Audra Moran, President & CEO
As President & CEO of Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA), Audra heads the largest global charity for ovarian cancer research and advocacy. She directs overall strategy, operations and fundraising to promote progress and awareness, while hastening breakthroughs in diagnostics and treatments with the ultimate goal of finding a cure for ovarian cancer.
Under Audra’s leadership, OCRA has awarded the most research funding in its history, and has passed the $100 million mark in funds raised. She has extended the organization’s national reach by engaging grassroots supporters around the country, and integrated another nonprofit, Ovarian Cycle, into OCRA, expanding its indoor cycling events to more than 23 locations nationwide.
She developed the national expansion of a support program for women undergoing treatment for gynecologic cancers, Woman to Woman, and secured a $1 million corporate sponsorship to ensure its success. Woman to Woman has now been funded at more than 40 hospitals around the country, and has expanded to include a virtual national program, serving as the perfect complement to OCRA’s robust research and advocacy work.
Audra oversaw the merger of Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) and Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA), with OCRA launching in January, 2016. She continues to lead the now expanded organization, with offices in New York City and Washington, DC.
Bibi Ali, Vice President, Finance
Bibi Ali joined OCRA in 2009. As a member of senior management, Bibi works closely with the President and CEO, to manage the accounting & finances of the organization, including budgeting and expense management. She oversees all financial reports and analysis, and oversees the internal audit conducted by an independent audit firm, while also working closely with the board Audit Committee to review and approve the final IRS form 990, financial statements and audit. She works closely with the board Treasurer and Investment Committee to manage OCRA’s banking relationships and investment activity.
Bibi ensures that OCRA adheres to charity best practices from a fiscal and financial governance standpoint. Under her tenure, OCRF has consistently received top ratings from charity watchdog organizations, such as Charity Navigator, Better Business Bureau, and Charity Watch.
Before joining OCRA, Bibi spent nearly ten years managing the finances and operations of a brokerage firm and also as a technical trainer for an investment bank. Bibi graduated with Honors from the Baruch College Zicklin School of Business, with a Masters in Business Administration and a Bachelors in Business Administration.
Leslie Almiron, Associate Director, Finance & Operations
Leslie Almiron joined OCRA in November 2017. She works closely with the Vice President of Finance to ensure the books are kept accurate and up to date. She joined OCRA after her own cancer diagnosis made her want to leave the corporate world for more meaningful work.
Before joining OCRA, Leslie spent three years as a Staff Accountant in Midtown Manhattan specializing in taxation and bookkeeping. Leslie graduated from CUNY Queens College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.
Jorge Calderon, Associate Manager, Finance & Operations
Jorge joined OCRA in April of 2019. As the Associate Manager, Finance & Operations, Jorge works cohesively with the finance team and assists in managing financial tasks such as analyzing revenue, monitoring expenses, manipulating data, and documenting the cash flow of the organization. He is responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining efficient financial systems and accounting records.
Prior to joining OCRA, Jorge spent two years working in retail banking. He graduated from Queens College where he earned a BA in Applied Mathematics with a concentration in Economics.
Jake Carlin, Associate Director, Donor Relations
Jake joined OCRA in January 2019. As Associate Director, Donor Relations, Jake assists in the development and implementation of OCRA’s DIY events in addition to other events and fundraising programs throughout the year. Prior to joining OCRA, Jake has held several fundraising positions in the non-profit industry. Outside of Jake’s professional career, he fosters and adopts at-risk animals.
Jake has a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management from Rutgers University.
Erin Cassin, Manager, Social Media & Content
Erin has worked across many different areas of media, with experiences that include reporting for the Los Angeles Times, writing for nonprofits and creating digital content for Lifetime, Food Network and Cooking Channel. As the daughter of a nurse, she has long been passionate about health content and has written about wellness for various websites. She is thrilled to join the OCRA team and use her skills for such a meaningful cause.
Erin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Spanish from New York University. A native of New York, she has also lived in Spain, England and Mexico.
Vanessa Cramer, Director, Policy
Vanessa Cramer joined OCRA in 2017. She assists in developing OCRA’s policy agenda and steering advocacy strategy at federal and state levels, and helps track legislative and regulatory developments of interest.
Prior to joining OCRA, Vanessa worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Gary Ackerman and most recently, as Democratic staff for the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Select Investigative Panel. She also worked in the Government Relations Department at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and in the private sector lobbying and consulting for a range of health care clients. Having worked in the government as well as private and non-profit sectors, she has experience in multiple aspects of policymaking.
Vanessa graduated from the University of Washington Honors College with a degree in Sociology. She completed her undergraduate honors thesis on the impact of state laws criminalizing HIV/AIDS exposure.
Sarah DeFeo, Vice President, Scientific Affairs & Programs
Sarah DeFeo joined OCRA in November 2008 and oversees OCRA’s grantmaking, programmatic, and educational initiatives. Working closely with the Scientific Advisory Committee, Sarah manages OCRA’s annual grant solicitation and review process, and under her direction applications to OCRA’s three research grant programs have quadrupled. She also directs OCRA’s rapidly expanding patient support program, Woman to Woman, our Survivors Teaching Student program, and all live and web-based patient education initiatives, including the Ovarian Cancer National Conference. Sarah supports the development and communications teams, providing content and ensuring the visibility of OCRA’s research and programmatic activities across all media platforms.
Before joining OCRA, Sarah was the Director of the Physician Advocacy Fellowship at Columbia University, which trained doctors in social justice and health policy work. She also served as the Project Officer at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Center to Advance Palliative Care, and in various positions at the Social Science Research Council.
Sarah graduated with honors from Vassar College with a degree in American History and earned her Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Columbia University. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two daughters.
Sarah Holbert, Ann Kolker Advocacy Fellow
Sarah joined OCRA in July 2021. As the Kolker fellow, she works directly with the Health Equities Task Force and the Advocate Leaders program members to advance OCRA’s policy and advocacy efforts.
Sarah has experience at the local, state, and federal levels of government and brings experience in areas ranging from customer service to policy research. During her undergraduate career she worked on multiple campaigns throughout the 2016-2019 election cycles in both finance and community organizing roles. As a graduate student she worked in retail management, at a technology policy focused nonprofit in Ohio, and later at EMILY’s List on their research team. Most recently, Sarah completed a yearlong graduate internship with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Intergovernmental Affairs where she focused on several different portfolio issues.
Sarah is a two-time graduate of The Ohio State University. She finished her Bachelor of Arts degree Cum Laude with Research Distinction—majoring in English and Political Science—and recently completed her Master of Public Administration with a focus in health policy through the OSU MPA-DC program. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys kayaking, reading political nonfiction, and Ohio State football games.
Jessica Hughson-Andrade, Director, Strategic Alliances
Jessica Hughson-Andrade joined the OCRA team in June 2021. She is responsible for managing and enhancing industry partnerships to increase collaboration and support for OCRA’s programs. Prior to joining OCRA, she worked for an association management company, serving as client lead for a rare disease foundation and managing other healthcare clients. She has more than 15 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector and is delighted to be part of the OCRA team.
Jessica earned her B.A. in International Studies from Manhattanville College and her M.P.A. in Nonprofit Management from Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.
Rohan Jyothinagaram, Assistant, Policy & Operations
Rohan joined OCRA in January of 2020. He serves as the D.C. office’s administrative link to New York as well as supports OCRA’s advocacy and policy efforts including Advocacy Day and the Advocate Leaders program. He brings with him previous experience in research, executive support, and program coordination. Rohan holds Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Sociology from Appalachian State University and earned his Master's of Public Health degree from The George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. In his free time, Rohan enjoys yoga, playing disc golf and Charlotte Hornets basketball.
Jason Lalonde, Associate Director, Events
Jason joined OCRA in August of 2016. As Associate Director, Events, Jason assists in the development and implementation of OCRA’s Ovarian Cycle events in addition to other events and fundraising programs throughout the year.
Jason has over 20 years customer service experience in the retail and hotel industries and more recently has worked in the non-profit sector at UJA Federation of New York, the Anne Frank Center USA, and the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance. Jason has a BA in Global Studies from Ryerson University in Toronto and has studied Holocaust Education at Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies in Jerusalem.
Susan Leighton, National Program Manager, Survivors Teaching Students (Consultant)
National Program Director, OCRA's Survivors Teaching Students
OCRA Research Advocate
Susan Leighton is a 24-year survivor of recurrent ovarian cancer and 8-year survivor of breast cancer. Susan began her journey in advocacy when she co-founded the Lilies of the Valley, a gynecologic cancer support and awareness group in Huntsville, Alabama. Susan serves as a research advocate on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.
Susan is the National Program Director of OCRA’s Survivors Teaching Students program. Under her guidance the program has expanded both nationally and internationally reaching approximately 13,000 students annually. Susan serves as a consumer member of the Programmatic Panel for the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program and as an NCI patient advocate reviewer. She has participated as a PCORI reviewer, an FDA Patient Representative for both ovarian cancer and cardiovascular-renal drugs, and as a member of the NCI Ovarian Cancer Task Force. She has participated in numerous scientific meetings and as a mentor for the AACR Survivor-Scientist Program. She served as an OCRA Advocate Leader carrying the voice of the ovarian cancer community to Capitol Hill and in 2010 testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense in support of the DoD OCRP. She spearheaded state legislation establishing the "Alabama Study Commission for Gynecologic Cancers and continues to assist in implementation of the commission’s recommendations. Susan serves as a patient advocate on several ongoing research projects providing the patient’s perspective.
She was honored by OCRA with the Cindy Melancon Survivor Spirit Award and recognized by CURE Magazine as an Ovarian Cancer Hero in recognition of her work on behalf of the ovarian cancer community.
Deb Levy, Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Deb joined OCRA at the start of a new decade (2020) and oversees all communications and marketing initiatives with the goal of increasing awareness of the disease, raising critical funds for research, and deepening engagement in events and programs.
She began her career in the creative departments of some of NYC’s biggest ad agencies, but realized she’d rather promote ideas and causes than products. Before joining OCRA, Deb led the communications departments at two nonprofits: Seeds of Peace, a global organization that cultivates and inspires the next generation of leaders to transform conflict in their communities, and ExpandED Schools, an organization dedicated to closing the learning gap for students in underserved neighborhoods.
Throughout her career, she has used her marketing and brand-building acumen to help ad agencies win new business as well as garner resources for nonprofits. At the same time, she has pursued her passion for creative writing with articles and essays featured on numerous websites and in literary magazines, and by publishing a narrative non-fiction book, BURY THE HOT.
Deb graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin.
Kim Liao, Development Associate
Kim Liao joined OCRA in February 2018. Before joining OCRA, Kim spent four years as an Administrative Assistant and Front Desk Assistant. She brings successful administrative and customer service experiences to the role of Development Associate. She lives in Queens, with her four legged son named Jake. Kim received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Hunter College.
Kristin McGowan, Director, Grants & Scientific Affairs
Kristin joined OCRA in August 2021. She works closely with the Vice President, Scientific Affairs & Programs to manage OCRA’s annual grant solicitation and review process. She also works cross-departmentally on the planning, development, and execution of research-related programs and projects.
Before joining OCRA, Kristin spent 3 years working in non-profits on grant management and 10 years in Higher Education, specifically student affairs. Kristin graduated from Drexel University with a Master of Science, and from Rider University with a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Erin Merkl, Operations Assistant
Erin joined OCRA in August of 2019. As the Operations Assistant, she is responsible for helping the office run smoothly and organizing meetings and work events. Prior to joining the team, she was a corporate analyst as well as a manager with extensive experience in customer service. Erin received her Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Dallas and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Academy of Art University.
Tracy Moore, LCSW, Oncology Social Worker, Patient Support (Consultant)
Tracy Moore, LCSW is an Oncology Social Worker, organizational leader, patient advocate, author, and speaker. She is currently a consultant for community and healthcare settings including Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, where she offers resource navigation and supportive counseling on their National Patient Support Line, manages the Woman to Woman Mentor Program, and facilitates weekly Staying Connected support series.
Ms. Moore has over 25 years experience working with patients and families providing psycho-educational and supportive counseling from initial diagnosis, through treatment, post-treatment, and end-of-life. She was awarded her MSSA from Case Western’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences in 1993 and BA from the University of Rochester in 1991. Ms. Moore began her career as a pediatric oncology social worker at Schneider Children’s Hospital (now Cohen Children’s Medical Center) providing direct patient care within the hospital setting. She transitioned to Director of Support Services at Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation in 2001 where she developed and implemented national programs, while maintaining a clinical practice. Ms. Moore moved to hospital administration at North Shore University Hospital in 2009 where she was the Director of Social Work for 8+ years. Ms. Moore started a community healthcare consulting firm along with a private practice in 2017. She provides resource and system navigation for individuals and families, healthcare program assessment and guidance.
Ms. Moore is a member of NASW, Social Work Leaders in Healthcare, Association of Oncology Social Workers and Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers. She has previously been on the Board of APOSW.
Chad Ramsey, Vice President, Policy
Chad Ramsey joined OCRA in 2015 to oversee the organization’s public policy including the development and implementation of a national agenda for ovarian cancer. Chad works with policymakers on Capitol Hill and organizational allies to implement the policy agenda and achieve OCRA priorities. He also serves as a staff liaison to the the Congressional Ovarian Cancer Caucus and monitors efforts within federal agencies, including the CDC, FDA, NIH and CMS as they relate to the OCRA’s policy agenda.
Prior to joining OCRA, Chad was Director of Legislative Relations for the National Marrow Donor Program where he worked to ensure that patients in need of a bone marrow donor were able to find a suitable match. Chad also served as Director of Federal Legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and has more than 18 years of experience in public policy and advocacy in the non-profit sector.
Chad graduated with honors from Hobart College with a degree in English and earned his Master’s Degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
Nikki Wargo, Senior Director, Development
Nikki Wargo joined the OCRA team in February 2016. She is responsible for the coordination and execution of several signature fundraisers ensuring that each event meets or exceeds its financial goals. Additionally, she works closely with national cause marketing and brand partnerships to increase revenue and awareness for OCRA.
Prior to joining OCRA, Nikki spent over 6 years as the Director of Special Projects and Partnerships at Win (formerly Women In Need) working with the board to build awareness and significant funding from programs including the annual Way to Win gala, Impact Party and Team Win, Win’s first NYC Marathon team. She also worked for Saks Fifth Avenue in the Public Relations department, focusing on NY and National press outreach, and in the Public Affairs office directing three national charitable initiatives for the flagship and 60+ stores throughout the country.
Nikki graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BA in Telecommunications.
Lindsey Weeks, Director, Digital Communications
Lindsey Weeks joined the OCRA team in June 2008 and is responsible for effectively conveying and furthering OCRA’s mission through promotion of partnerships, cause marketing, and key messaging via external facing communications including the website, social media, and all electronic formats.
Engaging in extensive interaction with all members of the OCRA constituency, she serves as a critical point person in expanding OCRA’s social reach, setting the tone for all methods of communication with the community through writing, editing and designing the print newsletter, bi-weekly e-newsletter, e-blasts, custom event pages, and other organizational publications.
Lindsey earned a BA in Creative Writing from Grand Valley State University and, prior to joining OCRA, dedicated her career to serving nonprofit organizations in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Jon Zeidman, Vice President, Development
Jon Zeidman is responsible for the design, implementation and oversight of OCRA’s fundraising programs including annual giving, major gifts, direct mail, corporate partnerships, foundation relations and special events. He has more than 13 years of experience in the nonprofit sector.
Jon joined OCRA in 2010 as the first Director of Development in the organization’s history and has built a fundraising program that has exhibited consistent growth and increased revenue in support of OCRA’s rapid national expansion.
Prior to joining OCRA, Jon served five years as Director of Development for NARSAD, The Brain and Behavior Research Fund where he directed the organization’s $20 million annual campaign. He earned a B.S. in Communications from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and worked as a location manager for 10 years for both film and television before entering the field of non-profit fundraising.
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