Staff

Last Updated on Monday, January 23, 2017

Eleni Z Tsigas

Chief Executive Officer

Eleni Z. Tsigas is the CEO of the Preeclampsia Foundation and member of the Board of Directors for Preeclampsia Foundation Canada. As a preeclampsia survivor herself, Eleni is a relentless champion for the improvement of patient and provider education and practices, for the catalytic role that patients can have to advance the science and status of maternal-infant health, and for the progress that can be realized by building global partnerships to improve patient outcomes.

She has served as a technical advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) and participated in the Hypertension in Pregnancy Task Force created by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to develop the national guidelines introduced in 2013, as well as a similar task force for the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC). Eleni also serves on behalf of the Preeclampsia Foundation as a voting member of the Council on Patient Safety in Women's Health Care, the Patient Advisory Board of IMPROvED (IMproved PRegnancy Outcomes via Early Detection), Ireland, and the Technical Advisory Group and Knowledge Translation Committee for PRE-EMPT (funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). Eleni is frequently engaged as an expert representing the consumer perspective on preeclampsia at national and international meetings, and has been honored to deliver keynote addresses for several professional healthcare providers' societies.

Eleni has collaborated in numerous research studies, has authored invited chapters and papers in peer-reviewed journals, and is the Principal Investigator for The Preeclampsia Registry.

A veteran of public relations, she has secured media coverage about preeclampsia in national consumer magazines, as well as newspapers, radio and online. Eleni previously spent 8 years executing and managing strategic communications and public relations for technology and biotech companies with Waggener Edstrom Worldwide and for 6 years prior in the television industry.

Prior to serving as CEO, she served in a variety of volunteer capacities for the organization, including six years on the Board of Directors, two as its chairman. Working with dedicated volunteers, board members and professional staff, Eleni has helped lead the Foundation to its current position as a sustainable, mission-driven, results-oriented organization.

She is married, and has two of her three pregnancies seriously impacted by preeclampsia.

Valerie Holloway

Managing Director

With over 20 years in healthcare leadership, Valerie Holloway began her career in hospital public relations. She has served as a physician relations coordinator advancing to Director, Corporate Vice-president of Marketing, System Vice-president of Customer Service, and Vice-president at a 500-bed major medical center with oversight for quality, patient satisfaction, ancillary service departments, and volunteer services.

In addition to her healthcare experience, Valerie has worked in fundraising and not-for-profit management and served as a consultant in strategic planning and a leadership coach. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in Management and Leadership from Webster University.

Valerie lives in Melbourne, Florida with husband Darrell, an aerospace engineer, has an adult daughter who works in maternal health, and recently became a grandmother.

Valerie feels everything she has done professionally has led her to this position and her ability to lead a team that can have far-reaching impact in making childbirth safe.

Hugh Mackrell

Acting Director of Finance and Operations

Hugh Mackrell oversees the administration of the Foundation, including finance, HR, and IT departments, providing strong day-to-day leadership for all staff, and bridging national and local operations. He has extensive experience in professional services, government contracting and information technologies for both small and large companies. He also brings to the Foundation over twenty years of experience in public accounting and auditing, federal contracting, strategic planning, IPO's, financial transactions, operations and mergers and acquisitions. He most recently served as CFO for a mid-sized Brevard County, FL professional services government contractor providing services to the U.S. Navy until the company was sold in 2013. From 1999 to 2008, Hugh was COO and CFO for Jefferson Consulting Group, a Washington DC-based government relations, lobbying, contracting and public relations firm. His areas of expertise and responsibility included strategic planning, financial management, administration and information technology.

Prior positions also included operational and financial oversight and reorganization to maximize efficiencies, effectiveness, and growth. Hugh also spent ten years with Deloitte & Touche, responsible for all aspects of client relationships, service delivery, and practice development for clients in the public, private and non-profits sectors, varying in size from start-up to large, and multi-national companies. Hugh received a B.S. degree in Accounting, summa cum laude, from the University of Maryland. He is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

 

  

Debbie Helton

Director of Marketing and Communications

With a passion for health care and patient advocacy, Debbie Helton brings more than 20 years of experience to her role as the Foundation's Director of Marketing and Communications. Before joining the Foundation, Debbie worked with Health First, a four-hospital system and insurance company based in Brevard County, Florida -- also home to the Foundation. While there, Debbie served as Health First's Corporate Director of Marketing and Communications, and helped launch and grow multiple programs and services, including the Birthing Suites and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Holmes Regional Medical Center and Obstetrics Unit at Cape Canaveral Hospital. Debbie later served in a patient advocacy role as Manager of Patient Relations and Volunteer Services at the system's newest hospital, Health First Viera Hospital.

Debbie is a Certified Public Relations Counselor by the Florida Public Relations Association and completed a year-long Integrative Medicine Fellowship with the renowned Kaiser Institute. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and specialty in Advertising and Public Relations.

  

Chris McGahee

Director of Development

Chris McGahee comes to the Preeclampsia Foundation with many years of experience in the corporate marketing communications, public relations, and fundraising fields. He has supported the marketing communications needs of a large, integrated health system with four-hospitals that include mother/baby services, outpatient and wellness, level II trauma center, and emergency departments. Chris recently served in roles in the fundraising and finance departments for a K-12 private school, and is well-versed in donor relations, donor communications, and database management of donor records. He is especially skilled at utilizing a variety of communications platforms and messaging strategies to create long-term, beneficial relationships. Chris has a bachelor of science degree in Organization Management from Eastern Florida State College, and has earned numerous awards including Star Performer of the Year from Health First, four Mark of Excellence awards from the Florida Hospital Association, and multiple gold and silver Addy awards. He also served as chairman of the Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Alina

Alina Brewer

Registry Manager

Alina brings a diverse background of implementing research initiatives in a variety of medical fields. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies from Brigham Young University-Hawaii and started her career in research in 2007 enrolling participants for a genetic Scoliosis study. Since then, she has coordinated participant enrollment, interfaced with physicians and institutional review boards, and developed study websites and patient communications for several studies including a variety of pediatric motor disorders (such as spinal muscular atrophy), degenerative disc disease, and also worked for a non-profit organization on the start up of a Recurrent Pregnancy Loss and Pre-Term Labor study. Alina cares deeply about research and the positive outcomes for families and individuals that can result from the efforts of both researchers and participants. She has a passion for helping others and feels fortunate to work with women and families affected by preeclampsia with the goal of advancing our knowledge of this poorly understood disorder.

Kelly

Kelly Breese

Accounting Manager

Kelly Breese is responsible for handling the fundamental aspects of the Preeclampsia Foundation's financial record keeping, including recording financial transactions and managing accounts payable and receivable. She has over 17 years experience in the accounting field, primarily working in the private sector as CFO for a regional telecommunications company.  Kelly received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance in 2000 at the California State University, Sacramento.  Kelly moved from California to Florida in 2011 with her husband and three children, and has been an active volunteer with various local elementary and middle schools.   She is excited about making a difference in the lives of women and children by supporting the mission of the Preeclampsia Foundation.

Rebecca Miller

Rebecca Britt

Community Education and Engagement Manager

Rebecca Britt is the Community Education and Engagement Manager for the Preeclampsia Foundation. Her calling to advocate and support those who often don't have a voice led her to earn a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of Vermont.

Rebecca has worked with varying populations including children in foster care, adults surviving with persistent mental illness, and women facing fertility challenges. She is passionate about reducing isolation for preeclampsia patients and survivors by building community connections and raising awareness.

Before coming to the Preeclampsia Foundation, Rebecca started her own nonprofit developing life skills in foster and adopted children utilizing community mentors and equine-facilitated learning. Through that, she developed a mentorship curriculum that could be implemented at therapeutic equine facilities nationwide.

Rebecca is a visionary and global thinker. She is excited to put her passion and experience together to unite the preeclampsia community. Upholding the Preeclampsia Foundation's mission, Rebecca aims to provide the education and tools necessary to empower patients to advocate for systemic change to save lives.

Rebecca Miller

Marty Mercado

National Events Manager

Marty Mercado is the National Events Manager for the Preeclampsia Foundation. Her focus is on Promise Walk for Preeclampsia, the signature event for the Foundation. Marty enjoys helping the hundreds of volunteers organize their walks and watching the community comes together, empowered to fundraise and help save the lives of mothers and babies. She has had a long career in fundraising and volunteer management with several national nonprofits. Her focus is on coaching volunteers to raise funds and awareness. Marty enjoys getting to know her volunteers and helps them focus on their strengths to create success.

Marty began her career as a professional ballerina and danced with the University of South Florida (USF) Student Dance Company in Tampa. After her dance education at USF, she danced professionally with Milwaukee Ballet, Pittsburg Ballet, Tampa Ballet, and Joffery Ballet. Marty is also very proud of the fact that she ran her own non-profit dance company for 15 years that focused on healing arts for students at risk and students with disabilities.

Marty enjoys working with people and creating relationships that help build humanity and make change in our world. She is excited to be part of the Preeclampsia Foundation and "making strides and delivering hope."

Myra Morales

Program Assistant

As the Preeclampsia Foundation's Program Assistant, Myra Morales has a passion for working with others in need. The diverse nature of her position provides many opportunities for Myra to personally connect with the Foundation's donors, volunteers, board members, and other supporters. Myra's love of the ocean inspired her to recently move from her native New York to sunny Florida, where the Foundation's headquarters are located. Myra graduated from Brooklyn College in 2008 with a degree in Business Management, focusing on Finance and Procurement with a minor in Education. She then moved from New York City to the Hudson Valley to pursue a career in healthcare and education.

Myra is a mother of three and enjoys crafting, crocheting, and baking gifts for family and friends.

 
 
 

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