Board of Directors


Tom Jacob, Board Chair

Commercial Real Estate Investor

Tom has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and Master’s In Health Administration from Tulane University. He spent over 20 years in healthcare management including almost fifteen years as the Assistant Administrator of Dedham Medical Associates. Currently he invests in commercial real estate properties. In his hometown of Needham, MA, Tom sits on the Finance Committee and is a town meeting member. He also served for six years on the town’s Park & Recreation Commission. He is involved with several charitable organizations including The Men’s Collaborative to Cure Women’s Cancers where he is Co-Chair of their annual charity golf event.

Marcia Boyle

Marcia, a Wake Forest University graduate, was an advisor for Junior Achievement, a volunteer for the Marilyn Monroe Family Center for Abused Women in London, an active fundraiser for the American Cancer Society during the development of the Hope Lodge and a volunteer for school and community organizations in Wellesley. She is a driving force behind Ellie Fund’s Real Golfers Wear Pink tournament. Marcia continues to spread her enthusiasm about Ellie Fund within her wide reaching network. 

Thanda Fields Brassard

Vice President & Trust Counsel; General Counsel, Fiduciary Trust of New England
Thanda, a graduate of Boston College and Boston College Law School, has 12 years of experience at Fiduciary Trust Company where she focuses on advising individuals and families on their estate and tax planning matters. Thanda also has significant experience in estate settlement and trust administration. Thanda’s support of the Ellie Fund began in 2015 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and received assistance from the Ellie Fund during her treatment. Her personal experience with the Ellie Fund’s support services brings a unique and valuable perspective to the Board

Cynthia Levine Kropp

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, working, and raising 4-year old twins, Cynthia knew from the moment she was diagnosed, that one day, she would give back. She wanted to do whatever she could to help the next patient facing a breast cancer diagnosis, especially those with young children. As a mother who also worked full-time as a travel industry executive, Cynthia admits she was overwhelmed, challenged, and in uncharted waters. As she went through treatment, she set her sights on recovery milestones. For years, Cynthia looked for the right way to give back and help breast cancer patients. After more than 30 years in the workforce and launching two wonderful adult children, she decided to put her effort and resources into the Ellie Fund. She is passionate about patient care and knows how important it is to support patients through their recovery so they can focus on living their best life and taking care of their families.

Ronald Lanoue, Treasurer

Director, Business Tax Services, KPMG
Ron, a licensed CPA and graduate of Williams College and Northeastern Graduate School of Professional Accounting, is a senior manager in KPMG’s Boston tax practice. He has over 20 years experience, drawing on a broad base of knowledge of corporate and other business taxation. Ron has in-depth experience in U.S. federal, state, local and international taxation, including tax compliance, audit management, tax accounting/ASC and tax planning. Ron’s professional expertise is invaluable in his role as the Ellie Fund’s treasurer.

Jeff Popkin, Founder

Founder and CEO,
Jeff, along with his brother Eliot, founded the Ellie Fund in 1995 to honor their mother Eleanor Popkin’s courageous battle against breast cancer and the giving spirit for which she was known. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston, Jeff is the Founder and CEO of Boston Event Guide, a full-service marketing and promotions company in Boston. As former Board Chair and now special counsel, ambassador and key stakeholder, Jeff is responsible for ensuring that the history and legacy of the Ellie Fund remain at the forefront of its mission.

Jeannie Shanahan

President, Twin Star Consulting, LLC.

Jeannie Shanahan is a risk expert with extensive experience in credit, enterprise risk management, governance, and crisis and business continuity planning.  A finance professional by training, Jeannie served as Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, Chief Governance Officer, and Credit Risk Director at some of the country’s largest institutions, including State Street Global advisors, Omgeo LLC, Fidelity Investments, and Northern Trust.  She is passionate about leading cultural and organizational transformation and mentoring younger executives. Jeannie received an MBA from Boston College and a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Simmons College in Boston.  She joined Ellie Fund’s board after witnessing three of her family members struggled with breast cancer. Jeannie’s risk management and crisis management expertise are important as the advisor to the Ellie Fund Board on strategy matters.

Amy Comander, MD

Breast Oncologist, Mass General Cancer Center at Waltham and Newton Wellesley

Dr. Amy Comander is Director of Breast Oncology and Cancer Survivorship at the Mass General Center in Waltham and at Newton-Wellesley. She is also co-director of the Mass General Cancer Center in Waltham. Dr. Comander is well-known for her compassionate care and devotion to her patients. She is dedicated to improving the quality of life and outcome of her patients through lifestyle interventions. In addition to her expertise in hematology/oncology, Dr. Comander has also pursued board certification in Lifestyle Medicine, and she has launched “PAVING the Path to Wellness Program,” a 12 week lifestyle medicine based survivorship program for women with breast cancer. She is an avid runner, and she is thrilled to run her eighth consecutive Boston Marathon this year to honor the Ellie Fund!

Nicole Thomas

Assistant Vice President, Business Analyst, Private Investments

As a Business Analyst at Wellington, Nicole helps lead the growth, expansion, integration, and oversight of the firm’s private investment business. She also co-chairs “Shades,” Wellington’s Black Employee Resource Group, and serves as Secretary to the firm’s Global Governance Committee. Nicole has also been an active participant of Wellington’s philanthropic Grant Recommendation Committee, having acted as a grant reviewer for the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology and College for Social Innovation, and Lead for the After School & Summer Program Review Team that provided oversight grant recommendation for seven non-profits. 

Joanna Chanis

Speaker, Author, and Entrepreneur

Joanna is a self-employed inspirational speaker, professional mentor, author, entrepreneur, inventor, and successful business owner. She wrote her book, The Waiting Room: Your Friend to Help You and Your Loved Ones Through the Diagnosis, because, “it was exactly what I would have needed after my breast cancer diagnosis but couldn’t find.” Joanna’s extensive philanthropic experience extends to the Park Street School, Newton Country Day School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Annunciation Cathedral of New England, and the Greek Ladies Philoptochos Society. 

Dr. Tina opie

Founder, Shared Sisterhood; Chief Vision Officer, Opie Consulting: Visiting Scholar, Harvard Business School

Dr. Opie received her Ph.D. in Management from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 2010. In addition to her teaching the Foundations of Management & Entrepreneurs at Babson College (for which she was named at Top 40 Undergraduate Business Professor by Poets & Quants, a leading news website dedicated to coverage of business education), Tina has recently been named a visiting scholar at Harvard Business School, following her MLK Visiting Professor/Scholar position at MIT. Tina is a regular commentator on Harvard Business Review’s Women at Work podcast and on WGBH. Her book, Shared Sisterhood, co-authored with Dr. Beth Livingston, will be published by Harvard Business Press in Fall 2022. Prior to her academic career, Tina was a banker and a management consultant.

Bob Ernst

Owner and President, FBN Construction Co.

In addition to his service with Communities United, Inc., and Needham Childrens’ Museum, Bob’s board experience is exemplified by his tenure at Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston. He was called back into service as the Association was moving through a difficult and contentious reorganization in a successful effort to reestablish its solid financial and governance structure. In 1995, Bob joined FBN Construction and set it on a path to be recognized as a premier residential building and remodeling company in Greater Boston. 

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