Meet the people behind the scenes.
VeDA's small but efficient staff understands the difficulties faced by people with vestibular disorders. We are here to help!
Cynthia Ryan MBA, Executive Director
Cynthia has worked in non-profit management for over 15 years, and previously was General Manager and Vice President of a financial research firm. Cynthia's mother, Eileene, suffers from Meniere's Disease. Cynthia enjoys hiking, reading, and volunteering with local animal welfare organizations. She and her husband, Tod, are the proud caretakers of two cats and their loyal pooch, Fionn MacCool.
Christina Conner, Membership & Development manager
Christina has worked with members in several different organizations, most recently as the Membership and Special Events Manager at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey. Christina has volunteered with organizations like the Girl Scouts and AmeriCorps. Christina recently moved to Portland, Oregon from the Greater New York City area and is looking forward to experiencing all the City of Roses has to offer. “It is my mission to help make the world a better place,” says Christina. “I am very excited to become a part of the team at VeDA and work to increase its impact.”
In her spare time, Christina is an avid reader who also enjoys knitting and hiking.
Karen Ilari, Bookkeeper
Karen works for VeDA part-time. She has worked in accounting for many years in both the profit and non-profit sectors. Karen spends the rest of her time on her other love - painting. She sells her paintings on her online store and teaches painting through online videos. She and her husband, Bill, are empty nesters with four children, three grandchildren (so far!) and one very spoiled kitty named Pooty.
Cassey Parish, Patient Support Coordinator
Cassey uses her experience as an Intake Coordinator for Hospice to lend an empathetic ear for support to vestibular patients while educating them about VeDA's resources. She has had her own struggles finding a diagnosis for a chronic illness, and she understands how frustrating that can be.
Michelle Eyres, Development manager
Michelle has worked in the nonprofit world in Portland for over 9 years. She has contributed to the success of organizations big and small. As a life-long Portlander, she is very proud of the high level of philanthropy found here. "I am not a person that can sit by and hope someone else steps up and tackles a problem. My passion has led me to a gratifying career and collaboration with many diverse people." In her off hours, Michelle plays indoor soccer with her husband, avidly reads murder mysteries and spends as much time with her teens as they will allow.
Marianne Sadee, development administrative assisstant
Marianne works for VeDA part-time. She has a lot of experience in nonprofit development and communications that she hopes to make good use of at VeDA. Marianne's first love is opera and learning everything there is to know about the voice. She spends her time outside of VeDA teaching voice lessons and performing around the area. She enjoys spending weekends exploring the city and taking in arts and musical offerings.
VeDA's board of directors is composed of people who have been diagnosed with one or more vestibular disorders, friends and family members of vestibular patients, and medical specialists in the vestibular field. Their focus is to expand awareness for vestibular disorders while improving care and treatment for patients suffering from vestibular dysfunction.
- Holly Fisher, MS, President (Coppell, TX)
- Kathleen Stross, PT, MS, Secretary (Pearland, TX)
- Rose Dunn, MBA, Treasurer (Maryland Heights, MO)
- Gary Breitbord (Holliston, MA)
- Dennis Fitzgerald, MD (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Rebecca Rubin (Sherman Oaks, CA)
- Esteban Medina Orgaz, PhD, MBA (Pontevedra, Spain)
- Patricia Gerend, MS (San Francisco, CA)
- Ellis Kern (West Palm Beach, FL)
- Louise Geib, M.Ed., Trustee (Atlantic Beach, FL)
- Bryce Salvador, Owner XHockeyProducts.com, NHL Player/Captain, Ret. (Westfield, NJ) - Honorary
VeDA's medical and scientific advisors represent the best and most well-respected professionals in the vestibular community. Our advisors hail from such notable institutions as Massachusettes Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, Vanderbilt University, Duke University, the Mayo Clinic, Northwestern University Medical School, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Oregon Health Sciences University. With experience in direct patient care, research and teaching, our advisors provide oversight to VeDA's published materials, ensuring data that is accurate, timely and scientifically relevant.
Department of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery
Washington University School of Medicine
Saint Louis, MO
Professor, Departments of Neurology, Physical Therapy, and Otolaryngology
Northwestern University Medical School
Clinical Co-Director, Comprehensive Dizziness Center
Chief, Section of Neurology
Vestibular Rehabilitation Center
Director, Dizziness and Balance Disorders Program
Director of Research, Silverstein Institute
Director, Division of Physical Therapy
Director, Vestibular Rehabilitation
Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary