Margaret Christie, JD, Chair
Partner, Golan & Christie LLP
Margaret A. Christie is a partner with the law firm of Golan & Christie. Prior to her affiliation with Golan & Christie, she spent a number of years working at large law firms, including Rudnick & Wolfe (now, Piper Rudnick), where she was also a partner. Ms. Christie started her own firm and eventually merged her practice with several other firms until joining Field & Golan in 1995. Her areas of practice include commercial real estate, finance and general business law.
Ms. Christie is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University (B.A., Economics, summa cum laude) and Northwestern University School of Law, where Ms. Christie served as Executive Editor of the Law Review. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association and Commercial Real Estate Women. Margaret and her husband share their home with two pugs.
Lucy Mancini-Newell, Secretary
Kiran Consortium Group LLC
Lucy Mancini Newell, MBA, FHIMSS, is Managing Partner of The Kiran Consortium Group LLC. Ms. Mancini Newell is an Information Technology professional with experience in clinical operations, application vendors (ambulatory and inpatient settings), systems integrators and management consulting. One of the hallmarks of her professional success is effective communication of ideas, trends and issues on behalf of her clients while delivering results in a timely, effective manner. Her experience includes work in complex environments as well as project turnarounds. She was previously a Practice Leader of Information Technology Strategic Planning and System Selections, mentoring colleagues, working in collaborative and high impact teams, and actively contributing to an employer-based Thought Leadership Group and professional societies such as the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) and Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA). She actively contributes to healthcare industry publications (over 20), presentations (over 40) and blogs on many timely topics.
Steve Braun, CLU, Treasurer
Financial Advisor, Northwestern Mutual
Steve Braun has more than 25 years of service with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and The McTigue Financial Group. Steve has earned numerous awards throughout his career and is a past president and board member of Northwestern Mutual's Financial Representatives Association.
Steve is active in the community working with The City of Hope, Glenwood School for Boys and Girls, and the Marty Hennessy Jr. Tennis Foundation. He brings his understanding of philanthropy and wealth to support Cures Within Reach. Steve resides in Highland Park with his wife and children.
In 2015, Cures Within Reach was awarded a $25K grant from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation in honor of his community service.
Former Chair of the Board
Elizabeth Schuster Downey spent twelve years raising funds for Elmhurst college and eight years running the foundation for McHenryCounty College, in Crystal Lake, IL.
Before that time she owned a successful public relations and marketing consulting firm. Liz holds Bachelor's degrees in English and Journalism from Boston University and a Master's degree in Business and Management from Webster University.
Senior Manager, Global Sourcing APIs, Baxter International Inc.
Solveig Direnzo has close to 30 years of experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry with a solid understanding of laws, rules, and regulations governing manufacture and purchase of pharmaceutical and biological products on a global basis. She is a highly accomplished, innovative executive with proven success driving revenue, efficiency improvements, integration and divestiture activities in the pharmaceutical industry.
Her expertise lies in identifying business needs and leading cross-functional teams to devise and implement practical solutions. She has worked for Organon, Johnson & Johnson, Hoffman-La Roche, Wyeth, Pfizer, and is now with Hospira. She has a strong international background and is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian and conversant in French. She has a Masters Degree in business from the University of Phoenix and a BA in Communications and French from Rutgers College. She was born in Uruguay, lived in Argentina where she went to a British school, moved to the United States and lived in New Jersey, Virginia, and Kansas.
She recently moved to Lake Forest, IL and was joined by her Dad, two children, daughter-in-law, two grandchildren, German Shepard and Yellow Labrador Retriever.
Global Head of the IT Program and Portfolio Management for R&D, Takeda Pharmaceuticals
Richard Pless is pharmaceutical executive focused on innovative business processes and technologies. Over the past 15 years he has held a variety of management positions in R&D including leadership roles in technology strategy, IT project management, software development, and clinical data management.
Richard is active in his professional community. He is a member of the Executive Council of the Chicago Chapter of the Project Management Institute as well as the PMO Advisory Council. He also is a frequent presenter at industry conferences and has won awards for his presentations.
Richard earned his Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago where he studied quantitative methodologies and public finance.
Partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP
Matt is a leader in PwC’s Strategic Technologies practice and takes an innovation-led approach to his clients when delivering their strategic technology transformation initiatives. His 19+ years working at the intersection of technology and pharma R&D have provided his clients with pragmatic technology solutions to improve the way therapies are developed. Matt is a champion for the evolution of pharma R&D organizations’ move from established to emerging technologies and the impact to the relationships, engagement and productivity that the move has on the IT and business functions. Specifically, Matt has led scientific and operational analytics initiatives as well implemented digital technologies within Clinical Development, Regulatory Operations and Pharmacovigilance. These experiences have been informed by the analytics and digital projects that Matt has led in other industries (e.g. financial services, retail, high tech).
Matt’s passion for team building goes back to his time on the US National Rowing team where he and his teammates had success at all levels of international competition. Matt is raising the next generation of rowers, which are his three children, with his wife in Chicago. Matt holds Bachelor’s of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering and Management of Technology from the University of Minnesota and continues to be a huge Gopher sports fan even though these are dark times.