I have a longstanding relationship with performing arts and storytelling. It’s something that has always come naturally to me (although not according to my 5th form English teacher who stated that my creative writing left something to be desired). Growing up in south-west England, I began performing as a child actor, experiencing the pressures and thrills of commanding audiences in prestigious venues that include The Royal Albert Hall, Glyndborne Royal Opera House, and The National Theatre. While passionate about theatre, an increasing interest in film saw me move from London to Los Angeles, the mecca for movie making. Combining my thirst for knowledge and flair for storytelling, I established myself as a producer and director of educational content before taking this knowledge into the realm of documentary film making. Never satisfied with doing just one thing, I have also had the joy of performing internationally as a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles to Dubai, composed music for a variety of film projects, consulted on script development, written numerous film projects, and produced countless hours of content. Having met a beautiful woman in Los Angeles brave enough to endure my constant creative undertakings, we relocated to the Great Lakes as a preferred environment to raise our two young boys. A new production company was launched and through that I am having a rewarding time working with a wide range of clients across a broad range of content. Recent projects include a collaboration with Girl Scouts of America in the creation of a film makers badge, a documentary on a rare genetic disorder that causes deaf-blindness, and a documentary that looks at the voting systems in different parts of the US democratic system. In my spare time, I ponder my extraordinary ability to grow weeds in the vegetable plot.
Since 2003, James Jorkasky has served as the Executive Director of each the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR), a 501c4 advocacy organization, and the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR), a 501c3 educational foundation. The Alliances, which serve as the “Friends of the National Eye Institute (NEI)” and represent the breadth of the community of support for eye and vision research, engage in advocacy and education, respectively, for the value and cost-effectiveness of federally funded eye and vision research. Mr. Jorkasky is a research biochemist by training who has 40 years of health care policy experience, including senior positions at the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), where he founded the Ophthalmic Devices Sector, and the American Association for Homecare. He received his BA in Chemistry from The College of Wooster and MBA from The George Washington University. Current National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, and former Director Elias Zerhouni, MD have acknowledged Mr. Jorkasky for his leadership as a research advocate. He has also been recognized by the American Glaucoma Society, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the American Academy of Optometry for his service to the vision community.
Ritambhara ( Ritu) Mahna is currently the president of the Federation of India Community Association and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Shiva Vishnu Temple. She also serves as the Secretary of the Association of Indian Physicians of Ohio. Ritu has been an active member of the indian community in Ohio for the past 20 years. Over her tenure, she has planned several black tie fundraisers and organized concerts bringing in between 1800 and 2700 people. In the last 7 years she has raised a total of over $700,000 for a variety of causes. Ritu is married to Dr. Satish Mahna and they have two children, Shali and Saar, who has two beautiful daughters with his wife.
Rozanne Oriella has a long history in the Radio/TV/Film industries. She studied Radio/Television and Journalism at University of Arizona and received a bachelor's degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in Cinematography and Film Production. Her student film, "Electricity", won the Jack Haley Jr. award for best student film, and it appeared in the Cleveland International Film Festival as well as Los Angeles International Film Exposition. She has worked at multiple radio stations and 3 network TV stations in Cleveland, as well as the Cleveland International Film Festival. Ms. Oriella has extensive experience as a Hollywood feature film editor, having edited 5 feature films including "Cyborg" and "Journey to the Center of the Earth". She was an assistant editor on Blake Edward's film "That's Life!" starring Jack Lemmon and Julie Andrews. She has also been credited with producing, script supervising, and sound editing other feature films. Since 1996 she has been a licensed Realtor, currently working with ReMax Traditions in Chagrin Falls. She owns a family property in Tuscany, Villa Zingale, and resides in Chagrin Falls with her husband Lino.
Dr. Michael P. Shaughnessy was born and raised on Cleveland’s West Side and attended St. Ignatius High School. He attended Miami University and then the Medical College of Ohio, now part of University of Toledo. His internship was served at Riverside Hospital in Columbus and residency at Case Western Reserve University. His Cornea fellowship took place at the University of Texas Medical Center in Dallas. He began private practice with University Ophthalmology Associates, Inc. in 2002 where he remains today. Dr. Shaughnessy is a Comprehensive ophthalmologist with subspecialty training in Cornea and External Disease. He is the Medical Director of Brainard Surgery Center, an Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Case Western Reserve University, a Cleveland Magazine “Top Doc”, and serves on several local medical boards. His clinical practice focuses on Cataract Surgery, Dry eye, Corneal Diseases, and Comprehensive Ophthalmology; including Diabetes, Glaucoma, and Macular Degeneration. He enjoys teaching, making family time with his wife, Kathy, and their three children; as well as running, cycling, triathlons, golf, woodworking, and drawing.
Ms. Stepan is a partner in Brouse Mcdowell’s Labor and Employment Practice Group. She is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialist in Worker’s Compensation Law. Her Experience includes representing Employers before the Ohio Industrial commission as well as state courts. Linda is a graduate of Cleveland State University, magna cum laude, (BA, 1992) and Cleveland Marshall College of Law, cum laude, (JD,1991). She was named an Ohio Super Lawyer 2013-2015.
Lisa Ulery is the Director of IT and Libraries at University School a position she has held since 2016. Before that, Lisa served as the Director of the Wean Research Library and taught Spanish at University School where she has worked since 2004. Lisa is a longtime educator having taught at schools in both Kansas and northeast Ohio in the middle and upper grades. Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Spanish and Social Studies Education and a master’s degree from Kent State University in Instructional Technology. She is passionate about connecting people with accurate and reliable information and sharing research and innovation broadly.
Mary Ellen Voiers is a graduate of Miami University in Business Economics with over 20 years’ experience in marketing and advertising in the Cleveland area. She spent ten years with Meldrum and Fewsmith Advertising where she became a Vice President, Account Supervisor and worked on accounts such as Mr. Coffee, University Hospitals, American Greetings and County Line Limited. She was also an Account Group Director for Brokaw Advertising.
In 2003, Mary Ellen became one of the founding members of Outrun Ovarian Cancer (OROC), a volunteer-driven, nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and funds to eradicate ovarian cancer. As Race Director, Mary Ellen helped establish an annual 5K event to raise money for research in northeast Ohio. To date, this grass roots organization has successfully raised and disbursed over $1.5 million. The race continues to attract over 2,300 participants annually.
Most recently, Mary Ellen worked for PNC Creative Services as a consultant and for American Greetings Interactive as an assistant editor. Mary Ellen’s passion for FVF is very personal as she battles Retinal Dystrophy, a rare genetic condition that results in the gradual loss of central vision.
The Foundation was co-created by Jennifer Deutsch, Chief Marketing Officer at Park Place Technologies. Suber and Jennifer began their collaboration in February 2017 following the death of Jennifer’s father, Dr. Frederic Deutsch, who was a globally recognized Ophthalmologist known for medical and surgical innovations.