Meet the Advisory Board
Melissa L. Bradley
Melissa L. Bradley is a tri-sector leader with more than 20 years of entrepreneurship, investment and leadership experience. She is the Founder and Managing Director of 1863 Ventures – accelerating new majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth. She is also a Professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University where she teaches impact investing, social entrepreneurship, P2P economies and innovation.
Melissa is a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. She is also Co-Chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) by Secretary Penny Pritzker from the Department of Commerce.
Melissa currently serves as a Board Member for The Reinvestment Fund, and an advisor to the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation’s Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program, Wallet AI, and the Center for the Advancement of Social Enterprise (CASE) at Duke University. She is a Founding Advisor to the Dell Center for Entrepreneurs as well as a Senator with the Board of Governors at Georgetown University. She is also Founder and Former Chair of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Alliance; Founding Member, The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership; and Founding Advisor to LGBTQ Center at Georgetown University.Melissa’s educational background includes graduation from Georgetown University in 1989 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Finance from the School of Business, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration in Marketing from American University in 1993.
Christopher (Chris) Brandt is Managing Director of Audacious Capital, a socially conscious portfolio manager based in Baltimore. Chris previously served as the CEO of Audacious Inquiry, a leading health information technology and policy company. Audacious Inquiry was among the fastest growing companies in the United States for ten consecutive years, enabling care coordination for more than seventy-five million patients, at the time of the company’s March 2022 acquisition by PointClickCare.
Chris serves on the boards of the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical System, a top-ranked advanced community hospital, and Shiftmed / Homecare.com, the nation’s leading marketplace for credentialed clinical shift workers and home health providers. Chris also serves on the board of The Aspen Institute’s Health Innovators Fellowship, where he was a member of the third class.
Chris was recognized by Ernst & Young with the Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Maryland region in 2014. Prior to founding Audacious Inquiry, Chris held various information technology positions with Prudential as part of the company’s leadership development program. Chris holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an AB in computer science from Duke University. Chris is an Eagle Scout and a private pilot; he lives with his wife and three young sons in Baltimore, Maryland.
Guillaume Castel was named CEO of PerfectServe in July 2019. Castel is responsible for the evolving vision of the company as well as day-to-day leadership and operations. He brings nearly 20 years of experience in strategy, business development, finance and operations across the technology and healthcare industries. With the recent acquisitions of Telmediq, Lightning Bolt and CareWire, Castel joins the company at a pivotal juncture. He is leading the charge to develop and grow the entire PerfectServe portfolio.
Castel previously served as Vice President of Business Development at Inova Health System, a large nonprofit provider in Northern Virginia with five main hospitals, over 18,000 employees and more than $3 billion in yearly revenue. Inova is one of the nation’s most innovative health systems, having received the Washington, D.C. region’s only five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In his role, Castel drove the agenda for growth at the highest levels of the organization, including architecting, owning and negotiating two of the largest inorganic expansions in Inova’s recent history.
Before Inova, Castel was with the Advisory Board Company, a publicly-traded best practices firm specializing in healthcare with over 3,000 employees and yearly revenue of more than $800 million. He was part of the team that arranged the sale of the Advisory Board’s Performance Technology portfolio to Optum, and subsequently co-led the first two quarters of integration work. In his appointment as COO of Performance Technology, Castel had responsibility for operations and strategy for the technology business, where he also oversaw analytics and workflow product launches. Castel ran the Advisory Board’s partnership program, driving innovation through relationships with large tech firms, consulting companies and smaller niche players.
Prior to Advisory Board, Castel spent six years at Cisco Systems, ultimately serving as Director of Business Development. His various managerial and executive roles at Cisco required managing technology at scale, driving innovation, acquiring new software capabilities, designing a partner-led commercial engine and leading multibillion-dollar joint venture deals. Before that, Castel also spent seven years with IBM in a number of roles ranging from Finance and Operations in IBM Global Services to Corporate Development at IBM’s headquarters.
Castel serves on the boards of the Heifer Foundation, Fraym.io, and Grapevine Health.
Originally from France, Castel received an MBA in Finance from the Institut d’Administration des Entreprises.
Jill DeGraff is the Founder of Aperture Law Group. Her expertise and passion are in expanding the capacity of technology to make healthcare more accessible, safe and cost-effective. She assists organizations to scale trust, health IT interoperability, data analytics and consumer connected health through technology. Her legal expertise is at the intersection of privacy, cybersecurity, technology contracting and healthcare regulation. She employs a programmatic, organization-centered approach in designing and implementing commercial contract stacks and risk management programs, so that they contribute positively to core missions. Her approach draws upon the tools from years as a corporate and transactional attorney in private practice
and in-house with technology companies, including an early pioneer in digital health. She is also an expert privacy policies, procedures, compliance controls, FDA’s precertification standards for digital therapeutics, systems of compliance to support trust frameworks and common agreements in health IT interoperability and diligence and negotiation of technology procurement contracts for start up and middle market healthcare technology and service companies.
Vanessa Villaverde is an award-winning innovator, activist, mother, and strategic advisor for startup organizations. Known throughout healthcare policy circles, she leveraged her expertise outside of government to structure private public partnerships that created better access, more affordable, and more informed healthcare solutions for vulnerable populations.
Seeyew Mo is a social activist-entrepreneur with expert experience in the use of technology in grassroots organizing and an innovative, strategically-minded technical leader who has developed pioneering products and services that have impacted millions of users, from concept to launch on accelerated time frames.
As a senior software engineer working in Silicon Valley for over 10 years, I am grateful for the opportunities I had enjoyed and would like to give back by channeling his current entrepreneurial activities towards social good.
Advocating for causes that I believe in has always been a priority. Even though I have always been busy with employment, I am still been able to carve out time to do volunteer work. I have organized events such as Green hackathon, to attract engineering talent in the SF Bay Area, to explore innovative solutions to climate change, creating, events to advocate for increasing the minimum wage, rallies to fight for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and community outreach programs to educate the residents of San Francisco on the Affordable Care Act. At every turn in my professional and volunteering career, I have worked to promote clear and effective healthy communication between all the stakeholders.
René Quashie focuses his law practice on a range of health care and life sciences matters, with a particular focus on telehealth, digital health, and mobile health matters. He also handles matters involving Medicare and Medicaid, legislative and health policy, general compliance, and health information technology.
In particular René helps stakeholders — including hospitals and health systems, health plans, telemedicine companies, technology companies, and digital health trade associations — handle the various legal, regulatory, and policy challenges impacting telehealth and digital health. His areas of focus include compliance with state and federal laws affecting the practice of telehealth and digital health, such as cross-border licensure, online prescribing, data privacy, risk management, coverage and reimbursement, fraud and abuse, and credentialing and privileging; state and federal legislation involving providers, employers, payers, and telehealth and digital health technology companies; and contract negotiations involving providers, employers, payers, and telehealth and digital health technology companies.
René serves as a legal advisor to the ERISA Industry Committee’s Telehealth Task Force, providing committee members with legal and regulatory counsel on telehealth issues. He is also a member of the Center for Telehealth and eHealth Law Legal Resource Team, where he offers advice and counsel on issues relevant to the telehealth community.
René frequently writes and speaks on current issues in his areas of practice. He has spoken on telehealth and digital health issues before organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Telemedicine Association, the Center for Telehealth and eHealth Law, the ERISA Industry Committee, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, and the Cato Institute.
In 2014, he co-authored Navigating the Telehealth Landscape: Legal and Regulatory Issues, published by Bloomberg BNA’s Portfolio Series, and has co-authored a number of articles and white papers regarding telehealth issues focused on operational, legal, regulatory, and policy issues impacting the telehealth sector. In 2016, he co-authored a groundbreaking 50-state survey of telemental health laws that analyzed the state laws, regulations, and policies impacting telemental health.
In 2008, he was named by Nightingale’s Healthcare News as one of the “12 Outstanding Young Healthcare Attorneys” in the United States. René is also a member of several telehealth-focused industry groups and associations.
Renata Simone is a broadcasting executive, documentary film director/producer/writer and reporter. Throughout her career, she has explored the intersection of personal and community life with public policy and science. Public health and health justice issues have been a particular area of focus for Simone.
Esther Dyson (@edyson on twitter) is executive founder of Wellville (@WaytoWellville), a ten-year, five-community project dedicated to showing the value of investing in health (as opposed spending on care). Wellville advises the five US-based Wellville communities on accelerating their own health initiatives, in Clatsop County, OR; Lake County, CA; Muskegon County, MI; North Hartford, CT; and Spartanburg, SC. Dyson is the Wellville lead for Muskegon, and is actively involved in policy and fundraising for the project. Wellville’s overall mission is to encourage society to think longer-term and more broadly – from self to community – by illustrating the social and financial benefits of collective investment in human capital.
Wellville favors implementation over innovation: applying approaches known to work, at scale in small communities where scale is relatively easy to achieve in terms of both resources and political buy-in. Each community sets its own priorities and goals around issues such as early childhood experiences, obesity/diabetes, mental health, dental health, smoking, addiction and overall human capacity and health disparities; Wellville assists in finding partners and funders, and in managing accountability. Over its 10-year life (through 2024), Wellville will measure its progress both year by year and at the end, using both specific program-based metrics and toverall goals set by the communities themselves. Its mission is not just to help five small (<200,000 people) communities get healthy, but to scale by inspiring other communities, governments and funders to copy its example. Its motto is “Don’t rent your health. Invest in it!”
Aside from that full-time role, Dyson spends her extra time investing in and nurturing start-ups, with a recent focus on health care (somewhat constrained to avoid conflicts with Wellville). She is an investor in 23andMe (former director), 4D Healthware, Abridge.ai, Avanlee Care, BAMF Health (board), Big Health, Bioz, Boundless.ai (sold to Thrive Global), Care.Coach, CareMESH, Cecelia, Clover Health, Devoted Health, Element3 Health (board), Eligible, Empathic Technologies, Enso Relief, Epistemic.ai, Ezra.com, Foresight Mental Health, Hawthorne Effect, HealthCelerate, HealthTap, Humanest, Humanity, Hurdle, Iaso, i2Dx, Lipidio, LuminDx, MealShare, Medesk, MedicaSafe, meQuilibrium, Mindright.io, Nanowear, NeuroGeneCES, Nuna, Omada Health, Open Water, PatientsKnowBest, Pocket Naloxone, Praava Health, Prognos.ai, Proofpilot, Resilient, Solera, Startup Health, Supportiv, Syllable.ai, Tega, Tocagen, Virgo SVS and X-Vax,
Photo by Seth Fisher
Robert has spent his career in healthcare in the provider, payer and management consulting segments of the industry. He is passionate about population health and a believer in health literacy as a critical social determinant of health which demands heavy investment to drive better and more equitable healthcare outcomes. He is an advocate for value-based care contracting as a model to ultimately replace traditional fee for service in the industry and believes business economic towards keeping patients and populations healthy will ultimately align incentives between patients, providers and payers in the industry.
Neal Sikka is an Associate Professor at The George Washington University, practicing Emergency Physician and the Director of the Innovative Practice and Telehealth Section at the GW Medical Faculty Associates. Dr. Sikka has expertise in HIT topics such as informatics, telemedicine, mobile health, technology adoption and patient engagement. He has conducted research under awards from McKesson and Care First Foundations as well as the CMS Innovation Center related to SMS messaging, telehealth and remote patient monitoring. He is also a founder and CMO of a SonoStik, a medical device start up, an advisor to Life365, providing a digital health as a service platform, and recently served as CMO of 22otters a digital health start up focusing on the use
of voice in mobile patient engagement. Dr. Sikka completed his Medical Degree at Washington University in St. Louis and his Emergency Medicine residency at GWU.