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Colorectal Cancer Alliance Board of Directors

Board of Directors

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance Board of Directors is comprised of mission driven, dedicated individuals with backgrounds in areas such as business, education, non-profit management, healthcare, cancer research, law and finance. Each member is passionate about our mission. Many have a personal understanding of this disease and its impact, which deepens their commitment to helping others affected and to one day finding a cure.

John Backus

Chair

Based in the national capital region, John is a seasoned technology investor and entrepreneur with over two decades of experience investing in and managing...

John Backus

Chair

Based in the national capital region, John is a seasoned technology investor and entrepreneur with over two decades of experience investing in and managing rapidly growing companies. Before becoming a venture capitalist, he co-founded US Order, which revolutionized online banking, went public in 1995 and was sold to Visa.

John served on the Board of Directors of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), and currently serves on the boards of the Center for Public Policy Innovation (CPPI), TwoSixLabs, Atlas Obscura, PokitDok and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. He is Chairman Emeritus of both the Wolftrap Foundation Board of Directors and the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) Board of Directors, has served as a technology policy adviser to Virginia governors Gilmore, Warner and McDonnell and has contributed his views to The Washington Post, Fortune, VentureBeat and the Huffington Post. John began his career at Bain & Co. and Bain Capital, where he was the first management consultant to take a full time operating role in a portfolio company. John holds a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Carmen Marc Valvo

Vice Chair

American fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo has used his designs as a platform to raise awareness about colon cancer all over the US...

Carmen Marc Valvo

Vice Chair

American fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo has used his designs as a platform to raise awareness about colon cancer all over the US. Carmen is an Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) Ambassador and has appeared in a PSA with Vanessa Williams for the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA). As a colon cancer survivor, Carmen Marc Valvo has been working with Katie Couric since 2004 when she partnered with the organizers of New York Fashion Week. His efforts, on behalf of the organization, were honored at a gala in 2006 where Carmen received the first-ever Advocate Award from the foundation. Since then, Carmen has been honored by numerous organizations including Gilda’s Club World Wide, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the American Cancer Society, and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. He has appeared on the covers of AARP and Coping with Cancer magazines, NBC Today Show, CBS Early Show, USA Today and countless other national and local media outlets to make colon cancer fashionable to talk about. His book (no longer in print) “Dressed to Perfection, The Art of Dressing for your Red Carpet Moments” (Rizzoli 2011) benefitted colon cancer research.

Avi Benaim

Board Member

Avi Benaim is the founder and President of A.B.E. Networks. Avi started the company almost 30 years ago in Silver Spring...

Avi Benaim

Board Member

Avi Benaim is the founder and President of A.B.E. Networks. Avi started the company almost 30 years ago in Silver Spring installing car Audio/Video entertainment systems.  As car manufacturers began to offer their own entertainment systems out of the factory and his customer base aged into home ownership, Avi pivoted A.B.E. Networks into residential and commercial technology integration. Avi’s dedication to excellent client interaction and customer service permeates all facets of his company and separates them from the usual home improvement contractor.  Over the years, many of Avi’s clients have become beloved friends.  A.B.E. Networks recently moved to a state-of-the-art facility in Rockville, Maryland and has over 35 employees in 4 departments.

Avi is a Montgomery County native and a graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase high school and American University. Avi first experienced a loved one succumbing to Colon Cancer after his father passed away when Avi was 10 years old. 

In his early 20s, he met the love of his life, Michelle Benaim, née Goldstein, at a philanthropy event that she had organized. Avi and Michelle married in 1998 and have 3 children: Alex, Sam, and Sophia.  In the early fall of 2015, Michelle was diagnosed with Colon Cancer. They both became immediately involved with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance; spreading awareness and raising money. Michelle fought incredibly hard even until her last days in October 2017. Avi aims to continue to display the Koach (Hebrew for strength) that Michelle was so well known for.

Julie Clowes

Board Member

Julie Clowes became involved in colon cancer advocacy efforts after losing her Mother to the disease in 1998. That experience inspired her to “do something” in order to call attention...

Julie Clowes

Board Member

Julie Clowes became involved in colon cancer advocacy efforts after losing her Mother to the disease in 1998. That experience inspired her to “do something” in order to call attention to the disease. Opportunity came when she moved to Washington, D.C. and helped to create the Scope It Out 5K Run/Walk for colon cancer awareness. Her day job is with the Small Business Administration where she helps people start and grow businesses. Through the years she has served as a public affairs specialist, agency attorney and executive leader. Prior to joining SBA she spent three years with the Michigan Small Business Development Center as an International Trade Specialist where she co-authored “Trade Secrets: The Export Answer Book.” Julie is a graduate of the Excellence in Government Fellowship program and has a BA in International Studies from Bradley University and an MBA and JD from Wayne State University.

Riccardo de Marchi Trevisan

Board Member

Riccardo de Marchi Trevisan is an Account Manager at Esri, a firm that specializes in mapping and spatial analysis. Previously, he worked for Forum One and Development Gateway...

Riccardo de Marchi Trevisan

Board Member

Riccardo de Marchi Trevisan is an Account Manager at Esri, a firm that specializes in mapping and spatial analysis. Previously, he worked for Forum One and Development Gateway where he helped international governments, non-profits and research institutions identify solutions that could solve important issues related to the international development field. Together with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, he produced and hosted the inaugural Blue Star Concert in memory of his mother, Daniela Trevisan. Riccardo is a seasoned technologist with experience in community engagement, digital communication and international relations. He is a native of Trieste, Italy and has an executive master’s degree in international services from American University and a J.D. from LUISS University in Rome.

Lee Dranikoff, JD

Board Member

Lee Dranikoff joined American Securities in 2003. He manages the overall deployment of the functional experts within the Resources Group and directly leads the in-house...

Lee Dranikoff, JD

Board Member

Lee Dranikoff joined American Securities in 2003. He manages the overall deployment of the functional experts within the Resources Group and directly leads the in-house Strategy Team in the U.S. In this capacity, Lee directs the Resources Group support of due diligence on prospective investments, as well as the extensive Shared Vision process that is used at all portfolio companies. Prior to joining American Securities, Lee spent seven years as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Prior to McKinsey, Lee worked as an attorney at Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Lee received a BA and an MA in Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a JD from Harvard
Law School.

Tess Fraser

Board Member

Tess Fraser is a Buffalo, NY native who works as a communications and development consultant with a number of local not-for-profit organizations. Having worked...

Tess Fraser

Board Member

Tess Fraser is a Buffalo, NY native who works as a communications and development consultant with a number of local not-for-profit organizations. Having worked in the non-profit sector for the past 15 years, she has extensive experience in fundraising, marketing and development. Ms. Fraser became passionate about raising colon cancer awareness after her mother was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in 2011. She became involved with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance while caring for her mother and educating her family and friends about the importance of colon cancer screening. Ms. Fraser was instrumental in bringing the Undy Run/Walk to Buffalo in 2012, where it has been fully embraced by the local community and continues to grow each year. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in library and information science—both from the University at Buffalo.

Patrick G. Jackson, M.D., FACS

Board Member

Dr. Jackson is an Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of General Surgery at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital where he is also the Chair of the Cancer Committee...

Patrick G. Jackson, M.D., FACS

Board Member

Dr. Jackson is an Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of General Surgery at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital where he is also the Chair of the Cancer Committee. Having graduated from Harvard University and then Columbia University Medical School, he completed his surgical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital before moving to Washington, D.C.. He has been published extensively and has numerous book chapters and invited lectureships. He was the state chair for the Commission on Cancer for Washington D.C., and has been the President of the Metropolitan D.C. Chapter of the American College. He has dedicated himself to the care of colon cancer patients on both the individual and systemic levels.

Paul R. Leleck, CPA

Board Member

Mr. Paul Leleck is the Chief Financial Officer of Building Hope – Charter School Facilities Fund located in Washington D.C. He has more than 40 years of accounting, finance, business...

Paul R. Leleck, CPA

Board Member

Mr. Paul Leleck is the Chief Financial Officer of Building Hope – Charter School Facilities Fund located in Washington D.C. He has more than 40 years of accounting, finance, business and management experience. He is a CPA, former partner with KMPG and serves on various Boards in Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn, N.Y.

Paul was a caregiver to his wife of 40 years in her more than six-year fight against colon cancer. He has a personal understanding of the disease and is a dedicated Board member of both the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and Hope Connections, a nonprofit dedicated to support victims and their loved ones with the emotional and physical impact of cancer. In 2013, he joined The Friends of the Ruesch at the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center to help sustain the long-term financial viability through fundraising, special events, advocacy and awareness.

Kevin Lewis

Co-Founder and Board Member

A carrier of the HNPCC (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer) gene, Mr. Lewis has had several family members who have died or suffered from colon cancer. He follows an...

Kevin Lewis

Co-Founder and Board Member

A carrier of the HNPCC (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer) gene, Mr. Lewis has had several family members who have died or suffered from colon cancer. He follows an extensive prevention regime designed to reduce his probability of developing a malignant tumor. He supports the National Cancer Institute by serving as a Patient Advocate on several programs. Mr. Lewis is a Principal and Partner at PwC, providing strategic operations expertise to technology-based clients. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania. His extensive corporate experience includes Raytheon, Teradyne, AMD, Boston Scientific Corporation, Schering Plough, IBM, and Alcatel Lucent, as well as Infolibria, an Internet startup company.

Melissa Lynch

Board Member

Melissa Lynch is a businesswoman and currently a Market Leader with Apple Inc that is passionate about leading through positive energy, compassion...

Melissa Lynch

Board Member

Melissa Lynch is a businesswoman and currently a Market Leader with Apple Inc that is passionate about leading through positive energy, compassion, and making an significant impact in our communities. Melissa leads a team of over 600 employees but also collaborates with teams globally. Before joining Apple Inc in 2010, Melissa had a career over 2o years in leadership which has included being a multi-unit Leader with The Walt Disney Company and The Gymboree Brand, spanning territories from the East and West Coasts of the United States. Melissa has held positions of Retail Leadership, Recruiter, and Regional Trainer with The Walt Disney Company in Virginia and Florida. Melissa is known for consistently driving top results but also developing top talent in the companies she has worked for. Through strategic planning, innovation, and the belief of personal responsibility, Melissa has shown success in creating change, growth, and dynamic loyalty among the teams and work she has led. Melissa grew up in Virginia Beach, VA and attended college and studied Fashion Merchandising and Design in Richmond, VA at the Virginia Commonwealth University. Melissa’s immediate family is in Virginia Beach area so she needs to balance her time between Washington, DC and Virginia Beach. Melissa became connected and involved in Colorectal Cancer Alliance in 2013 when her brother in law, Andrew Brown was diagnosed and then passed away 11 months later from Stage IV Colon Cancer at the age of 38. Melissa is committed to making a difference in raising awareness, and supporting all efforts to fund critical research to end this disease. Melissa joined the Board of Directors for Colorectal Cancer Alliance in 2017.

Michael J. O’Neil

Board Member

Michael O’Neil’s practice focuses on international trade, security, information technology, privacy and federal policy. He advises foreign and domestic clients on both regulatory...

Michael J. O’Neil

Board Member

Michael O’Neil’s practice focuses on international trade, security, information technology, privacy and federal policy. He advises foreign and domestic clients on both regulatory and legislative solutions. His recent work has involved counseling U.S. and foreign parties on investment in the U.S., and assisting a range of U.S. clients on critical infrastructure protection, privacy, trade compliance, and Congressional investigations. Michael also serves as the North American Director of the Trilateral Commission. He heads up the Trilateral office, meets regularly with Trilateral members in North America, Europe and Pacific Asia, and helps coordinate Trilateral studies. Michael has had a distinguished public service career in defense and intelligence matters and has served in positions in the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense and the U.S. House of Representatives. Immediately prior to joining the firm, Michael served as the general counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency. In this position he was responsible for the conduct of all legal affairs of the Agency. He also served as the chief of staff of the Agency where he coordinated the legislative and public affairs strategy and acted as the Agency’s liaison to the National Security Council and Intelligence Community agencies.

In 1995, Michael served as the counselor to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense. In this position he advised the secretary and deputy secretary on policy, organizational and legislative matters. From 1989 to 1994, he served as the counsel to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Thomas S. Foley (D-WA). In addition to advising the speaker on all legal and national security issues, he acted as liaison to foreign embassies and U.S. national security agencies. Before his work for the speaker, Michael served as the chief counsel to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 1977 to 1989. Michael is the recipient of the Distinguished intelligence Medal, the highest honor awarded by the Central Intelligence Agency, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was also included in the 2015 “Top 10 List” of U.S. Commercial Litigation lawyers by United States Lawyers Rankings.

Frank L. Sapienza

Board Member

Frank Sapienza was a founding director of the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation. He served as Chairman of the Board during 2014 and 2015 and was a member of the...

Frank L. Sapienza

Board Member

Frank Sapienza was a founding director of the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation. He served as Chairman of the Board during 2014 and 2015 and was a member of the Medical Advisory Board for Chris4Life. After a 30-year career with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), he has been a founding partner in The Drug and Chemical Advisory Group, LLC, a consulting group specializing in drug development guidance for the pharmaceutical industry for products containing abuseable substances. During his career at the DEA Mr. Sapienza was the senior scientific advisor on technical and policy matters. He has served on expert panels with the U.S. Government, the World Health Organization, the International Narcotics Control Board and the United Nations Office of Drug Control Policy as well as on scientific and medical advisory boards for the pharmaceutical industry. He has lectured internationally and written and co-authored articles on drug regulation and abuse liability, prepared portions of national legislation and international treaties and provided expert testimony in criminal, administrative and legislative proceedings. Mr. Sapienza has a graduate degree in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh. His wife of 37 years, Christine Antonelli Sapienza passed away in 2009 after a three year bout with colon cancer.

Clay Scheetz

Board Member

Clay Scheetz serves as CIO of the Sterling Group and is a key member of the Executive team and investment committee. Clay is responsible for overseeing capital...

Clay Scheetz

Board Member

Clay Scheetz serves as CIO of the Sterling Group and is a key member of the Executive team and investment committee. Clay is responsible for overseeing capital raising and acquisitions. Clay began his commercial real estate investment career in 1995. As a debt and private equity principal and advisor investing across all property types and Capital structures, he has underwritten in excess of $25 billion of commercial real estate assets located throughout the United States. Prior to joining Sterling in 2015, Clay spent nearly ten years overseeing Grandbridge Real Estate Capital’s Indianapolis regional office, Prior to joining Grandbridge, while based in New York City, Clay held a variety of executive positions with Nomura Asset Capital, Olympus Real Estate Partners, and Starwood Capital Group. He has earned his CPA (inactive) and real estate broker licenses. Clay graduated with honors with a BBA degree in accounting from the University of Notre Dame, and he received an MBA degree with a concentration in finance from Columbia University. Clay is actively involved in numerous civic and trade organizations and is a strong supporter of Riley Hospital for Children and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children as well as water skiing and running.

David Schoeman, MBA

Board Member

David Schoeman is a Senior Partner in the New York Office of McKinsey & Company. David servers Private Equity firms and their portfolio companies...

David Schoeman, MBA

Board Member

David Schoeman is a Senior Partner in the New York Office of McKinsey & Company. David servers Private Equity firms and their portfolio companies, Banks and Insurance carriers. While focuses primarily in the US, he has supported clients in the North and South America, Europe and Asia. Over his 20 years at McKinsey, David has supported clients on a range of strategic and operational topics. Including new business building, go-to-market strategies, integrations, organization redesign, investment due diligences, and performance turnarounds. He has also helped investment funds and non-profits on fund raising and investor management. In addition to his client work, David leads McKinsey’s Consumer Finance Practice in the Americas. David is also on the Board of McKinsey Solutions, the Firms benchmarking, software, and analytics capabilities. Prior to joining McKinsey, David was a systems developer at Morgan Stanley supporting the Prime Brokerage, Clearing, and Custody businesses David received an MBA from Columbia Business School and BA in Economics and History from Northwestern University. He is a published writer on bank economics and school finance reform. David currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

Jerry L. Tolk

Board Member

Jerry Tolk is a partner and the general manager of the FleishmanHillard Atlanta office. He brings extensive expertise in healthcare communications strategy...

Jerry L. Tolk

Board Member

Jerry Tolk is a partner and the general manager of the FleishmanHillard Atlanta office. He brings extensive expertise in healthcare communications strategy and delivery. In addition to his healthcare and science background, Jerry advises clients as they transform business strategies during mergers, acquisitions, divestures and joint ventures. During his extensive career in health, first in the US Army, and later in a series of increasingly senior positions at the world’s leading PR and marketing agencies, Mr. Tolk has focused on creating novel health solutions through partnerships between organizations with mutual social and business interests. Mr. Tolk received his medical training at the US Army Medical College and studied graduate-level public relations strategy at New York University. When not traveling to speak at the request of industry and non-profit organizations on topics of audience engagement, new communications platforms and strategic philanthropy, Mr. Tolk competes in triathlons and a variety of sporting events to raise awareness and funding for disease research and patient programs.

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