Ben is joined the Yaya Foundation in March 2023, bringing 15 years of experience dedicated to non-profit leadership and development; equipping organizations to maximize their mission impact.
Ben is a strategic leader, passionate about access and equity for all patients and families who seek answers and support. Through this role, Ben will continue the innovative and strategic work of the Foundation to ensure organizational health and longevity. He is informed in his decision making through a collaborative approach that is driven by strong relationships and proximity to each individual experience.
Prior to joining the Yaya Foundation, Ben served in leadership at Scholarship America, Inc., where he developed a strategic approach to engage corporations, foundations and individuals in securing transformative dollars geared towards student support and scholarship programs.
Ben lives near Minneapolis with his wife and two kids.
Ben can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Valerie is passionate about creating value from scientific discoveries, transforming ideas into reality, and making an impact on patients' lives.
As an accomplished scientist and leader with extensive expertise in human genetics and genomics she has led teams focused on gene discovery and genetic test development in academia and industry. Valerie joined the Yaya Foundation in 2020 as Research Director.
In addition to her commitment to the Yaya Foundation, she now serves in the same role at the National Tay-Sachs & Allied Disease Association (NTSAD).
Valerie lives with her family near Boston.
Valerie can be reached at email@example.com
Gabe Bassin is an experienced hedge fund trader, investor, and advisor. Gabe is currently an angel investor and and start-up advisor helping small businesses with strategy, financing, and business development. He also co-founded and serves as co-CEO of Minneapolis Hotel Managers, which operates hospitality assets in the Twin Cities.
Prior to this, he was a partner and head of trading at Newland Capital Management, a long/short hedge fund in New York. Gabe and his wife, Allison, who has extensive biotech experience as associate general counsel of Flatiron Health, live together in New York.
June Garber Cheng
Zhu “June” Garber Cheng is a lawyer and Yaya’s mother. June is currently an immigration lawyer at Fredrikson & Byron, a leading law firm in Minneapolis. Before moving to Minnesota, June grew up in Beijing and studied in Shanghai.
June was and is Yaya’s strongest advocate and is dedicated to supporting other children like Yaya and other families whose lives are impacted by 4H Leukodystrophy. June lives with her husband, Ron, and children, Ilan and Yasmin, in Minneapolis.
Christopher Cleary is a business and healthcare leader. Chris is currently the Vice President of Corporate Development at Medtronic, the world’s largest medical technology, services, and solutions company.
After holding senior positions at GE Capital and Alesia Capital Services, he takes great satisfaction in having gravitated to the healthcare business and having the opportunity to help patients receive the best possible care. Chris lives with his wife, Marcia, in Minneapolis.
Marcia Cleary, R.N.
Marcia Cleary is a business and healthcare leader. After years in the telecommunications industry, Marcia’s passion for caring for others led her to pursue a career in nursing, and she subsequently obtained her RN license in New York and now practices in Minneapolis. Marcia lives with her husband, Chris, in Minneapolis.
Co-Founder & Board President
Ron Garber is a mergers and acquisitions lawyer and is Yaya’s father. Ron is currently M&A counsel at Medtronic, the world’s largest medical technology, services, and solutions company, and was previously a partner at Fredrikson & Byron, a leading law firm in Minneapolis.
In addition to being a proud father, Ron feels privileged to have met so many other children with 4H Leukodystrophy and their families, as well doctors, scientists, and students working to help them, and is dedicated to supporting their efforts. Ron lives with his wife, June, and children, Ilan and Yasmin, in Minneapolis.
Daniel Grossman, M.D.
Daniel Grossman is an emergency medicine physician and business leader. Daniel is currently Chief Medical Officer at Best Buy, where he is responsible for providing clinical leadership and guiding strategy and corporate development for Best Buy Health.
He practices Emergency Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and is an Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. He has also held senior positions at Bright Health and Medtronic and is passionate about improving healthcare for underserved populations. Daniel lives in Minneapolis.
Sol Lieberman is a journalist and non-profit leader. Sol is the President of Venn Innovations, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving political discourse in the United States.
He has also held senior positions at Better Government Association and Intrinsic Schools and is committed to helping young people reach their potential. Sol lives with his wife, Gabi, and their two children, in Chicago.
Jim St. John
Jude has been the driving force in the success of SPEC On The Job LLC for more than 20 years as he has helped provide temporary and direct hire staffing solutions to companies in the construction and industrial fields. Jude is the founder and current CEO of SPEC.
Jude is the father of a son with 4H Leukodystrophy. He and his family live in North Carolina.
Debbie is a committed rare disease advocate and the mother of two lovely children, one of whom has been diagnosed with 4H Leukodystrophy.
After her daughter was first diagnosed, Debbie felt compelled to “do something!” and, together with her husband, launched Fore for 4H, a non-profit that holds an annual golf outing fundraiser in the Cleveland area and the first known organized fundraising effort dedicated exclusively to 4H Leukodystrophy. Debbie lives with her husband, Kurt, and their two children, in Brunswick, Ohio.
Kurt has been in the Fastener industry for nearly 30 years and is also a musician and committed rare disease advocate, as well as the father of two lovely children, one of whom has been diagnosed with 4H Leukodystrophy. Kurt currently works at Endries International, which has been delivering world class products and services in the Fastener industry for over 45 years.
After his daughter was first diagnosed, Kurt felt compelled to “do something!” and, together with his wife, launched Fore for 4H, a non-profit that holds an annual golf outing fundraiser in the Cleveland area and the first known organized fundraising effort dedicated exclusively to 4H Leukodystrophy. Kurt lives with his wife, Debbie, and their two children, in Brunswick, Ohio.