Get To Know Your Speakers

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Jim Birrell

Jim Birrell

Director, Obliteride, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Jim Birrell is a sports management and marketing professional with nearly 40 years of experience. Throughout his career he has been involved in producing premier domestic and international sporting events, including the Summer Olympics (1992, 1996 and 2000), Winter Olympics (1994), Summer Goodwill Games (1994, 1998 and 2001) and Winter Goodwill Games (1999). For 15 year he owned Medalist Sports, an event management company responsible for multiple professional and cause-related cycling events.

Obliteride, the largest community event at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, brings more than 3,000 riders, walkers and runners as well as 700 volunteers together to raise millions of dollars for cancer research. As director, Jim is responsible for setting the vision for Obliteride and delivering ambitious year-over-year growth in participation, number and size of teams, and participant-raised dollars. In addition, Jim uses Obliteride as a platform for community engagement that enhances knowledge of and philanthropic support for innovative research taking place at Fred Hutch.

A native of Houston, Texas, Jim received a Bachelor of Arts degree in business from Southwest Texas University. Jim has two extraordinary children, Abby, a recent graduate from Duke University, and Chandler, who is currently studying for his Masters at Colorado State University. He and his wife, Lovey, live in Kennewick, Washington.

Kari Bodell

Kari Bodell

VP, Development Program Strategy, Susan G. Komen

Kari is the Vice President of Development Program Strategy at Susan G. Komen, where she and her team lead Komen’s peer-to-peer and other experiential fundraising programs. Through her career at Event 360, Plenty, CSM and the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, she’s worked on dozens of peer-to-peer fundraising programs and events, as a strategist, implementation partner, soup-to-nuts operator, adviser, and friend. She loves creating connections and learning experiences with others in the business and always looks forward to the Peer-to-Peer Forum, in whatever format it takes.

Maria Clark

Maria Clark

SVP, P2P Development, American Cancer Society

Maria Clark recently celebrated 33 years of service with the American Cancer Society. She currently serves as Senior Vice President, Peer to Peer Development, and oversees strategy development, planning and implementation, support and training for volunteer driven events nationwide. The portfolio consists of all walk, gala, golf and other domestic events, the Global Relay For Life program, and emerging new digital strategies to support community fundraising.

Throughout her career, Maria has played a significant role in change management, for both staff and volunteers, as the ACS continually evolves to better position itself as the leader in the cancer arena. She has deep expertise in volunteer management at all levels of the organization, a long history of successful staff management, possessing both grassroot and grass tops fundraising acumen, and is recognized for her ability to collaborate effectively across the ACS. She has held a variety of positions throughout her career from her start as Communications and Government Relations Director, moving to Executive Director and Regional Vice President in the North Texas area, and leading several properties from the national office before taking her current role.

Maria currently serves on the Board of the Notre Dame School, a special needs Kindergarten through post high school, remains active in the Leadership Dallas Alumni Association, and happily serves as a Team Captain for Relay For Life! She was a member of the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Leadership Dallas class of 2009 and served on the Leadership Dallas Alumni Association Board from 2010 – 2012. She is a founding member of the Chamber of Human Services Non-Profits and has a deep history with the non-profit community in Dallas.

She and her husband Derek live in Dallas and have two daughters, Devin and Corrie, who both live in Colorado.

Sue Dalos

Sue Dalos

Principal Consultant, Charity Dynamics

Sue Dalos is a sought-after speaker, fundraising strategist, and advisor within the non-profit industry. Over the past 22 years, working out of her home base in Toronto, Canada, Sue has supported marketing, fundraising, and program development efforts to raise more than $800M globally; supporting emergency relief, economic development, social services, health, and education sectors.

Sue started her career on the for-profit side as Digital Brand Strategist at an integrated advertising agency, before following her heart into the non-profit sector.

Now, as Charity Dynamics Principal Consultant, Sue is collaborating with non-profit professionals to create digital marketing & fundraising strategies that empower organizations to better fulfill their missions by increasing awareness for their causes, and by deepening engagement across their key audience segments, which ultimately results in more funds raised and greater retention.

Nicole Dolan

Nicole Dolan

Out of the Darkness Walks Senior Director, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Nicole Dolan brings more than 10 years of fundraising event experience to the table in her role as Out of the Darkness Walks Senior Director. A restaurant event director in her previous life, Nicole started with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Overnight Walk in 2007 and now guides a team of staff and volunteers to lead nearly 600 Out of the Darkness Community, Campus, and Overnight Walks across the country, creating an experience that brings hope and healing to a quarter million participants while raising more than $25 million annually for AFSP.

Matt Glass

Matt Glass

Partner, Chief Creative Officer, Eventage

Matt’s long history in producing events includes serving as Production Manager for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and other national events produced by the storied retailer. He has supervised the installation of everything from fireworks shells to rare orchids and managed every type of person, from Teamsters to tap dancers.

Matt oversees production and creative services at Eventage as well as the storytelling of Eventage Studio. As a scriptwriter, his words have been spoken by the likes of Billie Jean King, Reese Witherspoon, Patrick Dempsey, and Holly Hunter as well as Fortune 100 CEOs and everyday people battling challenges such as breast cancer, brain tumors and suicide. He’s a recognized leader in the field of creating and executing the on-site experience for event participants nationwide.

Matt graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Vermont. He lives in South Orange, NJ with his wife Jennifer and their two daughters and two cats.

David Hessekiel

David Hessekiel

President, Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum

David has one marathon for charity under his belt and a passion for helping nonprofits and businesses succeed at doing well by doing good. Since 2006 the P2P has brought thousands of peer-to-peer fundraising professionals together via its annual conference, workshops and webinars to share best practices and provided them with access to the information they need to raise more for their organizations. The Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum is a unit of Hessekiel’s Cause Marketing Forum, Inc. The recipient of a BA from Wesleyan University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, David’s background in journalism, magazine management, consumer marketing and the dot.com world equipped him to launch CMF. He lives in Rye, New York with his wife Andrea.

Mikki Kragelund

Mikki Kragelund

Enterprise Sales Director, Classy

Mikki Kragelund joined Classy in 2016 and is currently an Enterprise Sales Director. She is focused on working directly with nonprofits in their evaluation of modernizing the giving experience and accelerating social impact.

Mikki was born in Denmark and raised in Florida, where she developed a love for the outdoors and a passion for helping others and showing that optimism can heal. Previously Mikki worked as a Territory Sales Manager and Certified Playmaker at the Life Is Good company and founded a “Sunny Cyclers” campaign, where she cycled the entire length of New Zealand in order to raise money for the World Skin Cancer Foundation.

Her passion and enthusiasm for helping others and her belief in the Classy mission are why she loves working with nonprofits to help them make fundraising easier and successful.

Bryan Lively

Bryan Lively

Consultant

Bryan Lively has been in the non profit and endurance space for the last decade. He is a consultant helping to accelerate the growth and scalability of organizations. He is strategic, visionary, results driven, dedicated, loyal, successful and an enthusiastic leader. Bryan prides himself on developing amazing teams and individuals to become true success stories of their own. He is uniquely balanced while integrating every area of the business spectrum to include but not limited to; sales, operations, people development, human resources, training, technology, brick and mortar, ecommerce, real estate, brand awareness, loss prevention and merchandising. Bryan has played a large and critical role in creating and developing strong brands, atmosphere and culture for every business that he has touched. He brings high energy, great organizational techniques, effective communication skills, and a highly comprehensive background. Bryan was the Vice President of Retail, Real Estate and Visual Merchandising for Moosejaw Mountaineering that was sold to Walmart in February of 2017. He spent 12 years there growing the brand to be a top three ecommerce outdoor retailer. Bryan then joined the CrowdRise team as the VP of Sales and Customer. He grew the brand 10x in donation volume in three years which then sold to GoFundMe in January of 2017. Most recently, Bryan was the VP of Operations and Technology for Goldfish Swim School Franchising, growing the brand from 50 units open and operating to 103 units in less than three years and built and developed a Franchisor team from 22 to

He is now consulting full time so he can touch more organizations at the same time. Bryan sits on many non profit and for profit Boards, including Project Purple, Running USA, Kilter, KindKatch and more.

Bryan and his wife Karen celebrated 12 years of marriage earlier this year and have two daughters, Addyson (10) and Alexa (8).  He is an avid runner, cyclist and enjoys yoga. Pre-Covid Bryan and his family enjoyed traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Elena Manica

Elena Manica

Director, Community Partnerships, Kids Help Phone

Elena Manica is the Director, Community Partnerships at Kids Help Phone. She’s responsible for strategic development of community engagement and fundraising through events and partnerships, across all provinces and territories. Elena has been with Kids Help Phone since 2011.

Elena has managed the strategy, planning, and execution of multiple fundraising events – from local to international – for organizations like Kids Help Phone, the MS Society of Canada, Villa Charities, and Girls Inc. of York Region. She has increasingly gained competencies in corporate and community engagement, sponsorship, external event communication strategies, and project management.

Elena has always been passionate about supporting young people, and is a strong advocate for mental health and well-being, making her role at Kids Help Phone her “dream job.” In her spare time, Elena enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews, watching sports, and playing music.

Yoel Margolese

Yoel Margolese

Director, Bike4Chai

For more than two decades, Yoel has been actively involved in the nonprofit world. Starting off as a small-time event planner and fundraiser, Yoel has grown through the ranks. In 2010, Yoel helped start and build Bike4Chai, a charity bike ride whose main goal is to support Chai Lifeline in its important work of helping families dealing with serious pediatric illnesses. Under Yoel’s leadership, Bike4Chai has grown each year and has raised over 60 million dollars for the organization.

Yoel is passionate about helping people and organizations. He has helped numerous start-up nonprofits and is always happy to share his knowledge and experience. In his spare time, he loves to ride his bicycle, is an avid reader about leadership and history, and enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

Marcie Maxwell

Marcie Maxwell

Principal Fundraising Consultant, Charity Dynamics

Marcie joined the Charity Dynamics team in 2020 after 15+ years as a front-line fundraising and national events & campaign director. She started her career in non-profit at ALSAC/ St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in their Chicago field office, cutting her teeth on all types of fundraising events – radiothons, fashion show luncheons, school fundraising, galas, cause campaigns, you name it. She eventually made her to way to the national office in Memphis, managing their national volunteer partnerships and, ultimately, launching their walk program in 2008, growing it from $100K in year 1 to $8M by 2014. In 2015, Marcie accepted the role of Director of Chapter Fundraising Events with Make-A-Wish America, where she provided strategy, support & training to 60 chapters on the full event portfolio – walks, school fundraising, an endurance hiking program and galas & social events. Now at Charity Dynamics, she enjoys partnering with her clients and providing strategic guidance and analysis to help them optimize and grow their peer-to-peer fundraising events & campaigns.

Katrina McGhee

Katrina McGhee

Best-Selling Author, EVP, American Heart Association

For more than two decades, Katrina McGhee has been a champion for women. Having served on the executive level for two of the world’s largest non-profit organizations, the American Heart Association and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, she has traveled around the globe, advocating for and inspiring women in more than 12 countries on 3 continents.

In 2012 she embarked on a new adventure, channeling her passion for women’s empowerment into launching Loving on Me, a global movement encouraging women from every walk of life to love themselves and each other more. As Founder & Chief Inspiration Officer Katrina invited thousands to join her on the journey, forming a tribe of women committed to spreading love, sharing inspiration, and shifting the atmosphere in their local communities.

What began as a simple blog and online social group has grown into an empowered woman’s inspiration destination, providing tools and resources that ignite women around the world to become leaders in every aspect of life. Through her book, “Loving on Me! Lessons Learned on the Journey from Mess to Message,” videos, and speeches, she continuously challenges women to win the war for their self-worth by embracing their true purpose, passion, and peace.

Katrina has a lifetime of stories and experiences that have charted the course of her journey; but her most important story is a lifetime of commitment to women. Author, motivational speaker, and advocate, Katrina McGhee continues to build upon a legacy of working with women, and for women, inspiring them to achieve unimaginable success.

Elyse Meardon

Elyse Meardon

Vice President, Programs, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

Since 2013, Elyse Meardon has dedicated her professional career to changing kids’ health and changing the future with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. She is an expert in peer to peer sponsorships, generational engagement trends and strategies, and the delicate balance in managing people: keeping your humanity while driving fundraising results. As Vice President of Programs, she plays a crucial role in managing several CMN Hospitals’ power-house fundraising programs (Extra Life, Direct Marketing, Media, Credit Unions for Kids, Miracle Network Dance Marathon), developing systems, processes, templates, and growth strategies. When Elyse is away from work, you can find her on her yoga mat or in the garden. She lives in Portland, OR with her husband John, daughter Willa, two dogs, Abbey and Ky and kitten, Parsnip.

Robyn Mendez

Robyn Mendez

Vice President, Product Marketing, Tiltify

From handing out PB&J’s at the MS150 to co-authoring the P2P Fundraising Study, Robyn Mendez has spent the last 20 years building fundraising communities to make this world a better place. A self-proclaimed data nerd, she recently joined the team at Tiltify to bring the next evolution in P2P Fundraising technology to charitable organizations across the world. Robyn resides in Houston, TX with her husband, two kids and lazy bulldog.

Gary Metcalf

Gary Metcalf

Co-Founder, President, Cadence Sports, Inc.

Gary Co-Founded Cadence Sports in 2006 with a simple dream of working in the endurance sports arena he loved. A former soccer player turned triathlete, Gary is always on the move and does not comprehend the idea of not moving. Over the years, Gary has been fortunate to spearhead a myriad of different event projects, mostly in the cause-related arena, which has become a personal passion and focus of Cadence. Gary believes that our events can truly generate change by the impactful experience they create. Gary holds bachelor degrees in Economics and International Business and a minor in
Spanish from Texas Tech University. Gary works, trains, and spends as much time with his partner Kim and son Emerson.

Becky Mitts

Becky Mitts

Senior Director of Community Fundraising, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Becky is a dynamic senior peer-to-peer and fundraising leader with experience working at local, provincial, national and international levels. Currently, Becky is the Senior Director of Community Fundraising at the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. In this role, Becky leads the strategy and execution of MS Walk, MS Bike, We Challenge MS (DIY program) and community fundraising initiatives across Canada. Becky is passionate about leading high-performing teams and building communities of people driven to make change and rallying them to achieve the extraordinary.

Myrna Mulholland

Myrna Mulholland

Vice President, Annual and Individual Giving, JDRF International

Myrna Mulholland is the Vice President of Annual and Individual Giving for JDRF International and leads the organization’s efforts to create an Integrated, Multi-channel experience for all General and Mid-level donors, regardless of program. She is also a Master Trainer for JDRF’s Mastering Relationship Management Skills (MRMS) Training Program.

Myrna joined JDRF in October 2014 as a Region Director for New York Metro/MAC Region. In that position, she led 12 chapters working closely with the Executive Directors and Volunteer Leadership.

Prior to joining JDRF, Myrna spent 14 years with the National MS Society where she worked on a local, regional and then National Level. During her tenure, she lead the development and launch of the Society’s Centralized Mid and Major Giving programs and managed/supported 10 chapters where she provided consultation, training, coaching and direction in the areas of operational planning, fund development, programs and services, budget development, financial management, staff/board development and strategic planning.

Prior to joining the MS Society, Myrna served as a news and sports producer.

Myrna holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Queens University of Charlotte, with a concentration in Journalism.

She currently lives in Potomac, MD and is married with three kids.

Peter Panepento

Peter Panepento

Content Director, Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum

Peter Panepento is Turn Two’s philanthropic practice leader and serves as the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum’s content director. At Turn Two, Peter spearheads the firm’s work with clients such as the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative, Equity in the Center, ProInspire, the New York Community Trust, Southeastern Council of Foundations, America’s Charities, Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, the Greater Washington Community Foundation, and many others. These clients, and many others, rely on his knowledge of and connections to the nonprofit sector to advance their goals and reach a wider audience. Peter spent nearly 20 years in journalism, including more than a decade covering the nonprofit and foundation world at The Chronicle of Philanthropy — where he managed its online and social-media presence, developed cutting edge research and data projects such as How America Gives, and launched its webinar series. He is co-author of Modern Media Relations for Nonprofits and is chairman elect of the Community Foundation of Howard County.

Paul Purdy

Paul Purdy

Strategic Director, Endurance Events, American Cancer Society

Paul Purdy is the Strategic Director of Endurance Events at the Global Headquarters of the American Cancer Society. He has over 16 years of experience in event management and peer-to-peer fundraising. Paul originally hails from Western Pennsylvania and relocated back to Pittsburgh in 2015 after studying and working in Cleveland, Ohio for 12 years.

In Cleveland, he pursued a degree in Communication & Theatre Arts with a balanced liberal arts curriculum at John Carroll University, where he was involved in numerous student organization and civil justice initiatives.

After graduation, Paul began his career with the American Cancer Society working on multiple fundraising campaigns such as Relay For Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the C2C Relay Run. One of his biggest accomplishments include growing the signature event, the Pan Ohio Hope Ride, from an event of 55 cyclists to more than 450; which now raises $1 million annually and will be reaching the $10 million cumulative mark shortly after its upcoming 15th season.

Currently, Paul’s work consists of launching and leading the Society’s signature endurance event platform, the DetermiNation Endurance Series, which consists of 90 events totaling 10 million dollars in revenue. The events run the gamut of sports disciplines such as running, cycling, climbing, hiking, yoga, tennis, swimming, indoor cycling, adventure expeditions and kayaking. Within his portfolio there are owned/operated grassroots peer-to-peer events as well as partnership with third-party organizations. Through this nationwide platform he has created a new overarching brand to leverage in the market as well as providing an outlet to elevate and cross-promote many events that the society operates such as the Philadelphia Bike-a-thon, Climb to Conquer Cancer series and our Pedal to End Cancer indoor cycling series.

Paul received the Certified Special Event Professional certification through the International Live Event Association in 2015. The CSEP is a designation that is earned through experience, involvement with community organizations, and a thorough examination of the expertise of the candidate.

In addition to his career work, Paul supports the local community through outreach as a Board Member of the Pittsburgh Community Broadcast Corporation (90.5 WESA & 91.3 WYEP – Pittsburgh’s member funded NPR and Adult Alternative radio stations) and as a committee member of the Children’s Hospital Trust, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Jillian Schranz

Jillian Schranz

Director of Business Development, Event 360

Jillian has worn many hats at Event 360 in the past 14 years – from fundraising coach to project manager, to event IT support. She knows our work and our team inside and out. In her current role as Director of Business Development, she can perfectly partner our clients with the services they need and ensure our team delivers flawless event experiences that yield happy participants and stellar results.

Kevin Sims

Kevin Sims

National Director, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Ask him, and Kevin Sims will say he’s a journalism drop-out. And that’s the best thing that ever happened to him. After a 17-year stint in television news, he faced a frightening career change and a lot of uncertainty. But that’s exactly when he found peer-to-peer fundraising and discovered his new passion. A passion that now lives at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

His non-profit career began as a community manager with the American Cancer Society in north Alabama before transferring to lead Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. That’s where he joined the PanCAN team in the Fall of 2017, managing volunteer recruitment and PurpleStride fundraising events along the East and Gulf coasts. In the summer of 2020, he was named interim Director of Community Engagement, widening his efforts nationwide. Kevin started at PanCAN the same year PurpleStride cracked the Peer-to-Peer Top 30 list. Then a year later, the campaign climbed a couple more spots – and more notably, was one of only five programs to post a revenue increase of more than 10%. Under Kevin’s team effort, the Washington, D.C. PurpleStride became the organization’s first $1 million event. But it won’t be the last.

Kevin is a proud University of Oklahoma graduate and looks forward to attending football games every Fall. In his journalism career, he worked as a news reporter and anchor in Amarillo, TX, Chattanooga, TN and Oklahoma City and he now resides in Huntsville, AL. Kevin and his partner Mike can be found most weekends hiking with their dog, Tybee.

Alyson Sprafkin

Alyson Sprafkin

Senior Executive Director, Signature Events Development, City of Hope

Alyson Sprafkin is Senior Executive Director, Signature Events Development, at City of Hope in Duarte, California. Since assuming this role in June 2017, Alyson has revamped the peer-to-peer Signature Events program to increase revenue, maximize donor and participant cultivation and increase awareness consistent with City of Hope’s evolving footprint. From 2016 to 2019, Alyson more than doubled revenue for City of Hope’s flagship Signature Event campaign, the Los Angeles Walk for Hope. In 2020, Alyson quickly pivoted Walk for Hope to a virtual campaign that retained over 80% of the 2019 revenue.

Before joining City of Hope, Alyson spent over five years with March of Dimes, where she ultimately served as Senior Development Manager for the L.A. Market March for Babies campaign. Prior to her fundraising career, Alyson practiced law for ten years with Gould-Saltman Law Offices, PC with a focus on family law litigation. Alyson earned her B.A. in English/Psychology from the University of Maryland Honors College and her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and is admitted to the California bar and the U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

Originally from Baltimore, Alyson has called Los Angeles home for nearly 20 years and currently resides in the Silver Lake neighborhood with her husband (Mike), two sons (Dyson and Auggie), and Huskydoodle (Dodger Dog). When she is not working, Alyson enjoys running, reading and cheering for her beloved Los Angeles Dodgers.

Amanda Stanton

Amanda Stanton

Director, Events and Partnerships, Parkinson Canada

Amanda Stanton is an experienced and passionate peer-to-peer fundraiser with more than 13 years of experience working on events at the local, provincial, and national levels.

Currently, Amanda is in the role of Director, Events and Partnerships at Parkinson Canada where she oversees Parkinson SuperWalk, Pedaling for Parkinson’s, and Fundraising Your Way – the organization’s DIY/third-party platform.

Although her current scope is National, Amanda is very community-minded; consulting for many small, local non-profits and public interest groups on their events and fundraising programs. In her free time, Amanda volunteers as the Artistic Director of her local music festival, and enjoys spending time with her husband and three children at their home in Severn Bridge, Ontario.

Michael Wasserman

Michael Wasserman

CEO/Co-Founder, Tiltify

Michael Wasserman is CEO/Co-Founder of Tiltify, the most popular fundraising platform for content creators and livestreams. With more than 10 years of experience in charitable fundraising, Michael has helped raise over a $100 million through innovative strategies for major charities as a consultant and executive prior to starting Tiltify in 2014. Since then Tiltify has re-invented the telethon with interactive technology that has shown to raise funds up to 37x faster than offline fundraising. Tiltify currently works with over 2000 charities including St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Save the Children, HSUS, American Red Cross, Make-A-Wish America, United Way Worldwide and many more.

Brandon Wilmoth

Brandon Wilmoth

With more than 15 years’ experience in the peer-to-peer fundraising world, Brandon Wilmoth has led the strategic development, partnerships and implementation of endurance fundraising programs for ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Autism Speaks. As an avid endurance enthusiast himself, Brandon has completed numerous marathons, ultra marathons and Ironman triathlon events. If that isn’t enough, he attempts to keep up with his daughter (age 7), son (age 4) and their new puppy, Bella. Brandon and his wife, Alisha, live in Memphis, TN.