Leadership

Leadership Team

When VOZ first started, advocacy relations was viewed as a nice-to-have addition to far more important business objectives. Today, successful companies know it’s essential. They understand development of successful new medicines and the appropriate use and access of marketed products comes from incorporating patients, professionals and their advocates in all aspects of their work. For 20 years, VOZ has led the way in defining why and how these stakeholders make a tangible difference.

The team at VOZ have anticipated how dialogue between industry and patients, professionals and their advocates has been reset, redefining opportunities to realize shared interests: The democratization of information, the voice and the vote given to advocates by regulatory agencies and payers, the ability of advocates to gather reliable data, and the views of stakeholders on value, among others. Meet the leadership team.

Claudia Hirawat

Claudia Hirawat

Claudia Hirawat
Executive Chair

Claudia is the owner and executive chair of VOZ Advisors, which she acquired in May of 2018 after serving as a member of the board of advisors for three years and being a client for twelve years. She is also a venture partner at Nest Bio and, in very select instances, an advisor to biopharmaceutical companies in business development and corporate strategy. Until 2015, she was the president of PTC Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PTCT), where her key accomplishments include leading business functions, such as corporate and business development, as well as multiple rounds of financing, particularly the company’s pivotal mezzanine financing and Initial Public Offering (IPO). Prior to being named president, she served as senior vice president of corporate development and spearheaded PTC’s multiple collaborations—including transactions with Genzyme, Pfizer, Schering-Plough, Hoffman-La Roche, and Celgene—which generated over $300M in cash as well as milestones and royaltie

Before joining PTC in 2000, Cláudia served as vice president at LedbetterStevens, a management consulting firm in New York focused exclusively in the biopharmaceutical area. During her five-year tenure, she was responsible for projects for clients, including Pfizer, Pharmacia, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Celera Genomics, Coelacanth Corp., SpotFire, IBM Consulting/The Wilkerson Group, and The Boston Consulting Group.

Claudia served as chair of the International Circle of Ambassadors for EURORDIS until 2018 and continues to serve as an active volunteer to Rare Diseases International (RDI) and the NGO Committee for Rare Diseases. She has served on the advisory board of the National Hemophilia Foundation and the board of directors of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. She is an active member of CUPA—The NYU School of Medicine Working Group on Compassionate Use and Preapproval Access—and extremely proud to serve weekly as a volunteer in her town’s emergency ambulance squad as an EMT.

Claudia is passionate about the rights and the role of patients at every stage of drug discovery, development, commercialization, and delivery of care. Her philanthropic efforts are focused on rare disorders, mental health, and human rights.

Ellen Coleman, MSSA, MPH

Ellen Coleman, MSSA, MPH

Ellen Coleman, MSSA, MPH
President & Chief Executive Officer

As the president and chief executive officer, Ellen Coleman is the leader of the organization and is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the overall path and direction of the firm, in collaboration with other leaders and the team. She provides strategic counsel to key clients as well as providing thought leadership in specific areas, including patient engagement.

Ellen brings considerable experience to clients working with patients with life-threatening and chronic illnesses as well as having a well-rounded view of the entire patient journey. Prior to joining VOZ Advisors, she was the executive vice president of EmergingMed, overseeing advocacy relations and patient-facing services for individuals with cancer searching for clinical trials.

Before joining EmergingMed, Ellen spent 11 years as the associate executive director for CancerCare, a national non-profit that provides professional counseling, education, and financial assistance to cancer patients and their families, and she also worked at Johnson & Johnson. She served for 10 years in the hospital setting as a medical social worker caring for people with HIV at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and assisting neurosurgery patients at Westchester County Medical Center.

Ellen is a member of the planning committee for DIA’s annual conference series on patient-centered drug development metrics. She has received numerous awards including the Ronald and Patti Rosenfeld International Fellowship; the Outstanding Career Achievement Award, sponsored by YWCA Woman of Achievement; and the Ohio Department of Health’s Director’s AIDS Service Award for Outstanding Service to People with AIDS.

Ellen holds a BA from Miami University and an MSSA from Case Western Reserve University. She received her master’s in public health from Columbia University’s executive MPH program. She has published and presented frequently on the psychosocial aspects of life-threatening illnesses, including two book chapters. She serves on the board of the Cancer Support Community’s Research and Training Institute and on Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health’s alumni advisory board.

Tamara L. Montalvo, MBA

Tamara L. Montalvo, MBA

Tamara L. Montalvo, MBA
SVP of Finance & Operations

Tamara Montalvo is the senior vice president of finance and operations at VOZ. She oversees financial reporting, budgeting and cash management. Tamara also manages all human resource related functions and implements all necessary business policies and accounting practices to improve operations of the firm.

Tamara came to VOZ in 2010 with 10 years of experience within the accounting departments of Sony Music, EMI Music, and Gellar & Company. She has managed financial planning, debt financing, and budget management functions to ensure accounting procedures and reporting conformed to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

Tamara holds both a BA in accounting with a minor in business management as well as a Master’s in business management with a concentration in finance from Monroe College.

Tamara’s Philosophy: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Albert Einstein

Pritha Kuchaculla, MPH

Pritha Kuchaculla, MPH

Pritha Kuchaculla, MPH
Senior Vice President – Client Services

Pritha has a record of success in aligning business objectives on a broad set of industry clients with patient, consumer and professional organizations in a range of therapeutic areas, including hepatology, muscular dystrophy and rare diseases.

At VOZ, her work includes helping rare disease companies integrate the patient voice into all activities from discovery through access. Among her achievements in this complex area is the development of the first-ever patient group-initiated guidance to accelerate development and review of potential therapies for a rare disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, to the US Food and Drug Administration. She has also counseled a variety of rare disease companies on global advocacy and engagement strategies, best practice in advocacy relations and creating programs that make the most impact.

Pritha brings a strong background of industry, non-profit and hospital administration, having worked in healthcare for over 13 years. Most recently, she was the associate director of patient advocacy at Intercept Pharmaceuticals, a company specializing in non-viral liver diseases. There she implemented the advocacy strategy for the company’s first product launch, resulting in greater awareness amongst the community for a new treatment option. Pritha has also served the American Liver Foundation as the national director of programs, leading education and support services. She has held other positions at the Children’s Health Fund, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and Northwell Health.

Pritha holds a BA in communications from Rutgers University and a MPH from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).

Pritha’s Philosophy: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Sharon Dion, MBA

Sharon Dion, MBA

Sharon Dion, MBA
Vice President – Client Services

As part of the VOZ Advisors’ leadership team, Sharon’s responsibilities include client relations, account management, business development, and staff management. She works closely with clients to build effective and mutually beneficial constituent relationships and develop and implement needs-based strategies to drive drug development, approval, and marketing activities. Sharon also has strong expertise in patient engagement and has worked with several clients to establish and implement successful global patient engagement functions, strategies and programs.

Sharon joined VOZ in 2014, after a decade tenure at a leading global pharmaceutical company. During much of this time, Sharon led the patient marketing and engagement strategy for the company’s portfolio of oncology products. She has been involved in multiple product launches and has experience working in both global and US pharmaceutical marketing roles. Sharon is also a skilled market research professional with extensive experience consulting with public and private sector clients to identify key business issues and develop and implement plans to deliver insight-driven solutions.

Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Tulane University and a Master of Business Administration from the American Graduate School of International Management. She also completed an Executive Marketing program at the Wharton School of Business.

Sharon’s Philosophy: “Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.” – Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Tim Turnham, PhD

Tim Turnham, PhD

Tim Turnham, PhD
Vice President – Client Services

Tim approaches patient engagement with the conviction that patients who are well informed and well supported live longer and better. He has a record of success in finding mutually beneficial connections between industry and patient advocacy groups to help achieve this goal. Tim has worked in pediatrics, HIV/AIDS, disabilities, and oncology, maximizing the insight and value that patient advocacy groups and industry can achieve through collaboration.

After college, Tim worked in medical research laboratories while studying theology in preparation for being a pastor—a position he held for over a decade. The combined background in science and ministry served him well in his role over the past 20 years as senior executive at nonprofit advocacy groups, clinics, and hospitals. He has spent countless hours listening to patients and caregivers, and helping give voice to their experiences. In addition, he has worked closely with academic researchers, including convening two summit meetings that resulted in white papers on critical issues of cancer treatment.

Tim holds a BA in microbiology, an MDiv, and a PhD in biblical ethics.

Tim’s philosophy: “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shonel Mackie, Notary Public

Shonel Mackie, Notary Public

Shonel Mackie, Notary Public
Director, Finance

Shonel is responsible for managing the day- to-day finance department activities at VOZ.

Shonel has over 7 years’ experience in accounting and finance, as well as in contracts. During her career, she has had exposure to accounting procedures and principles ranging from accounts payable and receivable systems to monthly cash flow forecasting and is dedicated to providing excellent service.

Shonel’s philosophy: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.” – Steve Jobs

“Believe in yourself, work hard, work smart and passionately present your best self to the world.” – Hill Harper

Carlton Walton, MBA Candidate

Carlton Walton, MBA Candidate

Carlton Walton
Director of Operations

Carlton has substantiated operations and budget management experience across multiple business disciplines. Proven record of reversing financial declines through effective cost containment, process redesign, systems integration and performance management. Established track record of leading high performing teams, building relationships with cross-functional stakeholders while maintaining endurance, enthusiasm and the ability to solve problems innovatively. Carlton draws heavily on his credited background in analytics as well as change management and systems management.

Carlton holds a BS in social work from Lehman College and is a current MBA candidate at NYU Stern School of Business.

Carlton’s philosophy: “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” Muhammad Ali

Margaret (Maggie) Arbogast, MPH

Margaret (Maggie) Arbogast, MPH

Margaret (Maggie) Arbogast, MPH
Director – Client Services

Maggie brings to VOZ over six years’ experience working with socially minded companies and non-profit organizations to leverage business capabilities and resources for improved human health.

At VOZ, Maggie serves as a project leader, providing counsel and organizing and facilitating client project initiatives. She approaches her work with a keen understanding of public health, and experience in program administration and stakeholder coordination. She works to enhance the value that patients and their advocates bring to both her client’s initiatives throughout drug development, and patient communities.

Prior to VOZ, Maggie worked at GBCHealth, a network of over 200 companies, where she filled a variety of capacities on a small, dynamic team to increase the impact of companies’ corporate social responsibility and philanthropic efforts, with a focus on HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB. She also aligned private, nonprofit, and government stakeholders around collective industry actions including the Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa, and the Private Sector Delegation to the Global Fund.

Maggie holds a Master of Public Health from New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Rochester.

Maggie’s philosophy: “If you want to exist as a company in the future, you have to go beyond. You actually have to make a positive contribution.” – Paul Polman

Paul Lim, MSE

Paul Lim, MSE
Director – Client Services

Paul is a director of client services at VOZ and has been with the firm since 2015.

Paul brings an innovative approach and executional excellence to advocacy relations. His focus has been global oncology and rare diseases advocacy relations across various stages of drug development. His areas of expertise include global stakeholder engagement strategy formulation, integration of patient experience in R&D, and advocacy relations metrics.

Paul has experience working as a project manager at Flywheel Partners, a healthcare marketing agency, and was a project manager at a venture capital based in China and Korea.

Paul has experience working as a project manager at Flywheel Partners, a healthcare marketing agency, and was a project manager at a venture capital based in China and Korea.

Paul’s philosophy: “No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it.” – Richard Feynman

Jessica Cerullo Merrill, MPP

Jessica Cerullo Merrill, MPP

Jessica Cerullo Merrill, MPP
Director – Client Services

Jessica is a thoughtful leader who builds meaningful and lasting relationships with clients through trust and diligence. She is steadfastly focused on client goals and needs while recognizing issues that require innovative, ‘out-of-box’ solutions. She has a demonstrated ability in establishing and enhancing partnerships between the firm’s clients and key stakeholders to ensure the successful completion of mutually beneficial goals. She is also adept at translating strategy into action, with work that is consistently on time and within budget.

Jessica has a strong background in communications and policy having started her career at government relations and public affairs firms. She also has experience in uniting diverse stakeholders around mutual goals through alliance-development, advocacy and relationship building.

Jessica received her Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation and Health Services from Boston University and a Master of Science in Ethics and Public Policy from Suffolk University.

Jessica’s Philosophy:“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Veronica Lopez, MPH

Veronica Lopez, MPH

Veronica Lopez, MPH
Director – Client Services (Paris based)

Veronica brings substantive experience in health program planning, execution, and evaluation; communications; and cultural sensitivity to her work at VOZ.  Her receptivity to clients’ concerns and business expectations coupled with her strategic and practical approach to projects, allow for high-level relevant thinking to be delivered timely and efficiently to the client.

In her previous role at VOZ, Veronica helped advance the firm’s thought leadership by publishing on industry’s benefit in partnering with patient-led research networks, newborn screening panel approval processes, and compliant interactions between industry and patient organizations.  Prior to joining the firm, Veronica worked in several countries around the world where she contributed to the development and implementation of health, communications, education, and infrastructure programs.

Veronica earned her MPH in health policy from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a BA in Public Health Studies, Applied Mathematics and Statistics, and Romance Languages. Veronica is fluent in English, Spanish and French, proficient in Portuguese and Italian, and has a basic level of German fluency.

Veronica’s philosophy: “Overprepare and then go with the flow” – Regina Brett

Jemima Warrack

Jemima Warrack

Jemima Warrack
Senior Consultant (Europe)

Jemima brings extensive experience working directly with advocacy organisations to drive consensus and improve patient care, most notably through policy-focused initiatives, clinical trial support programs and patient education initiatives. She provides strategic direction to clients at all stages of drug development and combines empathy with commercial acumen.

Jemima offers an insider’s perspective having worked in-house across commercial and R&D for AstraZeneca and NovoNordisk. She has spent many years integrating the voice of patients and world-leading experts into projects, whilst leading accounts for creative agencies in oncology, women’s health, rare diseases and auto-immune disorders. Jemima started her career at Mirror Group Newspapers, reporting to the editor and head of corporate communications.

Jemima holds a BSc in Biological Sciences from Cardiff University.

Jemima’s philosophy: “You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother” – Albert Einstein

Representative Clients

Core Values

Our firm’s core values provide the foundation for our work and our interactions with clients, partners, and each other.

INTEGRITY

To conduct ourselves and our business in a professional and honest manner at all times.

TEAMWORK

To amplify our individual thinking through the knowledge and experience of our peers.

RESPECT

To treat our colleagues, clients and others as we would like and expect to be treated.

OPENNESS

To collaboratively share information and insights that drive the business to success.

EXCELLENCE

To be the best we can be in line with our philosophy, vision and values.