In 2017, Actively Moving Forward, (AMF) became a HealGrief program. HealGrief continues to honor the founding AMF Board members, as well as those members instrumental in the development and execution of the program and agency's mission. For a full list of current leadership, click here to be re-routed to Healgrief.org
Prior to 2017, we honor:
Benjamin Chesson, Co-Founder & Board Chair, National Students of AMF Support Network
Associate, Hedrick, Gardner, Kincheloe, & Garofalo LLP
Benjamin is the co-founder of National Students of AMF. He was primarily responsible for transforming the support network into a national, 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Ben also founded the second chapter of Students of AMF while at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Through his friendship with David Fajgenbaum, Ben knew Anne Marie Fajgenbaum very well. Her heroic battle with cancer inspired him to honor her by helping students to cope with similar losses. In the summer of 2005, Ben took on the duties of director of outreach to help make Students of AMF reproducible on other campuses. Later, he used a Kauffman Grant from UNC to incorporate the organization and then took on all business and legal responsibilities. Today, Ben remains active as the secretary of the board of directors and member of the board’s Finance Committee.
Ben is currently an associate at Hedrick, Gardner, Kincheloe, & Garofalo LLP.
Benjamin received his J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law, where he was an editor for the Wake Forest Law Review. He earned his B.A. in political science and B.A. in public policy analysis, with a legal concentration, from UNC. While there, Ben was inducted into the Order of the Old Well, which recognizes students and faculty members of high character who have demonstrated outstanding humanitarian service and whose service has gone uncompensated and unrewarded.
Josh serves as Director of Business Development at Vaco, assisting clients with consulting opportunities in accounting, finance, and IT. Prior to joining Vaco, Josh was an assurance manager at PwC. Here, he was heavily involved in on-campus recruiting at both NC State and UNC-W, also chairing the Network Development Committee.
David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc, Co-Founder, National Students of AMF Support Network; Co-Author, We Get It: Voices of Grieving College Students & Young Adults
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Translational Medicine & Human Genetics, University of Pennsylvania
While a student at Georgetown University, David founded Students of AMF, a peer-led support group and service program, in memory of his mother, Anne Marie Fajgenbaum (AMF). Working with co-founder Ben Chesson, David grew the Georgetown chapter into a national, nonprofit organization, "National Students of AMF" in 2006. David received a BS Magna Cum Laude in Honors Human Sciences with Distinction from Georgetown University, where he was 2007 USA TODAY Academic All-America First Team and a Rhodes Scholar Finalist. After Georgetown, David attended Oxford University as the Allbritton Scholar and completed a 12-24 month master’s (M.Sc by Research) in Public Health in 8 months. He went on to earn his MD from the Raymond & Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a 21st Century Gamble Scholar. Dr. Fajgenbaum completed his MBA at Wharton, where he was awarded the Joseph Wharton Award, Core Value Leadership Award, Kissick Scholarship, Eilers Award, Mandel Fellowship, and Commencement Speaker.
Throughout his academic programs and between personal medical challenges with Castleman disease, David led AMF as Executive Director (2006-2009, 2010-2013) and Board Chair (2006-2014). He grew the program to help over 3,000 students on over 200 college campuses across the US.
David co-authored a book for grieving young adults called "We Get It: Voices of Grieving College Students and Young Adults" in 2015, which is written by grieving young adults and for grieving young adults.
David Fajgenbaum is now an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Translational Medicine & Human Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania, the Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN), and Associate Director, Patient Impact of the University of Pennsylvania's Orphan Disease Center. Dr. Fajgenbaum is also a Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics and Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
Dr. Fajgenbaum’s work has been highlighted by the New York Times, Science, Today Show, Reader’s Digest (“Make it Matter" story of the month), Everylife Foundation (2016 RareVoice: Federal Advocacy Award from Rare Disease Legislative Advocates), Forbes Magazine's 2015 30 Under 30 Healthcare list, Global Genes (2015 RARE Champion of Hope: Science award by Global Genes), University of Colorado (2013 Distinguished Service Award), Eli Lilly (Welcome Back Award), and the Do Something Organization (2007 BRICK Award).
Founder, Accentuate Staffing
Graduated from Lake Forest College (1978) BA, and the University of Rochester Simon School (1980) MBA. Founded Accentuate Staffing, in 1996, a $20m+ revenue, 500+ contract employee, recruitment agency singularly focused upon the Raleigh-Durham marketplace. The company has been recognized with 8 Triangle Fast 50 Awards, 4 Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Awards, and the #222 ranking on the Inc. Magazine 500 List.
A company core values remains the strong encouragement of community-based service. Personally served on the Eastern NC Make-A-Wish and Raleigh-Durham Dress for Success Board of Directors. The company has provided meaningful assistance to the Children’s Flight of Hope, the MS Society, and the Triangle Food Bank, amongst others.
Shortly after the start of freshman year at Lake Forest College, my grandmother passed away. During my junior year, one of my freshman suite mates committed suicide. In both instances, I found myself very isolated and unprepared to “deal” with their meaningful absences. As one not likely to seek professional help, the prospect of a student lead organization like ‘Students of AMF’ would have been a very appealing and needed alternative.
Marketing Director, Gena Chandler; Marketing Director, Quintessentials
Alison Anderson is a graduate of Hollins University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Business Communication & Technology, with an Art History minor. Alison has over 8 years of experience with strategic marketing planning, corporate branding, advertising, event planning, and direct marketing. More recently, she has begun utilizing public relations, web development, and social media marketing to improve her clients advertising presence.
During her years in the advertising and marketing field, she has managed accounts including the American Cancer Society, First Citizens Bank, and Duke Raleigh Hospital. Previously, she was a television producer for Scripps Networks, which includes Food Network, HGTV, DIY and Fine Living. Currently, she is the Marketing Director for Gena Chandler and Quintessentials in Raleigh, NC.
Alison is an active member of the Junior League of Raleigh. She is currently co-chairing the marketing committee for their largest annual fundraising event, “A Shopping SPREE!” Alison has served on the marketing committee for AMF’s Spring Soiree in 2010 and 2011.
She enjoys spending time with her husband Michael and their daughter Mary Wells, along with their labradoodle, Miles. Her other hobbies include tennis, golf and spending time on the North Carolina coast at her family beach house.
Partner, Howard, Stalling, From & Hutson
While attending George Washington University, Allan was active in many extra curricular activities resulting in his election to Omicron Delta Kappa, an honorary fraternity. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the George Washington University, where he is Assistant Secretary, Chairman of the Student Affairs Committee, and a member of the Board’s Executive Committee. While in law school, he served on the legal staff of the Internal Revenue Service, Estate and Gift Tax Division. Allan also has been active in his community and has served as President of the Wake County Jewish Federation.
President, University of North Carolina Hospitals
Gary Park has served as President of University of North Carolina Hospitals (UNCH) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina since March 2004. UNCH is an academic medical center with 799 licensed beds. He also serves as Chief Executive Officer of Rex Healthcare, a 435 bed hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina, which is part of the University of North Carolina Health Care System. The hospital system is comprised of 1260 beds and approximately 10,000 employees. Gary previously served as Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Moses Cone Health System from October 1997 until December 2000. He also served as President of Wesley Long Community Hospital from November 1992 until September 1997 when Wesley Long merged with Moses Cone. Prior to his position at Wesley Long, Gary was President of Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston West Virginia from 1986 to 1992. He has an undergraduate and graduate degree from West Virginia. He and his wife, Cindy, have four children and are active members of the community.
Network Architect, Cisco Systems
Tony has years of experience reviewing local nonprofits’ Technology Plans in order to match their needs with Cisco’s resources. Tony also serves as a technology consultant for another local nonprofit organization…
Sales Development, Skookum Digital Works (www.skookum.com)
Partner, New York Life
Human Resources Manager, Starbucks Corporation
Natasha is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California where she earned a degree in Business Administration focusing on Managerial and International Business. After attending LMU, she attended post-graduate classes to continue to grow her knowledge in the HR field and earned a certificate in Human Resources Management from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. She began a career with Starbucks Coffee Company in 2004 while attending college and has grown within the organization, currently holding the role of Human Resources Manager supporting the Mid-Atlantic Region. Natasha has been involved with Students of AMF as a volunteer since 2008 as a Chapter Development Coordinator and recently has joined the Board.
Natasha currently lives in New York, New York with her husband, Grant. When not working, she enjoys doing anything outdoors – skiing, swimming, running, boating, biking and hiking are among her favorite activities.
Newest members of the Board of Directors (Class of 2016):
Dawn Carlson graduated from the University of New Haven in 2002 with dual Bachelors Degrees in Chemistry and Biology while completing a cooperative research program at Yale University School of Medicine. After seven years in research, she completed an Executive MBA with a concentration in leadership and corporate strategy at the University of New Haven. Dawn has over a decade of pharmaceutical research and development experience, successful management of scientific programs, and holds several patents for new drug entities. Currently, she is the client relationship manager for one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world focusing on conflict resolution, business development, and ensuring a reliable global supply chain.
Dawn travels extensively throughout the world as part of her job and enjoys learning languages and cultures, particularly foreign business cultures. She tries to spend as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors and hiking with her dog or doing anything fitness related. Dawn lives in Morrisville, North Carolina after relocating from Connecticut in 2011. She joined AMF after moving to the area and has volunteered on various committees. The purpose of AMF is very personal to Dawn as both her mom and dad passed away while attending school.
Margaret was a charter member of the Georgetown Students of AMF and has been a volunteer since graduating in a number of areas including the Spring Soiree, creating an Alumni Network, and fundraising. Margaret works as a paramedic in Durham county and volunteers on the Angels Among Us committee at the Duke Brain Tumor Center. Margaret hopes to go to Physician’s Assistant school in the near future. Margaret lives in Carrboro with her husband, Mark, and their daughter McKinley.
Shellie Gruber is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans where she earned a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Computer Information Systems. She worked the next 13 years in the Information Technology industry in the Raleigh/Durham area. Since her children were born, she has spent time working for her husband’s company, RPG Solutions, and being active in her community.
Shellie is a co-founder and former Board Member of Band Together NC. She is also on the Advisory Board and volunteers with the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program. Her other volunteer service has been with Special Olympics and Stop Hunger Now.
While this service is meaningful, Students of AMF hits the closest to home. Nine months after suffering the loss of 3 family members in a plane crash, Shellie left home to attend college in another state. To have had a peer group who understood her grief and fears would have changed the dynamic of her college years. Years later, after reading an article about Students of AMF in 2012, she knew she had to be involved to provide the support she never received.
Shellie and her husband, Phil, have 2 children who all enjoy anything outdoors; including traveling, wakeboarding, biking, snow skiing, hiking, boating and rock climbing. Shellie is also a triathlete who enjoys training rides and runs with her friends, as much as the actual race.
Board Member Emeritus
Principal CPA, Stancil & Company
Ken currently serves as a tax partner at Stancil & Company, a local accounting firm in Raleigh, N.C. As such, he is responsible for the tax planning and compliance services for the firm’s business and individual clients. Ken is a member of the American Institute of CPA’s and the North Carolina Association of CPA’s. He is a member of the Professional Development Committee and the Taxation Committee with the North Carolina Association of CPA’s.
Ken graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While a college student there, Ken experienced a roommate or close friend losing an immediate family member three times. When Ken learned of the mission of Students of AMF Support Network, he was very excited at the opportunity to be involved.
On a personal level, Ken is active in his church as a deacon and Sunday school teacher, and is also a member of the board of North Raleigh Christian Academy. Ken has coached more than a dozen youth sports teams through Raleigh Parks and Recreation and the Upwards Basketball league. He is married to Anita, and they have three beautiful daughters, Anna, Emily, and Molly.
Board Member Emeritus
Bette Jacobs, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor, Georgetown University O’Neill Health Law Institute
Bette Jacobs is distinguished professor, Georgetown University O’Neill Health Law Institute and fellow, University of Oxford Campion Hall. Her career has emphasized engaging multiple disciplines and methods in mission-centered performance organizations. She recently concluded 10 years as academic dean at Georgetown University, transforming the School of Nursing to the School of Nursing and Health Studies offering four majors, establishing the Center on Health and Education, and co-founding the O’ Neill Health Law Institute.
Prior to her work at Georgetown University, Bette was a corporate officer for Honda of America Manufacturing. She also held academic and administrative positions in higher education, including the University of Alabama Birmingham. Bette received undergraduate and graduate degrees at California State University and her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Bette is the mother of three adult children and the grandmother of six. She is married to Dr. Joseph Jacobs who works for Abbott Molecular. They reside in Washington, D.C.
Board Member Emeritus
Alison Malmon Mahowald
Founder & Executive Director, Active Minds
Alison is founder and executive director of Active Minds, Inc., the only national organization that uses students as the driving force to change perceptions about mental health on college campuses. Alison formed the organization in 2001, following the suicide of her only sibling, 22-year-old brother Brian Malmon. Wanting to combat the stigma that had caused her brother to suffer in silence and ultimately take his own life, she created a group on her campus at the University of Pennsylvania that promoted an open, enlightened dialogue around mental health issues. Just two years later, Alison formed the 501(c)3 organization to develop and support chapters of the student group on campuses around the country. She has since served as executive director of the non-profit organization, engaging thousands of student leaders in hundreds of chapters nationwide and promoting a unified national voice for young adults in the mental health awareness movement.
For her efforts, Alison was named Washingtonian of the Year, in 2007, by Washingtonian Magazine; Citizen of the Year, in 2008, by the Potomac, Maryland Rotary Club; and a Woman of Distinction by the American Association of University Women and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. She has also received the Tipper Gore Remember the Children Award from Mental Health America, the inaugural Young Leadership Award from the National Mental Health Research Association (NARSAD), Leadership Award from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, and was named the first-ever Montgomery County Public Schools (Maryland) Distinctive Alumnus. Alison has been profiled as a “Person You Should Know” on CNN, and in stories in the New York Times, Washington Post, Glamour Magazine, and ABC’s Good Morning America, among others.
In addition to her work at Active Minds, Alison sits on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Consumer/Survivor Subcommittee, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law Leadership21 Committee, Bringing Theory to Practice Project Planning Committee, and Students of AMF Board of Directors. In her spare time, Alison enjoys teaching the flying trapeze at the Trapeze School in Washington, D.C., and thinks everyone should “fly” at least once in his or her lifetime!