BOARD OF DIRECTORS

TRACY M. POYNEER, PRESIDENT  

Tracy Poyneer, a passionate advocate for kidney cancer awareness and a rare kidney cancer survivor, became a board member of the Judy Nicholson Kidney Cancer Foundation (JNF) in 2023, emphasizing her dedication to renal cell carcinoma (RCC) education. Initially serving as JNF’s Marketing Advisor and a kidney cancer patient advocate, Tracy’s strategic insights demonstrated her wholehearted commitment to combating this disease. Her subsequent election as President in January 2024 marked a significant milestone in her impactful journey with the Foundation, highlighting her profound dedication to advancing the mission within the kidney cancer community.

Living in Maryland, Tracy leads a serene life with her husband, Adam, relishing activities such as boating, fishing, and crabbing along the Chesapeake Bay. She cherishes moments spent on the Eastern Shore with their family, including adult children and five grandchildren. Tracy also shares a love for cooking with her husband and enjoys indulging in the performing arts and passionately supporting her favorite Baltimore sports teams—the Ravens and Orioles. Her enthusiasm extends to classic and international films.

Tracy’s battle with an advanced stage non-clear cell form of kidney cancer, Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma (ChRCC), diagnosed in February 2021, led her to transition from a successful 16-year career in Marketing and Public Relations at COPT Defense Properties (COPT) to focus on her health. Her professional background includes roles at T. Rowe Price Associates in Baltimore, MD, Howrey, Simon, Arnold + White, and Colonial Williamsburg Hotel Properties in Virginia. Tracy’s journey as a kidney cancer patient and RCC advocate connected her with esteemed institutions like Johns Hopkins Medicine, University of Maryland Medical, National Institutes of Health (NIH), The National Cancer Institute (NCI), and Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center in Washington, D.C.

Apart from her personal experiences, Tracy actively engages in Advocacy Days, volunteers, fundraises locally, and supports multiple charitable organizations, including Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, United Way of Central Maryland, Sarah’s House Catholic Charities of Baltimore, Dress For Success Greater Baltimore, House Of Ruth Maryland, Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, Maryland Food Bank, KCCure, Driven To Cure (DTC), COA, and JNF, and currently serves as an Ambassador for Kidney Cancer Association (KCA). Tracy contributed to innovative scientific research in ChRCC as part of KCCure’s “Chromophobe Research Grant Programmatic Panel” for FY2021 and FY2022.

Tracy’s steadfast commitment to raising awareness and supporting those affected by kidney cancer defines her presidency, where she brings passion, corporate sponsorship and fundraising experience.

JOEL STERN, VICE PRESIDENT

Joel Stern, an esteemed advocate, author and former Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms, Inc. (NAMWOLF), brings an illustrious career spanning corporate legal expertise to the Judy Nicholson Kidney Cancer Foundation (JNF).

With a legacy of over 25 years as in-house counsel for prominent entities like IBM, Sears, and Accenture, Joel’s tenure as Deputy General Counsel at Accenture from 1996 to 2010 stands as a testament to his strategic leadership. Responsible for managing Accenture’s Americas legal requirements and serving as the chief operating officer for the global legal group, his impact was far-reaching.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Joel is a passionate Kidney Cancer Advocate and Stage 4 Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma (ccRCC) survivor committed to raising awareness and educating individuals about kidney cancer. As the host of our widely popular virtual monthly “A Patient Open Forum,” he engages and empowers patients affected by RCC. The series offers free guidance and community support to kidney cancer patients of various stages + subtypes.

Joel’s dedication extends beyond JNF; he serves on the Kidney Cancer Association’s board, contributing his expertise to further their mission. Moreover, Joel holds the distinguished role of Vice President within our Foundation, playing a pivotal role in steering the Foundation towards its mission. He is the author of “My Journey with Stage IV Renal Cell Carcinoma: How To Make The Most Of A Dire Diagnosis“. 

Joel lives in the Chicago area with his wife, Donna, alongside their three grown daughters and three cherished grandsons. His dedication to our cause is inspiring, shaping a future where advancements in kidney cancer research offer hope to those battling this disease. Joel’s multifaceted involvement in various kidney cancer advocacy organizations showcases his unwavering commitment to driving positive change and improving outcomes for patients.

VICTORIA SAUCEDO, TREASURER

Victoria Saucedo, originally from Stephenville, Texas, and currently pursuing a law degree in Dallas, Texas, was elected Treasurer for the Judy Nicholson Kidney Cancer Foundation in January 2024.

Victoria’s involvement with the kidney cancer community and the Foundation began following her father’s diagnosis with kidney cancer in 2021. As both a caregiver alongside her mother and an advocate seeking guidance during the challenging journey, Victoria actively engaged with the Foundation’s support initiatives. After her father’s passing in 2022, Victoria and her mother found solace and support through participation in the annual JNF “Celebration of Life” Dinner and other Foundation activities. Motivated by her father’s legacy, Victoria remains dedicated to supporting individuals and caregivers navigating their own renal cell carcinoma (RCC) journey.

With a rich history of involvement in nonprofit organizations such as the Girl Scouts of the USA, Hogar Infantil, and her local humane society, Victoria brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Her enthusiasm for contributing to the future direction of the organization is evident as she looks forward to utilizing her leadership background, encompassing fundraising, financial planning, and marketing expertise, to serve as the Foundation’s Treasurer.

MEGAN CONLEY, SECRETARY

Megan Conley, a derivatives attorney, and government relations professional in Washington, D.C. brings a wealth of expertise to the Judy Nicholson Kidney Cancer Foundation (JNF).

In January 2020, Megan was confronted with a diagnosis of Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma (ChRCC), a non-clear cell type of kidney cancer. Today, she is in remission, embodying hope for patients with rarer forms of kidney cancer through her journey. Since then, she has dedicated herself to kidney cancer advocacy, engaging in various initiatives such as collaborating with policymakers to secure research funding and counseling patients on navigating healthcare and taking charge of their well-being. Ms. Conley’s deep-rooted passion lies in empowering and educating patients, evident in her role as a board member and Secretary at the Foundation.

Her commitment extends far beyond, having actively contributed to organizations like the Kidney Cancer Association, KidneyCan, Powerful Patient, National Kidney Foundation, and the International Kidney Cancer Coalition. Additionally, Megan’s invaluable insights were instrumental as a consumer reviewer in the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), aiding in the evaluation of kidney cancer research proposals.

Megan lives with her husband, son, and German Shepherd, Megan Conley exemplifies resilience and dedication in her journey and mission to make a meaningful impact in the kidney cancer community. As Secretary of JNF, her role amplifies the Foundation’s dedication to advancing kidney cancer advocacy and support.

JAYLA BARNES, FAMILY MEDICAL CONSULTANT + CAREGIVING ADVISOR

Jayla Barnes FNP-BC, a seasoned nurse practitioner with two decades of experience across various healthcare settings, serves as the host for JNF’s monthly Caregiver’s series titled “Pull Up a Chair + Let’s Talk.” Her extensive background spans roles in pediatric trauma/ICU, ICU/ER nursing, hospice care, and her current specialization in Palliative Medicine, focusing on complex medical conditions and symptom management.

In her 20 years within the medical profession, both personally and professionally, Jayla has learned to honor the essence of life and the profound significance of the dying process. She deeply values the spectrum that exists between these two aspects. Through her career journey, Jayla’s unwavering commitment revolves around sharing knowledge and empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their health and overall wellness.

She firmly believes that while one may not have control over life’s circumstances, the choice of response remains within their grasp. Jayla’s purpose revolves around supporting others on their unique paths, assisting them in navigating their journey towards improved health and well-being.

PADRAIC O’MALLEY MD, MSc, FRC SC | CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR

Padraic O’Malley, MD, completed his residency at the University of Toronto in Canada before pursuing a urologic oncology fellowship at Weill-Cornell Medical College/New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York.

Presently, at UF Health, Dr. O’Malley holds the position of clinical assistant professor in the department of urology at the UF College of Medicine. An active member of numerous prestigious medical associations including the Canadian Urological Association, the Society of Urologic Oncology, the Endourological Society, and the American Urological Association, he also serves as a dedicated junior international member of the European Urology Association. Dr. O’Malley’s contributions as an author span various urology-based publications, chapters, and abstracts.

Dr. O’Malley’s clinical focus revolves around urologic oncology, particularly kidney and bladder cancer. His ongoing research encompasses diverse areas such as investigating gender disparities in clinical trial enrollment, assessing the role of renal mass biopsy and patient decision conflict, and pioneering novel biomarker development for kidney and bladder cancer. Furthermore, he plays a pivotal role as an investigator in several advanced kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer clinical trials.

Additionally, Dr. O’Malley holds the esteemed position of Chief Medical Advisor for The Judy Nicholson Kidney Cancer Foundation (JNF), where he offers invaluable expertise and guidance in advancing the Foundation’s mission and initiatives in the field of kidney cancer research and education.

RICH HAAG, BOARD MEMBER

Rich Haag is a seasoned professional with a deep commitment to philanthropy and advocacy. In 2024, he proudly joined JNF’s Board, bringing with him a wealth of experience and a passion for making a meaningful difference. Serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Nexus Power Enterprises, Rich has led the company as a premier manufacturers’ representative in the Western US, fostering partnerships with leading global electrical manufacturing firms.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Rich finds his greatest joy and strength in his family. Married to Brook for 32 years, their journey has been blessed with a daughter named Allie, now 29 years old, and the recent addition of a cherished grandson, now 9 months old. Rich’s unwavering love and support for his family are the cornerstone of his life.

Rich’s life took an unexpected turn in March of 2020 when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma (PRCC). His personal battle against this disease has fueled his dedication to the fight against RCC. Through his personal cancer journey, he has become a staunch advocate for education, awareness, and support for individuals and families affected by kidney cancer.

With numerous years dedicated to the growth and success of his business, Rich now looks forward to new changes and endeavors beyond his professional career. He aims to seek meaningful ways to give back to causes that resonate deeply with him. His dedication to family, the fight against RCC, and his commitment to education and advocacy reflect his unwavering values and his desire to make a lasting impact in areas that hold significance in his life. Rich Haag stands as an inspiring figure, channeling his experiences and expertise towards creating a positive change in the world around him.


LAURA BRATCHER ESFELLER,
DIGITAL MEDIA DIRECTOR

Laura Bratcher Esfeller, a metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) survivor, passionate advocate and seasoned communication strategist based in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, brings a wealth of experience and dedication to the JNF Board. Currently, she serves as the Director of Marketing Services for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, leading strategic oversight and management of various marketing teams across multiple enterprises, including the Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel and Palms Casino Resort.

She has earned a BA in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University (LSU) and an MBA in Strategic Communications from National University in La Jolla, CA. Laura’s academic achievements also include graduation from the Honors College and the Manship School of Mass Communication, where she concentrated on Public Relations and minored in Political Science. Additionally, she earned a Certificate in Tribal Administration I from Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA, reflecting her dedication to understanding diverse administrative contexts.

Her advocacy in the kidney cancer community is both extensive and impactful. Laura actively serves on various kidney cancer boards and committees, including Chromophobe and Oncocytic Tumor Alliance (COA), American Society of Clinical Oncology, SWOG Cancer Research Group, Kidney Cancer Association (KCA), KidneyCAN, National Cancer Institute, KCCure, and the US Department of Defense’s CDMRP Kidney Cancer Research Program. Her roles range from Board Member to Patient Research Advocate, ensuring patient concerns are at the forefront of clinical trial design and development. Laura’s commitment extends to being a Grant Reviewer, Panel Discussion Participant, and Consumer Reviewer, influencing crucial decisions in kidney cancer research funding and clinical trial advancements.

Professionally, Laura’s expertise in marketing and communication has been honed through impactful roles in esteemed organizations. She previously served as the Director of Marketing at the Las Vegas Monorail Company, overseeing advertising, group sales, and public relations strategies. Her tenure at Caesars Entertainment, where she held positions ranging from Property Marketing Manager to Public Relations Specialist and Internal Communications Specialist, further solidified her expertise in hospitality marketing, public relations, and internal communications.

As JNF’s Digital Media Director, Laura brings her expertise, empathy, and unwavering commitment to informing and supporting individuals affected by kidney cancer.

RAQUEL KAUFLER, SPANISH + INTERNATIONAL LIAISON

Raquel Kaufler, an experienced finance professional driven by a profound commitment to nurturing well-being and resilience. Serving as the Spanish + International Liaison on the Board of Directors for the Judy Nicholson Kidney Cancer Foundation (JNF), Raquel brings a distinctive perspective shaped by her extensive travels and proficiency in four languages. Her diverse background and unwavering dedication make her an invaluable asset to the organization.

In 2012, Raquel’s life underwent a profound transformation when she faced a Stage 4 metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) diagnosis. This pivotal moment inspired her to explore the world of teas, leading to the creation of MŪZ teas. Her entrepreneurial venture into tea-making stemmed from a personal journey seeking holistic wellness strategies. Today, Raquel serves as a living testament to the harmonious interplay between modern medicine, personal lifestyle choices, and an indomitable spirit. Not only does she share her inspirational story through tea, but she also advocates for others in prestigious medical symposiums such as the UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, The American Cancer Society’s Determination Team, and JNF.

Beyond her entrepreneurial ventures, Raquel remains dedicated to supporting fellow cancer patients and fostering resilience within the RCC community. Her goal is to bridge the gap between renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and the global community, fostering understanding and collaboration for the betterment of all those affected by kidney cancer. In her commitment to fostering understanding and support within the Spanish-speaking community, Raquel also leads and manages our vibrant Spanish social media page, offering a bridge for knowledge-sharing and solidarity among those impacted by kidney cancer.

PASTOR WALTER JOHNSON, GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS + PASTOR

Pastor Walter Johnson brings over four decades of invaluable experience in pastoral care and spiritual leadership to the Judy Nicholson Kidney Cancer Foundation. As a member of our board, Pastor Johnson’s wealth of expertise spans cultivating communities and guiding individuals through their journey.

His extensive background in organizational leadership, ministry program development, and strategic planning serves as a vital asset in our mission to support kidney cancer patients and raise awareness. Pastor Johnson’s remarkable leadership qualities shine through his ability to nurture communities, provide discipleship, and extend pastoral care to those affected by RCC.

Beyond his exceptional contributions to our board, Pastor Walter Johnson serves as our dedicated Government Affairs Representative, passionately advocating for kidney cancer awareness, funding for research and support initiatives.

A resilient kidney cancer survivor since 2010, Pastor Johnson’s personal journey of triumph over cancer epitomizes hope and resilience. His unwavering commitment to our cause is an inspiration, and his dedication amplifies our efforts to make a difference in the kidney cancer community.

MARK MANNING, BOARD MEMBER

Mark A. Manning, a newly appointed board member for the Judy Nicholson Kidney Cancer Foundation (JNF), and Kidney Cancer Survivor, spent his formative years in Southern California. He graduated from St. Anthony High School in Long Beach, CA, in 1972 and subsequently earned his BA in Communications from Loyola University of Los Angeles in 1976.

With a distinguished 43-year career in the cable television industry, Mark embarked on his journey in 1976 with a small hardware supplier. He swiftly ascended from an entry-level position to assuming crucial leadership roles. By 1980, his career trajectory led him from inside sales to territorial sales and eventually to the role of Western Operations Manager. In the same year, Mark joined CommScope Inc., the largest US manufacturer of coaxial cable, marking the beginning of an exceptional rise within the industry. His tenure at CommScope witnessed significant milestones, transitioning from District Sales Manager to Regional Sales Manager and rising to national leadership roles. Ultimately, he was appointed as Senior Vice President of North American Sales. In 2014, Mark assumed the role of Vice President of Market Development for Cable Television at Dycom Inc., acting as a vital liaison between executive leadership and the customer base. His tenure at Dycom concluded in mid-2019 due to health reasons related to Kidney Cancer, prompting his decision to retire.

In addition to his professional endeavors, Mark devoted his time to industry service and support. He served on the board of the Society of Cable Television Engineers Foundation, contributing significantly to the advancement of education in telecom technical fields. Recognizing his substantial contributions to the cable industry, Mark was inducted into Cable Pioneers—an esteemed honorary organization—in 2008, acknowledging his pivotal role in fostering industry growth.

Since retiring, Mark remains actively engaged in Kidney Cancer-related initiatives. He volunteers with KidneyCan and has taken on the role of administrator for a thriving Facebook group comprising over 1500 members, including patients and caregivers. This group focuses on navigating the challenges associated with the drug Cabometyx.

OFFICERS + COMMITEE MEMBERS

JNF Founder: Nick Nicholson
Chief Executive Officer: Linda Anderson (JNF)
Treasurer’s Assistant: Paula Gibson
Grant Writer: Beth Robbins
Nutritionist: Lori Bumbaco, MS, RDN, CSO, LDN (
Cancer Nutrition Care)
Fitness Expert: Jenny Spencer (Fight the Fatigue)

Audio/Visual Director: Jim Cloney (Flacon Multimedia)
Website Administrator: Josh Hendricks (Ziggy Webworks)

Jenny Spencer, Fight The Fatigue and Lori Bumbaco, Cancer Nutrition Care