The Team

Executive Director

Alexandra Nikitas

Cancer Research Foundation

Alexandra (Zanna) Nikitas currently serves as the Executive Director of the Cancer Research Foundation, an organization that raises funds to support early and cutting edge cancer research. Prior to taking the helm of the CRF, Zanna spent seven years developing and investing in commercial real estate as a part of The John Buck Company (JBC), based in Chicago.  As a Vice President of JBC, Ms. Nikitas was integrally involved in the development, valuation, acquisition and disposition of office, residential, retail and hospitality properties, including having direct involvement in the sourcing of over $800 million dollars of real estate financing.

Ms. Nikitas has an early background in politics and government and maintains a role in a number of Chicago institutions. Zanna has an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with a concentration in strategy and finance, and a BA from Williams College in Philosophy and English.

Director of Digital Strategy & Executive Director

Carlo Navarro

Chicago Chapter

Carlo comes to the CRF with an extensive background in marketing and business development, with wide-reaching experiences in, and passions focused on entrepreneurship, social impact, diversity and education. He is responsible for managing marketing and fundraising strategies, focusing on building and diversifying our community of supporters and partners.

Administrative Manager

Megan Zegler

Chicago Chapter

Megan serves as the Cancer Research Foundation's  Administration Manager. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University. Megan has a varied background in accounting, office management, and catering. She started a small design firm with her husband and has managed all of the corporate, office and financial documents pertaining to the running of a small company. She also has had an entrepreneurial stint as a caterer - working with two of her sisters in an independent, local catering company and café.

Again, Megan's business training came to good use in that small, family start-up company which they later sold. Megan also has extensive work experience in accounting and has worked for several companies in their finance departments. As a mother of four, Megan has now turned her career focus in to a desire to making a difference. The Cancer Research Foundation is an opportunity for her to use her skills working for an organization that has the power and desire to have an impact on society.

SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR

Everett E. Vokes, MD

Cancer Research Foundation

Everett E. Vokes, MD, is an internationally renowned expert in the treatment of head and neck cancer. He serves as the John E. Ultmann Professor of Medicine and Radiation Oncology and as the Physician-in-Chief, University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences.  Dr. Vokes is also the Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago.

Legal Counsel

Clifford Harstad

Cancer Research Foundation

The Board

Chairman of the Board

Stanford J. Goldblatt

Cancer Research Foundation

Stanford Goldblatt serves as a partner in Winston and Strawn's corporate department. He has served as head of its private equity practice and his practice concentrates in leveraged equity investments, particularly in the health care industry, and venture capital fund transactions.

Mr. Goldblatt is active in numerous professional and civic activities. He is a trustee emeritus of The University of Chicago (former vice chairman) and a life trustee of The University of Chicago Medical Center (founding chairman.) He serves as a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago and the Economic Club of Chicago. In addition, Mr. Goldblatt is a member of the boards of a number of private companies. He has published a number of articles about Medicare, tax exempt hospitals, and the governance of academic medical centers.

President

Merle Goldblatt Cohen

Cancer Research Foundation

From an early age, Merle Goldblatt Cohen has served as an important part of Chicago's philanthropic community, getting her start more than 50 years ago as a member of the Young Leadership Division of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and as a recipient of the National Young Leadership Award. She has served on the Women's Division of the Jewish United Fund of the Jewish Federation, chairing numerous fundraising events for that organization.

Merle Goldblatt Cohen also served as President of Child Abuse Prevention Services, a former Chicago nonprofit organization. Ms. Goldblatt Cohen served on the board of directors for over ten years, founding its Women's Board, chairing the Illinois Child Abuse Prevention Advocacy Coalition, and serving as a member of the finance and resource development committees. When Child Abuse Prevention Services merged with Metropolitan Family Services, a similar not-for-profit, Ms. Goldblatt Cohen became a very active member of the Metropolitan Family Services Board and continues to raise money and seek major gifts for Chicago area children and families.

Ms. Goldblatt Cohen's greatest concerns involve health care. In addition to her long-time leadership at the Cancer Research Foundation, Merle Goldblatt Cohen inaugurated and chaired the first annual University of Chicago Hospitals benefit and chaired the two subsequent annual balls, each of which raised over $200,000 for specially-designated Hospital projects. She is a past chairman of the Women's Board of the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation.

Secretary

Lisa Cohen Schenkman

Cancer Research Foundation

Treasurer

Troy Noard

Cancer Research Foundation

Troy Noard is the Managing Director of PSP Capital Partners, a private investment firm founded by Penny Pritzker dedicated to building businesses and creating long-term value in close partnership with business owners, entrepreneurs and management teams. Previously Mr. Noard was a partner at Frontenac Company, where he executed acquisitions of and investments in private companies in a range of industries. Prior to Frontenac, Mr. Noard worked in investment banking at Goldman, Sachs and Co.

Mr. Noard holds a BA degree from DePauw University and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He currently serves on the Board of the Cancer Research Foundation and is a national Trustee for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Troy lives in Glenview, IL with his wife and two children.

Board Member

Rodney L. Goldstein

Cancer Research Foundation

Rodney L. Goldstein is Chairman and Managing Director of Frontenac Company, a Chicago-based investment firm founded in 1971. Rod formerly served as a director of the National Venture Capital Association. Rod is and has been involved in a range of civic endeavors. Presently, he is Chair-designate of the board of trustees of the University of Chicago Medical Center; he also is a trustee of the University of Chicago. He is a trustee of the Goodman Theater, High Jump and the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Rod is an honors graduate of Princeton University and received a Master's degree in Business Administration from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been married to the former H. Keith Kiley since 1979; they reside in Chicago and have three children.

Board Member

David Kinnear

Cancer Research Foundation

David Kinnear, Managing Director-Investment Officer, leads the  Kinnear Family Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors.  He is a nationally recognized financial advisor who works with select high net worth families to help build, manage, preserve and transfer wealth.  David and his team provide flexible family office, investment, risk, and middle market business services in a cost efficient and highly customized manner.

David has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Bucknell University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with concentrations in Finance and Organizational Behavior.  He currently serves on the boards of the Cancer Research Foundation and Erie Elementary Charter School.

David has been married to his wife, Andrea since 1994 and resides in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago.  They have two children.

Board Member

Kory J. Kozlowski

Cancer Research Foundation

Kory Kozlowski has over thirteen years of experience in the marketing and advertising industry.  Starting her career on the creative side as a producer & moving on to art direction, Mrs. Kozlowski spent the majority of her career at Ambrosi & Assoc. She shifted to account services while employed at Publicis, where her clients included Del Webb & Pulte Homes.

Returning to Ambrosi in 2003 as an Account Director, she managed several accounts, including Sears, OfficeMax & Fannie May. Prior to launching her career in advertising, Mrs. Kozlowski graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Indiana University & spent a summer abroad completing her French minor at L'Institute Catholique in Paris.

Board Member

J. Michael Locke

Cancer Research Foundation

Michael Locke is a private investor and advisor in the education technology market. His current portfolio includes Bennett Day School, Certica Solutions, Collegis Education, Rasmussen College, StudyBlue and IN2L. Michael co-founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of Rasmussen, Inc., the parent company of Rasmussen College and Deltak edu, from its inception in 2003 to 2014. Prior to Rasmussen, Michael was Senior Vice President of Collegis, Inc., a provider of administrative technology services to colleges and universities.

Michael has also worked as an education investment banker at Montgomery Securities and attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell. Michael has earned a BA in economics from DePauw University, a JD with a focus on corporate law from Harvard University, and an MBA with majors in finance and entrepreneurship from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Michael serves on the boards of the University of Chicago Graham School of Professional Studies, National Louis University and the Cancer Research Foundation.  He was selected for the American Academy of Arts & Sciences Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education and was appointed the U.S. Senate Task Force on the Regulation of Higher Education.

Board Member

Thomas C. Shields

Cancer Research Foundation

Thomas C. Shields, of K&L Gates, LLP, has practiced law in Chicago for over 40 years.  He is nationally recognized for his expertise in health care and hospital law.  He concentrates his practice in representing members of the health care industry, especially providers of health care.  He advises health care clients on a wide variety of corporate and regulatory matters.

Mr. Shields has served as president and board member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the Illinois Association of Healthcare Attorneys, as an Advisory Board member of the Health Law Institute of DePaul University School of Law and of the Health Law Institute of Loyola University, as counsel to the Catholic Health Association, as a trustee of the Brother Louis and Fannie Roncoli Foundation, and as a member of numerous legal task forces of the American Hospital Association, including a task force on alternative dispute resolution techniques.  Mr. Shields has been an active member of the Health Law Committees of the Chicago and Illinois Bar Associations.

Mr. Shields has authored numerous articles on health and hospital law subjects, and he is a frequent speaker on health care issues.  He serves as a trustee of the Cancer Research Foundation and as a governing member of Catholic Charities of Chicago and The Chicago Zoological Society.

Following his graduation from Georgetown University in 1963, Mr. Shields received his J. D. cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law where he served as Managing Editor of the Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Board Member

Michael Freed

Cancer Research Foundation

Michael Freed attended the University of Pennsylvania where he received a BS. In Economics and the University of Chicago School of Law where he received a JD.

Michael commenced his legal career with the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and has engaged in private legal practice since leaving government service. He is a founding partner of Freed Kanner London & Millen, LLC, where he practices in the area of complex litigation in federal and state courts throughout the United States specializing in private antitrust litigation.

Michael has served as a lead counsel on behalf of plaintiffs in some of the country’s largest antitrust cases. He is a frequent speaker and published writer on legal topics. Michael is a member of numerous state and national bar associations and has been recognized for his legal abilities in many national and international publications including Best Lawyers, Chambers International, Chicago’s Best Lawyers, Global Competition Review, Illinois Super Lawyers, and Leading Lawyers. Michael is admitted to practice before several federal district courts and courts of appeal, as well as before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Michael has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Cancer Research Foundation for more than x years. In addition Michael presently serves on the Advisory Board of The Consumer Law Institute of the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law and as a member of the International Board of Governors of The Hebrew University. Previously, Michael served on the Board of Directors of the Appleseed Foundation, was a member of the Advisory Board of The American Antitrust Institute, and was a trustee of Equal Justice Works (then known as NAPIL), all of which are located in Washington, D.C. Michael has also served several terms as a member of the Visiting Alumni Committee of The University of Chicago Law School, from which he received his J.D.

Michael and his wife Jean are residents of Highland Park, Illinois, and have three children and four grandchildren.

Board Member

Jeremy Goldblatt

Cancer Research Foundation