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National Brain Tumor Society Appoints Three New Board Members to Drive Evolution of Leading Brain Tumor Patient Advocacy and Research Nonprofit

Published on July 25, 2016 in Press Release

National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), the largest nonprofit dedicated to the brain tumor community in the United States, today announced the appointment of three new members to its national Board of Directors.

Individuals newly elected to the NBTS Board of Directors include:

  • Patrick R. Connelly, PhD. – Head of Vertex Innovation & External Research (VIER) at Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • David B. Donabedian – Director, Client Advisor at Deutsche Bank / Alex Brown, Private Wealth Management
  • Autumn D. McDonald – Senior Director, Global Consumer Insights at the Hershey Company

“National Brain Tumor Society strives to drive greater impact across the brain tumor research landscape in order to achieve our mission of better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for brain tumors,” said Michael J. Nathanson, Chairman, National Brain Tumor Society Board of Directors. “Patrick, David, and Autumn all have a personal stake in defeating brain tumors. In addition to their passion for our cause and community, they bring outstanding talents and leadership that are uniquely important to governance and the delivery of our mission to ultimately find a cure. We are grateful that they have agreed to serve.”

Dr. Connelly is a 25-year veteran of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He founded and then led the global Materials Discovery & Characterization group at Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. for 10 years before serving in his current role as Head of Vertex Innovation & External Research (VIER). He is a patented co-inventor of all three of Vertex’s approved first-in-class medicines.

Dr. Connelly started his career as a founding scientist at Vertex in 1990 following postdoctoral work in chemistry at Yale University and graduate work in chemistry & biochemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He received a Bachelor of Arts in biology from St. Michaels College and was a research assistant at the University of Oxford as an undergraduate. In between stints at Vertex, Dr. Connelly co-founded, owned and operated two biotechnology companies.

Dr. Connelly lives in Harvard, Massachusetts with his wife, Mary, of 32 years. Dylan Connelly, the Connelly’s son, died of glioblastoma (GBM) in 2013 at the age of 30. After Dylan’s death, the Bravehearts-Friends of Dylan Connelly organization – an all-volunteer community-based charitable organization – was formed to honor Dylan’s life and to support others beset with healthcare tragedies, with a focus on those affected by brain tumors. Pat serves on the Board of Directors of Bravehearts-Friends of Dylan Connelly.

“It is a true honor and a rare opportunity to serve such a special organization so dedicated to education, advocacy and research aimed at making lives better for those affected by brain tumors,” said Dr. Connelly. “In service to NBTS, I aspire to represent my colleagues in the Bravehearts-Friends of Dylan Connelly organization; to work with others to deepen our support for NBTS; and to innovate in pursuit of our common mission.”

Mr. Donabedian is a Director, Client Advisor at Deutsche Bank / Alex Brown, Private Wealth Management. Prior to Deutsche Bank / Alex Brown, Mr. Donabedian was a Vice President at Morgan Stanley for 10 years.

Mr. Donabedian’s interest in actively participating in the work of the National Brain Tumor Society stems from the loss of his mother in 2003. Marilyn Donabedian was diagnosed with a GBM in 2002, and, like so many diagnosed with this terrible disease, succumbed in a matter of months. She was 63 years old. It is from this tragedy that Mr. Donabedian was drawn to NBTS and the fight against brain tumors.

In addition to his work with the National Brain Tumor Society, Mr. Donabedian has been involved in a number of other charitable endeavors, including serving as the co-chair for the Craig Wood Classic Golf Tournament, which most recently has benefited the Craig Wood Scholarship Fund at Merrimack College. The scholarship was established in memory of Craig Wood, a friend that passed away in the Edgewater Technology workplace violence. The tournament has also benefited various charities, such as the Jimmy Fund. Mr. Donabedian has also volunteered his time as a coach in the Masconomet Youth Hockey Association.

Mr. Donabedian attended Merrimack College where he graduated with a degree in Business Management. He lives in Middleton, Massachusetts with his wife Amy and their three children.

“I was very honored and humbled to hear the news that I was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Brain Tumor Society,” said Mr. Donabedian. “My decision to get involved with the National Brain Tumor Society stems from a deep personal loss. I lost my mother to a GBM brain tumor in 2003 after her courageous battle with this terrible disease. I look forward to joining the NBTS team to help raise awareness to eradicate this disease that is so devastating for many families.”

Ms. McDonald is the Senior Director, Global Consumer Insights at the Hershey Company, leading the company’s consumer research function worldwide. Ms. McDonald is responsible for spearheading the organization to provide consumer insights, tools, methodologies, models, and analyses needed in developing superior marketing, sales, and product strategies. Prior to her current role, she was responsible for providing competitive advantage by identifying consumer driven opportunities, uncovering consumer needs, and creating synergies in consumer research across geographies at Mattel. Before joining Mattel, Ms. McDonald led the entire Global Knowledge & Insights organization worldwide for the Revlon company. Her work in uncovering and bringing to life engaging consumer insight at Revlon resulted in earning a 2014 Ogilvy Advertising Award. Earlier in her career, Ms. McDonald served successfully in various marketing and market research positions at global companies such as Kraft Foods, Colgate Palmolive, and Procter & Gamble.

In addition to her work in consumer-packaged goods, Ms. McDonald is the owner of ADM Insights and Strategy LLC, and has also been the owner of AD Dance LLC and a performing member of multiple dance companies. Ms. McDonald lives in the Greater New York City area.

“I am thrilled and honored to be joining the Board of Directors at the National Brain Tumor Society because NBTS is committed to driving breakthroughs that will save lives and improve quality of life,” said Ms. McDonald. “NBTS is passionately working towards a brighter future for everyone in the brain tumor community.”

NBTS’ national governing Board of Directors is comprised of distinguished and committed volunteers from across the country, representing influential corporate, foundation, and civic sectors. This group is committed to providing their expertise to guide the strategic direction and governance of the National Brain Tumor Society, and leverages their time, talent, and resources on behalf of the brain tumor community.

“Patrick, David, and Autumn’s commitment to our mission is inspiring and we look forward to their leadership and contributions to our growth and impact,” said David F. Arons, JD, Chief Executive Officer, National Brain Tumor Society.

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