Board of Directors

All members of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative Board of Directors have a personal relationship with the disease. They are either patients themselves or have a family member who suffers from it. This intimate connection furthers their commitment to making ME/CFS understood, diagnosable, and treatable.

John NicolsJohn Nicols, Redwood City, CA, President/CEO, Codexis Inc. – SMCI board Chair. John currently serves as President and CEO of Codexis Inc. (; Nasdaq:CDXS), a leading San Francisco Bay Area biotechnology company that engineers and markets proprietary proteins for the world’s pharmaceutical industry. John started as CEO of Codexis in June of 2012 and also serves on the publicly listed company’s board of directors.

Prior to Codexis, John held roles of increasing responsibility over a 22-year career at Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), a globally leading specialty chemical company headquartered in Baton Rouge, La. Before leaving Albemarle, John was responsible for the corporation’s strategic development department as well as the company’s flagship $1+ billion global catalyst business. During his tenure at Albemarle, John and his family resided for three years in Tokyo.

A native of New York City, John earned an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the NYU Polytechnic University. John has served on numerous trade association Boards during his extensive career, including currently serving on the board of directors of BayBio, the premier biotechnology industry association in the San Francisco Bay Area.

John is married with two children and four grandchildren. His wife, Marcie, has suffered for over 20 years with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia.


Vicki Boies, PsyD, Chicago, IL  SMCI Board Vice Chair. Vicki Boies and her husband, Bill, have been active supporters of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative since 1995, out of concern for a close family member who has been ill for more than 20 years. Vicki received her Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Brown University, her Master of Arts from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, where she was on the faculty for several years. Vicki spent most of her career as a clinical psychologist in private practice in Chicago before retiring in 2010. Prior to joining the board, she served on numerous local boards and commissions, including most recently as president of a community mental health board with taxing and grant-giving authority.



Michael Atherton, Arlington, VA – SMCI Board Treasurer.  Mike is the founder and principal of the management consulting firm Latitude Associates.  His background is in application software and eBusiness technologies combined with operations management experience and strategic planning skills.  He was one of four initial team members of xTuple LLC, an Enterprise Resources Planning software firm, graduating the firm from incubation stage to the world’s leading open source ERP software company. Mike lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife Christine.  They met at William and Mary where both were athletes – Mike played football and Christine was on the softball team.  After graduating, they both received their MBAs.  Soon after Christine started working, however, she became ill with ME/CFS.  Mike schooled himself in the research and issues surrounding ME/CFS and eventually found our organization.  For the last several years, both Mike and his parents have been stalwart supporters of our work.


Barbara N. Lubash – SMCI Board Secretary. Barbara is a Director and Advisor for corporate and non-profit boards. In addition to SMCI, she serves on the corporate boards of Advanced ICU Care, Clew Medical, and CareConnectMD. Ms. Lubash is a member of the Partners HealthCare Innovation Advisory Board, and the Health Policy and Management Executive Council of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In her prior careers as a health care executive, and later as a venture capitalist, Ms. Lubash led and advised innovative healthcare and service organizations. She was co-founder and Managing Director of Versant Ventures, and before that a Venture Partner at Crosspoint Ventures. Prior corporate boards include CodeRyte (now 3M), Cogent Healthcare (now Sound Physicians), Concerto HealthCare, Redbrick Health (now Virgin Pulse), Titan Health (now USPI), and Vantage Oncology (now McKesson). She was Board Chair of the California HealthCare Foundation where she earlier led the development of the Foundation’s PRI Impact Investment strategy (Innovation Fund). Ms. Lubash was also a senior executive at PacifiCare (now United), and PHCS (a PPO), and held management roles at Hewlett Packard and the Harvard Community Health Plan (now Harvard Pilgrim). She received a BS from Tufts University, and a Master’s in Health Policy and Management from Harvard University. Ms. Lubash completed Board of Directors training at Stanford Directors College.


Maryellen Gleason is the Interim President and Chief Executive Officer at SMCI. She is known for her approachable, entrepreneurial style and legacy of inspiring teams of staff, board and investors to accomplish in days, weeks, and months what most organizations take years to achieve. With a unique combination of Fortune 100 business leadership and comprehensive fundraising expertise, Gleason specializes in working with social sector companies to scale operations and secure additional investment leading to increased growth and impact.

With twenty-five years of experience as a nonprofit board director, committee chair, president, and CEO, Gleason is known for being a prepared and knowledgeable business leader who brings perspective, financial acumen, and strategic approaches to clients and their boards of directors. Past clients in Sothern California include the Pasadena Playhouse, Mattel Children’s Foundation and USC Pacific Asia Museum.

A natural leader, Gleason has overseen four nonprofits including: Interim Executive Director for the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra for Arts Consulting Group; President and Executive Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; President and CEO of the Phoenix Symphony; and, Executive Director of the Senior PGA Tour Event, whose 501(c)3 she built from the ground up.

A long-time member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), Gleason is chair-of the YPO Digital, Marketing and Media Network leading 3,000 CEOs focused on maximizing client experiences via Marketing, Sales, PR and Advertising strategies. Gleason is a member of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), Women Corporate Directors (WCD) and is an appointed Director to the Harvard Alumni Association.

Originally seeking to be a musician, Gleason started her college studies at Boston University School of Music and went on to earn an undergraduate degree cum laude from Harvard University, where she studied European History and Literature and was active in the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra. While she worked full-time in Phoenix for US WEST Communications, Gleason commuted to Chicago to earn an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. With a passion for linking business strategy to governance, she is a highly rated instructor for the course, “Working with Boards” at UCLA Extension.



Carol-NewCarol Head, Los Angeles, CA – Carol Head joined the Solve ME/CFS Initiative (SMCI) as President and CEO in October 2013 and retired from the position in May 2019. Carol experienced ME/CFS for many years and is largely recovered. Carol is an executive with more than 25 years of success in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She’s an experienced business owner, corporate executive, communicator and problem-solver. In the private sector, she most recently served as CEO of two companies. Previously, she served as vice president of marketing for two Internet-based companies. Carol also spent eight years as an executive at the Los Angeles Times in a variety of marketing and strategy roles. She served as associate vice president of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. Carol has been active in community affairs with an emphasis on human rights for women and girls and amelioration of extreme poverty, serving on three national nonprofit boards, including service as a board chair. Carol is a founder of Project Redwood (, a venture philanthropy fund that supports creative approaches to alleviating extreme global poverty. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Wellesley College, and earned an MBA from Stanford University. Carol is married and has two sons in their mid-20.


Rick Sprout new photoRick Sprout, Fairfax, VA. Director of Civilian Sales, DMI. Rick is currently a Director of Civilian Sales at DMI. Prior to joining DMI he was with IBM for over 14 years. Rick retired from the Marine Corps as a Major in September 1996. He started his Marine Corps career as an Infantry Officer stationed at Twenty Nine Palms California. He later transitioned to become a Communications Officer, upon his retirement from the Pentagon Navy staff in 1996. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University.

Rick and his wife Barbara have been active supporters of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative since Rick’s brother Greg was diagnosed in 2004. The Solve ME/CFS Initiative gave them significant information and insight when Greg was first diagnosed and has provided a network of medical insights assisting Greg in his ongoing medical challenges. In addition to support of his brother, Barbara and Rick are supporters of the Helping Children Worldwide organization making a difference in the lives of children and women in Sierra Leone. In addition to other philanthropic support for children in Nakuru, Kenya and Rwanda. Rick and Barbara are active in their local Northern Virginia community as well.

As residents of the Washington DC area, Rick and Barbara look forward to enhancing the advocacy through our government to truly solve ME/CFS, providing a better future for others at an early onset of the disease. They support research initiatives that will find the answers to return Greg and others to fully active and productive lives.



Bill Hassler, Washington, DC, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP. William (Bill) Hassler is a partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, one of the leading litigation firms world-wide. Prior to joining the firm’s Washington DC office, Bill served as a prosecutor for the Office of Independent Counsel investigating the Iran/Contra affair, and in the Environmental Crimes Section of the US Department of Justice.  He is a former Special Assistant to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Bill received his J.D. from Yale Law School and his B.A. in International Studies from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bill joined the Solve ME/CFS Initiative after his nephew, Tom Cominzind, a former student at Stanford University, became severely ill and bedbound as a result of ME/CFS.



Janice Stanton, Harrison, NY. CFA joined the Solve ME/CFS Initiative board of directors for a loved one who is afflicted with ME/CFS. Ms. Stanton is a founding member and President of Contrarian Capital Management, L.L.C. She has 30 years of experience in distressed securities. Prior to co-founding Contrarian, Ms. Stanton was the Founder and Head of the Bank Debt and Trade Claims desk at Oppenheimer & Co. She was an Associate in the Corporate Finance Department of Lehman Brothers (“Lehman”). Prior to business school, Ms. Stanton was an Analyst with Booz Allen Hamilton, focusing on business strategy consulting. She has served on numerous bank debt committees, including Audio Visual Services, Pillowtex and Warnaco. She has also chaired and served on Official Committees of Unsecured Creditors. Ms. Stanton received her MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and graduated magna cum laude with a BS from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Stanton is a CFA charter holder.


Andrea Bankoski, MPH, Chapel Hill, NC.  Andrea is a data manager at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She developed ME/CFS after contracting Epstein-Barr virus in 1995. Andrea has worked in public health and clinical research at the state and federal levels of government for over a decade. She specializes in leading data efforts to inform public health policy and implementing data governance to prioritize best practices for data quality, accessibility, analysis, and dissemination. Her work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals and disease surveillance reports. Andrea received her master’s degree in public health with a certificate in biostatistics from George Mason University and her bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University.



Rona E. Kramer
was sworn in as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Aging on March 13, 2015, as a member of Governor Larry Hogan’s cabinet.  During her time as Secretary, she has focused on establishing Maryland as an attractive location for older adults through vibrant communities and supportive services that offer residents the opportunity to live healthy and meaningful lives.

Secretary Kramer is a lifelong resident of Montgomery County, Maryland.  She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Baltimore School of Law.  Secretary Kramer comes from a long career in both government service and business.

In November 2002, she was elected to the Maryland Senate, representing Montgomery County, and served for eight years.  She served on the Budget and Taxation Committee during her entire tenure, which included serving on the Capital Budget subcommittee and Pensions subcommittee.  During her tenure, she was a committed advocate for seniors.  She was a lead sponsor for bills establishing the Silver Alert Program, reverse mortgage protection for seniors, and protection of seniors from financial exploitation through the use of undue influence,

As Secretary of the Department of Aging, she leads the Department’s efforts in protecting the rights and quality of life of our elder residents, most importantly to provide the services necessary to allow them to age at home and in their community.  Her mantra for the older adults in our communities is to Live Well and Age Well.



Dr. Jeffrey Tobias has over 35 years of experience in healthcare related fields with 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry as Executive Vice President – Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer (Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Neurogesx Corp.), Managing Director of an independent biopharmaceutical consulting firm (Aquila Consulting Group LLC), Director of Clinical Research (Chiron, Xoma), and Director of New Product Discovery (Alza Corp.). He currently serves as an elected Director on the Petaluma Healthcare District Board of Directors and a Trustee on the SRM Alliance – Petaluma Valley Hospital Board of Trustees. Before joining the biopharmaceutical industry Dr. Tobias spent 10 years in clinical and academic medicine. He received board certification in both Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Medicine and completed training in Critical Care Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received an M.D. with honors and a B.S. from the University of Illinois.


Karl Zeile
, Portfolio Manager, Los Angeles, CA

Amrit Shahzad
, San Diego, CA