Board of Directors

Peter White - Chair

Peter White, Chairman and Cofounder of Attention Span Media and Chairman and Cofounder of Global Outsight, joined the board in 2014. Peter is recognized as a leading strategic business executive in the marketing and entertainment fields. Most recently, he has focused his professional and personal time on building successful enterprises and organizations, including for‐profit and non‐profit.

Attention Span Media has been responsible for developing new business strategies, marketing campaigns and social and digital strategies for clients in various industries, with a strong presence in tourism, entertainment, education, retail and sports. As Chairman of Attention Span Media, Peter and his team had a heavy hand in the new branding, website, and social media and marketing materials and strategies implemented by Rettsyndrome.org in 2014.

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Gordon Rich - Treasurer

Gordy, with the support of his wife Anne, created the Kelly Rich Rett Research Foundation in 1997 for their daughter Kelly, who had just been diagnosed with Rett syndrome as well as funding the formation of the Kelly O’Leary Center for Pervasive Developmental Disorders at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Kelly was diagnosed with Rett syndrome at Johns Hopkins Kennedy Krieger in 1997 at the age of 20 months.

In November of 1999, The Rett Syndrome Research Foundation (RSRF) was formed by a passionate group of parents, led by Gordy, who wanted to more aggressively pursue biomedical research to accelerate the discovery of treatments and a cure. In its first year the foundation funded over $1M in research grants. Their achievements in funding new research and expanding the scope of knowledge was unsurpassed (including the discovery that most symptoms of Rett syndrome may one day be reversed).

In 2007 RSRF joined forces with The International Rett Syndrome Association (IRSA) to form the International Rett Syndrome Foundation (Rettsyndrome.org), which today is known as Rettsyndrome.org.

Even after his term ended, Gordy continued to play a key role in the foundation’s fundraising efforts. With the Rettsyndrome.org headquarters located at Reading Rock, a family run company where Gordy is President, the employees of Reading Rock have played an important role in supporting the foundation through various fundraisers; one huge undertaking being the Tri-State Strollathon. The Strollathon program, Rettsyndrome.org’s signature fundraising event, raised over $8 million in the first ten years. The Tri-State Strollathon has totaled over $1,798,646 making it the foundation’s most successful strollathon since inception.

“Before Kelly was even diagnosed with Rett syndrome, I knew I needed to be a part of the cure for whatever my daughter had. Once we had the diagnosis, I knew that I needed to step up to raise the funds needed for treatments and a cure. I gave 100% before my leave and plan to give 110% now that I’m back."

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William “Bill” Babiarz

Bill is a senior derivatives trader at IMC Financial Markets. He has 16 years of professional experience in the option trading pits of the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Bill holds Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Bill and his wife, Jackie, have two girls, Cammy (RS) and Ryan. Immediately after Cammy's diagnosis at 22 months, Bill and Jackie created the Cammy Can movement. Their goal was and continues to be, to educate the world about Rett syndrome, to build awareness about individuals with disabilities, and to raise money for research into Rett syndrome. Bill and Jackie are also passionate about providing support and guidance to newly diagnosed families. 

Bill’s Comment:   “When Cammy was diagnosed, we quickly realized there were many things about Rett syndrome we could not control. Raising money and helping others who would be in the same, helpless spot we were in were two things we knew we could do. Being a part of the board at Rettsyndrome.org would fit into that mission perfectly.” 

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John Foard

John Foard has been a board member since 2013 and served as Treasurer from 2014-2016. He is the father to Ella, 13, who was diagnosed with Rett syndrome a few months before she turned 3 years old.  John is married to his wife, Nalisha.  They have 2 other girls - Emma & Stella.  John is a CFP(R) with over 18 years of experience and owns Foard Wealth Management, LLC, a financial planning firm in Charlotte, NC. 

John devotes the majority of his spare time to raising money for Rett syndrome research.  He and his family run The Ella Foard Foundation for Rett Syndrome in honor of their daughter.

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Beth Farnum

Before Ella’s diagnosis ten years ago, Beth spent a decade at Nike in marketing before deciding to stay home to care for her. Since she’s been staying at home with Ella and her two younger brothers, she has been instrumental in guiding Ella's education process, medical and therapeutic needs.  She and her husband, Bill have also founded Casting 4 a Cure, a 501(c)3 organization, which they started to help Ella live life to her full potential.  Through various fly fishing tournaments they raise funding to help Ella and thousands of girls like her from this disorder. 

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Christian McMahan

Christian McMahan has remarkable executive leadership experience, recently assuming the role of President, Wachusett Brewing Company.  Before that, he was a Managing Partner of the Smartfish Group, from 2012-2017. A marketing expert, Christian was the Chief Marketing Officer at Heineken and Touchtunes from 2008–2012. 

Christian and his wife Ariane have been actively involved with Rettsyndrome.org since the 2002 diagnosis of their daughter, Keilly, when she was two years old. Active in fundraising, they worked with the Joyce and Curley families to host the Boston Food and Wine Festival for over a decade. Christian recently completed a term on the Make-A-Wish International Foundation Board.   He is also one of the original board members of the IRSF in 2007, coming over after serving 4 years as a board member with RSRF. He is interested in re-joining the Board to ensure the organization’s health and growth during this critical transition period.   

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Steve Tomes

Steve has had many years as a successful senior leader in the Western Region of Delaware North, a global food service and hospitality company.  Steve and his wife, Donna, have a daughter, Amanda, who has Rett syndrome.  Steve has been a supporter of the organization for eight years, serving in an informal leadership role in Central and Southern California, and has been instrumental in the development of the LA Feast and Fundraiser.

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Joe Horrigan, MD

Dr. Horrigan is a pediatric neuropsychiatrist with over thirty years’ of experience working with children and adults with neurodevelopmental and pervasive development delays. He also has twenty years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Dr. Horrigan formerly served as the Head of Medical Research for Autism Speaks and as the Vice President of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs at Neuren Pharmaceuticals. Currently, Dr. Horrigan serves as Chief Medical Officer for AMO Pharma Limited and is an Associate Consulting Professor for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine.

In his career, Dr. Horrigan has seen over 100 patients with Rett syndrome. Dr. Horrigan has worked with pharmaceutical companies to create clinical programs for Rett syndrome, Fragile X and Angelman Syndrome. He was instrumental in helping launch Neuren’s clinical trials for NZ2566, known today as trofinetide.

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Peter White - Chair

Peter White, Chairman and Cofounder of Attention Span Media and Chairman and Cofounder of Global Outsight, joined the board in 2014. Peter is recognized as a leading strategic business executive in the marketing and entertainment fields. Most recently, he has focused his professional and personal time on building successful enterprises and organizations, including for‐profit and non‐profit.

Attention Span Media has been responsible for developing new business strategies, marketing campaigns and social and digital strategies for clients in various industries, with a strong presence in tourism, entertainment, education, retail and sports. As Chairman of Attention Span Media, Peter and his team had a heavy hand in the new branding, website, and social media and marketing materials and strategies implemented by Rettsyndrome.org in 2014.

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