MEET THE TEAM
LEADERSHIP & BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Co-founder and Senior Advisor to the Board
Hitomi tackles social disparities by leveraging multi-stakeholder collaboration and a focus on people, their needs and aspirations. She has nearly two decades of experience in international organizations, nonprofits and academia, advancing human security, public health and poverty reduction. She brings a proven ability to raise awareness through advocacy, grow organizations and teams, advise governments and institutional leaders, form partnerships, and manage grants and funding sources. She has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, MSW from the University of Washington and MPA from Sciences Po Paris. Hitomi’s daughter has a CASK-related disorder.
Co-founder and Secretary
Renée is a passionate advocate and community builder within the rare disease ecosystem. She capitalizes on her background in art and design to galvanize support and raise awareness for CASK-related disorders through communication, collaboration and outreach. She is one of the administrators of the CASK Gene Parent Support Group, the co-host of the Project CASK podcast, an artist in her own right, and has experience managing complex and fast-paced projects and teams. Renée has two daughters, one who has a CASK-related disorder.
Steven is a Managing Director and Senior Equity Research Analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, focusing on the media, broadcast, cable and advertising sectors. He has been on Wall Street for over a decade in equity research and previously worked in consulting and international business. He brings experience serving on non-profit boards and applying his business acumen to nonprofit operations to ensure their success and impact. His close friends have a child with a CASK gene disorder and Steven is committed to lending his expertise to support this important cause.
Kevin is the father of a spirited and resilient little girl with a CASK gene disorder. He is an experienced Creative Director and Writer, leading teams in some of New York’s highest profile advertising agencies. He has a deep understanding of effective strategy for communication, a proven ability to craft messages that drive awareness and translate into business outcomes, and a keen sense of humor that makes working with him a lot of fun (most of the time).
Allie (Dowell) O'Donnell
Allie brings a unique blend of personal and professional experience with pediatric neurodevelopmental disorders to Project CASK. Allie is not only the mother of a boy with a CASK gene mutation, but she is a mosaic carrier of the mutation as well. As such, Allie is an advocate for advancing research and treatment options in males with x-linked disorders. Allie works as both a Child Development Specialist in Early Intervention and an adjunct professor in the Psychology and Health Sciences departments at Rutgers University-Camden. Capitalizing on her experience with academic research, knowledge of federal disability and education policy, and passion for ensuring that her son, Graham, and all his peers have equal opportunity in all aspects of life, Allie brings a critical perspective to advancing research into CASK related disorders across the spectrum of genotypes and phenotypes.
Chief Scientific Officer
Rheall Roquet, PhD
Dr. Roquet is a neuroscientist and clinical trial specialist. In her current role with Syneos Health, she is responsible for monitoring diverse types of clinical trials, including for rare diseases, assuring adherence to Good Clinical Practice, investigator integrity and compliance with all study protocols. Prior to her focus on clinical trials, her innovative research combined behavioral neuroscience, psychology and advanced statistical modeling to examine the complex interconnections between fear, anxiety and drug-related psychiatric disorders and physical activity. Dr. Roquet has a cousin with a CASK-related disorder and is excited to apply her professional expertise to accelerate the development of treatments and a cure.
Emily is a driven advocate and accomplished mobilizer for CASK disorders, successfully galvanizing support for and raising awareness of the importance of research and family support. Building on her professional experience as a human resource specialist in the private sector, Emily understands how to communicate in a manner that enhances understanding and collaboration, and how to streamline organizational processes for efficiency and impact. She has actively engaged in understanding the science behind CASK related disorders and looks forward to working closely with the Project CASK team and advisers to identify and push forward new therapeutic avenues for CASK. Emily and her husband, Joe, are the proud parents of Sammy and Sophie, who was diagnosed with a CASK-related disorder at 10 months old.
Joe is the Head of Finance & Corporate Development at Welch Packaging Group where he oversees all aspects of the company’s financial success. He is skilled in developing financial strategies, creating budgets and M&A governance. Prior to Welch, he spent time in the insurance industry where he researched financial trends, assessed business risk to diverse events, and advised businesses on how to de-risk their activities and investments. Joe is committed to leveraging his expertise in business and finance, leadership skills and strategic vision to improve the lives of those affected by CASK related disorders. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Wabash College and a MA in Actuarial Science & Statistics from Ball State University. Joe and his wife, Emily, are the proud parents of Sammy and Sophie, who was diagnosed with a CASK-related disorder at 10 months old.