PPMD is growing. We have an amazing Board, an equally amazing staff (commonly referred to as the Cult), and a wonderful community. So what should be the logical next step? This has been our conversation for the last year. It is easy right? Add staff. But as you begin to think of who that person might be, you start to develop a wish list, naming all of the qualities/skills you are hoping to find in a person. And then there is Duchenne. How do you explain Duchenne to someone who has no experience? It is not an easy subject and certainly not simple. This means, the wish list expands to find someone with a passion for Duchenne, someone who understands the need to buy TIME, someone with significant experience and knowledge about research, someone who ‘gets it’, understands the full impact of the diagnosis. Someone like Sharon Hesterlee. Boy, if only we had a Sharon Hesterlee.
Sundays are not my favorite days. People rest. I fidget. On Sunday some months ago, I received a message from Sharon Hesterlee. She wanted to talk. The thing is, I like to talk with Sharon Hesterlee. I met her long ago, when she joined the MDA to lead their research investments. She is smart, well-versed, knows the field and the players. She understands the investments and is a well-respected leader in the field. She knows the obstacles, the bottlenecks, and the politics. And, she has been around this community for over 10 years. She understands the value of developing collaborations, recognizes the need to leverage money, and understands all of the moving parts. This Sunday was looking up!
I called. We discussed a range of issues, most specifically her interest in focusing on a single disease – Duchenne. You might imagine, I was smiling. And thrilled when she said she would like to work for PPMD. I called John Killian (our Chairman) and he connected with the Board. Sharon flew into NJ and met the staff. Sometimes you just know things and this felt exactly right.
After trying my best not to shout this news from the rooftops for the last few months, I’m thrilled to be able to say – Sharon Hesterlee works for PPMD. She is Senior Director of Research and Advocacy.
Some days, the stars line up just right. Happy 2010.