CONTACT US: 301-565-3004

President & CEO

Brad A. Wong

President & CEO x741

Brad joined PHA in June of 2016 as the organization’s second President and CEO in its 25-year history. Prior to assuming this leadership role, he served as Executive Director of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. His accomplishments included creating innovative programs, raising the foundation’s visibility, establishing strategic partnerships and increasing and diversifying funding. Brad also brings broad knowledge of academic medicine and biomedical research environments, having served as Assistant Vice President of the University of California, San Francisco Foundation. In addition to leading a dedicated and talented staff, Brad works closely with public stakeholders and the PH community and leadership—including the PHA Board of Trustees, Scientific Leadership Council and Corporate Committee—to further PHA’s mission.

Executive Team

Azalea Candelaria

Vice President, Development x767

Azalea got her start in fundraising in 1998 at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and went on to hold national and regional leadership positions at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, March of Dimes and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. She has a strong track record in fundraising strategy and execution, and extensive experience in partnering with volunteers. Azalea leads PHA’s development efforts including individual giving, events, corporate and foundation grants and planned giving programs.

Chris Forberg

Vice President, Finance x751

Chris is responsible for the oversight of the Finance and Database teams. Working closely with the President, he produces monthly financials, forecasting, and cash management reports. Chris also leads the annual budget and audit processes. As part of the management team, he is charged with organizing and developing office, staff, and system policies and procedures.

Lauren M. Lefkowitz

Vice President, Human Resources & Training x802

Lauren Lefkowitz leads the human resources department and manages recruiting, employee relations, training, benefits and compensation. She also oversees the information technology and office management functions for PHA. Lauren’s prior experience includes human resources management in the financial services and retail industries, as well as pro-bono work and board service with a variety of non-profit organizations.

Karen Smaalders

Vice President, Communications & Marketing x750

Karen leads the Communications and Marketing department, which manages the PHA brand, web, print, social media and e-communications, as well as PHA’s marketing and advertising efforts. Karen started her career as a journalist, working for newspapers and magazines. Since then, she has directed communications and marketing for a variety of nonprofit organizations and higher education, including the International Association for the Study of Pain, the American Diabetes Association, the University of Washington and Seattle University. She holds a B.A. in mass communication from the University of California, Davis, and a Master in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University.

Advocacy & Treatment Access

Katherine Kroner

Senior Director, Advocacy & Treatment Access x749

As PHA’s Senior Director of Advocacy and Treatment Access, Katie advocates on behalf of the PH community with federal policy makers, coordinates PHA’s grassroots advocacy network, and works to ensure that individuals living with PH have access to the specific PH therapies prescribed by their physician. She is the first point of contact for PH community members with insurance challenges and for anyone interested in fighting back through advocacy.

Communications & Marketing

Alanna Coogan

Design & Publications Coordinator x774

Alanna creates a variety of print and web materials for PHA, including brochures, posters, social media graphics, postcards, and PHA’s quarterly magazine, Pathlight. She loves the broad reach of visual marketing and hopes that her designs, whether in doctors’ offices, patients’ homes, community centers or online, effectively raise awareness of PH and inspire people to join the PH community.

Kathryn Frix

Web Services Manager x742

Kathy works to maintain PHA’s website and other e-channels and assists staff and the community at-large with online technical issues.

Noel LloydNoel Lloyd

Associate Director, Digital Communications and Marketing x762

Noel serves on the communications and marketing team as a brand manager, with a focus on digital strategies, including the website, videos and social media. He works with the team to create and execute PHA’s content strategies on its web and social media platforms.


Michele FernandezMichele Fernandez

Fundraising Events Manager X810

Michele is responsible for PHA’s fundraising events program which consists of PHA’s O₂breathe walks and community events that occur nationwide to fund PHA’s mission. Michele interacts with individuals with PH, caregivers and health care professionals to execute successful philanthropic events with a focus on event growth. She encourages everyone to attend a PHA event near them to experience the sense of belonging, understanding and collective dedication to advance PHA’s mission that is at the forefront of every event.

Mira Kruger

Development Coordinator X756

As a member of the Development team, Mira leads PHA’s general membership, workplace giving and monthly donor programs. She also manages a number of nationally branded O2breathe events that support PHA’s educational, support and research programs. Mira’s grandmother was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2004, and Mira volunteered with PHA from 2008-2012. She feels lucky to have the opportunity to work for an organization that has made such an impact on her life, as well as her family members’ lives.

Gabrielle ShifflettGabrielle Shifflett

Fundraising Events Coordinator X765

As part of the PHA development team, Gabi works with community organizers, volunteers and fellow PHA staff to support O2Breathe and community fundraising events throughout the country.  She previously worked on the development team at Johns Hopkins.  Gabi’s responsibilities include planning events, assisting community organizers, managing event budgets and acting as the on-site lead at fundraising events.


Karen Jackson

Associate Director, Finance x747

Karen is responsible for managing PHA payroll and accounts payable functions and supports the VP of Finance with general accounting, budgeting, and financial reporting processes. Prior to joining PHA, Karen worked for over 20 years for the Montgomery County Government Department of Finance as well as Public Accounting and Professional Services firms. Karen is a CPA, licensed in the State of Maryland.

Randall McLeod

Associate Director, Database & Finance x748

Randall oversees PHA’s donor database, The Raiser’s Edge. Randall serves PHA by ensuring all data is entered in a timely and accurate manner, and maintaining accurate records for all constituents. Randall assists the staff with any issues related to the database, and trains staff on how to use the database to serve their needs most effectively.

Leonard SchneiderLeonard Schneider

Finance & Data Entry Associate

Leonard works with the PHA’s finance team to maintain its donor database. He ensures that constituent information, relationships and merchandise orders are up to date. Leonard also assists with monthly financial reporting and reconciliation.

Meeting & Conference Planning

Pat Reilly

Meeting Planner x811

In his role as a Meeting Planner, Pat manages full logistics for PHA On the Roads, Corporate Committee, Board, Scientific Leadership Council, and the PHCC/PHPN committee meetings. He also manages exhibits for the Biannual Conference as well as the Conference/Symposium mobile apps. Pat also partners with the Senior Manager, Meeting & Conference Planning on a variety of other logistics.

Chanel Ricks

Senior Manager, Meeting and Conference Planning x779

Chanel is the Senior Manager of Meeting and Conference Planning department, with primary responsibilities including site selection and contract negotiation for all meetings and conferences, and managing 2 meeting planning associates. The Meeting and Conference Planning team manages all logistics for PHA’s major education events, Committee and Board of Trustee meetings. Chanel has over 12 years of experience planning meetings and conferences throughout the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada, ranging from 50 to 1500 attendees.

Office of the President

Elizabeth Summerville

Assistant to the President & CEO x801

Elizabeth “Liz” Summerville has an extensive background as a nonprofit executive right-hand professional and a strategic fundraiser and events planner.  She joined PHA from Make-A-Wish of the Mid-Atlantic region, where she supported the CEO and worked closely with board members and funders.  A dynamic, versatile, highly organized professional, Liz has strong interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to prioritize and handle multiple projects while remaining detail oriented, enthusiastic and determined. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Delaware – Lerner College of Business and Economics.

Operations & Administration

Jessica Ritter

Director, Operations x766

Jessica works closely with staff as a project manager for organization-wide projects. She acts as the liaison with our corporate partners and works closely with PHA’s Corporate Committee. Jessica is also responsible for administrative management, including facilities and technology.

Patient & Caregiver Programs

Michael Knaapen

Director, Patient & Caregiver Programs x758

Michael oversees PHA’s patient and caregiver programs. These programs ensure PHA’s patient and caregiver constituents are empowered to manage their health, develop resilience, connect to others and contribute to the PHA community in ways their health and interest allow. The department works with more than 400 community volunteers to provide peer support in person, online and by phone, as well as other resources to improve and extend the lives of people affected by PH. His team also supports PHA events like Conference and PHA on the Road, PHA’s international programs, Lantos Awards and more.

Abby Sickles

Patient & Caregiver Programs Program Manager x777

Abby connects patients and caregivers to PHA’s educational and support resources. She manages PHA’s support resources, including in-person support groups, telephone support groups, email mentors, support line and Facebook groups. Abby works to grow these programs to provide support to community members across the country. Abby also assists in planning programming for PHA’s Biannual Conference.

Quality Care & Research

Rebecca Aune

Associate Director, Medical Services x780

Rebecca helps direct activities and productivity of the Medical Services department, ensures ongoing programming and program evaluation, and provides training and supervision to associate staff members. Additionally, she works closely with PHA’s medical committees, administers grant funds and manages PHA’s Research Program. Rebecca’s prior experience includes directing, rebuilding and revamping programs and service delivery models for sustainability and scalability to serve both urban and rural markets, as well as evaluating programs and reporting results.

Zan Laughlin

Professional Education Program Manager x776

As Professional Education Program Manager, Zan manages PHA’s live and online continuing education programs for health care professionals, including PHA’s largest biannual signature events, PHA’s PH Professional Network Symposium and PHA’s International PH Conference & Scientific Sessions. As well, Zan manages all content for PHA Online University, PHA’s online CME/CE platform. Zan works to ensure that PHA creates and delivers high-impact educational opportunities to PH-treating health care professionals to increase the knowledge and competence in treating pulmonary hypertension.

Olivia Onyeador

Director, Pulmonary Hypertension Care Centers (PHCC) Accreditation Program x778

Olivia is responsible for guiding and managing the implementation for the Pulmonary Hypertension Care Centers’ (PHCC) process of accreditation. She maintains the modes of communication for each PHCC committee and PHCC taskforce as well as facilitates further discussion between these members. Olivia also provides support to the content management, resource development and organization of the PHCC website.