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Executive and Management Team

Jay A. Feinberg
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Jay A. Feinberg

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

A 26 year transplant survivor, Jay Feinberg is Gift of Life's founder and Chief Executive Officer. Jay was diagnosed with leukemia in 1991 and told that his only hope of a cure was a bone marrow transplant. With the support of his friends and family, Jay embarked on a groundbreaking international search for a matching donor. After organizing 250 drives and testing 60,000 potential donors, Jay's match turned out to be the very last donor tested at the very last drive. He received his transplant at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington in July 1995 thanks to his bone marrow donor, Becky Faibisoff. 

Jay formerly served on the Board of Directors of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) in the capacity of Secretary of North and South America. For years, he volunteered his time as an inspector for the WMDA's Accreditation Committee. Jay is on the Editorial Board of Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide. 

Jay received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Jay brings tremendous innovation to marrow donor registries through his leadership at Gift of Life, including the first registry-integrated stem cell collection center housed at Gift of Life’s Boca Raton headquarters, the use of cheek swabs for bloodless testing at donor drives, complete typing at initial recruitment, and a smart phone app to make the registration process faster and more secure.

He has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Charles Bronfman Prize which recognizes dynamic leaders whose innovation and impact serve as inspiration for the future generations. Other notable honors include the National Marrow Donor Program's Allison Atlas Award and Hadassah International's Citizen of the World Award. Jay is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Yeshiva University, received along with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In 2010, Jay received the Jewish Community Hero Award from the Jewish Federations of North America, a leadership award honoring those making strides to repair the world, starting in their own communities.

In 2013, Jay was recognized in the Algemeiner Jewish 100 List-the top one hundred individuals who have positively influenced and lifted the quality of Jewish life. Also in 2013, Jay was the recipient of the Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award from the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). This award is the highest honor bestowed by the Reform Movement. Every two years at the URJ's Biennial, the Award is conferred on an individual for service to the world community and Reform Jewry. "It is people like Jay Feinberg who truly make our world a better place," said URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. "Jay's tireless work has saved countless lives, and his actions follow in the footsteps of Reform social justice pioneers, such as Rabbi Eisendrath. The Talmud teaches that whoever saves a life, it is as if he has saved the entire world. Jay's work so truly embodies this teaching, and for that, we are abundantly grateful."

Jay shares this distinction with other notable luminaries including actor and Parkinson's disease advocate Michael J. Fox, Israeli diplomat and politician Abba Eban, former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres OBM of Israel, former President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, United States Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, former White House Press Secretary James Brady, and businessman and philanthropist Charles R. Bronfman.

In 2011, Jay was one of three non-profit leaders in South Florida to be awarded a scholarship to the Harvard Business School's executive education program "Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management," the flagship of the HBS Social Enterprise Program designed for top executives in the non-profit sector. 

Jay has been an invited guest at the White House during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidential administrations, and travels regularly to speak on social justice and community activism, sharing his personal story and Gift of Life's grass roots efforts. Jay is proud to be an honorary brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi).

To request an Interview with Jay Feinberg, please email Barby Pilpel, bpilpel@giftoflife.org.

 

 

Barby A. Pilpel
Chief Administrative Officer

Barby A. Pilpel

Chief Administrative Officer

Barby A. Pilpel joined Gift of Life in 2000. In 2003, she was promoted to Operations Manager, and from 2006 to 2012, she served as the organization's Associate Executive Director. In that capacity, Barby oversaw the daily operations and administrative functions of the organization. Today, she focuses much of her time on strategic planning and special projects with the CEO.

During her time with the organization, Barby has seen it grow from a registry of 60,000 potential donors for patients in need to over 350,000 and growing.

Having been exposed to every facet of the organization over the past 19 years, Barby has become an expert in many areas critical to its mission. She is a highly accomplished, detail-oriented visionary and decisive leader with a track record of proven success and peerless passion for her job. Barby holds certificates in Management and Accounting, as well as Human Resources from Florida Atlantic University.

Barby is originally from Toronto and currently resides in West Palm Beach with her husband, Shayne, and two dogs.

Michael W. Schuster, M.D.
Registry Medical Director

Michael W. Schuster, M.D.

Registry Medical Director

Dr. Michael Schuster is Gift of Life's Medical Director, as well as the Director of the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Program and Hematologic Malignancy Program of Stony Brook University Hospital in New York. Throughout this career, Dr. Schuster has facilitated more than a thousand stem cell transplants. 

Dr. Schuster's research interests include new drug development in hematologic malignancies including multiple myeloma, lymphoma, myelodysplastic syndrome and leukemia; therapeutic uses of cytokines; bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantation; and the role of pro-inflammatory cytokines in geriatric and cancer cachexia, anemia, and in other disease states. He also maintains research interests in the treatment of the immunocompromised host. He is well published in these areas and lectures frequently about topics such as new drug development, transplantation and treatment of hematologic malignancies. For the past seven years, he has been named as one of the Best Doctors in New York. 

Serving as the principal investigator for more than 200 clinical trials during the past 20 years, Dr. Schuster has worked extensively in the area of new drug development in oncology and stem cell transplantation. He has been involved in clinical trials that have led to the registration of breakthrough oncology drugs such as Gleevec and Velcade. 

Dr. Schuster received his medical degree at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire. He completed his training in hematology/oncology at Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and his postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology at Harvard University.

Bruce A. Lenes, M.D.
Medical Director, Medical Services

Bruce A. Lenes, M.D.

Medical Director, Medical Services

Bruce A. Lenes, MD, is the Medical Director overseeing Gift of Life's Donor Services Department, Collection Center and Laboratory. Over the last 35 years, he has served as the Medical Director of ONEBLOOD, Inc. (and its predecessors) and as the Senior Medical Director for Corporate Operations for Blood Systems, Inc., the third and second largest regional blood centers in the United States respectively. Dr. Lenes trained in Internal Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville and trained in Hematology at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC. He then served as a staff fellow in Transfusion Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD. Among numerous awards, he was a first round recipient of the Transfusion Medicine Academic Award, an NHLBI grant to develop educational programs in Transfusion Medicine. 

Dr. Lenes has published over 40 scientific articles with special emphasis on medical education and diseases transmitted by transfusion. He has served on numerous national committees and also as Chairman of the National American Red Cross Medical Affairs Committee, from 1991 to 1994. Currently, Dr. Lenes serves as Senior Medical Director for LifeSouth Regional Blood Center in Gainesville, Florida. He was raised in Yorktown Heights, New York and went on to attend Union University in Schenectady, New York and Albany Medical College in Albany, New York. 

His current academic titles include: 

  • Clinical Associate Professor of Pathology and Medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine
  • Clinical Professor of Medicine, Nova Southeastern School of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Clinical Professor of Laboratory Sciences, Florida International University
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University School of Medicine
Marti Freund, JD
Director of Organizational Advancement

Marti Freund, JD

Director of Organizational Advancement

Marti Freund has been on the Gift of Life team since 2010. She earned a BA from Union College in managerial economics and a JD from the University of Miami School of Law.  She is the director of Organizational Advancement, responsible for strengthening and diversifying Gift of Life's brand.  Marti's department oversees registry growth, marketing and public relations.   

Throughout her career, Marti has been actively involved in non-profits. Prior to joining Gift of Life, she worked at the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  She found a passion in Gift of Life after her brother was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. His donor, Ronnie, was found through the registry. 

Marti is originally from New Jersey and now resides in Boca Raton with her husband, George, and three sons, George, Eric and Patrick.

Lindsey Greenberg, BSN, RN
Director of Donor Services

Lindsey Greenberg, BSN, RN

Director of Donor Services

Lindsey Greenberg is Gift of Life's Director of Donor Services and has been affiliated with the organization since 2005. Lindsey is responsible for oversight of Gift of Life's Donor Services Department, overseeing key operations including donor retention, extended and confirmatory typing, workup and post-donation follow-up. Lindsey has been focused on building the department, working with the team to complete over 300 donations since coming onboard. 

Before joining Gift of Life, Lindsey worked as a registered nurse in the field of orthopaedic and traumatic injuries. Lindsey holds two Bachelors of Science, one from the University of Florida and the second from Florida Atlantic University. Although she attended two different universities, Lindsey bleeds true orange and blue. And, fun fact, she also holds a teaching certification in hot yoga. 

Lindsey's personal motto in life is "It is not about what you get but what you give." She has a personal connection to Gift of Life's mission, as her brother is a bone marrow transplant recipient and was transplanted at the same facility as our own Jay Feinberg. Lindsey is the proud parent of a furry Pomeranian mix named Honey Bear and a baby boy named Garan.

Robyn Malek, LMHC
Director of Development

Robyn Malek, LMHC

Director of Development

Robyn is responsible for overseeing the Development Department at Gift of Life, including all fundraising activities. A lifelong resident of South Florida, Robyn earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Barry University in psychology and her graduate degree from Nova Southeastern University. After graduating, she began practicing as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor part time and began her work in the nonprofit field.

Robyn previously worked as the Director of Development for Miami Beach’s Hebrew Academy and was the Associate Executive Director of the Miami Beach Jewish Community Center.  Robyn has been in fundraising for the past 15 years and is passionate about serving the community. When the opportunity presented itself to join the Gift of Life team, Robyn says it was as if all of her previous experiences brought her to the cause.

To save a life is to save the world. Robyn truly feels it is an honor to be able to serve Gift of Life.

Rafi Freudenberger
Chief Information Officer

Rafi Freudenberger

Chief Information Officer

Rafi Freudenberger serves as Gift of Life's Chief Information Officer and has been with the organization for 20 years, first as a volunteer and then as an employee. Under Rafi's leadership, Gift of Life has developed MatchQuest, a powerful and flexible system that manages all facets of the organization's daily operations. 

MatchQuest's uniquely tailored technology enables Gift of Life to ensure that transplant centers are serviced as quickly as possible. It allows them to search for a match on behalf of a patient in need while maintaining strict quality standards imposed by FDA regulations. 

Rafi's dedication and drive in founding and growing Gift of Life's Information Systems department is made possible by his experience at two startup companies: Cleyal, Inc. and Digital Fuel, Inc. Rafi co-founded and served as Cleyal's VP of Engineering for eight years and later sold Cleyal's technology to Sapiens, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPNSF). Two years before joining Gift of Life, Rafi served as VP of Product Management for Digital Fuel, Inc., the leading provider of IT Financial Management SaaS Solutions. Digital Fuel was subsequently purchased by VMWare, Inc. (Nasdaq: VMW). 

Rafi received his Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics & Computer Science from UCLA.

Nelson Gonzalez, MCSE
Director of Information Technology

Nelson Gonzalez, MCSE

Director of Information Technology

Nelson Gonzalez serves as Gift of Life's Information Technology Director and has been affiliated with the organization for 18 years. He started as a volunteer in 1998, eventually becoming a full time team member in 2004. Prior to working at Gift of Life, Nelson worked as Network Administrator for Seta Corporation in Boca Raton, Florida. In his role here, Nelson is in charge of all computer network infrastructure and systems. 

In addition to his duties overseeing Information Technology at Gift of Life, Nelson also serves as the organization's Contingency and Disaster Planning Officer. Nelson is a trained courier and periodically volunteers his time on behalf of transplant centers to transport bone marrow around the world. Nelson also periodically volunteers his time at donor recruitment drives for patients in need. "It's a pleasure to work with the Gift of Life family," he says. "I am honored to play a role in helping to save lives along with my colleagues." 

Nelson earned his Associate's in Business Administration from Seminole Community College and is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, Certified Novell Administrator, and an A+ Certified PC Technician.

Shijo Joseph
Associate Director of Information Systems

Shijo Joseph

Associate Director of Information Systems

Shijo Joseph has been with Gift of Life since 2010. Shijo oversees MatchQuest, the powerful and flexible system that manages all facets of the organization’s daily operations. MatchQuest’s uniquely tailored technology enables Gift of Life to ensure that transplant centers searching for a match on behalf of a patient in need are serviced as quickly as possible, while maintaining the strict quality standards imposed by FDA regulations. Shijo earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Computer Application.

Elizabeth Crews, MT(ASCP), CTBS, CQA(ASQ)
Chief Quality and Compliance Officer

Elizabeth Crews, MT(ASCP), CTBS, CQA(ASQ)

Chief Quality and Compliance Officer

Elizabeth serves as Gift of Life's Chief Quality and Compliance Officer. The Quality Department oversees quality systems and regulatory compliance for the organization and ensures that the products and services provided by Gift of Life are safe, are effective, and meet the needs of our patients. 

Elizabeth earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and began her in career Laboratory Medicine. Elizabeth has 20+ years of experience working in operations, quality assurance, and regulatory compliance at non-profit blood and tissue banks. Elizabeth is a Licensed Medical Technologist, Certified Tissue Bank Specialist (AATB), and a Certified Quality Auditor (ASQ).

Omardeen "Dee" Woodley, RN
Director, Adelson Gift of Life - Be The Match Collection Center

Omardeen "Dee" Woodley, RN

Director, Adelson Gift of Life - Be The Match Collection Center

Omardeen “Dee” Woodley, RN, is Apheresis Facility Director of Gift of Life Marrow Registry’s stem cell collection center. Dee has  six years of experience as an apheresis nurse in extracorporeal therapies.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Keiser University, and is a 14-year veteran of the United States Air Force. She served time in the Royal Air Force (RAF) at Mildenhall Air Force Base in the United Kingdom, then Mountain Air Force Base in Mountain Home, Idaho.

She returned home to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. after four years to attend nursing school.

Dee loves to travel and has one son, Elias.

 

Richaele Nichiporenko, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
Associate Director, Medical Services

Richaele Nichiporenko, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC

Associate Director, Medical Services

Richaele Nichiporenko, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, serves as the Family Nurse Practitioner for Gift of Life Marrow Registry. She is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and licensed in Florida. She has been practicing nursing for over 11 years and has a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and health care industry. Richaele received a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Florida Atlantic University whose philosophy is grounded in caring and community outreach.

Richaele is an active member of the American Society of Apheresis and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

She is passionate about the advances in stem cell therapy and honored to serve the Gift of Life Marrow Registry.

Francesca Gullo, Ph.D.
Scientific Director

Francesca Gullo, Ph.D.

Scientific Director

Francesca Gullo serves as Gift of Life Marrow Registry’s Scientific Director. She has a broad background in regenerative medicine, with specific trainings and expertise in the clinical application of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) for articular cartilage regeneration. Her research includes the identification of a MSC subset with enhanced chondrogenic ability (F. Gullo et al., 2013) and the development of a computational model that supports the research in the hematopoietic field (F. Gullo et al., 2015). The aim of her PhD project was the identification of biomarker sets for consistent enrichment/purification of functionally distinct MSC subsets from the human synovium.

As a postdoctoral scientist at UCLA, Francesca became very familiar with Osteoarthritis. At the University of Oxford, she was involved in the discovery of small molecules that play a key role in the expansion of umbilical cord blood-derived Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs). At InVitroCellResearch, she worked with Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, whereas at TransfusionHealth she investigated the clinical applications of CD34+ cells from peripheral blood.

Prior to joining Gift of Life, she wrote National Institutes of Health grants for clinical trials with MSCs and managed some aspects of the R&D with MSCs.

Throughout her career, she has become very familiar with the regenerative medicine field which is her great passion. She has supervised PhD students, postdocs and scientific staff in biotechs, has managed multiple scientific projects, and trained/hired scientific staff. She is currently completing an advanced project management course.

Francesca earned her Ph.D. in Regenerative Medicine from the University of Aberdeen, and her Master of Science in Molecular Biology and Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Catania.

She has been published in numerous medical and scientific journals.

 

Mindy Ginsberg
Associate Director of Development

Mindy Ginsberg

Associate Director of Development

Mindy Ginsberg is responsible for donor stewardship, grant writing, and is an integral part of the planning and implementation of the Development Department’s initiatives, special campaigns and fundraising events. A native of South Florida, Mindy has had an extensive background in fundraising and marketing for over 30 years. Her previous positions have included: Executive Director for the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science, Palm Beach Region, Director of Institutional Advancement for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Yeshiva University, Palm Beach Region, Director of the Palm Beach Island Campaign/Advanced Gifts for Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.

Mindy became aware of Gift of Life back in 2005, when she had the opportunity to witness Jay Feinberg receiving an Honorary Doctorate from Yeshiva University, along with Hillary Clinton and several other recipients. Fast forward to 2012, when she learned of a job opportunity at Gift of Life and was excited about the prospect of joining their staff. She states, “This is the most rewarding position I have held in my entire career. There is nothing more meaningful to me than knowing that I have had a small part in helping to save lives.” Mindy is passionate about creating awareness and reaching out to others to further Gift of Life’s mission.

Board of Directors

Stephen B. Siegel
Chairman of the Board

Stephen B. Siegel

Chairman of the Board

Chairman, Global Brokerage

CBRE

In his role as CBRE’s Chairman of Global Brokerage, Stephen Siegel advises major corporations and property owners on a broad range of real estate strategies. Widely regarded as one of the industry’s most talented and prolific professionals, he has been called by the media “a powerhouse,” “an icon,” “a game changer” and “the most legendary and revered broker still plying the trade in NY.”

Prior to the merger with CBRE, as Chairman and CEO of Insignia/ESG, Mr. Siegel was largely responsible for masterminding the firm’s expansion nationwide as well as throughout EMEA and the Americas. He also managed a group that completed approximately $2 billion in co-investments in a wide range of U.S. real estate portfolios across property types. Mr. Siegel initially rose to prominence in the industry at Cushman & Wakefield, where he became President and CEO at age 37. 

Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. Siegel has arranged multimillion-dollar transactions for some of the nation’s most prominent corporate clients. Recently, he represented Hudson’s Bay Company in the consolidation and relocation of its U.S. headquarters to 410,000 sq. ft. at Brookfield Place, a transaction that included an 85,000-sq.-ft. Saks Fifth Avenue anchoring Brookfield Place. In another recent high-profile deal, Mr. Siegel represented L’Oréal on its 407,000 sq. ft. headquarters relocation to the Related Company’s 10 Hudson Yards. He is a member of the agency leasing team for 7, 4, 3 and 2 World Trade Center.

Mr. Siegel negotiated Gucci Group’s lease at Trump Tower—the most valuable retail deal then completed—on behalf of The Trump Organization, a transaction recognized by REBNY as 2006’s Most Creative Retail Deal of the Year. He also advised Hudson Waterfront Associates, a partnership of overseas investors, on the acquisition of 1290 Avenue of the Americas for $1.25 billion, re-selling it one year later to Vornado Realty Trust. In addition, Mr. Siegel arranged the $306 million sale of a parcel at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, the last developable site within the 42nd Street Development Project, to SJP Properties, which constructed Eleven Times Square, a one-million-sq.-ft. office property, on the site.

Renowned for his philanthropy, Mr. Siegel has been called by The Wall Street Journal “the most generous person in the industry.” He sits on numerous nonprofit boards—at one point in his career more than 16—and has endowed fellowships at leading institutions including the Cardozo School of Law, and received honorary doctorates from Baruch College and Yeshiva University, among others. Honored by innumerable organizations ranging from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum to Israel Bonds, Mr. Siegel was recently celebrated, along with fellow honorees Queen Latifah and Danny Meyer, for his contributions to the Young Women’s Leadership Network’s CollegeBound Initiative. 

Frequently quoted in major newspapers, Mr. Siegel has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, LEADERS Magazine and the Real Deal, most recently in March 2016. He is regularly among the Commercial Observer’s Power 100 and has been named by Crain’s as one of the 100 Most Influential Business Leaders in New York City. He was featured in the Urban Land Institute’s Leadership Legacies: Lessons Learned from Ten Real Estate Legends as well as in the best-selling Commercial Real Estate Brokers Who Dominate. Mr. Siegel has also been honored with Commercial Property News’ Lifetime Achievement Award, and has received prestigious industry awards from REBNY and New York University’s Real Estate Institute.

Jay A. Feinberg
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Jay A. Feinberg

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

A 26 year transplant survivor, Jay Feinberg is Gift of Life's founder and Chief Executive Officer. Jay was diagnosed with leukemia in 1991 and told that his only hope of a cure was a bone marrow transplant. With the support of his friends and family, Jay embarked on a groundbreaking international search for a matching donor. After organizing 250 drives and testing 60,000 potential donors, Jay's match turned out to be the very last donor tested at the very last drive. He received his transplant at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington in July 1995 thanks to his bone marrow donor, Becky Faibisoff. 

Jay formerly served on the Board of Directors of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) in the capacity of Secretary of North and South America. For years, he volunteered his time as an inspector for the WMDA's Accreditation Committee. Jay is on the Editorial Board of Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide. 

Jay received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Jay brings tremendous innovation to marrow donor registries through his leadership at Gift of Life, including the first registry-integrated stem cell collection center housed at Gift of Life’s Boca Raton headquarters, the use of cheek swabs for bloodless testing at donor drives, complete typing at initial recruitment, and a smart phone app to make the registration process faster and more secure.

He has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Charles Bronfman Prize which recognizes dynamic leaders whose innovation and impact serve as inspiration for the future generations. Other notable honors include the National Marrow Donor Program's Allison Atlas Award and Hadassah International's Citizen of the World Award. Jay is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Yeshiva University, received along with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In 2010, Jay received the Jewish Community Hero Award from the Jewish Federations of North America, a leadership award honoring those making strides to repair the world, starting in their own communities.

In 2013, Jay was recognized in the Algemeiner Jewish 100 List-the top one hundred individuals who have positively influenced and lifted the quality of Jewish life. Also in 2013, Jay was the recipient of the Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award from the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). This award is the highest honor bestowed by the Reform Movement. Every two years at the URJ's Biennial, the Award is conferred on an individual for service to the world community and Reform Jewry. "It is people like Jay Feinberg who truly make our world a better place," said URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. "Jay's tireless work has saved countless lives, and his actions follow in the footsteps of Reform social justice pioneers, such as Rabbi Eisendrath. The Talmud teaches that whoever saves a life, it is as if he has saved the entire world. Jay's work so truly embodies this teaching, and for that, we are abundantly grateful."

Jay shares this distinction with other notable luminaries including actor and Parkinson's disease advocate Michael J. Fox, Israeli diplomat and politician Abba Eban, former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres OBM of Israel, former President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, United States Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, former White House Press Secretary James Brady, and businessman and philanthropist Charles R. Bronfman.

In 2011, Jay was one of three non-profit leaders in South Florida to be awarded a scholarship to the Harvard Business School's executive education program "Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management," the flagship of the HBS Social Enterprise Program designed for top executives in the non-profit sector. 

Jay has been an invited guest at the White House during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidential administrations, and travels regularly to speak on social justice and community activism, sharing his personal story and Gift of Life's grass roots efforts. Jay is proud to be an honorary brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi).

To request an Interview with Jay Feinberg, please email Barby Pilpel, bpilpel@giftoflife.org.

 

 

William Begal
President and Chairman Emeritus

William Begal

President and Chairman Emeritus

Bill first encountered a bone marrow drive when his childhood friend, Allison Atlas, was searching for a compatible donor. He was tested as a match for her in November 1989.

Nearly five years later, in October 1994, he became more aware of the need for marrow donors when he learned that his contemporary, Jay Feinberg, was searching for a lifesaving match. Bill’s uncle, Arnie Draiman, called to tell him about Jay’s desperate need and the expansive worldwide search to find him a compatible donor.

At the age of 25, Bill traveled with Arnie to Minsk, the capital city of Belarus, both feeling it was incumbent upon them to save Jay’s life. For four weeks they searched for a genetic needle in a haystack, seeking someone of related ancestry who could possibly be Jay’s match. While there, they tested over 400 people, which at that time was still done via a blood draw using needles.

After returning from the journey, Bill continued serving Jay and at the time, “Friends of Jay.” Bill spoke frequently about his trip to Minsk, shared the story of Jay’s search and the eventual founding of Gift of Life. He also began to courier lifesaving donations of bone marrow and stems cells to patients around the world.

In 2009 Bill joined Gift of Life's Board of Directors and currently serves as Chairman of the Board.

His 18-year ownership of a disaster restoration business that cleaned up after fires and floods taught him to always be prepared for the unexpected. Disaster recovery is not always needed, but when it was, he was there to provide valuable and timely experience and expertise. Those same skills serve Gift of Life.

Bill enjoys representing Gift of Life, and is an accomplished speaker about the need to increase the donor registry and diversify the donor base in order to save more lives. He speaks about Gift of Life at many events annually.

Bill enjoys visiting many donors on their day of donation, to personally thank them for giving the Gift of Life to a person in need. 

He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Kira, their son and daughter. 

 

Ellen Brody, Esq., CPA
Treasurer

Ellen Brody, Esq., CPA

Treasurer

Partner

Roberts and Holland LLP

For more than 15 years Ellen Seiler Brody has represented clients in the United States and internationally on complex transactions. Working with multinational corporations, high net worth individuals, and foreign governments, she has created tax-efficient structures to hold their investments and operating business activities. She also works with private equity and hedge funds in structuring their operations and investments.

She has advised on the taxation of financial instruments, including the application of straddle and swap rules and management of interest rate risk. She has been involved in numerous tax controversy matters at both the federal and state and local levels, representing large multinational corporations in a wide variety of industries, ranging from manufacturing to financial services. Her experience with New York State and City tax litigation has included Personal Income, Corporate Franchise, General Corporation, UBT, and Real Property Transfer taxes.

She received a B.S. magna cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and her J.D. cum laude and LL.M. (Taxation) from New York University, where she was Note and Comment Editor of the Law Review. She is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Warren Eisenberg
Secretary

Warren Eisenberg

Secretary

Co-Founder and Co-Chairman Emeritus

Bed, Bath & Beyond, Inc.

Warren Eisenberg co-founded Bed Bath & Beyond and currently serves as Co-Chairman Emeritus. 

Warren currently serves on the following boards: "I Have a Dream" Foundation®, "I Have a Dream" Foundation® New York, Berkshire Hills Eisenberg Camp, and Hand in Hand.  

He is married to Mitzi Eisenberg, who serves as a trustee of the New Museum of Contemporary Art. They reside in Short Hills, New Jersey, and have four children and 12 grandchildren.

Edward Blumenfeld
Director

Edward Blumenfeld

Director

President, CEO and Founder

Blumenfeld Development Group

Edward Blumenfeld is President, Founder, and the creative force behind Blumenfeld Development Group (BDG). Under Mr. Blumenfeld’s direction, BDG has become an industry leading development firm that specializes in converting underutilized real estate into vibrant, innovative, progressive space that meets the economic and social needs of the community.

Mr. Blumenfeld has sought to improve the quality of life within his community by bringing his energy, insight and personal commitment to a broad range of charitable efforts. He is a founding member of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) and has been returned by his peers for a third term as its president and also serves as a member of its Energy and Environmental Committee. He remains a strong and effective advocate on issues relating to education, the environment, child healthcare, responsible government and sustainable development.

As a founding member of the Schneider Children’s Hospital, Mr. Blumenfeld has worked for more than three decades to sponsor a unique brand of care, based on the special needs of young patients, that has won international recognition. He has been an ardent supporter of the hospital since its inception, and further confirmed his commitment to its continued success by spearheading the expansion of the hospital campus to include the Blumenfeld Center for Pediatric Medicine.

Mr. Blumenfeld has taken a leadership role in honoring the region’s veterans and active duty military personnel through his philanthropic support of the award winning American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport.

Through his many undertakings, Ed Blumenfeld has literally and figuratively built a better Long Island.

Mr. Blumenfeld created BDG in 1978 when he undertook the redevelopment of the North Shore Atrium, a 300,000 square foot building that BDG converted from a Grumman aircraft manufacturing plant to the first mixed-use office facility on Long Island to incorporate a restaurant, conference area, fitness center, and retail shops on premises. Mr. Blumenfeld has carried the same innovative and pioneering vision to every BDG project since.

A dramatic example of this approach toward redevelopment involved the expansion and conversion of Bulova Watch Corporation’s 250,000 square foot manufacturing plant into a 480,000 square foot Class A office facility, anchored by British Airways’ corporate headquarters. Renamed Bulova Corporate Center, this project won numerous design awards and with its art deco details rescued and restored by Mr. Blumenfeld, it is considered BDG’s flagship project.

In the early 1990′s, BDG expanded into the retail sector, largely in historically disadvantaged communities such as east Harlem that had long been ignored by his development peers. These projects have been satisfying financially and sociologically, as the increased choice and lowered costs that these operations generate have raised standards of living in neighboring communities. Gotham Plaza and East River Plaza are two examples of BDG projects that helped energize and revitalize communities. Mr. Blumenfeld feels a moral obligation to improve BDG’s communities, and does so by supporting local charities, donating playing fields, and producing artistic, cultural, and educational events. Mr. Blumenfeld continues to bring his expertise and creativity to new neighborhoods through an array of Sustainable Projects such as The Arches in Deer Park, that remain sensitive to the communities they serve while strengthening local economies.

Mr. Blumenfeld attended Hofstra University, Uniondale, New York.

Affiliations

  • Founder and President of the Board of Directors, Association for a Better Long Island
  • Member of the Board of Directors, Gift of Life Marrow Registry
  • Member of the Board of Directors, RPS Realty Trust
  • Member of Planning Board, Village of Roslyn Estates
  • Member of Advisory Board, University of Pennsylvania – Wharton Real Estate Center
  • Founder/Past President, Children’s Medical Fund – Men’s Division, Schneider Children’s Hospital
  • Member of the Board, Northwell Health

 

Jason Ostheimer
Director

Jason Ostheimer

Director

Co-Founder and Partner

Advancit Capital

Jason Ostheimer is a Co-Founder and Partner of Advancit Capital, an early stage investment firm focused on media, entertainment and technology companies. Previously, Jason spent approximately seven years at the Blackstone Group, where he served as a Vice President focused on middle market private equity and mezzanine investments across a diverse range of industries. Jason graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania where he received a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School with a concentration in Finance. Jason is involved with several charitable organizations and currently serves as a Board Member of the Gift of Life Marrow Registry.

Stephen R. Colen, D.D.S., M.D.
Director

Stephen R. Colen, D.D.S., M.D.

Director

Chairman, Department of Plastic Surgery

Hackensack Medical Center

Dr. Stephen R. Colen has been performing plastic surgery for more than 35 years.

He is currently Associate Professor of Surgery and Plastic Surgery at New York University Medical Center’s prestigious Institute of Plastic Surgery and Chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. He is also Professor of Plastic Surgery and founding chair of Seton Hall Medical School.

At New York University he started the Immediate Breast Reconstruction program for women who had mastectomy for breast cancer. In 2005 he was the guest of the Australian Plastic Surgery Society where he presented his innovative techniques for cosmetic breast surgery. Dr. Colen who also holds a degree in Dental Surgery from NYU School of Dentistry has always had a strong interest in Facial Plastic Surgery. He has developed new techniques for facial rejuvenation which combines his knowledge of dentistry with his Plastic Surgery skills. Every year, Dr. Colen has been listed by New York Magazine and by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. as one of the top plastic surgeons in New York. He has been featured in numerous publications such as Glamour, W, Town and Country, Vogue and Self just to mention a few.

Dr. Colen is Board certified by the American Board of Surgery, The American Board of Dental Surgery, The American Board of Plastic Surgery and has published research articles in more than 50 medical books and journals.

Dr. Colen graduated from St. Lawrence University receiving a B.S. degree in 1967, N.Y.U. College of Dentistry receiving a D.D.S. degree in 1971, and Hahnemann Medical College receiving an M.D. degree in 1974.

Besides being Associate Professor at NYU and Chairman of the Plastic Surgery department at Hackensack University, Dr. Colen also holds additional hospital appointments at Manhattan Eye and Ear Hospital, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary Dr. Stephen Colen is known as one of the best doctors for breast surgery since developing the Immediate Breast Reconstruction Program at NYU Medical Center, which uses surgical techniques to reconstruct the breast immediately after removal of breast cancer. He was recently acknowledged by New York Best Doctors as one of New York’s finest plastic surgeons.

Peter A. Cohen
Director

Peter A. Cohen

Director

Founder

Peter Cohen LLC

Peter A. Cohen is the founder of Peter Cohen LLC – an investment platform with holdings in technology and biotechnology companies, and an arbitrage fund. He is also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Andover National Corporation, an investment company which is building a portfolio of environmental service businesses.

Until June 2018, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cowen Inc., a 100-year-old investment bank that specializes in serving healthcare and technology companies. Cowen had been acquired in 2009 by Ramius Capital, a $13 billion alternative asset manager that was founded by Mr. Cohen in 1994. In the nine years after that transaction, Mr. Cohen oversaw the reinvigoration of Cowen’s business through seven acquisitions and a diversification of the bank’s revenue base. Entering 2018, he decided to turn over Cowen to his successor and devote all of his time to his investments.

From 1990-1994, Mr. Cohen worked with Republic New York Corporation, a bank holding company; launched an investment management firm; and represented companies in merger activities. He formed Republic New York Securities for Republic New York Corporation and served as Vice Chairman and board member of the holding company.

Mr. Cohen spent the prior two decades rising through the ranks of the firm that would eventually become Shearson Lehman Brothers. He joined Shearson in 1971 as an equity analyst, but soon transitioned to become assistant to then-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sandy Weill. Over the following years the firm made a series of acquisitions, culminating in its merger with American Express in 1981. By that time, Mr. Cohen had risen to President and Chief Operating Officer. He was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1983, and Shearson continued to make acquisitions throughout the decade, becoming Shearson Lehman Brothers. When Mr. Cohen departed in 1990, the firm had grown to 23,000 employees in 700 offices around the world.

Mr. Cohen has been fortunate to serve on the boards of numerous public companies and industry bodies based in the United States and overseas. He has been a board member of the New York Stock Exchange, the Depository Trust Company, and the New York Federal Reserve’s Capital Markets Advisory Committee. He has served on the boards of three defense contractors – GRC International, Titan International Corporation, and L-3 Communications – as well as on the boards of other prominent US companies including American Express, Shearson Lehman Brothers, and Kroll Inc. He also spent 30 years on the board of the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, was a member of the New York City Opera, and continues to be a director of The Children’s Hearing Institute.

Outside the United States, he was a board member of Société Générale de Belgique, the Belgium holding company; Cerus, a French investment company; Olivetti, an Italian office products company; Telecom Italia, the Italian national phone company; and CIR International, an Italian holding company. 

Today, he continues to be the Lead Director of Scientific Games Corporation, the largest US lottery operator and gaming-machine manufacturer and is on the board of a technology company and two bio-tech companies.

Mr. Cohen grew up on Long Island and graduated from Ohio State University in 1968. He received his MBA degree from Columbia University in 1969. He has three grown children and four grandchildren, and currently resides in New York City – where he has lived for the past 50 years – together with his wife, his two dogs, and a rabbit.

Ruth Spector, M.D.
Director

Ruth Spector, M.D.

Director

Medical Director, Intensivist Program

Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center

Dr. Ruth Spector is triple-boarded in Internal Medicine, Critical Care and Anesthesiology, has served as the Medical Director of Critical Care Services and Critical Care Physician at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, New York since 2011, and has been in practice for more than 20 years. She previously served at Winthrop University Hospital, New York Hospital Medical Center-Cornell University, and has been Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery at SUNY Stony Brook.

She received her medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine and served in the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. She is a Cum Laude graduate of Wharton Business School, and is currently pursuing her MBA at the School of Business at Adelphi University.

Following a year-long struggle with acute myelogenous leukemia, Ruth survived her illness thanks to a peripheral blood stem cell transplant from her donor, Josh. Ruth is the proud mother of three exceptional children. 

She is honored to serve on Gift of Life’s Board of Directors.

Mindy Schneider
Director

Mindy Schneider

Director

Mindy Schneider, though retired for many years, was a hospital administrator at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She now spends her time with her family foundation as well as various other philanthropic activities. Mindy serves on the boards of Brandeis University, Dancing Dreams, Children’s Health Alliance for Israel, and the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative.

Mindy received her Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University and Master of Public Health degree from New York University. She has two grown children and currently resides in New York City with her husband Dr. Michael Lesser.

Jonathan Struhl
Director

Jonathan Struhl

Director

Co-Founder and General Partner

Indicator Ventures

Jonathan Struhl is Co-Founder and General Partner at Indicator Ventures, an early-stage Venture Capital Fund that invests in entrepreneurs leveraging technology to drive massive efficiencies for businesses and consumers. Jonathan focuses on investments in businesses using technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Immersive Computing, and Automation. He is an active Mentor, Board Member and Advisor to a number of companies and accelerator programs, and has spent the past 10 years deeply ingrained in the startup ecosystem. Jonathan's experience is deeply rooted in digital marketing and social media having previously founded a Digital Marketing Agency that worked with global brands, athletes, and celebrities to help navigate the early days of social media. Jonathan is a Board Member and Observer at IrisVR, Mezzobit (acquired by OpenX), Pienso, Wade & Wendy, and EntrypointVR.

Jonathan grew up in Boca Raton, Florida and is a proud graduate of Yeshiva University, Sy Syms School of Business. He was fortunate enough to be a Gift of Life Marrow Registry blood stem cell donor to a now healthy mother of four, whom he met at Gift of Life's Gala in 2015. Since becoming a stem cell donor, Jonathan has been an active advocate for the Gift of Life and is extremely passionate about spreading and tailoring its message to young professionals.

Martin Levion
Director

Martin Levion

Director

Managing Partner

Integral Investment Capital

 

Founding Board Members

Arlene and Jacob Feinberg, of blessed memory

Honorary Board Members

Charles R. Bronfman
Barry Shrage
Warren Spector

Advisory Panel

Evie Goldfine, Senior Advisor

Director Emeritus

Avi Karesh, of blessed memory