of 23 in Newport Beach. Today, Laura works with her family at the Newport & Naples Rib Company, a barbeque restaurant known for giving back to the community that has supported them for the past 30 years. Previously, she was the Director of Programs and Development for ACT Today!, a national non-profit that provides services and support to children diagnosed with autism.
Laura, who has TID, lives in Costa Mesa with her husband Jerry and three children Amber (18), Justin (15) and Jessica (15). She also serves on the board of her church and actively supports her children’s activities.
Brian was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes over 25 years ago. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in an effort to better understand the disease. He then went on to get a graduate degree in analytical chemistry under a Nobel Prize winner studying exhaled human breath in an effort to determine blood glucose and reduce finger sticking. Brian also earned his law degree and is now a patent attorney at K&L Gates. He works on many diabetes-related technologies, including much of the intellectual property for Mannkind’s Afrezza inhaled insulin. He also serves on the Executive Council for UC Irvine’s Diabetes Center and says he is “all in for diabetes!”
With a background in finance and investments, Tom Porter opened Marquee Staffing’s first branch in 1989. For the past 25 years, the firm has built a strong reputation based around developing strategic relationships with candidates and clients throughout Southern California. In addition, Tom utilizes his positions on the board for both TSIL and TempNet to provide current and potential clients with the best insight on changing labor laws and best practices within the industry. Giving back to the community has been a integral focus for Tom and the Marquee Team for the past 25 years. Through his work with JDRF, regular partnerships with local charities and engaging his team on active volunteerism, Tom believes philanthropic programs play a deciding factor on Marquee’s success today.
Contact Tom Porter at email@example.com to partner with us!
Linda Maxwell Robertson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 40 years ago. Throughout that time she has been an active member of JDRF serving as a volunteer in NYC and Orange County. She is committed to finding a cure and raising awareness, serving on the outreach committees and as the chapter’s research information volunteer. Linda is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice and a mental health specialist with the Santa Ana Unified School District. Among those she helps are individuals with type 1 diabetes and their families manage the psycho-social effects of the disease. She has been a speaker, panelist and moderator at forums devoted to exploring the topics of T1D.
JD Shafer has been an active JDRF board member and advocate for many years. He has served on the golf committee as chair and is currently Board President Elect for the FY18 year. JD has been quietly dealing with his own type 1 diagnosis for over 30 years. JD has two supportive children, one of which, Tiffany, is a freshman at the University of Washing in Seattle. Trevor is an incoming senior at Tesoro high school and talented tennis player. JD worked for the Robert Mayer Corporation for 9 years prior to joining the Irvine Company 4 years ago. As Senior Director, he oversees a sizable portfolio in apartment home rental communities throughout Orange County. He has served in the capacity of Board President of the Conference and Visitor Bureau of Huntington Beach, and on the Executive Committee of the HB Chamber of Commerce. The chamber recognized him as the business person of the year while working at the Hilton Resort.
John Stoner has been involved with JDRF since his son Tommy was diagnosed in 2006. John is presently serving as the President of the JDRF Orange County Board of Directors. John has also been involved on the Gala Committee, where he has co-chaired the wine committee for several years, and on the Major Gifts and Outreach Committees. John was co-chair of the 2014 Gala. John’s wife Barbara Fox Stoner is also involved with JDRF, having served as a trained mentor and as a member of the Nominating and Board Development Committee.
Professionally, John and Barbara have both practiced law in Orange County since the mid-1980’s. In 2013, they founded their own firm, Stoner Fox Law Group, LLP. Barbara is also an instructor at California State University Dominguez Hills.
Ann Winthrop has been personally committed to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D) since her daughter was diagnosed with T1D in 1995 at the age of 8. Along with her husband, Marc she has been intimately involved with the JDRF Orange County Chapter for years, volunteering at a number of levels, including holding two terms as Executive Board President, Chapter Walk Chair, Gala Chair and Guild President. Ann served as a Regional Chapter Services volunteer supporting 14 chapters in the western region.
Professionally, Ann has worked in the Human Resources area for companies in the pharmaceutical, automotive and technology sectors. She has also worked as a professional fundraiser.