Celiac Disease Foundation’s Board of Directors bring talent, expert knowledge, and passion to move forward the mission of the Foundation. We are grateful to have their support and dedication to drive diagnosis, treatment, and a cure for celiac disease.

Adrienne Bender

Board Chair

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Adrienne has been a volunteer for Celiac Disease Foundation since 2012 when her son, Alex, was diagnosed at age three. Alex was born premature at a little over four pounds, and spent his first three years on the lowest point of the growth curve.

After one year with no weight gain, Alex’s pediatrician recommended that he be tested for celiac disease. Alex’s diagnosis drove Adrienne to seek help and guidance and also inspired her to help others. Adrienne has served as a support contact person, handling many calls and emails from those newly diagnosed.

However, she primarily focused her efforts on fundraising for Celiac Disease Foundation by coordinating Team Gluten-Free events throughout the year. Since 2016, Adrienne has organized her own Turkey Trot, which as of 2020 has reached 48 states with thousands of people registering. Adrienne was named also named CDF’s 2016 Volunteer of Year.

Professionally, Adrienne is a Vice President in the Alternatives Investment Solution division of State Street Corporation. Adrienne manages a team that services several hedge fund clients with assets in excess of $20 billion.

She is a 2001 graduate of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and Finance. Adrienne resides in Montgomery, New Jersey with her husband, Aaron, and two children, Alex and Ava.

William Thurston

Vice Chair

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William and his partner have both lived with celiac disease for nearly 15 years. William was only diagnosed this year, more than a decade after first seeking answers, and only after his daughter tested positive for elevated antibodies during a routine screening for a related medical issue. The dots connected for William, he asked for the right tests, and after more than a decade of distress was finally given a diagnosis for Celiac disease.

William’s daughter did not end up with a celiac disease diagnosis, but he wants to ensure that there are proper diagnostic tools and a treatment path waiting for her should that change. William sees the work that the Celiac Disease Foundation supports as the most likely path to both those outcomes not just for his daughter, but for the millions also impacted by celiac disease.

William works at Google providing technical leadership to engineers responsible for the reliability of systems keeping your favorite Google products running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Prior to joining Google, William worked at Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon where he built parts of “the cloud”.

William and his partner live together in the heart of Silicon Valley with two daughters, three dogs and four cats.

Bradley Herrema


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Brad is a Shareholder in Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Los Angeles office and a member of the Water & Public Lands and Public Agency Groups.

His practice includes a broad range of water issues in the Southwest, including strategic water supply planning, water rights permitting and regulatory compliance, adjudications of groundwater rights, water utility concerns, Indian water rights and environmental matters affecting water use, including CEQA compliance and water quality issues, including those arising under the federal Clean Water Act and California Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act.

Brad works closely with numerous public water agencies, special districts, private landowners and water utilities, assisting them with transactional negotiations, litigation and administrative agency proceedings.

He serves as counsel to the Chino Basin Watermaster and the South Tahoe Public Utility District, and represents private landowners in the Antelope Valley Groundwater Adjudication and golf courses throughout the Southwest. He speaks and writes frequently on topics related to water rights and management.

Brad is a former Trustee for the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute and former Director for the Groundwater Resources Association of California, and served as a member of the Executive Committee for each.

Brad was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 35 and in the past two years a number of his immediate family members have also been diagnosed. He is passionate about reducing the population of those yet undiagnosed and providing the recently diagnosed with resources for their gluten-free lifestyles.

Lee Jones

Development Chair

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Lee and his sister were both diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2012. Over the last ten years as a Celiac patient, he has been shocked by the lack of understanding of the disease in the medical community. His personal frustration living with Celiac disease compelled him to seek help and support from the Celiac Disease Foundation.

In the professional realm, Lee is responsible for developing Google’s global product strategy, launch timelines and go-to-market planning for the app ads business. He is focused on delivering the next generation of products & solutions for app developers and marketers.

Lee has over 15 years of digital marketing & agency experience and joined Google in 2010. Prior to Google, Lee worked at Conversant, Group M, and Reviewed.com. Lee is a graduate of Middlebury College and lives in New York with his wife and 3 children.

Warren Saft


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Warren Saft has spent his entire career on Wall Street, the majority of which has been in structured finance. In early 2017 he joined Brownstone Investment Group, LLC as a Managing Director. Prior to joining Brownstone he had a similar mandate while a Managing Director at CapRok Capital LLC and a Senior Managing Director at Bear Stearns. Previously Warren was at Creditex where he had numerous roles, including setting up their structured product and data businesses. Warren began his career at Citigroup in the Associate Program.


Warren holds a B.S. and a Master of Engineering in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University. He was a member of Cornell’s first graduating class in the Financial Engineering concentration.

John Wagner

Advocacy Chair

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In December 2012, John A. Wagner was named the first Chief Operating Officer, of First 5 LA, building on his nearly two decades of experience in running a number of state departments in the health and human services arena. In August 2016, John was promoted to the position of Executive Vice President.

Prior to joining First 5 LA, John served as Director of the California Department of Community Services and Development from 2011-2012, and Director of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) from 2007-2011. At CDSS, he oversaw a budget of over $20 billion and programs affecting California’s most vulnerable residents including foster children and youth; children and families receiving aid through the California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs); and children and adults in state-licensed community care facilities.

John has served as senior policymaker and advisor to both Republican and Democratic administrations in Wisconsin, Massachusetts and California. Prior to coming to California, he served as the Assistant Secretary for Children, Youth and Families for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, where he coordinated policies and programs across many state agencies. Additionally, John served as the state’s Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance from 2002 to 2007.

John earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, a master’s degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University.

Dan Gibbons

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Dan is a Partner at the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, practicing in the Capital Markets group in New York. In this role, he advises companies and financial institutions on initial public offerings and other capital raising transactions, securities law compliance and other general corporate matters. Dan received his B.S. in Statistics from The George Washington University in 2010 with Phi Beta Kappa honors, and his J.D. from NYU School of Law in 2014. He is admitted to practice law in the State of New York.

Dan is an avid traveler – since being diagnosed with celiac disease in 2010, he has visited over 60 countries, determined not to let gluten dictate his life. He is passionate about accelerating diagnosis, treatments and ultimately a cure for celiac disease. Dan lives in New York with his wife and their dog.

Casey Guber

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Casey is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colorado, a facility of HCA Healthcare. Prior to this appointment he was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of HCA Healthcare facility Wesley Healthcare in Wichita, Kansas.

Casey has achieved many accomplishments in his hospital administration tenure, including starting a children’s hospital, securing over $100M in capital for facility expansions and technology investments, developing a neuro critical care program, and accelerating employee, physician, and patient satisfaction.

Rose Medical Center is a nationally award-winning hospital, including honors in patient experience and quality, a leading surgery program including bariatrics, orthopedic, spine and women’s care, one of the top cardiac catheter lab programs in the state, as well as the renowned “Rose Babies” program.

Casey earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from University of Colorado Boulder and his Master’s of Science in Health Administration from University of Colorado Denver.

Casey has a passion for philanthropy and has served on multiple boards.  This includes the American Heart Association of Kansas, and Susan G Komen for Kansas and Missouri.  He currently serves on Denver’s Economic Development Council and the Executive Committee for the Denver Chamber of Commerce.

Casey is married to his wife Erika.  They have two kids (Charlie – 3) and (Landon – 1).  Charlie was diagnosed with Celiac at the age of 2.  This diagnosis not only changed his family’s life, but instilled a passion to progress community awareness and research around Celiac Disease.  When Casey is not working he enjoys time with his family, cooking, golf, traveling, or heading up to the mountains.

Jordan Ramer

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An accomplished technology leader and entrepreneur, Mr. Ramer has helped raise tens of millions of dollars in financing for growth companies in the Cleantech, sustainability, and energy sectors. Over the past fourteen years, he has helped rapidly grow three companies into successful enterprises resulting in very significant increases in shareholder value.

Since 2010, Mr. Ramer has been Chief Executive Officer and Founder of EV Connect, a market-leading company which deploys and manages electric vehicle charge stations for government and enterprise customers across North America.

EV Connect has grown into the leading provider of electric vehicle charge station management services in North America and supports thousands of drivers daily with its technology.

Prior to EV Connect, Mr. Ramer led corporate development for NanoH2O, a venture-backed developer of energy efficient water purification technology. As one of the first employees, he was instrumental in defining the company’s business model, helping to raise venture financing, and managing governmental affairs for the company, which was recently sold to LG Chem in 2014.

He also held executive positions for over 7 years in business development, product management and marketing at AeroVironment, a leader in clean transportation and energy systems, where he spent seven years elevating the company into the industry leader, spearheading the company’s international expansion and launching its fleet management software solution.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Ramer held roles in business development, finance and strategy for several venture-backed technology start-ups and received his CPA while working at his first professional job at Arthur Andersen.
Mr. Ramer has served as a Loaned Executive with the United Way, and the boards of the Wildwoods Foundation and UC Santa Barbara Bren School Eco-Entrepreneurship Council.

His non-profit board service started after completing the Riordan Volunteer Leadership Development Program in 2002.

In recognition of his board service with the Wildwoods Foundation, he was awarded the US President’s Volunteer Service Award, which was established in 2003 to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in our communities and encourage more people to serve.

He holds a Masters of Business Administration from UCLA Anderson and graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Skidmore College. He is married and lives in Los Angeles, CA with his wife and two children.

Jamie Resin

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Jamie Resin is a Vice President in the Los Angeles office of the Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management Group, advising high net worth individuals, families and non-profit institutions. He joined Goldman Sachs in 2001. Jamie earned his B.A. in Economics and History from Emory University in 1992 with Phi Beta Kappa Honors, and his MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA in 2001 with High Honors. Jamie serves on the Investment Committee for Sinai Akiba Academy, a private Jewish day school in Los Angeles.

Jamie and his wife Talia live in Beverlywood and have three sons.  Their youngest son, Jackson, was diagnosed with celiac disease at age 12 and is a Student Ambassador for the Celiac Disease Foundation.

Yasith Weerasuriya

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Yasith Weerasuriya is President of Stanbridge University, located in Irvine and Los Angeles, California. Stanbridge is an award-winning institution with a focus on healthcare training that leads to licensure, offering programs in Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Nursing, and Veterinary Science. Mr. Weerasuriya has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in the education sector. He attended Wichita State University and Irvine Valley College and was founding President of the College Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, President of the Alpha Gamma Sigma chapter, and President of the Honor Society.

After working with the Special Projects Department at Irvine Valley College in 1996 to facilitate a partnership between Microsoft and over a hundred California community colleges, Mr. Weerasuriya founded Executive 2000 Inc. Executive 2000 quickly grew to become an industry leader in Information Technology, Information Security and Optical Fiber Training in California. In 2003, Mr. Weerasuriya led the organization to national accreditation and broadened the focus to include medical and business training, establishing what would become Stanbridge University. Mr. Weerasuriya founded Stanbridge on the core values of innovation, technology, academic rigor, and community engagement, and it has received national recognition for its focus on service. Recipient of the IMPACT 2018 Award for Innovation in Education, CAPPS 2017 School of the Year Award, ACCSC School of Excellence Award and 6 consecutive years of placement in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, Stanbridge is home to the first Synthetic Cadaver Lab on the West Coast, robotic telemedicine as well as one of the largest virtual reality labs for medical training in the United States.

Mr. Weerasuriya is an active member of the World Affairs Council of Orange County where he is a Trustee and recently served as Chairman. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Discovery Science Center and has previously served on the Orange County Workforce Investment Board, the Second Harvest Food Bank, and California Association of Private Post-Secondary Schools of which he was a past President. Mr. Weerasuriya is a nationwide speaker on the integration of service in higher education pedagogy and recently founded the Root for Change initiative to plant 10,000 trees in Southern California by the end of 2020.  His daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease at age five, inspiring him to pursue a partnership with the Celiac Disease Foundation, as they seek a cure.

Kristin Yarema, PhD

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Kristin Yarema has a passion for bringing new medicines to patients. She has over 25 years experience working across the many different functional areas needed to make the promise of new medicines a reality.  Kristin started her career in biopharmaceutical research and manufacturing, earning her PhD at UC Berkeley, and spending time as a researcher at the Max Planck Institute in Gottingen, Germany.  She then moved into industry, working as a junior partner in McKinsey & Company’s global pharmaceuticals and medical products consulting practice, and later in a series of clinical development and commercial roles including Global Head, Strategic Marketing, at Novartis Pharma AG in Basel, Switzerland.  Now back in the US at Amgen in Southern California, Kristin has overseen the US dermatology business, and served as Global Marketing Therapeutic Area head for inflammation, bone, and nephrology.  In this capacity, she has overseen pipeline development in multiple areas, including autoimmune disease. She was a driver of Amgen’s partnership with Celimmune to develop a new treatment for refractory celiac disease.  Currently, Kristin serves as Amgen’s Vice President for Global Product Strategy and Commercial Innovation. Kristin’s passion for improving diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease is also personal, with her elder daughter diagnosed at age 2 and other celiacs later discovered throughout her family.