Ellis Emerson
Patient/ Survivor Advisor

Ellis Emerson is a Badwater 135 finisher and started running before her diagnosis. She jumped in, fully. Running was how she processed feelings/fears and so it was also a part of her early cancer experience. Ellis describes Badwater as "maybe the hardest thing I’ve done. It came in the middle of treatment—body puffy from steroids. Unfamiliar, but I needed to prove I was still me.”

Ellis was diagnosed 10/30/17 and entered into the cancer community quickly because it’s how she made sense of her experience.

"I feel like the community made all the difference. If we never share our story, we feel so alone because we don’t realize how shared our experiences are." On her website
, it says “our experiences, while unique, are not different.” Ellis believes sharing connects us. Both the one sharing and the one hearing. She believes it is a gift to share her experiences.


Kate Griffin
CRO/ PRO Advisor

Kathleen (Kate) Griffin currently serves as an Executive Director on the Syneos Health Customer & Digital Engagement team. In that role, she identifies opportunities to harness data and technology to improve trial execution and commercial success. She monitors the digital health environment, supports business development efforts and looks for ways to partner across the organization, as well as with Vendors and Customers. Prior to the merger of INC Research and inVentiv Health, which created Syneos Health, Kate held the same position within the Corporate Strategy team and contributed to the INC Research position on the use of external data in the execution of clinical trials.

Prior to her strategic business role, she served as an Executive Director in the INC Research IT department and was responsible for IT Strategy, Communication and Business Relationship Management teams. Kate was a founder of AVOS Life Sciences, a management consulting firm in the biopharmaceutical industry. Her industry experience includes 3 years at Quintiles Transnational in a host of strategic development roles. She also spent time at IBM’s Wilkerson Group, focusing on pharmaceutical practice initiatives.


Shwen Gwee
Digital Health / Pharmaceutical Innovation Advisor

Shwen is a recognized pioneer in digital health and social pharma, as well as a well-respected industry thought-leader who was named a Top 40 “Healthcare Transformer” by MM&M in 2015 and a PR Week and MM&M "Health Influencer 50" in 2017 & 2018. He sits on various advisory boards, including Google (Healthcare), SXSW (Health), MM&M Healthcare Transformers, conversationHEALTH and the Digital Health Coalition.

Shwen brings over a decade of experience leading digital strategy and driving innovation in commercial, communications, and clinical organizations, both on the client-side and at leading creative agencies. He is often featured in industry publications, speaks regularly at industry events and chairs the Digital Innovation Day for the Digital Pharma Series (East, West and EU).

Shwen is also very involved in the health tech startup community and organizes startup boot camps, runs startup pitch contests and plays an active role running healthcare hackathons around the world as part of the MIT Hacking Medicine team.


Dr. Catherine Benedict
Clinical / Mental Health Advisor

Dr. Catherine Benedict is a behavioral health researcher and clinical psychologist (NY license). She is passionate about developing evidence-based digital health interventions that support patient experiences, optimize clinical care, and improve health outcomes. Most recently, her work has focused on improving adolescent and young adult cancer survivorship. Project have included building digital health resources to support survivors in managing late and long-term effects of treatment including physical, psychosocial, and financial difficulties; while identifying strategies for improving adherence and clinical care experiences. Dr. Catherine Benedict is part of the GRYT Health team, developing an app for cancer survivors to receive targeted, tailored information and peer support. Dr. Catherine Benedict works closely with patient organizations such as Stupid Cancer and The Samfund in various roles supporting their efforts to improve adolescent and young adult cancer outcomes.


Dr. Kamala Maddali
Precision Medicine Advisor

Dr Kamala K Maddali is a passionate global precision medicine executive and her mantra for leadership is to “spread some sunshine” by being passionate and positive about her commitment to patient’s health. Dr. Maddali’s cross collaborative mindset comes from her versatile professional background across pharma like Merck and Co, clinical trial organizations like Quintiles and diagnostics companies like Quest Diagnostics, Cancer Genetics etc. She holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from University of Missouri-Columbia and a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University in India. 

As an ongoing warrior with Multiple Sclerosis (Like) Dr. Maddali’s vision includes “Educate global communities with hope from science and innovation” which will foster awareness towards precision treatments plus early disease diagnosis and prevention. She is a board member for several US based patient advocacy organizations like “Paltown”, “Cancer NJ” etc. Dr. Maddali serves as an executive advisor for several healthcare technology companies focused in artificial intelligence, blockchain genomics, nutraceuticals, bioinformatics, biotechs focused on unique biomarker driven drug targets.

Dr. Maddali was the 2016 Healthcare Heroes Finalist Award for “Innovation-Individual” category at NJBIZ. Dr. Maddali received many awards focused on women empowerment from several organizations in USA. Dr. Maddali serves as a Vice Chair for the Women in Bio (WIB) Philadelphia chapter. The Women In Bio organization promotes careers, leadership, and entrepreneurship for women in the life sciences. In 2019, Dr. Maddali was awarded “Women Empowerment in Healthcare” by North American Indian Association for her expert contributions in innovation and her commitment to educate everyone about innovation in healthcare.

Please click on the weblink below for her mission on innovation and education of personnel worldwide about the impact of innovation to patients and communities.


Ty Curran
Health Communications Advisor

Chairman of Harrison & Star and Biolumina, Ty continues to lead and motivate a growing team that always gives 110% to its clients. And, like a chief of surgery who’d rather be in the OR than behind a desk, Ty enjoys nothing better than immersing himself in a strategic challenge—and helping a client score a victory for the brand.

Prior to joining Harrison and Star, Ty was Managing Director at NCI Communications, where he helped build brands for Hoechst Marion Roussel, Glaxo Wellcome, Teva Marion Partners, Galderma, Boehringer Ingelheim, Parke-Davis, and SmithKline Beecham.

Ty has extensive oncology experience working on brands such as Avastin, Taxotere, Erivedge, Zelboraf, Zometa, Herceptin, and Femara. He is also on the National Advisory Board for the Family Reach Foundation.

He earned his BS in Sociology and Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany and an MBA from Old Dominion University. He and his wife live in Fairfield, Connecticut, with their 3 sons, all of whom are training to take the world by storm, just like their dad.


Terry Cross
Angel / Start-Up Advisor

After graduating from Wayne State University with an MBA in Finance, Mr. Cross entered the machine tool business in Detroit, Michigan, with The Cross Company, (publicly traded) the world’s leader in Automated Machine Tools. Mr. Cross worked in many departments of The Cross Company, learning the business from the ground up.

Mr. Cross co-founded, CP Systems Company specializing in high-speed, small parts, automated assembly machinery and built it up to an annual revenue base of $ 10.0 million. Mr. Cross sold CP Systems Company to Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company, a NYSE listed company.

Mr. Cross entered the securities business through a training program with Eastman Dillon Union Securities in 1972. In 1974, Mr. Cross joined Kidder, Peabody & Company in their Detroit, Michigan office and remained there until 1985 when he was transferred to Kidder’s flagship Park Avenue office in New York City. In 1985, Mr. Cross was elected a Senior Vice President and shareholder of Kidder, Peabody & Company. In 1988, Mr. Cross was transferred to Kidder’s San Francisco office and remained there until 1998. During his years in San Francisco from 1989 until 1998, he focused almost entirely on the technology companies and venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. In 1995, Kidder was acquired by PaineWebber. Mr. Cross left PaineWebber in July of 1998 to pursue private investments. In February 2000, Mr. Cross co-founded Sonoma Photonics, Inc in Santa Rosa, CA where he served as CEO and Chairman until he resigned to return to Michigan in August 2002. During his tenure, Mr. Cross spearheaded the development of the business plan and raised $ 10.7 million in venture funding from domestic and European investors. Sonoma Photonics was sold to Northrop Grumman in 2008 for a significant return. In August 2002, Mr. Cross returned to Michigan and founded Windward Associates, a private investment partnership, where he focuses on capital formation advisory.

Mr. Cross’ past board memberships include: G2 Networks, Inc. of Los Gatos, CA, Safari Technology Inc. of Lawton, Michigan, GCB Technologies of San Jose, CA, InGenius Technologies of Kalamazoo, MI., Wordenglass Inc. of Kalamazoo, MI., Machine Vision International of Ann Arbor, MI, Inivest of Detroit, MI, and Triumph Resources of New York City, and Pure Entropy Solutions of Lake Orion, MI[as Chairman], and MIST Innovations of Detroit as Chairman.

Mr. Cross was a founding investor of three companies resulting from MIT’s Technology Transfer Department: Intellitec, Axiomatics, and LNL Technologies. He served as a board member for Axiomatics and Intellitec. He was also a member of MIT’s Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity. He has served as a financial advisor to Triscend Semiconductor of Mountain View, CA, Macropore Corporation of San Diego, CA. and All-American Semiconductor of San Jose, CA.

He currently serves as Board Chairman of Fusion Coolant Systems, Ann Arbor, MI, a Director of Monarch Antenna, a Delphi Corp. spinout, IROA Technologies, LLC of Ann Arbor, MI, ArdentCause L3C., NextCAT of Detroit, MI, Lead Director of [501c-3], and Director and Interim CFO of InfoReady, Ann Arbor, MI. among others. Since 2002, he has mentored over 50 company founders in Southeast Michigan and has been instrumental in helping entrepreneurs raise in excess of $ 100 million of capital funding.

Mr. Cross was named The Distinguished Alumni in 2005 by The School of Business Administration at Wayne State University where he is also their first Executive in Residence-Entrepreneurship. He also served on the Business School’s Board of Visitors and on The Critiquing Committee for their Entrepreneur Course relating to business plan development. He also administers the prestigious Adams Family Fellowship for Entrepreneurship for The Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan. He currently serves as business plan evaluator for the SEIC Michigan 21st. Century Jobs’ Fund Pre Seed Fund, the SEIC Michigan 21st.Century Jobs Fund Accelerator Fund, the SEIC Michigan 21st. Century Follow-On Fund, the SEIC Michigan 21st Venture Match Fund, The Great Lakes Entrepreneurs’ Quest and The First Step Fund in Detroit, MI. He serves on the Investment Committee of Invest Michigan and he is on the Board and Investment Committee of The Automation Alley Fund. He is a member of The Rochester Hills Mayor’s Business Committee. He was deeply involved in many aspects of TechTown, a Detroit based incubator from 2003-2009. He currently serves an adviser to The Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund at The Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan where he was named Outstanding Adviser for 2010-2011. Terry has served as a judge for The Accelerate Michigan Business Plan Competition, the largest such competition in the world with prizes totaling more than $ 1.0 million.

In September of 2007, Terry was named to the Task Force for a World Financial Center by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, one of Korea’s most prestigious educational institutions. In 2010 Terry was elected to the Board of the Detroit Chapter of The American Technion Society associated with The Technion in Haifa, Israel.

He is a past Board member of Great Lakes Angels, a founding member of Michigan Venture Capital Association, a Board member of Automation Alley’s Entrepreneurial Initiative of Southeast Michigan, a Board Member of Ann Arbor Angels ,a former Trustee of Mariners’ Church of Detroit, and a former trustee of The Professional Children’s School of New York City and Chairman of The Executive Board of Michigan-Emerging an event focusing on the emerging sectors in Michigan’s economic recovery.

Terry resides in Oakland County, Michigan.


Alexis C. Harris
Caregiver/ Advocacy Advisor

Alexis C. Harris is a passionate artist, mother, creator and event manager. Originally from Washington, D.C., Alexis now resides in Upstate New York with her fiancé and daughter. After attending the Rochester Institute of Technology, Alexis spent four years as an Event Coordinator for the American Cancer Society. She is currently the Special Events Manager for Habitat for Humanity and served on the American Cancer Society Associate Board of Advisors.

One of her most defining moments was in 2017, when she conceptualized, planned, and successfully executed her first Inspire Photo Gallery – an event where she interviewed and photographed more than 15 cancer survivors and caregivers, wrote articles on each of them, locked in multiple sponsors, and published an event magazine – all in under two months. This event was widely received throughout Western New York and further fueled Alexis’ passion for creating powerful experiences for the community through meaningful events.

Believing that the ultimate key to life is growth, Alexis is taking on a new challenge and focusing on the creation of her storytelling company with a mission to positively inspire through memorable, engaging, and profound experiences.