Board of Directors
Ben Munoz, President & Co-Founder (email@example.com)
Ben created our first patient community, AVMSurvivors.org, so that he could find someone to connect with while recovering from an AVM-related stroke. Ben and his friend Scott Orn realized what an impact a compassionate community could make in patients’ lives and began creating more patient communities for people with other rare or chronic conditions. Ben was formerly a software developer at eToys and IVT. Ben is a graduate of Stanford University and Kellogg School of Management and was formerly a student of Baylor Medical School. He is also an e-commerce entrepreneur and lives in sunny Austin, TX.
Scott Orn, Co-Founder & Board Member (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Scott is a friend and Kellogg classmate of Ben’s and provided support to Ben while he recovered from his AVM rupture. Inspired by Ben’s efforts to build a community for AVM patients through AVMSurvivors.org, 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.
Scott is also the Chief Operating Officer of Kruze Consulting, a Startup CFO Consulting Firm. Before joining Kruze Consulting, Scott was a Partner at Lighthouse Capital Partners, a venture capital lending fund. Scott is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Kellogg School of Management.
Eric D. Kroll, Secretary (email@example.com)
Eric is thrilled to be part of the BF team helping people with rare diseases find support. He helped launch the fifth BensFriends.org community when he joined in 2009, back when BF had only about 1,000 members. Eric currently works as an entrepreneur and investor/consultant for high-growth companies, helping with growth strategy, connections, marketing, product/business development, customer loyalty/experience, and fundraising. He previously spent time at American Express, StubHub, and a variety of other companies. Eric is a graduate of Brown University and Stanford Business School. He resides in NYC and is passionate about making a difference, sports, games, and travel.
John Stamler, Treasurer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 enjoys regularly speaking at conferences across Europe and the U.S. to raise awareness for Ben’s Friends, to collaborate with others in the rare disease world and to seek out potential partners. In 2015, he hopes to find more unrestricted grants to support BF. John lives and works in London.
Patrick Sullivan, Board Member
Patrick Sullivan is a co-founder at 2600hz (a Unified Communications Platform) with a degree in Computer Science from UCSB. Outside of working on changing the way people communicate, he enjoys throwing large events to help raise funds and awareness for foundations like Ben’s Friends.
Deb Hickinbotham, Board Member
Deb Hickinbotham is a seasoned management practitioner with 20 years’ experience working in the fast paced, technologically dynamic telecommunications industry.She is passionate about helping organizations and their staff achieve growth effectively through structural and process alignment in dynamic operating environments. Not for Profit organizations, social capital and how business can enhance community. Her academic achievements include the Dow Corning prize from the University of Western Sydney with Degrees in Commerce, Supply Chain Management, Management Honours by research, and post graduate studies at the University of New South Wales in their Master of Business Technology (MBT) program.
Board of Advisors
Barrett Hazeltine was a Professor of Engineering at Brown University. He is now Professor Emeritus but continues to teach at Brown.
Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic
Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic is the Chief of Staff and Chief of Heart & Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Prior to joining the leadership team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Dr. Mihaljevic served as Staff Surgeon at Cleveland Clinic from 2004 to 2011.
Jim Sinclair is a member of the Healthcare group in the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs since 2007, focusing on healthcare services and technology companies. He was named Vice President in 2010. From 2002 to 2004, Jim was a healthcare services equity research analyst at Goldman Sachs covering hospitals, distributors, pharmacy benefit managers, and healthcare IT companies. Jim graduated magna cum laude from Duke University in 2002 with a BA in Economics. He received his JD from Northwestern Law School and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management in 2007.
Jose Gordon serves as Executive Director of the Warriors Community Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Golden State Warriors. In this role he is responsible for fundraising and charitable investments, including grants, basketball court refurbishments, and ticket donations. Previously, Jose served as Senior Director of Development Communications for the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health in Palo Alto. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and American Studies from Stanford University.
Kevin Yee, MD, FACP is an internal medicine physician who cares for patients in the outpatient, inpatient, and critical care settings. His background in technology, business strategy, healthcare operations, change management, and knowledge management, enables him to serve and advise patients, providers, healthcare enterprises, investment-entities, and start-ups.
Matt Huray a Director in the Global Healthcare Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He is responsible for executing corporate finance and strategic advisory assignments within the Healthcare Services vertical. Matt’s investment banking experience includes extensive work with both private as well as publicly-listed firms on mergers & acquisitions, equity offerings, and debt financing. He holds a BA from the Vanderbilt University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. Additionally, Matt holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Rob Friedman is the Vice President of Brand Management and Marketing at Amtrak, where he is responsible for brand, marketing, sales and customer loyalty. Previously, Rob held various senior positions at American Airlines, including the VP of Global Marketing, leading American’s brand and customer experience transformation, as well as the President of AAdvantage, where he led the company’s worldwide loyalty program.
Ryan Kaiser works at LinkedIn within Sales Development as both the Global Head of Sales Operations and Head of Americas, Sales Development. Prior to joining LinkedIn, Ryan was the GM/Director of cross-border ecommerce at eBay. Previously, he spent several years working in management consulting and the eBay/Marketplaces corporate strategy group. Ryan has his MBA from Kellogg and B.A. in economics from UC Berkeley. Ryan has known Scott Orn since attending UC Berkeley as undergrad & Ben Munoz since their MBA program at Kellogg. He lives with his wife & 2 children in San Francisco.
Tiffany Scaparotti is currently the Senior Director of Development at the Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education.
Yousuf Mazhar is former H&Q Co-worker with prior work experiences also at UBS, Kaiser Ventures, and De Novo Ventures. Yousuf currently serves as the Vice President of Business Development and Health Policy at Spiracur Inc., a privately held medical device company focused on the development of innovative wound healing technologies. Spiracur was founded out of in Stanford’s BioDesign program in 2007 and has developed The SNaP® Wound Care System, an ultraportable and disposable negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) device for the treatment of chronic and acute wounds.
Tom James Lambdin, Co-Executive Director (email@example.com)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 (email@example.com)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 (email@example.com)
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.