Our Team

Lillian Kreppel

Co-founder and Executive Director

Lillian Kreppel is many things: she’s a public speaker, entrepreneur, successful marketing strategist and public relations expert. She’s funny, outgoing, and a lover of life. Most recently, she added new roles to her list: anal cancer thriver, activist, and tireless pioneer advocating for the prevention and treatment of human papillomavirus (HPV). Lillian is a woman with an ironclad mission and vision with the endless energy and dedication to achieve them. Her goal is to inspire others with her personal journey and to empower them with the education and awareness they need to manage their own health.

More information about Lillian:

Marcia Cross, Actress

Co-Founder

Marcia Anne Cross is an American actress. She began her career on daytime soap operas such as The Edge of Night, Another World, and One Life to Live before moving to primetime television with a recurring role on Knots Landing. From 1992 to 1997, she starred as Dr. Kimberly Shaw on Melrose Place. Cross played the role of the conservative housewife Bree Van de Kamp on the ABC television series Desperate Housewives (2004–12), for which she was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, and a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She also recurred as President Claire Haas on the ABC series Quantico.

In June 2019, Marcia revealed that she had been battling anal cancer and is now in remission. Since then, she has been talking about her cancer battle to help destigmatize the disease and encourage people to treat it.

Jamie Otis Hehner, Actress

Social Impact Advisor

Jamie Otis Hehner met her hubby on Season One of the popular reality television series Married at First Sight. After meeting at the alter six years ago, they are still happily married and have two beautiful children, Henley Grace & Hendrix Douglas. Now, they co-host the top podcast, Hot Marriage, Cool Parents and have a YouTube channel with over 50,000 subscribers. Jamie also hosts Married at First Sight: Unfiltered and appears on Married at First Sight: Couples Cam on Lifetime. After being diagnosed with Cervical Dysplasia due to HPV in 2020, she has been a public advocate for frank and open talk around HPV and women’s health. Jamie is also a registered nurse who worked at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian where she specialized in labor and delivery.

Dan Lifton, MBA

Strategy and Development

Dan Lifton is CEO of Quality of Life Labs, a research-driven health nutrition company recognized by three prestigious Nutracon awards for “Best New Product of the Year.” Previously, Dan served as President of the “Patented and Branded Products” division at Maypro Industries, the leading global supplier of nutritional ingredients.

Dan holds an MBA with honors from Columbia Business School, a BS in Economics cum laude from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, and a certificate from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Dan serves on the board of the Natural and Organic Health Association and regularly mentors start-up entrepreneurs in the health and wellness, green tech and non-profit industries.

Danielle Reilly Weed

PR and Communications

Danielle is a 20-year veteran of the marketing and public relations industry. She cut her teeth in New York City while working at agencies with a wide variety of national and international clients such as HGTV, CNN, MTV, Discovery Channel, Citi, Johnnie Walker, SVEDKA, Moet & Chandon, New York magazine, and many more. After graduating from agency life, Media Tonic was born from years of private consulting with state agencies and private businesses.

Andrew Ackerman

Strategic Planning Advisor

Andrew Ackerman consults with not for profit organizations in the arts, education, and health and on projects that integrate different disciplines. With 45 years of experience in not for profit management,   government policy development and partnering with major corporations, he specializes in refining  and connecting mission to long term vision, creative ideas  and sustainable human and capital resources. With a broad view of the marketplace and networks, Andy generates ideas and pathways to forge new alliances and pathways in align mission and vision with program, often serving as a comprehensive planner to make strategic planning efficient and affordable.  

Previously, Andrew was the Laurie M. Tisch Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) for 29 years.  During that time, the Museum more than doubled its attendance and budget;  secured funding for influential exhibitions and programs; implemented city, state and nationwide outreach projects in early childhood health and literacy; and committed to welcome and give voice to diverse  communities. Major projects such as the nationally touring exhibition “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far,” exhibitions about American Jazz and the cultures of Japan and China and contemporary arts shows all engaged community members in leadership roles. To reach into the community, the Museum installed health and learning “hubs” in 30 homeless shelters and Head Start Centers citywide. Each hub features permanent exhibitory, graphics and initial programs to foster healthy living and early literacy.  

In late 2017, Andrew successfully led the Museum’s effort to acquire 361 Central Park West as its new home, securing pledges for almost $50 million. The new site will double the amount of exhibition space and will accommodate more than twice the number of visitors than the current museum location.  

Prior to his tenure at CMOM, Andrew was the first full time director of the Arts in Education Program for the New York State Council on the Arts, working in partnership with the State Education Department. He authored new guidelines and oversaw the funding of hundreds of projects each year. From 1977 to 1986, Ackerman was the Associate Director of The Jewish Museum and Director of Education, where he oversaw all educational initiatives, curated exhibitions and administered international projects.

 

Andrew is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Herbert H. Lehman College and earned a M.A. from the University of Michigan. He has served on the staff of archaeological excavations in Israel, published a book and numerous articles, delivered scores of conference speeches and appeared on national and local television.

Lauren Dillon-Thomas

Patient Advocacy

For more than a decade, Lauren Dillon-Thomas has been a dynamic advisory professional serving the fundraising efforts of various nonprofits and social impact enterprises. She founded Triad Resource Group to meet the specific organizational needs of emergent organizations seeking to increase funding, operate more philanthropically, and execute with greater clarity and focus. Lauren has extensive and diverse experience sitting on several sides of the “donor table” as fundraiser, consultant, and volunteer board member. These roles equip her with an intimate understanding of the many challenges and nuances involved with donor development. As a collaborative leader, she is committed to ‘getting into the trenches’ with Triad’s clients, working together to do whatever it takes to produce real results that further their mission and drive maximum impact.

The majority of her time with clients is spent in major gift cultivation, relationship management, systems efficiency, and grant writing. Lauren has significant, advanced education in international public administration and has layered this acumen with certificates in fundraising management. Additionally, she’s a Certified Trainer of the StartingUp Now™ curriculum for nonprofit startups, helping them to architect the foundational lumber of their inspired vision.

Shazia Ahmad

Patient Engagement

Shazia Ahmad serves as a Senior Director of the Patient & Physician Services team at UBC, a leading provider of pharmaceutical support services. Shazia earned a B.S. in physiology and neurobiology from the University of Maryland and has 20+ years of experience in the healthcare industry. In her role at UBC, Shazia provides oversight and strategy on patient recruitment and retention as well as site feasibility and recruitment for clinical, late stage, safety and risk management programs. Shazia has a passion for ensuring the patient journey and pathway to diagnosis is understood in every program she implements. Shazia is a recognized thought leader and is actively involved with integrating patient advocacy representation in her programs and is also actively involved in presenting with patient advocacy representatives in industry conferences on the importance of working with advocacy groups in the clinical research programs and has chaired sessions at major industry wide meetings, such as the Annual DIA Conference.

Before joining UBC, Shazia served as a study coordinator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While at the NIH, Shazia coordinated intramural clinical trials across the various institutes, including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Her work included direct parent/patient family interaction across various indications, including but not limited to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Shazia also served as a study coordinator for ClinSearch, a private research center where she supported protocols from various sponsors and therapeutic areas.

Shazia is a thought-leader in patient advocacy, with a desire to improve healthcare and integrate successful solutions that bring optimal access and diversity. Shazia is committed to support the organization in the advancement of awareness and education of HPV.

“I am very excited to join the HPV Alliance Board, and thrilled to be a part of this amazing group of leaders in healthcare with the uniform goal to help advance the prevention of HPV-related cancers through education, advocacy, and research.''

Melissa DeFreece, MBA

Community Engagement

Melissa DeFreece has a long career in the nonprofit sector and has been committed to uplifting communities in need. Her passion for creating a better world led her to launch a consulting agency with four of her closest friends called, Kolektif | V. The agency is committed to co-creating equitable change within and through communities.

Her love for helping people and being a voice for others has been the driving force behind her being an innovative leader. Melissa serves as the Development Director for the Greater Delaware Valley chapter with JDRF where she recently led the charge for a virtual gala that raised over $2 million dollars. Prior to JDRF, she worked at Liberty Lutheran building relationships with external stakeholders, working on food insecurity and wellness issues for low income seniors, and became a co-facilitator for trainings that covered core competencies such as communication and listening, emotional intelligence, and diversity for internal stakeholders.

Melisa worked at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia and built a volunteer program from zero to over 100 volunteers recruited to support the mission of serving food and providing social services to the homeless in Philadelphia. Her experience includes nonprofits from the NPR/PBS station (KERA) in Dallas, One Family, Inc. and she worked at Tufts University in Boston. Over the years, her roles varied from program development, volunteer management to fundraising and development work.

Melissa has lived in the Poconos, Dallas, Boston but her home state of NY where her heart lies. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. In 2017, she received her MBA from Temple University. Melissa lives in Philadelphia but still loves going home to the Bronx. In her spare time, she spends time with her family and friends and loves to travel.

Marcie Reeder

Development Advisor

Marcie Reeder is currently Director, Global Patient Affairs at Blueprint Medicines where she helps to bring the patient voice into all areas of the company.  Previously, she held Executive Director positions at the NCCN Foundation and the Cancer Support Community, following many years in oncology advocacy at the American Cancer Society, Fox Chase Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute.  She has also served as a long-time adjunct professor in the Public Health Department at East Stroudsburg University.