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Senior Leadership Team

Read brief biographies of NPF's Senior Leadership Team

John L. Lehr, Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Lehr can be reached at jlehr@parkinson.org

John L. Lehr brings to the Parkinson’s Foundation more than two decades of nonprofit fundraising and management experience, with a strong focus in the voluntary healthcare and medical research sectors.  Before joining the Parkinson’s Foundation, John served as President of Orr Associates, Inc. (OAI), a consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City serving the nonprofit sector. At OAI, John was responsible for daily operations of the firm, as well as management of leading clients including Georgetown University, MedStar Health, and Special Olympics.

Prior to OAI, John served as Chief Executive Officer of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) where he merged two legacy organizations into one national organization focused on finding medical solutions for and educating the public on food allergy. While at FARE, revenue increased by more than 20 percent in the first year post merger. In addition, John led a strategic planning initiative to develop a comprehensive plan for drug discovery and development for food allergy over the next decade.  He also led advocacy efforts that resulted in the signing of the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act by President Obama in November 2013.

Prior to his tenure at FARE, John served as Chief Executive Officer of CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national research and advocacy organization. CureSearch’s fundraising efforts doubled during his tenure, providing increased support for cancer drug trials at more than 200 pediatric medical centers in the United States and Canada. 
From 2004 to 2009, John directed the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation’s Milestones to a Cure Campaign that raised $175 million in support of CF drug discovery and development.  The CF Foundation’s venture philanthropy model and John’s role in leading the campaign were highlighted in a series of Harvard Business School Case Studies. Earlier in his career, John spent many years at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in various fundraising roles.

John attended Villanova University where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in History.  From 1990-1991, John served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sri Lanka where he led rural business development efforts and taught English.

Peter N. Schmidt, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Mission Officer

Dr. Schmidt can be reached at pschmidt@parkinson.org.

Peter Schmidt, Ph.D. is Senior Vice President and Chief Mission Officer at the National Parkinson Foundation and oversees NPF's research, education, and outreach initiatives. Dr. Schmidt leads NPF's Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, the largest clinical study ever conducted in Parkinson’s disease and is active in research on diverse clinical areas in Parkinson's disease. 

Schmidt serves as an advisor to several government, industry, and foundation initiatives.  His focus has been setting clinical standards and is involved in several national-scale quality initiatives including with the US National Quality Forum and the Fresco Network in Italy.  Schmidt is bringing to Parkinson's ideas from across healthcare and is on advisory committees for projects in wearable sensors, Huntington’s disease, Glut1 deficiency syndrome, cystic fibrosis, inpatient rehabilitation, and telemedicine.  His work has been covered widely in the press and he has contributed to AHRQ and Commonwealth Fund publications and has been an invited speaker for NIH, and internationally at patient and professional conferences.  

Schmidt joined NPF from Cronus Partners, an investment bank, where he focused on healthcare innovation. Previously, Schmidt created chronic disease management systems and served as Chief Operating Officer of a joint venture of Oxford, Stanford, and Yale delivering on-line education. Educated at Harvard and Cornell, he had a fellowship at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery.

Dr. Schmidt earned his bachelor's degree at Harvard University and was awarded an M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University, Sibley School of Mechanical Engineering where he studied gait and balance and total joint replacement. He completed a fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Amy Gray, Senior Vice President of Constituent and Community Relations

Ms. Gray can be reached at agray@parkinson.org.

Amy Gray brings more than 16 years of extensive management experience in national voluntary health agencies combined with a strong understanding of mission-driven organizations. Her experiences working for three major non-profit health care organizations have shaped her expertise in fundraising, staff development, financial & operational management, strategic planning, and community engagement.

As Senior Vice President, Constituent and Community Relations, Amy is responsible for providing the overall leadership, strategy and vision for the Foundation's fundraising efforts, planned giving legacy society, and network of chapters.

Amy joined The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) in 2013 as part of the executive team in the role of Vice President, Chapter Relations and Community Partnerships. In this role, she provided guidance to the network of affiliate chapters around the U.S. in all areas of organizational, mission, board and fund development activities. In 2014, Amy led the Foundation and its affiliate chapters through a process of unification, integrating the chapters and Foundation into one organization.

Prior to joining NPF, Amy served in executive roles at the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America and Muscular Dystrophy Association. In these roles, she successfully built strong chapters and robust relationships with donors, volunteer leaders, and key stakeholders.

Amy is a graduate of St. Cloud State University and lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She is inspired daily by the commitment of the Foundation's staff, board of directors and loyal supporters.

Curt De Greff, MBA, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, Parkinson's Foundation

Mr. De Greff can be reached at cdegreff@parkinson.org.

Curt joined PF in May of 2016. Before joining PF he had founded World Wide Financial Consulting, LLC, to help firms implement profitability improvement initiatives. He was also an adjunct professor at Johnson and Wales University and Miami Dade College, where he taught Accounting, Marketing and Statistics.

Previously he was SVP Finance – Americas at Regus, the world's largest operator of business centers and oversaw mergers and acquisitions, shared service centers and the finance function. He also led the Regional Finance and Administration function for the Americas at Bureau Veritas. At Texaco he was country Managing Director in Latin America and in West Africa and had senior financial roles. He's also been a consultant for the predecessor to Accenture.

Curt is married to Sheryl, who owns a Pilates Studio, and they have two children. He is active in the community as a member of the Miami Rotary Club and South Miami Toastmasters Club.

Leilani Pearl, Vice President, Marketing & Communications

Ms. Pearl can be reached at lpearl@parkinson.org.

Leilani Pearl guides the communications strategy of the foundation and executes marketing campaigns to increase awareness of Parkinson's disease. Ms. Pearl is passionate about global health issues and health care advocacy.

Ms. Pearl began her career in non-profit healthcare communications for Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, where she partnered with local media to promote women's health initiatives. Prior to that, she spent nearly a decade in education, teaching literature and writing at Boston College and the University of Puerto Rico. She also worked closely with high school students as an English teacher and administrator in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ms. Pearl holds an MA in English from Boston College and a BA in English from the University of Vermont. She serves as a volunteer mentor for the Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program, a non-profit organization in Miami that works with at-risk young women in high school.

Robert Shaw, Vice President, Constituent and Corporate Relations

Mr. Shaw can be reached at rshaw@parkinson.org.

Rob Shaw joined NPF in January of 2012 as the National Director of Signature Events and assumed responsibility for launching the Moving Day® -A Walk for Parkinson's, which since its inception has raised more than $11 million dollars and expanded into 20+ key major market areas across the country.  Rob currently works with NPF's Development Team and oversee' s Major Gifts, Corporate Partnerships, Signature Events, Foundations and Annual Giving -- including Direct Mail.

Prior to joining NPF, Rob has served in several leadership positions, most recently serving as Senior Vice President for the Arthritis Foundation (AF) Southeast Region, CEO for the Arthritis Foundation's Georgia Chapter, as well as Executive Director for JDRF's Georgia operation and the VP of Field Services at the American Heart Association.

His success is attributed to his ability to develop both short and long-range development plans, effectively establishing major donors programs, and implementing stewardship programs aimed at cultivating deeper ties with all stakeholders. 

Over the past 20 years, Rob has successfully managed double-digit growth with each organization and raised more than $65M, while demonstrating a successful track record with board/volunteer development, establishing corporate partnerships, implementing major gifts programs and confirming several million-dollar gifts as well as growing special event/walk programs. 

A native Floridian, Rob moved to the coast of Georgia in 1992 after graduating from the University of Florida and then relocated to Atlanta in 1994 and calls the North Georgia mountains home.

John Kozyak, Chairman

Mr. Kozyak can be reached at jkozyak@parkinson.org.

Both of Mr. Kozyak's parents were diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.  Kozyak is a founding partner of Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton a commercial litigation and bankruptcy law firm in Miami, Florida. Mr. Kozyak is a passionate advocate for better care and support services for families affected by a Parkinson's diagnosis. He believes strongly in NPF's historic commitment that all people with Parkinson's deserve access to expert care and information. He established the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation to fulfill his lifelong commitment to minorities and the underserved. In 2014, Mr. Kozyak received the Justice Thurgood Marshall Award for Civil Rights from The Dade County Bar Association and Dade Legal Aid.

Dr. Michael S. Okun, National Medical Director

Dr. Michael Okun is dedicated to the concept of interdisciplinary care, and since his appointment as the National Medical Director for the Parkinson's Foundation in 2006, he has worked with the Centers of Excellence to help foster the best possible environments for care, research and outreach in Parkinson's disease. He is a leading national spokesperson for Parkinson's disease, and has been extensively quoted in The New York Times, Wall St. Journal, USA Today, CNN and other media.

Dr. Okun runs the popular "Ask the Doctor" forum on Parkinson.org, the NPF website, and writes a monthly blog on hot issues in research and care. He has dedicated much of his career to helping in the development of care centers for people suffering with movement disorders, but has also has enjoyed a prolific research career exploring non-motor basal ganglia brain features and he has participated in some of the pioneering studies exploring the cognitive, behavioral, and mood effects of brain stimulation.

He is Chair of Neurology and Co-director of the Movement Disorders Center located within the McKnight Brain Institute and the University of Florida College of Medicine. The center is unique in that it is comprised of over 25 interdisciplinary faculty members from diverse areas of campus, all of whom are dedicated to care, outreach, education and research.

Michael S. Okun, MD, received his B.A. in History from Florida State University, and his M.D. from the University of Florida where he graduated with Honors. Dr. Okun completed an internship and Neurology residency at the University of Florida. Following residency he was trained at Emory University, one of the world's leading centers for movement disorders research, in both general movement disorders and in microelectrode recording/surgical treatments.

Dr. Okun holds the Adelaide Lackner Associate Professorship in Neurology, has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, is a published poet (Lessons From the Bedside, 1995), and has served as a reviewer for more than 25 major medical journals. He has been invited to speak about Parkinson's disease and movement disorders in various regions throughout the world. He is currently a faculty and founding member for SUPPORT-PD, which aims to bring functional Parkinson and Movement Disorders Surgery to "countries in need" around the globe.

Publications

10 Secrets to a Happier Life (2013)
This book focuses on the secrets that help people with Parkinson's live with happiness. Order your copy today for a dose of inspiration, faith and hope.

10 Breakthrough Therapies for Parkinson's Disease (2015)
This book provides patients and families with the latest information on the potential breakthrough therapies for Parkinson's disease. Order your copy today and stay in the know about cutting-edge Parkinson's treatments.

Dr. Ariel Y. Deutch, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Advisor and Chair of NPF's Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Deutch is a Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology and Director of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center—a designated NPF Center of Excellence. Dr. Ariel Deutch joined the Vanderbilt Faculty in 1996. His studies focus on central dopamine systems and their involvement in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease, and in the mechanisms of action of antipsychotic drugs. He is a member of the Scientific Council of NARSAD and is Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Parkinson Foundation.

NPF's Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board performs peer review accreditation processes, sets research agendas, directs clinical research programs, issues request-for-application (RFAs), and forms grant review committees.