Chief Executive Officer
Molly is Chief Executive Officer in charge of leadership, strategic direction and administrative oversight for the comprehensive programmatic and fundraising efforts of the Foundation and its staff. Molly has over 25 years of leadership-level experience building, implementing and running award-winning domestic and international community programs for organizations in both the private and nonprofit sectors. She has created partnerships with a range of governmental, nonprofit and private sector stakeholders that have included Gap, Inc., Nike, Inc., Visa, Inc., Sony, Williams Sonoma/Pottery Barn, AAA, The Estate Project for Artists with AIDS, Canyon Ranch Institute, the Ford Foundation and The Wilderness Society, to launch initiatives targeting key national issues such as childhood obesity prevention and components of healthcare reform.
Molly earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Montana, and her Master of Arts from the University of Iowa. She has received certification from the Center for Corporate Community Relations, Boston University; the Fund Raising School, Center on Philanthropy, Indiana University; and has served as a board member for numerous community organizations.
Abraham joined the MDF team in 2015 as the Director of Operations to lead the Foundation's day-to-day operations and provide administrative capacity to our programs. Abraham is committed to MDF's mission to enhance Care and a Cure and believes the everyday work of the Foundation is holistic and proactive in its approach; not only does MDF provide patients and their families with direct support, through resources like the MDF Toolkit, it also does great work around advocacy and research for a cure. Passionate about creating vibrant, healthy communities, Abraham has provided administrative capacity to a number of mission-driven, social service organizations around the Bay Area throughout his career, working in the areas of mental health, housing, access to health care and patient advocacy. Abraham earned his Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Sociology (with an emphasis in social change) from San Diego State University.
Paul is tasked with overseeing and expanding the current slate of MDF Care and program initiatives while also creating and developing new strategic projects to provide support and resources to the DM community. He leads planning for the MDF Annual Conference and represents MDF at meetings and conferences around the nation.
Prior to joining MDF, Paul worked at the University of California, San Francisco with the Investigative Therapeutics Oncology team as a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with an emphasis on pre-medicine from the University of California, Berkeley.
Elizabeth joined the Foundation in 2015 as its Grants Manager to oversee the administration of incoming grant applications and awarded research projects. She has 9 years of experience managing grants for patient advocacy groups such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and the Lymphoma Research Foundation, including venture philanthropy and milestone-driven projects. She has several years of experience planning and organizing informal advisory committee meetings as well as large scientific conferences for hundreds of attendees. Elizabeth received her Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Arizona and her Bachelor's Degree in Education from Ball State University.
Project Development Manager
Pam joined the Foundation in 2015 as Project Development Manager, after working with the Houston-based Myotonic Dystrophy Fund's Agape Initiative dedicated to efforts to further patient care. Her focus is on several mutually beneficial strategy items/programs centered both locally and nationally. Prior to her work with the DM community, Pam's career involved a variety of consulting engagements in instructional design and the energy sector, as well as business development and sales. Her work in the non-profit/academic realm has been spent in development, at UT Health Science Center (Medical School) and Memorial Hermann Foundation. Additionally, she’s consulted with an international charity focused on water and refrigeration in Africa on messaging and development, as well as worked in social media with recognizable national brands and pharma. She has spoken nationally on trends in philanthropy, building a major gifts program, as well as branding and social media.
John D. Porter, PhD
Chief Science Officer
Dr. Porter leads MDF’s aggressive drug development acceleration and research agenda. His academic research career spans more than thirty years, including ten years at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he led research grant programs focused on diseases affecting the motoneuron, neuromuscular junction, nerve, and skeletal muscle.
John also served as Chief Executive Officer for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, a Duchenne patient advocacy organization. He has also served a 10-year term as Executive Secretary for the interagency Muscular Dystrophy Coordinating Committee and on advisory boards for a wide variety of companies, publishers, foundations, and academic organizations. He continues to consult for several neuromuscular disease research and development organizations.
Director of Development
Jessica Powers is MDF’s first Director of Development, and provides strategic and creative leadership of development activities for the foundation. She works closely with MDF’s program and research staff on major events, individual giving programs, corporate and foundation relations, and donor services operations.
Jessica has 20 years experience in event management, revenue development, marketing and brand management and organizational consulting in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. With over 7 years in healthcare non-profit development management, she most recently comes to MDF from her role as Executive Director of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s (CCFA) Northern California Chapter. Prior to her chapter leadership at CCFA, Jessica was the Director of Development for the March of Dimes California Chapter. She has also served as an organizational and compensation consultant in the banking industry and a marketing director of magazines and tradeshows in technology industries. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Economics from Saint Mary’s College of California.
Jazzy Wright joined MDF in October 2016 as the organization’s Communications Manager to help increase public awareness of myotonic dystrophy, raise the public profile of the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation, grow the MDFR patient registry and support other key projects and initiatives. Jazzy will also manage the MDF communications strategy and produce all internal and external communications pieces for the organization, including the Dispatch, Instant Info emails, website content, and the DM Research News.
Before joining MDF, Jazzy served as the press officer of the American Library Association’s Washington Office, where she managed the organization’s policy-related communications activities. In that position, Jazzy managed a comprehensive, issue-oriented communications strategy, increased the visibility of the organization and generated positive media coverage for the ALA. In preview positions, Jazzy worked as the communications coordinator for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), and as a writer for the National Education Association’s flagship publication NEA Today. Jazzy attended the University of Connecticut, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature.
Katrina Yamazaki, PhD
Katrina joined the Foundation in 2015 as the MDF Registrar to oversee the Myotonic Dystrophy Family Registry, and provide support on the research and drug development agenda. She has several years of experience managing large databases, data analysis, and research. Katrina received her PhD in molecular pathology from the University of California, San Diego. She currently is an Assistant Professor at Cal State LA, where she teaches anatomy, physiology and pathology and oversees a cardiovascular metabolism research lab at Cal State LA.