PEN Board Archives

Darla Brown

Board Chair

After a cancer diagnosis in 2010, Darla Brown shifted her career focus from entertainment and media startups to digital health entrepreneurship. In 2014, Darla co-founded, a SaaS platform that allowed patients to manage all their health history across providers.’s outreach programs included the Empowered Patient Chat series, which was acquired by Patient Empowerment Network,, an online health academy focused on health literacy and patient empowerment, and Conseils Patients, which is a French version of created in partnership with the Patient Empowerment Foundation in Lausanne, Switzerland.  As co-founder of the Healthcare Rights Coalition in November 2016, she is an advocate for affordable, equitable access to healthcare. Darla has over two decades experience in product and engineering leadership roles at web startups and software development companies such as Glossi,,, The Jim Henson Company, The Discovery Channel, E*TRADE, ABC/Disney, and the Digital Entertainment Network. Today she is a product and technology consultant for digital healthcare and wellness companies.

Alyssa Gutjahr

Board Secretary

Alyssa Gutjahr is a Senior Product Manager at NYU Langone Health, where she manages digital products to continuously improve the inpatient experience. Prior to her role at NYU Langone Health, Alyssa spent 4 years at NBCUniversal in a variety of positions, including as a Program Director in Cyber Security and as a Digital Product Manager for CNBC. Before working at NBCUniversal she was a consultant at IBM, supporting clients across healthcare and banking on Agile software development projects.

Alyssa served on the leadership committee of the NJ chapter for Comcast NBCUniversal TECHWomen during her time at NBCU, where she planned events to empower and connect women at NBCU, and inspire young women in the community to work in STEM. In college Alyssa served as the Colleges Against Cancer Publicity chair at Lehigh University, and was a founding member and the Service Chair for Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity.

Alyssa holds her BS in Business Management, with minors in Journalism and Writing from Lehigh University. Alyssa lives in NJ, and enjoys creative writing, traveling, and playing tennis in her free time.

Nancy Gatschet

Board Member

Nancy has over 35 years of leadership experience in consumer and commercial banking. Nancy holds her BA from the College of William and Mary in German, and was lucky enough to study one year at the University of Salzburg in Austria. In addition to some post-graduate work at Drexel University, she has held the Series 7, 66 and 21 financial licenses as well as life and health insurance licenses. Nancy is a lifelong volunteer, serving as cubmaster, cookie mom, Sunday School teacher, feeding the homeless, walking Town Watch, serving on the boards of several community organizations as well as the national board of the National Lung Cancer Partnership. She founded the Pennsylvania Lung Cancer Partnership raising $1.5 million in 6 years statewide. Nancy has a son serving in the Army and a daughter working on her MS in nutrition, and 1 grandchild from each. Nancy relocated to San Diego in late 2013 from Philadelphia to join her daughter here on the west coast. She lives in Point Loma with her bichon and chihuahua boys, and operates Happy Paws of San Diego, a dog walking/pet sitting business. She volunteers with Advocates for Classical Music introducing elementary school children to classical music prior to their attending a symphonic performance designed for kids, serves as Board Secretary and Vocational Chair with the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary, and serves on the Development Committee with LungForce (ALA).

Lauri Bolton

Board Member

Lauri Bolton is committed to improving the healthcare experience for patients, employees, and providers; dedicated to continuous improvement, and passionate about community-based care and ensuring access to services, support, and high-quality care in rural areas.  

Lauri applies more than 25 years of human resources and healthcare leadership experience to provide vision and direction for organizational initiatives that create exceptional environments. In addition to HR and organizational development, the scope of her work has included patient experience, marketing/communications, physical environment, and ancillary services in a variety of settings ranging from urban corporate environments to remote rural locations. She currently serves as the Vice President of Human Resources for OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center. 

Lauri’s drive to improve employee and patient experience and commitment to excellence led her to serve as an Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award program. The Baldrige Award is the nation’s highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence; examiners must meet high qualification standards and demonstrate competencies related to customer focus, communication, ethics, action orientation, team building and analytical skills.  

Lauri holds a bachelor’s degree from Rocky Mountain College and an MBA from George Fox University; she also holds multiple human resources-related certifications.  She lives in the Pacific Northwest and enjoys beachcombing, cooking, reading–anything and everything!–and is an avid gardener.  

LaWanda Byrd

Board Member

LaWanda is the Director of Volunteer Services at the Moffitt Cancer Center where she manages the daily operations of her department, including volunteer recruitment, retention, training, engagement and productivity. She is also responsible for the Pet Therapy program and Cancer Center retail operations. Prior to her work in Volunteer Services, LaWanda spent seven years in Environmental Services, dedicated to keeping patients safe through the management of 2 million square feet over multiple sites.

LaWanda’s work at the Moffitt Cancer Center is supplemented by her volunteer contributions and expert presentations. She has presented on topics ranging from Best Practices in Healthcare Environmental Services to Diversity in Healthcare Delivery at multiple summits and conferences. LaWanda has volunteered with the Association of Florida Healthcare Auxiliaries and the American College of Healthcare Executives.

LaWanda’s background includes a certification as a Diversity Professional from Cornell University. She also holds a Masters of Public Administration and a B.A. in Political Science from Michigan State as well as a Masters of Business Administration from St. Leo University.

Sujata Dutta

Board Member

Sujata is an accomplished engineer and management professional with experience in strategic long-range planning, resource allocation and capacity building. Sujata holds a BA in Economics, a MSc in International Fashion Marketing, and a MS in Engineering Management. In a career spanning over 20 years, Sujata has lived and worked in Asia, Europe, and North America. Working across Hospitality, Retail, Consumer Goods and Healthcare, Sujata believes no matter the size or type of business, team, or country – three things are most important – building relations, continuous learning, and teamwork. 

Giving back to the community has been an integral part of her life. Sujata has been volunteering for several years for underprivileged children and the elderly in India, supported Oxfam and the British Heart Foundation when she lived in the UK and for the Chance Foundation and Mayo clinic in the US. She served as an advisory member in the enrollment and capacity management committee at the Osseo School District from 2016-2019. When Sujata was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in December of 2019, she shifted her passion for volunteering towards cancer and cancer patients. Sujata is on a mission to ‘normalize’ cancer by providing strength, encouragement, and empowerment to cancer patients and caregivers. Through social media outlets, Sujata lends her ears, voice, and support to patients and caregivers from across the globe. She shares her experience with newly diagnosed patients and talks about the power of positivity, one ‘bold’ step at a time. 

Sujata lives in Minnesota with her loving husband and two gorgeous boys. She enjoys traveling and watching baking shows in her free time. Sujata is immensely passionate about mixed media painting. She combines her passion for painting and community-giving by donating her paintings to raise funds for her favorite charities. 

Learn More About Sujata:


Andrea Marquez

Board Member

Andrea Marquez is a Mexican-American with 8+ years of professional experience in production, digital marketing, administration and communications strategies. She currently works at Amazon as a Podcast Host and Producer for Amazon’s first official podcast with the goal of helping small business owners.

Her past roles at the Hispanic Communications Network and Cien+ involved managing clients/projects, timelines, metrics and reporting. With a background in journalism and communications strategy, Andrea curated and executed high-impact campaigns that were distributed through La Red Hispana and developed LatinEQUIS, an English-language brand seeking to motivate Millennial and Gen Z audiences to get involved with the Latinx community.

Andrea’s previous experience includes working for singer and producer Marc Anthony’s company, developing a rebranding strategy, improving communications, and engaging Marc’s fanbase. She also worked at A&E Networks, the parent company of AE Network, the History Channel, and Lifetime — as a digital editor and marketing manager. During her time at A&E, Andrea led production teams for in-house productions, was in charge of History Channel’s YouTube content and served as a key part of the team that initiated a corporate diversity program within the company. While finishing her Master’s degree Andrea was a freelance writer and event organizer in Texas and Mexico City, working with the Secretariat of Agriculture of Mexico, the Penguin Random House Publishing Company, and various production companies.

Andrea holds a B.A. in Political Science and Theatre Directing from Columbia University in New York City and a Master’s in Journalism and Legal Studies from Harvard University. During her free time, she enjoys reading (she reviews books for Penguin Random House), building Legos, or doing anything that involves being creative.

Listen to Andrea share her and her family’s inspiring story of patient empowerment on Rosa es Rojo’s SuperVive podcast, here.

Deirdre McGinley-Gieser

Board Member

Deirdre McGinley-Gieser is the Executive Vice President for the American Institute for Cancer Research and responsible for the overall management of the Institute. She has worked to advance the cancer prevention mission and vision of AICR for over 25 years.  Prior to her current position, Deirdre directed the research, education and communications departments of the Institute and led on advocacy and policy. She has also worked at AICR’s international affiliate, World Cancer Research Fund International, in London, U.K. as the Director for WCRF’s international operations. She contributed to starting and building other WCRF affiliates working in diverse areas such as legal, regulatory, fundraising and program development as well as strategic planning.  Deirdre has had the privilege of working on all three of the WCRF/AICR Expert Reports published in 1997, 2007 and 2018 respectively. 

Pam Rattananont

Board Member

Pam Rattananont is an accomplished life sciences and patient advocacy leader with over 25 years of experience in the field. She has a proven track record of delivering outstanding results for pharmaceutical/biotech partners, patients, advocates and care partners in addressing challenges with care coordination and accessibility to care in patient populations with high unmet medical needs such as cancer and rare diseases.

Pam began her career in medical education and has held leadership positions with renowned organizations such as Takeda Pharmaceuticals, The Association of Community Cancer Centers, Academy of Oncology Patient & Nurse Navigators, and Parexel International. Her experience in these roles allowed her to drive transformative initiatives and collaborate with key stakeholders to improve patient outcomes and ensuring that patients, their care partners, and healthcare teams are equipped with the knowledge, confidence, and resources to make informed, shared treatment decisions.

Pam holds a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Colgate University. Her passion, focus, and dedication have been recognized with several prestigious awards and executive development programs. She has been honored as one of PharmaVoice’s 100 Most Inspiring People and has been included in Folio’s Top Women in Media and selected for the Women in Leadership programs.

Lori Sackett

Board Member

Lori Flexer Sackett, CFA, is a retired Senior Vice President a portfolio manager, working with high net worth families and foundations. She earned her B.A. in business administration from the University of Puget Sound and continued her education at Richmond College in London where she studied international business and art history. She earned a number of professional designations during her career including Chartered Financial Analyst, Certified Life Underwriter and Fellow of the Life Management Institue.  

 Volunteerism has been at the heart of her life, beginning with Friends of Oregon Public Broadcasting in 1986. She has continued to serve in the non-profit community and chaired a number of boards including American Red Cross Oregon Trail Chapter, Friends of the Children, Friends of the Children Foundation and the Campaign for Women’s Health at Oregon Health Science University. She has served as a member of the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation and the Children’s Institute, an organization focused on statewide public policy for early childhood education. She is past chair and a founder of the Circle of Giving for the Center for Women’s Health at Oregon Health & Science University. Other board service includes the Multnomah County Library Foundation and the Portland Chamber of Commerce. She has been honored for her leadership by Portland State University, the Portland Chamber, the Portland Business Journal and the American Red Cross. 

Education, community well-being and healthcare have been a common theme in the volunteer service. As a breast cancer survivor and multiple nyeloma patient, PEN’s mission is very personal, and the patient and caregiver impact is inspiring. 

Eric Vicks

Board Member

Mr. Vicks is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and comes with over 15 years of policy and advocacy experience within the public health and primary health care arenas. He has used these platforms to address health disparities and to provide ordinary people in high need and under-resourced communities a voice in the policy-making process to shape issues important to them. His areas of expertise include, project planning and management, government affairs, grassroots development, and community relations particularly in communities of color. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Cincinnati. He consults with and serves on several local boards in the D.C. area which work to improve health and promote equity.