Meet Our Leadership Team and Staff
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is able to fulfill its mission and continue its battle against Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis because of our dedicated leadership team and inspiring staff members. If you would like to join our team and help make a difference, here is a list of our latest career opportunities.
President and CEO
Mr. Geswell has had a distinguished career in nonprofit health agency management. Over the past 30 years, Mr. Geswell worked in all areas of resource development and field operations. His experience incorporates leadership positions in the American Heart Association, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. His background covers all aspects of development: major gifts, special events, direct response, planned giving, e-giving and corporate development. In addition to his impressive fund raising track record, he has served as a chapter director, regional director, Regional VP and National VP for Field Operations. Most recently, Mr. Geswell served for seven years as the Executive VP, Revenue and Marketing for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society where he more than doubled revenue during his tenure from $109 million to $225 million.
Mr. Geswell is dedicated to the principle of strategic planning and has both participated and led the strategic planning and business planning process. Mr. Geswell's professional accomplishments are only surpassed by his family focus. He and his wife Jackie have two sons, Matt and Ryan.
Chief Development Officer
Judi joined the Foundation in 2006 after spending five years at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as Vice President for Major and Planned Giving. Judi’s nonprofit career spans three decades during which time she has held senior positions at Columbia University, Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, The Lighthouse, and Outward Bound among others. Judi’s areas of expertise include all areas of fundraising with a special love for individual major giving. She has managed the development of strategic plans, and been responsible for field operations, marketing, and external relations.
Judi is a frequent lecturer and has served on a variety of nonprofit boards. She is a past president of the Bard St. Stephens Alumni Association, and the Association of Development Officers. Her first collection of poetry is awaiting publication.
Aki Cipriani, MS
Human Resources Director
Aki has nearly 10 years of Human Resources experience which includes organizational and employee development, recruitment, compensation, labor relations, staffing management and diversity. He earned his Master’s of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Capella University and his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Hunter College. He is an active member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and Psi Chi the National Honor Society in Psychology. Aki started his career with Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) as the organizations first On boarding & Training Specialist. In this role, he helped to streamline and develop various new hire training initiatives to foster continuous professional education and cultivate a deeper understanding of the foundation’s mission.
Currently, Aki serves as the Director of Human Resources overseeing organizational policies, hiring procedures, performance appraisals, employee relations and benefits.
Marie Granieri, MBA
Chief of Staff
Marie holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Business Management and Marketing Management from the St. John’s University in Jamaica, NY. Throughout her career, Marie has held Senior Leadership positions for domestic and global leaders in the Information Technology and Biotech industries. Her diverse background in marketing and technology, Web development, database management, CRM, project management and strategic business analysis has helped organizations both large and small successfully adopt new technologies that drive growth and innovation at an accelerated pace.
Marie is responsible for the strategic vision and technical governance of CCFA technologies, team management and technology partner relationships. She values the dedication of CCFA staff members and volunteers and is always looking for ways to improve performance. Born in Queens, Marie and her husband Michael currently live on Long Island with their two children.
Chief Business Development Officer
Michael Osso has spent his entire professional career in the non-profit sector. His background in staff and volunteer development; fundraising and marketing; strategy development and implementation; financial management and operations; and community-outreach and board development has benefited a variety of nonprofits over the last 25 years. Prior to joining CCFA, Michael spent seven years at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – first as the Executive Director of its New York City Chapter and then as SVP of Revenue at the national office. His responsibilities included oversight of LLS’s national fundraising campaigns including Team In Training and Light The Night Walk, as well as its major and planned giving efforts.
Before his work in the health arena, Michael was the Executive Director of Careers through Culinary Arts Program, and spent many years working for a variety of cultural organizations, among them the Mark Morris Dance Group, Jose Limon Dance Foundation, and City Center Theater.
As Chief Business Development Officer, Michael manages the advancement of CCFA new business initiatives, corporate/research partnerships, cause marketing, commercialization of CCFA property, and new gift initiatives.
Michael is a graduate of The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania.
Caren Heller, MD, MBA
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Heller received her medical degree from Columbia University and a Masters of Business Administration from The University of Chicago. She has more than thirty years of professional experience within the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries and academic medical centers. She previously worked for Weil Cornell Medical College, where she most recently held the positions of Associate Dean of Intercampus and Industry Initiatives and Assistant Research Professor. In these roles, she implemented plans to promote interdisciplinary collaborations between the medical school and Cornell University faculties, facilitated the development of NIH-funded intercampus centers, promoted collaborative research projects with industry partners, and managed the intercampus pilot grant program.
Prior to Weil Cornell, she was at Athena Healthcare Consulting, working with industry and academic centers regarding new product opportunities, new drug development, and clinical and translational research. While there, she developed Models of Care, a health care information series that identified and described best practices in disease management.
She has worked with the Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee and implemented clinical development plans resulting in drug approval. She has been published in more than 20 publications and is the recipient of the “Best Journal Article on Disease Management” honor.
Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer
Bob joined the Foundation as Chief Financial Officer in 2012 after thirty-three years at Verizon Communications. At Verizon, Bob held several Finance roles of increasing responsibility and size. His specific focus was leading finance and operations for the Northeast market - Verizon’s largest. Working with senior leaders, he was instrumental in obtaining FiOS franchise approval for New York City. Bob comes to CCFA with extensive experience managing large revenue, expense, and capital budgets in support of executive decision making for marketing, operations, sales, strategic planning, and business case analysis. He successfully completed extensive leadership training at the Wharton Business School, Babson College and University of Maryland and attended SUNY Empire State College in upstate NY.
In addition to his fiduciary responsibilities at the Foundation, Bob maintains oversight for matters related to building and leases as well as risk management. He is committed to leading the Finance team in support of CCFA’s efforts to find cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Born in Staten Island, Bob and his wife, Debbie, currently reside in Monmouth County, NJ and are the proud parents of two childern, Lauren and Christopher.