Adira Foundation | Rhaisa Lopez

Rhaisa Lopez

Board and Patient Liaison

Rhaisa Lopez has over 13 years’ experience in the healthcare industry, both within and outside of the nonprofit sector. Her work history prior to joining Adira Foundation includes processing and translating international health insurance claims, analyzing Workers’ Compensation cases and medical records, and she previously worked as a case manager and a patient disability advocate with a nonprofit organization providing support to people with rare and chronic illnesses. She is from Bayamon, Puerto Rico and is fluent in English and Spanish. She is an avid believer that you are your best advocate. She faces similar obstacles to patients on a daily basis and hopes to inspire others.


Adira Foundation | Dani McGaha

L. Dani McGaha

Development and Research Associate

Dani McGaha works to support Adira’s development and programmatic priorities. Dani has worked for health-related nonprofits since 2007, including assisting people with rare, chronic illnesses in obtaining Social Security disability benefits, financial assistance for health needs, and locating resources for individual pertinent needs. She also worked for Virginia Blood Services helping to secure human blood donations for those in need. Having dealt with her own family’s trials and tribulations, Dani has a strong passion for helping others.


Adira Foundation | Lauren Ruiz

Lauren Ruiz

Programs Manager

Lauren Ruiz has worked in nonprofits for over a decade, providing education, navigation services, and emotional support to people and families living with complex and chronic diseases. Her career has focused on health insurance access and utilization, having successfully led teams of patient advocates to provide direct support services including health insurance education and enrollment to tens of thousands of people impacted by rare diseases in both private and public health insurance systems.

She is an experienced program manager, public speaker, and patient and caregiver advocate who enjoys working with a diverse range of communities. She believes strongly in the mutually beneficial relationship between patient and patient advocate, whatever form that may take. She attended Virginia Tech, receiving degrees in political science and mass communications with a focus on English writing.


Adira Foundation | Greg Smiley

Greg Smiley

Founder / CEO

Greg brings more than 20 years’ experience in both U.S. domestic and global public health policy and management. Career highlights begin with managing the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS at President Clinton’s White House Office of National AIDS Policy and shepherding the council into former President George W. Bush’s first year. He later inaugurated government affairs programs for two national health nonprofits before joining the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS in 2008 with duty stations in Washington, D.C., South Africa and Switzerland. In 2017, he separated from the U.N. to return to the U.S. to lead nonprofit work and launched Adira Foundation in 2019.

Greg leads Adira from both professional but also personal experience with complex health needs. Living in Johannesburg in 2013, he sustained multiple traumatic injuries to his face and mouth in a high-speed cycling accident on a nearby mountain road. In the wake of 12 surgeries and multiple complications, he has lived the challenges of health navigation, isolation, and understands the urgency for new approaches to supplement current good work.


Adira Foundation | Marilyn Spinner

Marilyn Spinner

Chief Development and External Affairs Officer

In her more than 20 years of senior level experience in philanthropy, Marilyn’s expertise is designing and implementing approaches to bring a larger audience and resource support to effective and purposeful organizations. She did this for various nonprofits as Founding Principal at The Consulting Collaborative, and as Chief Marketing and External Relations Officer at AllHealth Network, a community mental health organization in Denver.

Her prior work includes New York University and Columbia University, and senior roles at healthcare, hospice and long-term care systems. Marilyn advocates for access of mental health care and against stigma associated with mental health and restoring lives of people victimized by human trafficking. She serves on the board of directors of LastMile4D. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Boston University and a master’s degree from Columbia University in New York.


sarah-ward

Sarah Ward

Community Outreach Manager

Sarah Ward has nearly 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector managing social service programs and public health initiatives both domestically and internationally. She has advocated for better community support for children in out-of-home placements, newly arrived refugees, and women exiting the criminal justice system. Further, she has collaborated on research and symposiums to address social determinants of health and improve healthcare and social service practices. She is passionate about promoting health equity to ensure everyone can attain their best health and believes public health strategies are critical to addressing a variety of community challenges. Sarah has a master’s in public health from the University of Texas in Austin, and a bachelor’s from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.

As a mother of a child with a chronic illness, Sarah understands the commitment it requires to care for a loved one and is passionate about building holistic communities that are better prepared to support specialized needs.


Adira Foundation | Kelli Yoder

Kelli Yoder

Communications Manager

Kelli Yoder has written for local newspapers in Elkhart, Indiana, and Denver, and told interactive stories as the web/assistant editor for a national paper based in Newton, Kansas, and a national housing nonprofit in Americus, Georgia. She’s taught school children off the coast of the Black Sea and at a Montessori school in Denver, edited term papers and business plans for English language learners, blogged for the short-lived RVATourism.com and drove the support vehicle from Niagara Falls to New Orleans for the Fuller Center Bike Adventure. She has a master’s in interactive media from Elon University in North Carolina and a bachelor’s from Goshen College in Indiana.


Helen D. Ardman

Helen D. Ardman

Chief Financial Officer

Helen brings 20 years of experience as a licensed Certified Public Accountant, a functional Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) consultant, and Advanced QuickBooks Pro Advisor. She began her career as a public accountant. After leading an ERP implementation for a former client, she spent the next 15 years engaged as a functional software consultant and instructor in a variety of industries. Recently, Helen has acted as Fractional Controller/CFO for numerous businesses in a variety of industries including manufacturing, retail distribution, nonprofit, IT staffing, intellectual property and more. Helen has mentored, managed and trained an entire accounting department using a variety of tools and software. She spent three years with the Commonwealth of Virginia and has taught over 100 classes, on varying accounting and software/computer literacy related topics, to approximately 4,000 individuals.

Helen has a bachelor’s in accounting from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. She lives on Virginia’s Gwynn Island with her husband where she works with the Gwynn Island Civic League and Hitting Cancer Below the Belt. She has served on the boards of Richmond Midnight Basketball League and Richmond CASA.