Board of Directors

Meet the members of the NCOA Board of Directors:

James Knickman, Chair

James Knickman

An active philanthropy executive, scholar, and community leader, James Knickman is Robert Derzon Chair in Public and Health Affairs, at the New York University (NYU) Robert Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, NYU Langone Medical School Department of Population Health.

Knickman recently retired as president and chief executive officer of the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), a private foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers. Under Knickman’s leadership, NYSHealth invested nearly $60 million since 2006 in initiatives to improve health care and the public health system in New York state. Today, the foundation focuses its efforts in three priority areas: reducing the number of New Yorkers without health insurance coverage, improving prevention and management of diabetes, and integrating mental health and substance abuse services for people who cope with both issues at the same time.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Knickman was vice president of research and evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in Princeton, NJ, where he led and oversaw research initiatives, external evaluations of RWJF’s national initiatives, and internal analyses related to its grantmaking priorities.

Between 1976 and 1992, he served on the faculty of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where he was active in community service directed at improving health care delivery to vulnerable populations. Earlier, he worked at the New York City Office of Management and Budget, and he has been a visiting professor at the University of Rochester, U.C. Berkeley, and Princeton University. He has also served on a wide range of advisory boards and published extensive research on issues related to improving services for homeless families, frail elders, and individuals with HIV. Knickman is the co-author of a widely used textbook on health policy and management.

Knickman serves as a board member of the Robert Wood Johnson Health System and of the Center for Effective Philanthropy. He is a past chair of the New Jersey Department of Health’s Cardiac Health Advisory Council; a past board member of AcademyHealth in Washington, DC; and a past board member of the New York Catholic Health Care System.

Knickman received a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and psychology from Fordham University and his Ph.D. in public policy analysis from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sunder Joshi, Secretary & Treasurer

Sunder Joshi

Sunder Joshi held numerous positions at the American Heart Association before retiring as Chief Administrative Officer/CFO. In this role he was responsible for Finance, Business Technology, Human Resources, Diversity, Support Services, Legal, Internal Audit, and Bequest Administration. His previous roles included Director of Internal Audit and Chief Operating Officer, Business Operations of the Western States Affiliate.

Prior to joining the American Heart Association, Joshi worked in public accounting in the UK for Thomson McLintock & Co and in the International Audit Division of Continental Illinois Bank in London and Chicago. He has served on committees of several nonprofit organizations, including the Independent Sector’s Ethics and Accountability Committee, the Wise Giving Alliance’s Effectiveness Panel, and the Partnership for Prevention’s Audit Committee.

Joshi holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from University of Bombay, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, and received his CPA certification from the Colorado Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Carol Zernial, Immediate Past-Chair

Carol Zernial

Carol Zernial holds a master’s degree in social gerontology and has been involved in the field of aging for over 20 years. Her background includes work for the 1995 White House Conference on Aging and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. She is past chair of the National Institute on Community-based Long-Term Care.

Zernial currently serves as executive director of the WellMed Charitable Foundation and vice president of community relations for WellMed Medical Management. Before joining WellMed, Zernial was director of the Bexar County Area Agency on Aging in San Antonio, TX, and vice president of the Texas Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

She received the 2008 Outstanding Professional in Aging Award in Texas for her contributions to the field of aging.


Josefina Carbonell

Josefina Carbonell

A former top U.S. official serving the elderly and a distinguished leader in the private and governmental health care sectors, Carbonell brings more than 30 years of experience in community-based long-term care, including health, nutrition, transportation, and personal care services.

In August 2001, Carbonell was appointed by President George Bush to serve as Assistant Secretary for Aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a position she held for more than seven years. During her tenure, Carbonell made significant contributions to the modernization of long-term care as provided through 29,000 aging services network provider organizations.

Prior to joining the Bush administration, Carbonell was president and CEO of the largest Hispanic geriatric health and human service organization in the nation–Little Havana Activities & Nutrition Centers (LHANC) in Miami-Dade County, FL.

As current senior vice president of Independent Living Systems (ILS), Carbonell leads the strategic growth of the company’s long-term care division, fortifying its focus and commitment to servicing the growing Florida aging community. ILS specializes in case and disease management, social, and nutritional services through its partnerships with health plans, government entities, and individual providers. Because of its significant impact in the health care sector, the company was recently ranked as one of the “Top 10 South Florida Business Leaders” by Business Leader magazine.

Heather Dupré

Heather Dupré

Heather Dupré has more than 30 years of experience creating and growing the world’s strongest brands. As a founder and former President & CEO of Egg Strategy, Inc., Dupré led an 80-person global marketing consultancy with focus on world-class Fortune 500 clients, including Nestlé, Coke, Kraft, Kellogg, Estée Lauder, J&J, and Google.

In a previous position for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dupré created and launched the award-winning Viactiv Active Nutrition for women, the first “by women for women” brand that won best new product of the year from Business Week.

She also led all marketing functions for the U.S. division of the Japanese consumer products leader Kao, where she launched the award-winning Bioré skincare product in the U.S., restaged the firm’s flagship Jergen’s to regain market prominence, and acquired and expanded the Curèl brand. Other award winning new products of her creation include Lowfat Granola while at Kellogg’s and Ciroc Vodka and Tanqueray 10 while leading Global Innovation at Diageo.

Dupré earned her MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She teaches adjunct classes at the University of Colorado Leeds Graduate School of Business in Marketing and Innovation.

Julie Goonewardene

Julie Goonewardene, NCOA Board
Julie Goonewardene is the associate vice chancellor for innovation and strategic investment for the University of Texas System. In this role she serves as the strategic leader and advisor for the UT System and UT institutions in all areas related to commercialization, growth and expansion of innovation and entrepreneurship including the UT Horizon Fund. She is also responsible for the development of sustainable academic-industry partnerships.
In addition to being recognized as an expert in bringing groups together across the health care spectrum to develop solutions to medical issues, Goonewardene is an experienced entrepreneur. She co-founded and served as president of a venture-backed software company, which she sold in 2004.

Goonewardene is a frequent speaker both nationally and internationally on entrepreneurship and an author on innovation.

Goonewardene holds a Bachelor of Science with honors in general management and a Masters of Science in health communication both from Purdue University.

Kathy Greenlee

Kathy Greenlee is Vice President of Aging and Health Policy at the Center for Practical Bioethics. With nearly 20 years of experience overseeing and advocating for programs like the Older Americans Act, Meals on Wheels, long-term care, and Medicaid, Greenlee has been a profound figure in aging policy. She served as Assistant Secretary of Aging for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2009-2016.

Lynn Fields Harris

LynnFieldsHarris_boardLynn Fields Harris serves as Executive Director of Center in the Park. Founded in 1968, Center in the Park is a nationally accredited senior community center in Northwest Philadelphia primarily focused on the needs of adults 55+ with programs and services in lifelong learning; creative self-expression; health promotion and evidence-based programs; social services and housing and community connections.

Harris is a versatile, results-oriented executive with extensive experience in government and community relations, intergovernmental affairs, as well as public relations and marketing communications in public, private and non-profit sectors.

Harris holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and, a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Elementary Education from Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Mark McClellan

Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, is the Robert J. Margolis Professor of Business, Medicine, and Health Policy, and Director of the Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University. He is a physician-economist who focuses on quality and value in health care including payment reform, real-world evidence and more effective drug and device innovation. He is former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where he developed and implemented major reforms in health policy. He was previously Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a faculty member at Stanford University.

DeDe Priest

DeDe Priest is a food executive with more than 30 years of experience in delivering significant competitive edge growth creation and exceeding diverse customer needs/expectations. She has deep expertise background in retail, consumer packaged goods and private brands. Priest led every food business at Walmart since 2003. Consistently selected to lead turn-around and fast-growth businesses, she achieved sustained growth in top and bottom line results, and brought about transformational changes through a focus on innovation at all levels, a relentless pursuit of simplicity in execution, a deep understanding of customer needs and ever-increasing demand for quality, transparency and freshness.
Before joining Walmart in 2003, Priest held senior leadership roles at Safeway, Inc., Torbitt & Castleman, and Dole Packaged Foods.  
A strong leader in professional and civic organizations, Priest joined Feeding America Board of Directors in 2010. Additional board work includes Susan G. Komen-Ozark Affiliate and The Network for Executive Women. 
A graduate of Ohio University, Priest completed the Global 2020 Executive Program at Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth, in 2008.

W. June Simmons

JuneSimmons_boardJune Simmons is President and CEO of Partners in Care Foundation. Over the past two decades, June has pioneered the development and scaling of innovative, evidence-based interventions for management of medications at home, self-management of chronic conditions, coordinated care to improve health outcomes, and care transitions.

Throughout her distinguished career, she has been instrumental in envisioning, creating, funding, and operating forward-looking health and social service programs that meet the mutual needs of patient populations, health care delivery networks and health plans. Her priority is sustainable, cost-effective, patient-driven integration of care across settings, from primary care and hospital to home and community in the 21st century.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld is Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management at Yale School of Management, where he has taught since 1999. Before joining Yale, he was a professor at the Harvard Business School and a professor at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. Sonnenfeld is the founder of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute, a nonprofit educational and research institute focused on CEO leadership and corporate governance, and the world’s first school for chief executives.

Connie Weaver

Connie Weaver is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tracker Group, a strategic management consulting firm comprised of accomplished entrepreneurial executives with demonstrated success leading change across a variety of industries.

Offering a well-rounded background in global marketing, brand awareness, business transformation, and investor relations, Weaver is focused on recruiting a team of visionary, trailblazing executives to deliver world-class solutions to a growing client base.

Prior to Tracker Group, Weaver was the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at TIAA, and built a dynamic expertise across a variety of complex, highly regulated industries.

During her 7-year tenure at TIAA, Weaver led the re-imagination of the Fortune 100 company’s brand, identity, customer experience, and digital presence, which significantly increased the company’s unaided brand awareness, customer engagement and business results. Her efforts culminated in 2016 with the re-introduction of the company as TIAA.

Weaver has a track record of building sophisticated marketing capabilities, following her self-built “playbook” to drive major brand and digital transformation for TIAA, AT&T, BearingPoint, The Hartford and MCI. At AT&T, Weaver transformed an iconic consumer brand into a global, business-to-business brand. At BearingPoint, she repositioned and differentiated the brand, and aligned it with the company’s strategy to achieve business goals.

In the non-profit sector, Weaver is on the national board of Make-A-Wish America, as well as the boards for Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and Connecticut Public Broadcasting. She serves on educational institution boards, including The University of Connecticut Foundation, the University of Maryland’s Smith School, University of Saint Joseph and Hartford Hospital. She was also a board member for Yale University’s Center for Customer Insights from 2011 to 2015.

Weaver holds a B.S. with honors in Textile Science and Marketing from the University of Maryland. She completed the executive financial management program at Stanford University and the global strategic management program at IMEDE (Switzerland).

She also completed programs in finance, marketing and strategic planning at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.

Cass Wheeler

Cass Wheeler

Cass Wheeler launched his consulting practice after a distinguished career with the American Heart Association, serving as its CEO from 1997-2008. Under his leadership, the association merged its 56 state and metropolitan affiliates into eight regions and adopted a single corporate structure. During this same period, revenue grew from $400 million to $650 million.

Under his leadership, the association also launched several new initiatives, including the award-winning Go Red for Women Campaign to raise awareness about heart disease in women, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (with the William J. Clinton Foundation) to fight childhood obesity, Get With the Guidelines to improve hospital care and outcomes, and the Power to End Stroke targeted to African-Americans. The association also approved a far-reaching health-impact goal calling for a 25% reduction of coronary heart disease, stroke, and risk by 2010.

Wheeler was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Commission on Improving Economic Opportunity in Communities Dependent on Tobacco Production While Protecting Public Health. He also served on the boards of the National Human Services Assembly, Partnership for Prevention, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Independent Sector, and Research!America. Wheeler currently serves on the boards of the American Legacy Foundation and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

Wheeler is the author of You’ve Gotta Have Heart: Achieving Purpose Beyond Profit in the Social Sector, a book he wrote with a goal to further increase the effectiveness of the nonprofit sector.

Peter Ziebelman

Peter ZiebelmanPeter Ziebelman started his career as a venture capitalist 25 years ago.

He co-founded Palo Alto Venture Partners in 1996, after starting the US Information Technology Operations of the UK venture capital firm, Thompson Clive & Partners, in 1988. Ziebelman has served on the boards of early stage companies that ultimately became public companies, such as AvantGo (AVGO), Persistence (PRSW), and Vicinity (VCNT).

Ziebelman has also served on the boards of dozens of privately held high technology companies across a range of sectors from cloud based computing (DemandForce) to online car insurance (esurance) to computer security (PostX). He is an independent director to a select number of privately held companies. Ziebelman was named to AlwaysOn’s Venture Capital 100 – the top 100 VC’s for 2012.

He enjoys teaching students as a Lecturer in Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business for the course “Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital” and as a visiting lecturer for several other business schools including the University of Sydney EMBA program. He has advised Fortune 500 companies on how to be more entrepreneurial within the context of a larger organization.

Ziebelman is on the Stanford Graduate School of Business MSx Advisory Board and the advisory board of the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford and was formerly on the executive board of the Pacific Skyline Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He is a past president of the Yale Club of Silicon Valley.

Ziebelman graduated with a Master’s degree in Management from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Bachelor of Science degree in Combined Sciences with honors and distinction in the major from Yale University.

Ziebelman and his wife, Cindy, live in Palo Alto, California, and have three sons.