Board of Trustees

John Kieffer • Chairman

John Kieffer joined the UMDF Board of Trustees in 2014. 

John is a recently retired business executive from the 3M Company, where he held many leadership roles in the US and abroad in his 35-year career at 3M.  John currently owns his own consulting business and serves as the UMFD board Chairman.  John has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and he has a wealth of Board experience including past positions on the Boards of the Industrial Supply Association, the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary, and Chairman of the Board for youth Compass.

John and his wife, Andrea, live in Austin, Texas, as does his son’s family (Matthew, Hilary, and grand-daughter, Lily). John and Andrea’s daughter, Melissa, passed away late in 2019 from a mitochondrial disease (MELAS).

Alicia Palladino, JD, PhD • Vice Chair

Alicia Palladino joined the UMDF Board of Trustees in 2017. Alicia is an IP Attorney in the Health Sciences Practice Group of Troutman Hamilton LLP, resident in the Pittsburgh office. 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 • Treasurer

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.

Shari Albertson • Secretary

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 Kallaos, Jr. • Tustee-at-Large

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.

Bruce Cohen, MD • SMAB Chair

Dr. Bruce Cohen is the Chair of the UMDF Scientific and Medical Advisory Board (SMAB).

Dr. Cohen is the Director of The NeuroDevelopmental Science Center and the Interim Medical Director and VP of the Rebecca D. Considine Research Institute at Akron Children’s Hospital. He also is Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Integrated Medical Sciences at Northeast Ohio Medical University.  He received his AB in Chemistry at Washington University, his MD at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and trained in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Child Neurology at The Neurological Institute in New York.  His interest in mitochondrial medicine began as an intern in pediatrics and has continued for over 35 years.  He established a busy mitochondrial medicine practice and currently is involved with several clinical trials for the treatment of mitochondrial diseases.  Dr. Cohen served as President of The Mitochondrial Medicine Society, spent nine years as a Trustee of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF), before rejoining in 2010, three years as Secretary of the UMDF Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, and has chaired and co-chaired 15 of the UMDF annual scientific symposiums.

Dr. Cohen lives in Ohio with his wife Anna and their two children.  He also has two grown children making their way through advanced educational degrees.

Alan Breslow

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.

Brent and his wife, Suzette, have actively supported local UMDF efforts in the greater Austin area the past nine years, including their involvement in the local Energy for Life Walk. They have three children, and their youngest, Chloe, has a mitochondrial disease.

Brent Fields, PhD

Brent Fields joined the UMDF Board of Trustees in 2013.

Brent and his family live in Austin, Texas, where he works as the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS), a nonprofit mentoring organization that serves over 1,000 youth. Prior to this, he was an Administrator in the healthcare arena and then a Vice President with the American Heart Association. He has over 30 years of executive leadership experience in various industries ranging from wellness, education, healthcare, research and social services. His educational background includes a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy, a Master’s Degree in Education, a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, a Clinical Residency, and a Certification in Health Promotion Management. In his time at BBBS, he’s led the organization to a position of national recognition, including the honor of National Board of Directors of the Year.

Brent and his wife, Suzette, have actively supported local UMDF efforts in the greater Austin area the past nine years, including their involvement in the local Energy for Life Walk. They have three children, and their youngest, Chloe, has a mitochondrial disease.

Michael Friedberg

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.

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.

Sharon Shaw

Sharon Shaw was a member of the UMDF Board of Trustees from 2004-2013.  She rejoined the board in 2014.

Sharon was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease in 1999 and currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.

She has a background in meeting planning, business strategy, and marketing.  Sharon has assisted the UMDF in many ways over the years, including helping the UMDF to obtain the recent Jack Black public service announcements that can be viewed on the UMDF’s website.

Sharon has been on the UMDF’s Board of Trustees for over a decade.  She has served as a past Vice Chair and is currently Secretary.  Sharon first began serving on the Board as chapter representative.  In addition, Sharon has previously held the position of president of the UMDF’s Southern California Chapter. She served as Chairman of the UMDF’s former Adult Advisory Council Team (AACT) and was currently appointed onto the FDA’s and DOD’s first Mitochondrial Patient Advisory Committee. Sharon keeps her mental focus positive through her involvement with UMDF in their mission to educate, and raise money for research. She lives by her motto, “being of service and part of the solution, is the best medicine to navigate the ravishes of Mitochondrial Disease.” 

Annette St. Pierre-MacKoul, MD

Dr. Annette St. Pierre-MacKoul joined the UMDF Board of Trustees in 2018.

Dr. MacKoul, better known as ‘Dr. Koul’, lives in Fort Myers, Florida, and has been a practicing pediatrician since 1990.  She also has a pediatric medical practice called MacKoul Pediatrics Fort Myers.

Her medical school training was at Tufts University Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.  Her Pediatric Residency was at New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.  Dr. Annette has always been involved in her community through volunteerism as well as weekly television and radio programs providing Pediatric Advice and knowledge to the families of Southwest Florida.

Dr. MacKoul has three adult children who are also active in their respective communities with volunteerism.  She has taken care of many children with Mitochondrial Disease and is hoping for a cure during her career.

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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