Board of Trustees

Alicia Palladino, JD, PhD • Chair

Alicia Palladino joined the UMDF Board of Trustees in 2017. Alicia is a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP, and a resident of Pittsburgh, PA. Alicia currently concentrates her practice on patent preparation and prosecution, due diligence and licensing matters.

Before becoming a lawyer, Alicia was a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh and has extensive experience in a broad range of life science areas such as genetics, biochemistry, organic chemistry, biotechnology, molecular biology and cell imaging. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut Health Center in biomedical science, where her research was focused on using molecular biological techniques to understand the complex cellular mechanism of alternative splicing.

Alicia’s husband, Michael Palladino, PhD, is a prolific mitochondrial disease researcher who has contributed significantly to the field. They have two children and participate in the yearly Energy for Life Walk in Pittsburgh as a family.

Todd Lacey • Vice-Chair

Todd Lacey joined the UMDF Board of Trustees in April 2019.

Todd Lacey currently serves as the Chief Revenue Officer of Stadion’s retirement business. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing the relationships with current retirement recordkeeping partners as well as identifying and developing new channels of distribution and product development within the retirement business.

Todd has a B.S. in psychology from Miami University in Oxford, OH. He is also a former board member of the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine.

Outside of the office, Todd enjoys running, swimming and spending time with his wife and two daughters.

Alan Breslow • Treasurer

Alan Breslow joined the UMDF Board of Trustees on July 1, 2021.

Breslow currently serves as the Chief Business Officer (CBO) for Global Furniture Group, USA. Alan and his wife, Sherri, have a 31-year-old son, Brandon, and a 29-year-old daughter Sydney, who is impacted by mitochondrial disease. Sydney was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder at age eight.

In an effort to fund research leading to potential treatments for their daughter, The Logan Sloane Aronson Research Fund was established after the tragic loss of Sherri and Alan’s nephew, Logan Aronson. Determined to turn this loss into something positive, Logan’s parents, Debra and Ron Aronson requested that this fund be created in memory of their precious son Logan and in honor of Sydney. The Logan Sloane Aronson Foundation has hosted 3 “Cousins for A Cure” Galas to raise money to fund research, awareness and ultimately find cures for mitochondrial diseases.

The Breslows reside in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Michael Friedberg • Secretary

Michael Friedberg joined the UMDF Board of Trustees in 2017.

Michael has been involved with UMDF since the diagnosis of his middle child Zachary in 2001.  Professionally, Michael serves as vice president, strategic accounts for Parallon. Michael has over 20 years of experience in healthcare administration, 15 of those years focused on various aspects of revenue cycle management. As the vice president of strategic accounts, Michael is responsible for managing our clients primarily located in the northeast United States, as well as providing strategic advice to the senior management team.

Prior to joining the company, Michael worked in various positions including academic medical centers, community hospitals, multi-hospital systems, consulting firms and revenue cycle management firms. Michael earned his Bachelor of Science degree in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton and his Masters of Public Administration from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Michael is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Michael is a published author and nationally recognized expert in patient access management and the conversion of self-pay patients to governmental programs. In 2002, he was honored by the New Jersey Fire Department for his service to the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  Michael has been a first responder (EMT) in his community for 15 years.

Personally, Michael is married to his college sweetheart, Rhonda, for more than 25 years.  They have 3 children, Benjamin, Zachary and Rebecca.

Jana Stoudemire • Trustee-at-Large

Jana Stoudemire joined the UMDF Board of Trustees on January 26, 2022.

As the Commercial Innovation Strategy Lead for Axiom Space, Jana is responsible for identifying new business opportunities for biomedical and technology research and in space manufacturing applications on the world’s first commercial space station. In addition to a strong technical background, Jana has a career history marked by successful identification of new business opportunities for private and public healthcare companies, along with product development and global commercialization of some of the most innovative healthcare technologies. She transitioned from pharma to lead life science research in microgravity as part of the team managing the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory (ISS-NL), and envisions a future where the definition of ‘global’ will expand to include a robust commercial space economy in low Earth orbit (LEO) 250 miles up.

Jana is a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space, Regenerative Medicine Manufacturing Society member, a WOMEN In Advanced Therapies (WIAT) leadership mentor, and past New Organ Alliance Oversight Committee Member, along with co-chair of the Microgravity Enabling Technology Committee.

Jana resides in Solana Beach, California, and is a proud mother of adult twins, Jack and McKenna. Jana’s son, Jack, received a mito diagnosis by muscle biopsy as a child. Since his diagnosis, she has been an appreciative advocate and strong supporter of the UMDF initiatives for patients and families.

Shari Albertson

Shari Albertson joined the UMDF’s Board of Trustees in 2017.

She lives with her family in Concord, NC, in a 112-year-old home – one of several she and her husband, Josh, have restored in their 26 years together. She is the mother of two, Rachael Mira (March 18, 1998– December 16, 2008), and her son, Noah, the Vice President of Sales for one of their four manufacturing businesses.

Shari’s involvement with the UMDF began in 2008 when Rachael, at 10 years old, was diagnosed with Leigh syndrome.  Rachael passed away unexpectedly within six months of her diagnosis. The UMDF was an invaluable resource for their family when they were seeking information and direction at a very desperate time.  In 2009, Rachael’s Gift, Inc. was founded, and she continues to manage it today.  Her foundation’s mission is to raise mitochondrial disease awareness in the medical community and support research funding in the hope of finding a cure.  All of the proceeds from Rachael’s Gift go directly to the UMDF.

Shari is also involved in the Charlotte Energy for Life (EFL) walk where she volunteers and organizes the “Rachael’s Butterflies” team.  She is also a corporate media sponsor for the Charlotte EFL.  In addition to her work with the EFL, Shari assists with UMDF educational events for the medical and professional communities and UMDF families.

Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham joined the UMDF Board of Trustees in 2024.

Since 2014, Bill has served as IAT Insurance Group’s Chief Executive Officer, leading the company’s Management Committee, and serving as a member of its Board of Directors. His career spans more than 30 years in the property and casualty insurance industry. He began and built his career at Travelers Insurance, climbing to its executive ranks before being tapped to lead IAT.

Bill is a graduate of Trinity College and served as a Charter Trustee on the Trinity College Board of Directors. In addition, he and his wife Sandy, run The Foundation for a Cure for Mitochondrial Disease, Inc. known as “MitoCure”. MitoCure exists to educate communities about Mitochondrial Disease and to generate financial support for the most promising research for a cure. Bill and Sandy have four children: Jack, Bailey, and Molly, as well as daughter Kelly, who passed away in 2005 from mitochondrial disease. The Cunninghams founded The Foundation for a Cure for Mitochondrial Disease, Inc. in 2000 after Kelly was diagnosed with the disease.

Bill Kallaos, Jr.

Bill Kallaos joined the UMDF Board of Trustees in 2017.

Bill is a Financial Planner with Cornerstone Wealth Management. He works diligently for clients to deliver suitable financial planning strategies that will bring them towards their financial goals. Bill comes from a background in financial services as well as Business Administration. He has worked with Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Four Seasons Wealth Management before coming to Cornerstone Wealth Management.

A graduate of University of Kansas, Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Information Technology. He has also received further education from the College for Financial Planning, where he achieved the professional designation of Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor or CRPC®.

Bill comes from a background of hard work and leadership of which he has received numerous awards. These roles include serving as an executive board member and Treasurer of the William S. Kallaos Family Foundation as well as serving as an executive board member, Treasurer and Finance Committee Chairman for United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF), an organization committed to research and education for the diagnosis, treatment and cure of mitochondrial disorders. Bill is also a 7-year winner of the Five Star Wealth Manager Award. The Five Star Award is based on 10 objective criteria associated with providing quality services to clients such as credentials, experience, and assets under management among other factors. Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of 2012-2016 and 2018-2019 Five Star Wealth Managers.

In his free time, Bill enjoys traveling and going to sporting events with his wife, Bonnie, and their two children, Olivia and Liam. Bill is also an avid golfer and loves spending time with his family and friends.

Richard Leach

Rick Leach was a member of the UMDF Board of Trustees from 2007 – 2015.  He rejoined the board in 2017.

Rick has devoted his entire career to spearheading impactful initiatives to improve the lives of others across the nation and around the world.  Through his consulting firm, Leach Consulting International, he has led engagements centered on such critical issues as global hunger and nutritional practices, poverty, health technologies, environmental sustainability, civic education, as well as strengthening democratic institutions.  His clients span the globe, including the World Wildlife Fund, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme and the Alliance for Representative Democracy. He built organizations and established new operations to achieve defined goals while developing the organizational capacity to sustain these efforts into the future.

Prior to his current role, Rick founded World Food Program USA, a prominent non-profit that aids in shaping public policy to end world hunger while also generating resources for the United Nations World Food Programme. Serving as its President and CEO for ten years, Rick led efforts to ensure that the U.S. government expanded its efforts to address global hunger while also developing partnerships with the private sector to enhance WFP’s operations.

Rick started his career practicing corporate and maritime law and then held positions in both the executive and congressional branches of the U.S. government, including being appointed to run a national child health program for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.  He serves on several boards and is a published author of articles focused on human rights and micro-entrepreneurship.

Rick’s son, Brandon, is affected by mitochondrial disease.

Cristina Rue

Cristina joined the UMDF Board of Trustees in 2024.

Cristina is a public affairs expert who advises corporate, political, and advocacy clients around the world. She is the founder of Rue Communications, where she leverages her expertise to craft narratives, orchestrate media campaigns, and provide insightful political analysis, empowering clients to communicate effectively. Her experience includes working with the Tony Blair Institute in Eastern Europe and several prominent public affairs firms in Washington, D.C. Given this background, she also serves on UMDF’s Advocacy Committee.

Cristina became involved with the UMDF in 2014 after her brother, Carlos Alberto, passed away from mitochondrial disease at the age of nine. To honor the memory of the happiest little boy with a passion for red cars, she hosted nine annual “Golf for Carlos” outings in Dayton, Ohio, raising thousands of dollars to fund research and educate the community about the disease.

Cristina resides in Toulouse, France.

Erica Williams

Erica Williams joined the UMDF Board of Trustees in 2023.

Erica currently serves as Prospect Research Officer with Doctors Without Borders, where she works to build partnerships that deliver increased income, influence, and impact for the organization.

Prior to that role, she served as a Senior Grants Associate at Human Rights Watch, focusing on the writing needs for a portfolio of institutional donors, and as an organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consultant, where she helped companies chart a path toward a more inclusive work environment. She is a 2020 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where she double majored in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Cognitive Neuroscience.

Erica was the childhood best friend to Rachael Albertson, who at age 10, passed away from complications due to mitochondrial disease. Having remained close to the Albertson family as well as the cause for many years, Erica is now proud to serve as a member of the UMDF Board of Trustees carrying on Rachael’s legacy.

Charles Mohan, Jr., Founder & Chair Emeritus

Chuck Mohan is the founder of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.  The UMDF initially began in the basement of Mr. Mohan’s home in 1996 and has grown to a national operation providing Hope, Energy and Life to the thousands of people affected by mitochondrial disease.

In July of 2006, Mr. Mohan was hired as the UMDF’s Chief Executive Officer where he remained until his retirement in June 2018.

Mr. Mohan owns a restaurant in Pittsburgh and has been in the restaurant business since 1963. He also taught at Plum High School from 1972-1979 and has served as a councilman for his local municipality. Chuck and his wife, Adrienne, lost their 15-year-old daughter, Gina, to mitochondrial disease in 1995. 

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