Officers and Staff
CORPORATE OFFICERS AND STAFF
President and Executive Director
Meryl N. Fink, Esq.
Working closely with the Board of Directors, staff and volunteers, Ms. Fink is responsible for ensuring The Progeria Research Foundation’s financial growth, program development and day to day management.
Ms. Fink earned a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. She joined PRF in 2015 as the Director of Operations and brings extensive experience as a corporate and securities attorney and 10-plus years of experience in senior management of global law firms. She had also served as a consultant to the non-profit sector with ESC of New England. Ms. Fink is an elected member of the Wellesley Town Meeting, and serves as a member of the Wellesley Human Resources Board and Board Member of the Cornell Club of Boston.
Leslie B. Gordon, MD, PhD
Leslie Gordon is a co-founder of The Progeria Research Foundation and serves as the organization’s volunteer Medical Director. Dr. Gordon is the Principal Investigator for ongoing PRF programs for Progeria, including the PRF International Progeria Registry, Medical and Research Database, Cell and Tissue Bank, and the Genetic Diagnostics Program. She has organized 8 National Institutes of Health-funded, international scientific meetings on Progeria. She is Professor of Pediatrics Research at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, RI; Research Associate in Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital and Research Scientist at Women & Infants Hospital, all in Boston, MA. She was co-author on the 2003 gene discovery for Progeria, lead author of the 2012 Progeria treatment discovery study, and is co-chair of four Progeria clinical drug trials at Boston Children’s Hospital.
She has received the March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Award, the American Heart Association Scientist Development Award, The Gerontological Society of America Award for contributions to Progeria, a National Institutes of Health Bench to Bedside Grant, and the Mother of the Year award from Working Mother Magazine.
Dr. Gordon earned her bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire. She went on to receive a master’s degree and medical and doctorate degrees from Brown University and the Brown University School of Medicine respectively, where she achieved top honors in the medical program.
Barbara F. Gordon, ESQ.
Barbara F. Gordon earned an Associate’s Degree from Boston University School of Business in 1955. She married Burt in 1958 and they have four daughters and seven grandchildren. In 1979 she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston University and in 1981 a Master’s Degree in Education from Salem State College. In 1995 she earned a Juris Doctor degree from Massachusetts School of Law, and currently has her own practice. She and her husband are long-standing members of Temple Beth Shalom in Peabody, Massachusetts.
Paula L. Kelly, CPA
Paula is an Assistant Professor of Accounting at Dean College, teaching Financial and Managerial Accounting for the past five years. Prior to that she worked for Citrin Cooperman (formerly Kirkland Albrecht & Fredrickson, P.C.) providing accounting and tax services to individuals and small businesses. She also worked as the Director of Corporate Accounting for Dunkin’ Donuts managing financial reporting and the budgeting process. She earned an M.B.A from Providence College and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Director of Development
Audrey Gordon, ESQ.
Ms. Gordon is working closely with the Executive Director, Board of Directors, relevant Board committees, and program staff on setting and implementing PRF’s long-term fundraising plan to increase the organization’s visibility and generate a diversified, increased and sustainable income.
Ms. Gordon is a graduate of Tufts University and Northeastern University School of Law, and is an attorney licensed to practice in Massachusetts since 1988 and Florida since 1990. She has extensive civil litigation experience in both states. Locally, she is a member of the Peabody Chamber of Commerce and Peabody Rotary Club, and has served on the Peabody Board of Registrars since 2006. Nationally, Ms. Gordon serves on the Board of Advisors of Global Genes|RARE Project and the Rare Disease Report. She is the 2004 winner of the North of Boston Business and Professional Women of the Year award for non-profit organizations, and the 2005 recipient of the Mary Upton Ferrin Award for leadership in her community. She was honored as a Community Hero by Jewish Family Services in April 2009. Under her leadership as PRF’s founding President and Executive Director, PRF was awarded a 4-star Charity Navigator rating, and received Research!America’s 2014 Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award for bringing progeria from obscurity to the forefront of successful translational research.
Donor Relations Director and Development Officer
Lynne oversees Donor Development (donation tracking, solicitation, data entry, donor recognition) and created and maintains PRF’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, CrowdRise, FirstGiving, and more!).
Event Director and Development Officer
Ms. Fino is responsible for all volunteer recruitment, training and supervision, as well as oversight of all volunteer-driven activities including Miracle Makers, Coins to Cure Progeria, workplace events and in-house special events (gala held every 2 years, and annual road race and poker tournament). Working with volunteers to match their skills and interests to activities that will raise awareness and funds for PRF is a top priority for Michelle.
Michelle is a graduate of Bridgewater State College and Simmons Graduate School of Management. As founder of the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival, a volunteer driven organization, along with her past experience as an Event and Communications Specialist at a local non-profit, Michelle has extensive knowledge and lots of enthusiasm for working with volunteers.
If you’re interested in learning more about volunteering with PRF, please contact Michelle.
Lytta works with the Development team to implement fundraising initiatives, create key messages and materials, and build relationships with long-term donors.
Previously, Lytta was Director of Development at James L. McKeown Boys & Girls Club in Woburn, MA; prior to that she spent eight years in Advancement at the Museum of Science, Boston. Lytta graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she began her fundraising career as a student caller for the university’s Annual Fund.
Trial Coordinator and Family Liaison
As the Trial Coordinator and Family Liaison, Gina works with trial site coordinators from participating Boston hospitals and handles all the travel logistics for children with Progeria and their families who come from all over the world to participate in clinical drug trials at Boston Children’s Hospital. Gina is also the first point of contact for families of newly diagnosed children, coordinates all translations of materials, and assists with PRF’s “Find the Other 150” awareness Campaign, which seeks to identify all children with Progeria throughout the world.
Gina joined PRF in June of 2015 as the Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the PRF Executive Director and prior to that she worked as the office administrator for a forensic psychology firm in Salem. Gina is a graduate of Salem State College.
Executive Administrative Assistant
Donnalynn is PRF’s Executive Administrative Assistant providing administrative support to the Director of Development, working as the Grant Administrator and the coordinator for the International Scientific Workshops. She has worked in Advertising, Marketing, Sports and Events management during much of her business career, and finds that people are most interested in her work experience and life while living in Las Vegas, Nevada. Donnalynn is eager to apply her knowledge and skills in furthering the cause of this great organization.
Web Site Coordinator
Karen Gordon Betournay, CPDT-KA, AABP-CDT
Working closely with the Executive Director, Karen is responsible for maintaining and updating all aspects of PRF’s website. Karen has been the volunteer web site specialist since PRF was founded in 1999. She also has the honor of being Sam’s Aunt, and sister to Executive Director Audrey Gordon and Medical Director Leslie Gordon.
Karen is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and is certified in Grooming/Kennel Management from Essex Agricultural and Technical College. Karen is the owner of Animal Manners, providing training and behavior counseling for canines. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband David, twin girls Paige and Skyler, dogs Maya and Jazz, and cats Marcus and Freddie.