Southern California Chapter Leadership
Senior Development Manager - Walk & Golf ClassicBio
Senior Development Manager - Walk & Golf Classic
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.
Senior Development CoordinatorBio
Senior Development Coordinator
Catrina Cooper joined JDRF in October 2021 as a Senior Development Coordinator of the Southern California Chapter. She has a strong background in sales, marketing and development in Non-Profit Outreach, Division I Intercollegiate Athletics and Residential Sales. Her motivation for turning Type One into Type None is her niece, Madeira, who was diagnosed at the age of 6. Through her niece’s brave journey, she was introduced to the phenomenal T1 community in San Diego and the inspiring efforts of JDRF. Catrina 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. Along with her husband, Wes, a retired Naval Aviator, they are proud parents of daughters Anissa and Caley. She has her MA from CSU Long Beach and a BS from CSU San Bernardino, where she played collegiate softball.
Elisabeth Fleshler has been working at JDRF since 2014. She started as a volunteer and Walk team captain after her son Isaac was diagnosed with T1D at 18 months. His sister Ava was diagnosed 2 years later at the age of 5. Elisabeth joined the JDRF LA ride team in 2019 and continues to train and ride. Elisabeth has a BA from NYU and an MA from the University of Texas at Austin and has been working in non-profit administration for over 18 years.
Jane Gagne joined JDRF Southern CA in August 2014 after relocating from New York City. Her motivation and inspiration is her husband Dave, who has successfully been living with T1D for over 40 years. She has a B.S. from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. Jane lives in Oceanside with Dave and their 2 sons.
Development Manager, Signature EventsBio
Development Manager, Signature Events
Alex Hines joined JDRF Southern California in August 2022 as a Development Manager for Signature Events. She has a B.A. in Business Administration with concentrations in both Marketing and Entertainment and Tourism Management from California State University, Fullerton. Alex has a background in nonprofit event planning, as well as business and relationship management, and is honored to utilize her experiences while working alongside the driven SoCal team. Although she does not have any personal connection to type 1 diabetes, she has become passionate about accelerating JDRF’s mission to improve lives and, eventually find a cure. Alex lives in Fullerton with her husband and Mini Australian Shepherd.
Development Manager, Signature EventsBio
Development Manager, Signature Events
Ayla Hughes is a Development Manager of Signature Events and Galas with the Southern California Chapter. Ayla graduated from California State University Northridge with a B.A. in Liberal Studies. Prior to her time at JDRF, Ayla worked with the YMCA as a Regional Director, overseeing multiple branches and developing and implementing programing. One of her closest friends has Type 1, and has made Ayla passionate about finding a cure for T1D. She lives in West Hills with her husband and daughter.
Senior Development Manager - Outreach, Walk, RideBio
Senior Development Manager - Outreach, Walk, Ride
Deanna Kasper is the San Diego Senior Development Manager supporting the Outreach, Walk and Ride programs. Deanna worked for Father Joes Villages as a Resource Program Manager for several years before leaving to raise her 2 sons. Prior to joining the JDRF San Diego Team in 2015, she worked as an Employment Counselor for Jewish Family Service. Deanna has been a part of the JDRF community since 2005 when her 4 year old son Al was diagnosed with T1D. Deanna has been a JDRF mentor as well as event volunteer and both Deanna and her husband Chris have been active in both the walk and ride programs. In 2013, Deanna helped start the San Diego Youth Ambassador Program which she continues to manage and is still very active today. She loves working with the T1D community, providing support to newly diagnosed families and working on the walk and ride. She is passionate about raising funds for T1D research for a cure for Al and everyone living with T1D. Together Deanna and Al continue to support T1D research through their walk team Al’s Pals. Deanna has a BA in Communicative Disorders and an MS in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from San Diego State University.
Development Manager, Community Engagement and FundraisingBio
Development Manager, Community Engagement and Fundraising
Jules Kronberger joined JDRF in November of 2021. She is the Development Manager, Community Engagement and Fundraising for the Orange County community. She has a degree in Business Management from UNR and is less than a year away from earning her MBA from Cal State Long Beach. She was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 27 but became even more motivated to find a cure for T1D when her 5-year old son, JD, tested positive for all 3 of the autoimmune antibodies. She is honored to be a member of the SoCal team and for the opportunity to work for JDRF!
Marcela Pallete joined JDRF in January 2020 as a Development Coordinator after previously working in TV commercial production. She was a member of the Young Leadership Committee as a volunteer and participated in the One Walk prior to working at JDRF. She is excited to continue to support the YLC and Youth Ambassadors. She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2004 at the age of 12. She has found an awesome community through JDRF and is excited to continue to meet and work with new families. She is a graduate of Gettysburg College, where she earned a B.A. in Psychology and played collegiate volleyball.
Sue Pietrzak is the Development Director of the Southern California Chapter. In this role, Sue works closely with the staff and JDRF’s network of amazing volunteers. Sue has been with JDRF since 2013 and her love and passion have been the JDRF One Walk.
Sue has a strong background in Sales and Marketing as a Regional Manager and began her career in the non-profit world with the American Cancer Society. An opportunity came to her with JDRF and she has never looked back.
Michelle Popoff is Executive Director of the JDRF Southern California 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 since 2005, when she was brought on board in Orange County 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 organization, including Outreach Manager, Senior Development Manager, Outreach Captain for JDRF’s West Region, Executive Director of the Orange County chapter and her current role as Executive Director of the Southern California chapter.
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!
Phone: 949-885-5025 or 657-213-7647
Akane Sanchez joined the Southern California chapter of JDRF in November of 2022 as a Development Assistant. She has her BA in Communications, Public Relations from CSUF with a background and focus in social media management.
Akane was introduced to JDRF at the age of 5, during her stay in the ICU as a newly diagnosed T1D. Having been diabetic for nearly her whole life, she is driven to help find the cure. She is very passionate about her sense of community and working for JDRF has only strengthened her commitment to aiding others.
Senior Development CoordinatorBio
Senior Development Coordinator
Rachel Spidell joined JDRF in August 2022 as the Senior Development Coordinator for the Southern California Chapter. She supports many of the Peer 2 Peer fundraising events and works closely with volunteers in the Los Angeles area. She has held various roles in different non-profits throughout her career and is excited to join the team at JDRF. Rachel holds an MM from California State University Long Beach, and a BM from The University of Arizona. She is originally from Colorado but made the move to Southern California in 2013 and currently calls Long Beach her home.
Board of Directors
David Ahn, MDBio
David Ahn, MD
Dr. David Ahn is an Endocrinologist and Program Director of the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian. He trained at UC San Diego and previously worked as an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA. Dr. Ahn’s primary clinical interest is health technology, especially relating to Type 1 Diabetes. Until there’s a cure, his mission is to empower patients to live their fullest life while minimizing the mental, financial, and emotional burden of this chronic condition. He is a proud father to a 2 year old (Matthew), and is an avid LA sports fan (especially the LA Kings).
Erik Anderson is a Vice President & Assistant Controller for Aviation Capital Group. He began his involvement with the Orange County chapter of JDRF in 2010 and served on the Board from 2012 – 2018. He has been an active member of the golf committee over the years. His sister-in-law was diagnosed with Type 1 nearly 35 years ago and is the inspiration to continue supporting the fight to turn type one into type none. Erik lives in Ladera Ranch, with his wife, Kathryn, and his nine year old son and six year old daughter. When not coaching, refereeing, or watching his kids’ athletic endeavors, he enjoys spending time with family and friends not far from the BBQ or smoker.
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.
President, Board of Directors, OC
Leslie, along with her husband Jacob, became involved with JDRF in San Diego more than 20 years ago, shortly after their son Yaniv was diagnosed with T1D at age 9. “Funding vital research to cure T1D is what inspires us to support JDRF in the hope that this disease becomes a thing of the past.” She and Jacob have sponsored a table at the San Diego Promise Ball every year since then and were honored at the gala in 2017. In 2020, Leslie chaired the JDRF San Diego Promise Ball and met the challenge of quickly adapting it to the chapter’s first Virtual Gala!
Since 2019, Leslie has been a member of the JDRF San Diego Board of Directors (now the San Diego Community Board of the JDRF Southern California Chapter). Leslie is also actively involved with the Anti-Defamation League, building relationships with minority communities.
Leslie enjoys spending time with her family, which includes husband Jacob, their son Yaniv, daughters Elise and Ilana, son-in-law Alex, and new grandson Asher. Her hobbies include painting and yoga.
On December 12, 2015, our family got the devastating news that our 8-year-old daughter, Leah, had Type 1 Diabetes. We were scared and had no idea what we were in for, but we met it head on and were determined not to let it beat us…or our daughter! It immediately became mine and my husband’s mission to understand as much as we possibly could about this disease so that we could best serve Leah.
Within 3 months of diagnosis, Leah got her first Dexcom and only a few weeks later, I left a 17-year career at Hewlett Packard to start a new career working for Dexcom, the company that had just provided our family with a game-changing solution for monitoring her diabetes. I was all in! I now had a new purpose and drive; work towards making life with diabetes easier while ultimately driving towards a cure.
From the very beginning JDRF has been an integral part of our journey with T1D. From the visit in the hospital, to providing parent support groups, to getting us involved with the One Walk. We formed Team Smoosh in 2016 and were so overwhelmed by the support we received by our friends and family. We raised more than our initial goal and have continued to exceed our goal every year since.
I look forward to the opportunity to work more closely with JDRF and be a part of other people’s journeys with T1D.
Advocacy Team Chair - San Diego
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.
Bryn da Luz
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.
Joe De Vore
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.
Joan Durkin Rubenstein
President, Walk Co-Chair, San Diego
Mike Fahrney is a native to California. He attended college at Oklahoma State University studying electrical engineering. He also earned a B.S. in Aerospace to include minors in Meteorology and Aviation Safety, as well as a Masters of Science in Aeronautics. After spending 7 years in the United States Air Force, Mike began his employment with McDonnell Douglas and then transitioned to The Boeing Company. Mike has been with Boeing for 33 years having been the Director of Flight Operations for Airlift, Chief Pilot for Airlift, and led multiple military aircraft programs. His time at Boeing has seen him qualify in several different models of aircraft to include the C-17, C-40 and 737. Mike currently resides in Ladera Ranch with his wife Tessa and their two Alaskan Malamutes. As a pilot, Mike is a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association (AOPA). Golf is a new passion for Mike and Tessa, with both spending weekends on their local course. In addition to golf, Mike is a wine collector and enjoys sharing his wine with friends. As one of the JDRF “Wine Guys” he has assisted in efforts with the team to support JDRF wine auctions. Mike also supports canine cancer research and other charitable causes through work and personal donations.
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.
Ben currently represents Afrezza as the Head of Marketing with MannKind Corporation. Ben is passionate about supporting people living with diabetes and is proud to work for a company with a unique solution. He was previously with Medtronic for 17 years and most of that time was with the Diabetes division where he launched MiniMed 630G and MiniMed 670G. He got involved with JDRF events through his work in sales and marketing by attending walks and local events. He was invited to join the Medtronic team for a JDRF Ride in Amelia Island and had a wonderful experience that drove him to continue attending several more Rides over the years. Now, with MannKind, Ben is focused on launching the Ride program within the company and across the So Cal Region. He and his wife Laura are proud parents of their 4 children, ages 10, 9, 6, and 2. Ben is looking forward to seeing all of you on a future ride!
Advocacy Team Chair - OC & IEBio
Advocacy Team Chair - OC & IE
Kristan has been a JDRF volunteer since her daughter Kalee was diagnosed in 2013. Over the years, Kristan is a regular volunteer at many JDRF events including, helping with Youth Ambassadors, speaking at Type One Nation and participating in One Walk annually. She currently serves as a member of the Outreach Committee and as Coordinator of the MOD Coffee Club. Through her involvement, her knowledge and interest in Advocacy has grown and she is excited to serve as ATC and the opportunity to advocate for our T1D community to Congress.
Nick is married to his wife, Amy, and they have two daughters, Allyson (8) and Hailey (6). Ally was diagnosed with T1D in October 2020 and Nick decided he wanted to do his part to raise awareness about T1D and help find a cure. Nick played Major League Baseball for 12 years (for the Padres, Rockies, Giants, A’s and Orioles) before retiring in 2020. He is now Team Freedom Director for a nonprofit organization fighting human trafficking called International Justice Mission and also works in the front office for the Texas Rangers as assistant to the general manager.
Cheryl Jacob is a Registered Nurse with over thirty-seven years of healthcare experience with MemorialCare both at the Saddleback and Orange Coast campuses. She retired in 2018 as the Chief Operating Officer and was recruited back in a consultant role this year. She lives in Dana Point with her husband John Wilson. They have five children and five grandchildren. The oldest granddaughter, Paige, is a youth ambassador with T1D and refuses to let it hold her back! Cheryl was attracted to JDRF as she relates to its Mission: Improving lives today and tomorrow by accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.
In 2018, Rose Krupp retired from a successful corporate career leading philanthropic giving for several companies, most recently with Western Digital. Under her leadership, the company established and implemented philanthropic guidelines for 100,000 employees in 26 countries, receiving numerous awards for community engagement and volunteerism. Her experience also includes community relations for Mattel, Boeing Satellite Systems, and Kia Motors America, as well as serving as Press Secretary for former Congresswoman Jane Harman. She began her career as a television news writer and then producer for CBS affiliates throughout California. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in college, Rose has always had an interest in, and advocated for, access to healthcare for all. A proud Southern California native, she and her husband, Paul Hacunda, reside in San Clemente, CA.
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.
Jacqueline “Jackie” Leitzes has been a Development professional for over two decades and is
currently the Director of Development for Pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In this role,
she oversees fundraising efforts and helps to cultivate and steward donors within the Cedars-
Sinai pediatric community.
A native New Yorker, Jackie has worked for several reputable non-profit organizations in
Manhattan — Mount Sinai Medical Center, The Dwight School Foundation, American Jewish
Historical Society, Allen-Stevenson School, Summer Play Festival, and New York University —
where she helped to raise tens of millions of dollars through principal and major gifts, capital
and annual campaigns, board development, and special events.
Jackie serves on the Board of Directors of the Hackley School Alumni Association (her high
school alma mater) and graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt University. She is also a
member of the NextGen Committee at Selfhelp Community Services, an organization that
promotes independent living to Holocaust survivors in New York.
While Jackie only recently became an official Los Angeles resident, residing in the West
Hollywood/Beverly Hills area, she has close family roots here and has visited frequently for the
past 30 years.
Julie’s connection to JDRF began in 2004, just after her son Robby was diagnosed with T1D at age 11. Julie has been involved by volunteering to assist the chapter with many events, has ridden in two Ride to Cure Diabetes events (alongside Robby), is an outreach committee member and past Advocacy Team Chair. She is currently a co-chair for the 2022 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes.
Since Robby’s T1D diagnosis, Julie has seen incredible advancement in T1D treatments and technology. She is hopeful and confident in JDRF’s mission that one day, through their extraordinary commitment to research, a cure for type 1 diabetes will be a reality.
Born and raised in Orange County, Julie resides in Newport Beach with her husband, Robert. They have two children, Robby and Amanda. Robby and wife Tina recently added to their family with baby Blake, Julie’s first grandbaby and she couldn’t be any more smitten with him. Daughter Amanda is pursuing her dreams in Tennessee. Julie is a successful Realtor serving Orange County communities and beyond. Her passion for real estate was instilled in her at a young age by her dad, who she claims is the “original property flipper.”
Samantha became involved with JDRF after her diagnosis in 2014. She has been a One Walk family team coach, T1D Connections volunteer, Outreach Committee member, and now serves as the Outreach Committee Chair. Advocating for improvements in therapies, quality of life, and ultimately, a cure for T1D, is a key piece of Samantha’s personal and professional objectives. She is a Mayo Clinic-trained, National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach that specializes in working with people living with T1D. As a coach, author (“Type 1 Diabetes Caregiver Confidence”), and speaker, Samantha works to help people living with diabetes thrive. She manages her private wellness practice, GraceMark Wellness & Lifestyle Coaching, and also serves as the Health & Wellness Coach at the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag Hospital.
Tony Marks is an Attorney at Law at Bryan Cave LLP. He serves on the JDRF Los Angeles Board with his current term beginning in 2011.
Advocacy Team Chair - LABio
Advocacy Team Chair - LA
Laura Mecoy is an award-winning former journalist who is the president and founder of Mecoy Communications, a team of expert storytellers with decades of experience in researching and creating compelling narratives about companies, products, people, causes and more. The firm is an LA-based network of public affairs, public relations and communications specialists who develop and implement winning communications strategies.
Laura is the mother of two young adults diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and her family has been active in JDRF since 2000, raising and donating more than $250,000. Laura served as a walk team captain for 15 years, mentor for the newly diagnosed, founder of the South Bay parent group, member of the board, chair of the LA and the Long Beach Walk Committees and the Board’s Public Relations/Publicity Committee. As a member of the Advocacy Committee, she has participated in advocacy meetings with members of Congress and traveled to D.C. to lobby Congress on behalf of JDRF.
With her daughter, Grace Walker, she participated in the 2015 JDRF Children’s Congress. Her son, Ryan Walker, also was a South Bay Walk Ambassador when JDRF still had a South Bay Walk. He was featured in a movie trailer JDRF created with Sugar Ray Leonard and has served as a JDRF spokesperson. She and her husband, Cary Walker, are members of the JDRF LA Ride team and have participated in three JDRF Rides to Cure Diabetes. They live in Manhattan Beach.
Recently retired, Bob Morrison spent the previous 36 years in private, solo, dental practice: nine years as a general dentist and the remainder of his career specializing in endodontics. He has previously served on the Foundation Board of his children’s high school and was involved for a number of years with the Orange County Dental Society. Bob has two adult sons who have had type 1 diabetes since childhood, and is keenly aware of the trials and tribulations associated with this life-long disease. He is looking forward to the opportunity to serve on the Board of JDRF and to making a personal contribution to the ongoing battle for a cure for type 1 diabetes.
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!”
Angie Platt, CPA, was the 2011 JDRF Children’s Congress Chair. Her 12 year old son Jonathan was diagnosed with T1D at age 6. She serves on the JDRF Los Angeles Board with her current term beginning in 2011.
Robbie Prepas, CNM, MN, JDBio
Robbie Prepas, CNM, MN, JD
Robbie is a certified nurse midwife/OB-GYN Nurse Practitioner and has been in clinical practice since 1993 and is now retired. She has been involved in International Midwifery for the last 30 years working in Asia, Africa, South America, and Russia, working with the Life Saving Skills curriculum in teaching midwives in developing countries. In addition, she has worked as a consultant for the Center for Disease Control in Afghanistan in a maternal child health survival project. Presently, she is a member of the US Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) and have worked in disaster relief at ground zero in New York City, Hurricanes Katrina (New Orleans), Sandy (New York City) and Maria (Puerto Rico). A recent deployment involved administering immunizations in Milwaukee during the COVID pandemic last year.
Since retirement, Robbie has been involved with two different boards. She is presently on the boards of the Laguna Dance Festival and Orange County Planned Parenthood. Robbie is passionate about women’s reproductive rights. During the last decade she has also supported JDRF as she is involved with many families that have children with type 1 diabetes.
In the last year Robbie’s granddaughter with special needs also developed T1D and she has dealt with the challenges involved in her care. Parents and caregivers of children with both T1D and developmental disabilities face problems different from those who have either disorder alone. More complex challenges exist, and they remain largely unstudied.
For this reason, Robbie would like to be on the board of JDRF as she is an ardent supporter of the organization and their goals to improve the lives of every person affected by T1D and to help the progress of curing, treating, and preventing this disease.
Morgan Rector is President of Comerica Bank, Entertainment Group. He serves as President on the JDRF Los Angeles Board with his current term beginning in 2009.
Marc Sidoti is Vice President of RFF Inc., general partner of RFF Family Partnership LP since 2004 located in the Los Angeles area. RFF Family Partnership is a boutique lending company specializing in short term commercial bridge financing. As Vice President of RFF Inc., Marc focuses on new clients, risk management and financial services. Marc Sidoti graduate from State University of New York at Albany in 1991 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
Dream Guild PresidentBio
Dream Guild President
Vanessa joined JDRF in 2018 and immediately became extremely involved in our fundraising efforts. She co-chaired the Dream Guild Holiday Luncheon with Bill Peters and Cathie Lawler. Lara Giddings and Diana Hasenbalg introduced here to JDRF Orange County knowing her past philanthropic successes would be a significant asset to the Orange County chapter. Vanessa instantly knew the JDRF mission statement resonated with her and she found the commitment and dedication in our membership to be inviting. Prior to moving to Newport Beach, Vanessa was actively involved with Mission Hospital Foundation and Camino Health Center in South O.C
President, Dream Guild
Gloria has been a dia-mom since January 13th, 2004, when her son, Joseph, was diagnosed with T1D at age 4 ½ years old. Over the last 14+ years, Gloria has volunteered in a variety of roles for JDRF, including Parent Coffee host, and has been a parent spokesperson at corporate presentations, helping to raise awareness about JDRF and T1D in the San Diego community.
President, Board of Directors, LA
Ann Winthrop has been personally committed to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D) since her daughter, Marisa, 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 many levels, including holding two terms as chapter Board President, OC Walk Chair, Gala Chair and Dream Guild President. She also served as a Regional Chapter Services volunteer supporting 14 chapters in the western region.
Professionally, Ann has worked in the Human Resources/Employee Relations area for companies in the pharmaceutical, automotive and technology sectors. She has also worked as a professional fundraiser.