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Leadership & Staff

Staff Leadership

David F. Arons, JD
President & Chief Executive Officer

David Arons is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS). In his current role, David provides leadership and management for NBTS and its venture philanthropy affiliate, the Brain Tumor Investment Fund. Fighting cancer is personal to David as he lost his father to cancer as a teenager. Prior to joining NBTS, he served in leadership and external positions at the American Cancer Society in Minnesota, co-founded the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest, and worked at Independent Sector in Washington, D.C. As a litigation attorney, he previously represented patients facing disabilities and serious health conditions. He is the author of several books, including “Power in Policy: A Funder’s Guide to Advocacy and Civic Participation,” “Strengthening Nonprofit Advocacy,” and “A Voice for Nonprofits.” David has served on the National Cancer Institute’s Council of Research Advocates and Clinical Trials Advisory Committee. In 2016, David was named to the Blue Ribbon Panel of experts selected to help advise the National Cancer Moonshot, led by former Vice President, now President Biden.

Ashley Brennan
Vice President of Development

Ashley Brennan is Vice President of Development for the National Brain Tumor Society. Ashley joined NBTS in 2014 as a front-line fundraiser overseeing development efforts in the Greater Philadelphia market. Since that time, Ashley has evolved as a respected member of the NBTS development team. Under Ashley’s leadership over the past decade, NBTS’s peer to peer fundraising program has experienced sustainable financial growth, expanded into two additional key markets, expanded revenue streams in existing markets, prioritized key volunteer and donor engagement, and implemented strategic initiatives and fundraising innovation across all revenue streams. Prior to joining NBTS Ashley served as a director for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society overseeing both internal and third-party special events, signature fundraising campaigns and the stewardship and management of key individual and corporate donors and board member relations.

Katie Germain
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Katie Germain is the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at the National Brain Tumor Society. Prior to leading marketing and communications efforts for NBTS, Katie oversaw the digital marketing strategy and systems for Rutgers University Foundation for ten years, serving as lead strategist on major fundraising and engagement campaigns, including Rutgers Giving Day, Giving Tuesday, and the Hall of Distinguished Alumni Awards Gala. She previously held communications roles at Peddie School, Saint Peter’s University, and the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

Kevin Jeans
Vice President of Development

Kevin Jeans is Vice President of Development with experience in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining NBTS he served at Joslin Diabetes Center as a member of the Philanthropy Leadership Team and as Director of their corporate partnerships, signature and community events, and affinity group initiatives. Prior to that he spent over a decade as a senior development professional at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Northeastern University. During this time he played a critical role in two multi-billion dollar capital campaigns. Leveraging his two decades of experience, first in business development and later in non-profit management, Kevin has overseen large scale, strategic donor relationships with individuals, corporations and foundations.  

Rachael A. Kittleson, MS Ed
Senior Director, Community

Rachael Kittleson is the Senior Director of Community at the National Brain Tumor Society. Rachael brings more than two decades of experience in education and administration, strategic and long-range institutional planning and evaluation, program development, nonprofit leadership, and community volunteer leadership and engagement. Rachael has been a passionate champion and advocate for patients with brain tumors and their care partners, as well as pediatric cancer initiatives, since 2015. Her dedication to serving the brain tumor community is driven by the loss of her daughter Kelsey to glioblastoma in 2017.

Danielle Leach, MPA
Chief of Government Relations & Advocacy

Danielle Leach is the Chief of Community & Government Relations at the National Brain Tumor Society. She brings a track record of success in patient advocacy and education, fundraising, advancing legislative and regulatory policies, stakeholder engagement, and advocating for cancer research. She is a dedicated volunteer and grassroots advocate for cancer and children’s issues, driven by the death of her son Mason at age 5 from a pediatric brain tumor as well as being a sibling of a childhood cancer survivor. Danielle has led several public policy initiatives related to childhood cancer research and funding. She serves as the Co-Chair of National Cancer Institute’s Patient Advocate Steering Committee and as a member of the Pediatric and Adolescent Solid Tumor Steering Committee, and she previously served on NCI’s National Council of Research Advocates and on Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, as a patient advocate on the Pediatric Cancer Working Group. Danielle was recognized in 2018 with the ASCO Partners in Progress award and the Rare Disease Legislative Advocates “RareVoice” Award.

Marisa Petrillo
Chief People Officer

Marisa Petrillo is the Chief People Officer at the National Brain Tumor Society. Marisa brings more than two decades of experience to her role as a strategic business partner providing guidance on HR policies and procedures, performance management, payroll and benefits administration, employee onboarding and integration, recognition and employee relations, talent acquisition, cybersecurity, IT & systems management. Marisa is committed to working with leadership and staff to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. She has extensive experience in the nonprofit, financial, and creative services sector. Marisa is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Human Capital Institute.

Kirk Tanner, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Senior Vice President, Brain Tumor Investment Fund

Kirk Tanner is the Chief Scientific Officer at the National Brain Tumor Society. Kirk is an oncology research leader with two decades of experience in discovery and development projects and programs resulting in multiple clinical candidate therapies and investigational new drugs. Formerly, he was the Research Oncology Disease Area Expert and Senior Director at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. As CSO, Kirk leads the National Brain Tumor Society’s research program that aims to catalyze treatment development through philanthropic investment in medical research, engaging scientists, clinicians, patients, and care partners in research programs. Kirk serves as the Chair of the Glioblastoma Drug Development Summit, the only devoted meeting for large pharma, biotech, and pioneering academics working to unite all stakeholders under a mutual and ambitious objective of accelerating the practical discovery, translation, and clinical development of safe, effective and deliverable therapies to treat glioblastoma. Kirk received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, San Diego, and did post-doctoral training at Oregon Health Sciences University.

Dorothy Whalen, CPA, CGMA, MBA
Chief Financial Officer

In her role as Chief Financial Officer, Dorothy oversees quality control of critical accounting processes including: accounting, purchasing, audits, financial reporting, treasury, investments, insurance, tax and regulatory compliance while ensuring timely, accurate and compliant reporting that support our growth and mission delivery plan.

Prior to joining NBTS, Dorothy served in finance and accounting leadership roles at the Brigham and Women’s Department of Surgery, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and Cambridge College. She holds CPA and CGMA credentials, and earned her MBA at Northeastern University.

Board of Directors


Edjah Nduom, MD

Edjah Nduom is the Chair of National Brain Tumor Society Board of Directors. Edjah holds the Daniel Louis Barrow Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery and is an associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine. A fellowship-trained and board certified neurosurgical oncologist, Dr. Nduom’s clinical specialty is the surgical management of brain and spinal cord tumors. He holds numerous positions in national and international medical societies. Dr. Nduom received his MD from University of Pennsylvania and his residency in Neurosurgery at Emory University. He completed a Research Fellowship in Neurosurgical Oncology in the Surgical Neurology Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and an additional Neurosurgical Oncology Fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Erica Birke
Vice Chair

Erica Birke is the Vice Chair of the National Brain Tumor Society Board of Directors. She is also the Head of Institutional and Asset Management Marketing at Fidelity Investments. Prior to her current role, Erica was the Head of Communications for Fidelity Institutional, a division of Fidelity Investments and has served other communications roles within the company since 2009. She has a Bachelor of Arts in political science and English from James Madison University. Erica joined the Board in honor of her father who lost his life to glioblastoma, as well as others in her family who have been affected by the disease.

Dave Brown

Dave Brown is the Treasurer of the National Brain Tumor Society Board of Directors. He is the Chief Executive Office of Learning Tree International. He has over 30 years experience in the information industry including roles as the Global Head of Sales and Services for Clarivate Analytics, and the President and Managing Director of Thomson Reuters IP Solutions. He previously served for 10 years as a Board Member of the National Federation of Advanced Information Services. Dave has a bachelor’s degree in history and computer applications from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Kenan Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina.

Leah Recht, JD

Leah Recht is the Clerk of the National Brain Tumor Society Board of Directors. Leah Recht is a partner at Orrick and a member of Orrick’s M&A and Private Equity Group. Her practice focuses on advising private equity funds and their portfolio companies in all aspects of their business. Leah advises clients across a wide range of industries, including tech, food and drug, consulting services, retail, education, manufacturing, insurance, printing and transportation. Leah earned her JD from Georgetown University and was recognized in 2018 and 2019 as a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for business and corporate law.

Board Members

Allison Bishof
Robert Corrao
Evanthia Galanis, MD


Ryan Lang
Frank Macchiarola
Mil Parekh
Kabir Sethi


Joohee Sul, MD
Karen Roberts Turner
Jonathan D. Weinberg
Rabbi Corie Yutkin



Co-Founder: G. Bonnie Feldman
The Brain Tumor Society

Co-Founder: Walter & Ellen Newman and David & Nora Plan
National Brain Tumor Foundatio

Emeritus Board Members

  • Rob Burger
  • Michael Corkin
  • Dave Donabedian
  • Sarah Durham
  • John Frishkopf
  • Richard Genderson
  • Ken Grey
  • Steve Karol
  • Sheila Killeen
  • Jeffrey Kolodin (deceased)
  • Michael Nathanson, JD, LLM
  • Chandri Navarro
  • Eric Olson, PhD
  • Susan Pannullo, MD
  • Thomas Roloff
  • Dennis Roth
  • Steve Sadler
  • Liz Salmi
  • Cord Schlobohm, DMD
  • Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia
  • Charles B. Wilson, MD (deceased)
  • Salo Zelermyer, JD


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