John-Paul Purssord, President

John-Paul has been part of the Lilabean Foundation since 2013. John-Paul has a very personal tie to this disease. His son Jack was diagnosed in 2009 with an inoperable brain tumor. After three years of treatment, unfortunately in 2013, Jack passed away. In honor of Jack, the Lilabean Foundation instituted the Jack Preston Courage Award, which is presented every year at the LBF Fall Ball. John-Paul is an Associate Vice President of Sales Training at Nationwide Insurance where he is accountable for design, development and delivery of sales training solutions. From a business perspective he has a broad background in finance, strategic development, sales and marketing. He attended Greensboro College where he earned dual Bachelor degrees in Business Administration & Economic and Sports Exercise Science. John-Paul also earned a Master’s degree in Business from Charleston Southern University. John-Paul and his wife Beverly reside in Columbus, Ohio, with their daughter Kaitlyn and son Sam. As board President, John-Paul is accountable for the overall strategic direction of the foundation with a laser focus on raising funds to support research to find a cure for pediatric brain tumors.


Susan Nester, Vice President

Susan is a long-time friend of Lila’s mom and has been involved in planning events for the Lilabean Foundation since the beginning. . She is an experienced leadership consultant and coach, with over 15 years of experience working inside organizations. She brings a practical perspective on what leaders experience in “real life” and understands the intersection of business and leadership. Susan is known for applying a pragmatic approach to her passion for helping individuals and groups realize their maximum potential.

Susan’s business experience includes positions in organizational development and leadership & management development at MedImmune, Fannie Mae & Ruesch International. Susan has designed and facilitated management and leadership development programs for both entry-level managers and experienced leaders. Susan led end-to-end performance management at both Fannie Mae and MedImmune with a focus on connecting leadership results to business results.

Susan received a Master’s degree in Organizational Development and Human Resources from Johns Hopkins University, a Certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University, and a BS in Psychology & Spanish from Dickinson College.


Elizabeth Morelli, Secretary

Elizabeth has been involved with The Lilabean Foundation since helping to plan its first auction in 2011. She has a background in events and marketing having spent 5 years as an event planner for both a private firm and a local association. After 10 years as a stay-at-home mom, in 2011 Elizabeth went back to work as a captionist for deaf students at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD. She enjoys maintaining the LBF database and is excited to put her skills to use as a member of the Board of Directors. Elizabeth resides in Silver Spring, MD with her husband Jeff and their children, Jack, Ava, and Kate.


Marty Jacobs, Treasurer

Marty first met the Giroux family several years ago at a neighborhood social gathering. After attending many Lilabean Foundation (LBF) events in recent years, Marty realized that he wanted to play a larger role in helping LBF work towards the attainment of its goals. He joined the board in 2017.

Marty has been a CPA for two decades and has owned and run his own accounting firm since 2000. He lives in Silver Spring with his wife Lara and their daughter Emily. Marty works with other board members to design and implement financial systems, which allow the organization to operate efficiently. Those systems are also the basis from which the Board makes well-informed decisions. He is excited to be part of a talented team striving to transform The Lilabean Foundation into a national leader in the fight against pediatric brain cancer.


Dr. Brian Rood

Brian is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s National Health System whose primary clinical focus is pediatric neuro-oncology. He has also been Lila’s Oncologist since 2010.Dr. Rood joined the faculty of Children’s National in 2002 after completing a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology as well as a research fellowship in the molecular biology of brain tumors, both at Children’s National and Children’s Research Institute.

Dr. Rood is the Director of Clinical Neuro-Oncology at Children’s and cares for brain tumor patients on the inpatient oncology ward and in the outpatient clinic. He is co-principal investigator with Roger Packer, MD, of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium clinical trial program at Children’s National and runs an active molecular biology lab in the Center for Cancer and Immunology Research. He is also an institutional PI for the Childhood Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium, a multi-institutional tissue and data repository aimed at providing essential resources for the pediatric brain tumor research community. His own lab investigates the proteome of medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood, in order to determine the differences between the four subgroups of the disease in an effort to identify therapeutic targets. He aims to further this work by identifying medulloblastoma specific proteins and DNA in the cerebrospinal fluid and blood to serve as biomarkers capable of providing insight into the biology of brain tumors and detecting recurrent disease. Dr. Rood also is working to identify microsatellite markers in a person’s DNA that predict the risk of developing different kinds of brain tumors.


Gary Cook

Gary is Vice-President Leasing of the Washington DC Division of Vornado Realty Trust. Mr. Cook, a 20 year veteran of the Washington, D.C. commercial real estate market, is responsible for leasing Vornado’s Virginia portfolio of 13.5 million square feet of space.

Mr. Cook started his career on the retail side of the real estate business, and joined Charles E. Smith Commercial Realty (now Vornado) in 2002. He serves on President of the Commercial Real Estate Brokers Association (CREBA) of Greater Washington, current board member and Co-Founder of the Arlington Real Estate Group, former board member of the YMCA Reston, former board member of the Ballston BID, and is an active member of CoreNet and Catholic Charities.

Mr. Cook graduated from High Point University with a Bachelor of Science in Management and Economics.
He is on the LBF board because he “loves Lila and wants to help find a cure for her and make sure that in the future children have proven treatment options.”


Jennifer Doherty

Jennifer has been a LBF supporter and volunteer since 2012 and joined the LBF Board in 2013. She is currently the Director of Events in the Advancement Office at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC. Prior to Gonzaga she was President of Doherty & Associates LLC an event-consulting firm she founded in 2011, which provided strategic planning and support services for corporate events and meetings, social events and political and charitable fundraisers. A graduate of Providence College she resides in Silver Spring Maryland with her husband and three boys.


Eric McAndrew

Eric is President and Creative Director or McAndrew Company in Bethesda, MD. The agency specializes in data driven marketing communications solutions for both the public and private sector. Eric supervises marketing and media strategy, reviews research and develops messaging options. Additionally Eric is routinely invited to speak at local, regional and national conferences on topics such as social media, new media, innovative marketing, public awareness campaigns and marketing strategy.

Eric has helped The Lilabean Foundation hone its message and has assisted with social media campaigns. He is honored to sit on The Lilabean Foundation board and looks forward to helping the foundation raise greater awareness and funds to help fight pediatric brain cancer.


Brendan Tuohey

Brendan Tuohey is the Co-founder and Executive Director of PeacePlayers International. Along with his brother Sean, Brendan, founded PeacePlayers International in 2001. PeacePlayers International uses basketball to unite and educate young people in divided communities around the globe. Driven by the idea that children who pay together can learn to live together, PeacePlayers International has worked with more than 75,000 young people in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Cyprus and the United States.

In 2015, Brendan was named One of 50 Most Inspirational People in Sport by Beyond Sport. In 2008, Brendan and Sean received the Laureus Sport for Good Award, which recognizes individuals who make transformational contributions to society through sport, at the Laureus World Sports Awards in St. Petersburg, Russia. At the 2007 ESPYS, two leaders from PeacePlayers’ program in Northern Ireland were awarded the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Brendan is a graduate of Colgate University where he majored in Philosophy and Religion and played basketball. Brendan was an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar and a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“I am deeply honored to be part of the Lilabean Foundation Family and to work with a group of passionate people helping find a cure for pediatric brain cancer”.