Board of Directors
Ben Munoz, President & Co-Founder (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ben Munoz is a resilient entrepreneur, angel investor, and dedicated patient advocate. Ben created our first patient community, AVMSurvivors.org, while recovering from an AVM-related stroke. Teaming up with his friend, Scott Orn, they expanded their vision, establishing Ben’s Friends — an online network of patient communities for those with rare diseases. Since 2007, Ben’s Friends has grown impressively, now helping over 100,000 patients each month. Beyond healthcare, Ben ventured into e-commerce, founding Nadine West, a women’s personal styling service that reshaped e-commerce by offering individually curated, affordable outfits monthly. With a unique blend of medical education, an MBA from Kellogg, and software development skills, Ben channels innovation and philanthropy, making a profound impact in healthcare and e-commerce ventures.
Scott Orn, Co-Founder & Board Member (email@example.com)
Scott Orn is a friend and Kellogg classmate of Ben and provided support to Ben while he recovered from his AVM rupture. Inspired by Ben’s efforts to build a community for AVM patients, Scott saw the potential to help other patients coping with rare or chronic conditions by forming additional communities. Together, Scott & Ben co-founded Ben’s Friends to help patients around the world support each other. Currently, Scott is the head of Operations at Kruze Consulting, a rapidly expanding CPA firm focused on startups, serving 800+ clients. In addition to his operational role, Scott advises clients on venture capital fundraising and debt financing. He hosts Kruze Consulting’s Founders & Friends Podcast, interviewing startup CEOs, investors, and service providers. Prior to Kruze, Scott was a partner at Lighthouse Capital, where he managed high-profile deals lending to startups. Scott holds an MBA from Kellogg and undergraduate business degrees from UC Berkeley.
Eric D. Kroll, Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Eric Kroll is thrilled to be part of the Ben’s Friends team helping people with rare diseases find support. He helped launch the fifth BensFriends.org community when he joined in 2009, back when Ben’s Friends had only about 1,000 members. Eric is a versatile venture catalyst known for his ability to guide businesses and individuals to reach their potential. He serves as a Venture Partner and LP at MBM Capital, specializing in providing a profitable pathway for orphaned startups. Eric’s expertise spans diverse sectors, including impact investments, software, e-commerce, and more. He’s deeply connected in industries like mission-driven impact organizations, plant-based CPG, and tech. Eric is also a sought-after speaker and mentor, known for sharing his insights with founders and investors worldwide.
John Stamler, Treasurer (email@example.com)
John is very pleased to be a member of the Ben’s Friends family, which he joined in June 2010, when Ben’s Friends had only 6,000 members. John joined as a patient member, one month after a successful open heart surgery to close an Atrial Septal Defect, a rare condition. John ran a marathon for Ben’s Friends less than six months after heart surgery, and he has raised over $20,000 by running three marathons to raise awareness and money for Ben’s Friends. John is a versatile Financial and Strategic Advisor, currently advising Celadon Pharmaceuticals Plc and serving as an Advisor at Greentown Labs, a leading climate tech startup incubator. He is a Board Member and Mentor at Anything World, innovating voice-powered gaming. John’s expertise spans finance, climate innovation, AI and voice computing, and charitable work, making him a dynamic force in diverse sectors.
Jeremy Block, Board Member
Jeremy Block is a digital health and clinical development executive with nearly two decades of experience in clinical research. He designed nationwide studies engaging 75,000 participants through innovative, decentralized approaches. As a co-founder and CSO/CPO of a health technology company, he played a pivotal role in its acquisition. Jeremy advises investors on health tech and life sciences due diligence and serves as an adjunct professor of public and international affairs. He’s an accomplished lecturer and public policy faculty member, contributing to discussions on digital health research, ethics in research, and emergency research. His multifaceted career showcases deep expertise across healthcare, education, entrepreneurship, and public policy.
Patrick Sullivan, Board Member
Patrick Sullivan serves as the Co-CEO, Co-Founder, and Chairman of the Board at 2600hz since February 2010, accumulating over 13 years of experience in the company. 2600hz specializes in large-scale cloud communication, offering the KAZOO product, a cost-effective distributed system, and aims to empower Service Providers and Resellers in various communication markets under their own brand. Patrick is also a dedicated member of the Board of Directors at Ben’s Friends since April 2015, an organization focused on creating online communities for people with rare diseases. Furthermore, he is an active member of the SF Bay Chapter of YPO since January 2018.
Cindy Payne, Board Member
Cindy Payne is a seasoned professional with an impressive track record, having served as the Director of Sales and Administration at Concept Frames, a division of AADG, for over 31 years. In addition to her extensive career in manufacturing, Cindy has actively contributed to various boards in both the private and public sectors, showcasing her commitment to the growth and development of her field. Beyond work, Cindy’s a culinary enthusiast, an avid book lover who prefers the tactile joy of page-turning, and enjoys quality time with her wife and pups. Her wanderlust takes her on exciting journeys, adding vibrant experiences to her well-rounded life.
Wendy Tomer, Board Member
Board of Advisors
Barrett Hazeltine was Professor of Engineering at Brown University. He is now Professor Emeritus but continues to teach at Brown. In 1991-1992 he held the Robert Foster Cherry Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Baylor University. From 1972 to 1992 he was also Associate Dean of the College at Brown. His teaching and research interests are in engineering management, technology planning especially in developing countries, teaching of technology for Liberal Arts students, and digital computers.
Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic
Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic is the President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, a position he has held since January 2018. He is also a Professor of Surgery at Cleveland Clinic, specializing in cardiac surgery. Previously, he served as the CEO and Cardiac Surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi for eight years. Dr. Mihaljevic’s medical journey began in Croatia, and he furthered his education and surgical training in Switzerland and the United States. He is known for his expertise in minimally invasive cardiac surgeries, among other specialties, and has contributed to medical literature. His leadership has shaped healthcare excellence at both national and international levels.
Jim Sinclair has a distinguished 16-year career at Goldman Sachs, specializing in healthcare investment banking. He began as a healthcare services equity research analyst and ascended through roles, now serving as Managing Director in Healthcare Investment Banking since January 2016. With expertise in healthcare finance, strategic financial advisory services, and investment analysis, his tenure showcases extensive experience. He holds a BA in Economics from Duke University (magna cum laude, 2002), a JD from Northwestern Law School, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management (2007).
Jose Gordon currently leads Social Responsibility & Impact at Amazon Web Services (AWS), focusing on corporate social responsibility and community engagement strategies. Previously, he oversaw Planning & Operations for Global Affairs at Meta and served as Senior Director of Global Communications at eBay, where he led the eBay Foundation’s philanthropic efforts. With a background in nonprofit work and education, he founded the Golden State Warriors Community Foundation and actively mentors and advises various foundations and youth programs. A graduate of Stanford University, Jose Gordon is dedicated to promoting equity and mentorship in his professional endeavors.
Dr. Kevin Yee
In 2022, Dr. Yee assumed the role of Associate Executive Director at The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG), where he oversees Adult and Family Medicine. Prior to this, he held various leadership positions at Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center. These roles included serving as a technology lead, chief of patient education, and physician lead for new member onboarding. As the Assistant Physician-in-Chief (APIC), he managed COVID-19 operations, technology, outpatient laboratory, pharmacy operations, and more. Dr. Yee obtained his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and completed his internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He also brings a wealth of experience in consulting, strategic analysis, operational execution, and technology development from his previous roles.
Matt Huray is currently serving as Chief Strategy & Corporate Development Officer at InnovAge. He is a seasoned healthcare and finance executive with a track record of over two decades. In his role, he oversees strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and partnerships. Prior to InnovAge, he held the position of CFO for Humana’s Healthcare Services Segment and worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for 12 years, where he served as a Managing Director in Investment Banking, specializing in healthcare services. His career also includes consulting at Mercer Consulting and a financial analyst role at Enron Corp. Matt is a respected expert in corporate finance and strategic leadership.
Rob Friedman has more than 30 years career marked by expertise in marketing, loyalty, eCommerce, operations, and finance. He currently serves as Principal at RF Consulting, offering strategic guidance to businesses in various sectors. Previously, he held the position of Chief Commercial Officer at Greyhound Lines, overseeing numerous initiatives and playing a pivotal role in the company’s transition to new ownership. Rob’s extensive expertise spans marketing, loyalty, operations, finance, and customer service, making him a valuable asset in driving sales and profitability for organizations.
Ryan Kaiser has a strong background in sales leadership, general management, and go-to-market strategy, he currently serves as the VP of Sales, North America at Rippling, streamlining HR, IT, and finance management. As the former Chief Revenue Officer at House Canary, he excelled in crafting go-to-market strategies for data-driven real estate solutions. His career spans roles at LinkedIn Learning & Lynda.com, eBay, and Monitor Deloitte, showcasing his expertise in sales and business growth across diverse industries. Ryan has his MBA from Kellogg and B.A. in economics from UC Berkeley.
Tiffany Scaparotti, currently the Assistant Dean of Development at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, boasts over 15 years of diverse professional experience. Her impressive career features leadership roles at renowned institutions like the Cleveland Clinic, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. Proficient in fundraising and development, she has dedicated her career to advancing healthcare and education through strategic philanthropy. For over five years, she has been a pivotal figure at Northwestern University, contributing significantly to the future of medical education and research through her expertise and dedication.
Yousuf Mazhar is a highly accomplished healthcare investor with over 25 years of expertise in medtech, digital health, and AI. His extensive experience encompasses leadership and executive positions in venture capital, hands-on operational roles at startups, and a background in investment banking. As the Managing Partner and Founding Member of TEAMFund Ventures, Yousuf has structured and launched successful funds while leading investments in seven global commercial-stage companies. His diverse background positions him as a driving force in healthcare innovation, merging financial acumen with a deep understanding of emerging technologies and startups.
Tom James Lambdin, Co-Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tom James, after a wide and varied career connected to research, medicine and business, looks after the technical and business side of Ben’s Friends. With his background in many aspects of medicine, and his long list of friends and contacts, he is also the Ben’s Friends medical fact checker. Tom, a rare disease patient himself, lives in the western USA and if he ever had any spare time, he’d be fly fishing.
Clasina Field, Co-Executive Director (email@example.com)
Clasina is a retired Canadian teacher and school counselor who lives near Ottawa, ON. She puts her teaching and counseling skills to good use in managing the Member Experience side of Ben’s Friends. She guides community moderators, deals with members who are having difficulties on the sites, and takes responsibility for the overall experience of Ben’s Friends members. Having a rare disease herself, when she’s not working on Ben’s Friends, Clasina enjoys being home, but she also loves going away and indulging in international travel.
Jacalyn C. Rose, Development Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jacalyn joined Ben’s Friends as the Development Officer in June 2022. Before transitioning to nonprofit management and development she spent several years working in the media department at two international advertising agencies, account management at a local agency, and sold advertising space at a parenting magazine while raising her two daughters. Volunteer work and compassion for others has always been a passion so she initially began a new career managing the social media for Malaika, a nonprofit with a girls’ school in DR Congo. Jacalyn took an array of online and in-person fundraising and non-profit marketing classes, earning a certificate in Digital Marketing & Fundraising, and a Major Gifts Veritus Scholar Certificate while serving as the Individual Giving Manager at Barbershop Books, a national literacy organization. Outside of studying and taking webinars, she loves reading, fitness and travel.
Rose Andrade, Operations Manager (email@example.com)
Rose joined Ben’s Friends in 2009 to set up communities and manage site contents. As the communities grew, she was entrusted with the more challenging role of Operations Manager–leading a team of apps developers, researchers, writers, multimedia and graphics consultants located in various countries. In addition to her work at Ben’s Friends, Rose is a college professor.
Sascha Gallardo, Writer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sascha joined Ben’s Friends as a writer in 2019. She writes blog articles, social media posts, and campaign materials among others. Having graduated with the degree B. A. in Mass Communication, writing has been integral in Sascha’s previous work both in non-government organizations and teaching institutions. She enjoys reading, traveling, and exploring different cuisines.