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board of
directors

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Toni Braxton

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lindsay sustarsic cafritz

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debbie cowan

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Roger Cowan

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lauren shuler donner

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dorothy ellis

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alan kaye

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michelle kaye

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adam selkowitz

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Stacey Uberstine

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Nancy Utley

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daniel j. wallace, md

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janice wallace

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denise winner

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Toni Braxton

Legend. Icon. Songstress. Diva.

Very few artists ever ascend to the rarefied heights that those four words symbolize. Toni Braxton is one of those few.

The multimillion-selling R&B/pop pioneer and seven-time Grammy Award-winner behind timeless hits such as “Love Shoulda Brought You Home,” “Another Sad Love Song,” “Breathe Again,” “Seven Whole Days,” “Un-Break My Heart” and “He Wasn’t Man Enough.” If that wasn’t enough, the multi-talented singer/songwriter has also expanded her skillset along the way: music producer, Broadway musical star, television actress/producer and best-selling author.

Braxton’s own mesmerizing voice remains constant with each project—the same sultry and smoky vocals that immediately turned heads in 1992. That’s when listeners first became aware of the newcomer who appeared on the soundtrack to the Eddie Murphy box office smash Boomerang. Helmed by songwriter/producers and LaFace Records founders Babyface and Antonio “L.A.” Reid, the soundtrack featured Braxton on two songs: “Give You My Heart,” a duet with Babyface, and “Love Shoulda Brought You Home.”


That set the stage for Braxton’s 1993 breakthrough with her self-titled debut LaFace album that’s now 8x platinum. The project also garnered the singer the first three of her seven Grammy Awards, including best new artist. Braxton, who began singing professionally in the ‘80s with her three sisters as The Braxtons, has since banked an enviable number of career-defining moments. Between 1996 and 2010, she released six more solo albums (Secrets, The Heat, Snowflakes, More Than a Woman, Libra and Pulse) and charted a string of hits (including “You Mean the World to Me,” “You’re Makin’ Me High” and “I Love Me Some Him”/ “I Don’t Want To”) before teaming with Babyface 2014 for the critically acclaimed duets album that won her a seventh Grammy for Best R&B Album.


Along the way, Braxton reinvented her game as she effortlessly segued into a theatrical acting career in 1998 as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. That barrier-breaking portrayal—the first black woman to play a leading role in a Disney Broadway production—led to a stint in a second Disney Broadway musical, Aida, and later a special guest star engagement with another Broadway musical, After Midnight.


Since then, Braxton has starred in three TV films for Lifetime including Twist of Faith, Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart (adapted from her same-titled best-selling memoir) and, most recently, Faith Under Fire: the Antoinette Tuff Story. In between, she and her three sisters have become popular reality stars via WE tv’s flagship series Braxton Family Values. Diagnosed with lupus several years ago, Braxton hasn’t allowed that to slow her career momentum nor her role as the proud mom of sons Denim and Diezel. She devotes time as spokesperson for Lupus L.A. and Autism Speaks, the latter on behalf of Diezel who is living with autism.


Reflecting on her silver anniversary of her career, Braxton says she’s still in love with music and the possibilities it affords. “There have been moments when I felt defeated; felt I let myself down,” she says. “Even if I fail, music gives me enough strength to try something different. I’ve come full circle—yet there are still so many things to do.”

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Lindsay Sustarsic Cafritz

Lindsay Sustarsic Cafritz is 28 years old and was born and raised in Los Angeles. She attended George Washington University in Washington DC and graduated with a BBA in marketing and business administration. After graduation she moved to New York City to pursue a career in the fashion/beauty industry, specifically in retail marketing, social media and creative content. She successfully launched that career working for Valentino and Burberry until her already volatile health began to rapidly deteriorate. She was formally diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in late 2014.

Shortly after the diagnosis, Lindsay moved back to Los Angeles. For the 4 years since moving back west she has worked as a freelance writer while spending the bulk of her time focused on improving her health.

Thankfully, since starting Benlysta infusions, her health has greatly improved. Lindsay started to get more immersed in the lupus community in late 2018 and organized a fundraiser for the LFA for Lupus Awareness Month with her then fiancé’s company, which is based in DC. She also set up a charity fund in lieu of a wedding registry to support the national clinical trials for mesenchymal stem cell research. She was married in June of this year and has since focused on stepping up her involvement in the LA Lupus community and becoming more active in Lupus LA.

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Debbi Cowan

Born and raised here in Los Angeles, Roger and Debbi Cowan both graduated from Stanford University and returned to Los Angeles to join family businesses. While at Stanford, Roger played football during the glory days of their 1970 and 1971 Rose Bowl teams where they notched back-to-back victories. Roger and Debbi married in 1979 and had their son, Jeff, and daughter, Amanda while starting their own real estate company, Rockdyne Enterprises. They now own and manage multiple apartment buildings on the westside of Los Angeles where they specialize in delivering superior apartments with unparalleled service.

Roger and Debbi joined Lupus LA soon after their daughter Amanda was diagnosed with lupus in 2006 and have been active members of the board. In addition to working closely on Lupus LA events, they enjoy traveling as much as possible, working out and staying in shape, golfing with friends, and attending cultural events in the city. Along with the joy they take in their daughter Amanda, they spend as much time as possible with their son Jeff, his wife Shannon, and their new granddaughter Clover Belle.

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Roger Cowan

Born and raised here in Los Angeles, Roger and Debbi Cowan both graduated from Stanford University and returned to Los Angeles to join family businesses. While at Stanford, Roger played football during the glory days of their 1970 and 1971 Rose Bowl teams where they notched back-to-back victories. Roger and Debbi married in 1979 and had their son, Jeff, and daughter, Amanda while starting their own real estate company, Rockdyne Enterprises. They now own and manage multiple apartment buildings on the westside of Los Angeles where they specialize in delivering superior apartments with unparalleled service.

Roger and Debbi joined Lupus LA soon after their daughter Amanda was diagnosed with lupus in 2006 and have been active members of the board. In addition to working closely on Lupus LA events, they enjoy traveling as much as possible, working out and staying in shape, golfing with friends, and attending cultural events in the city. Along with the joy they take in their daughter Amanda, they spend as much time as possible with their son Jeff, his wife Shannon, and their new granddaughter Clover Belle.

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lauren shuler donner

LAUREN SHULER DONNER is a Film, TV and Theater Producer with such credits as “Mr. Mom,” “Ladyhawke,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Dave,” ''Free Willy 1-3,” “You’ve Got Mail,” "Hotel For Dogs," “The Secret Life of Bees,” and all 10 “X-Men” movies.

She was Executive Producer on two tv series – “Legion” for FX and “The Gifted” for Fox tv; Additionally, she is developing Broadway musicals based on her films “Dave,” and “Secret Life of Bees,” a “Goonies”.


Shuler Donner is a dedicated philanthropist who thrives on giving back to the community. She has been on the advisory board of Women in Film, was a long-time member of the advisory board of TreePeople, and is an ex-Board member of Planned Parenthood. She is currently serving on the advisory board of Lupus LA, has served as the Treasurer for the Producers Guild of America, and has been on the executive committee of the Producer’s Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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dorothy ellis

Dorothy Ellis received her undergraduate degree from the University of Central Arkansas and her Masters in Public Relations and Broadcast Communications from San Francisco State University. She has since started a scholarship fund for underserved students to attend the University of Central Arkansas.

In 1989, she established an acute hemodialysis service and presently holds the position of Chief Executive Officer of DEllis Consultants and Dialysis Nurses and Assoc. LLC.

Dorothy was diagnosed with lupus in 1990 by Daniel J. Wallace, MD, and has been with Lupus LA since its beginnings in 2000. In 2004, she received Lupus LA’s “Spirit of Hope Award” for her dedication to finding a cure for lupus and helping others cope with the disease.

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alan kaye

For more than 45 years, Alan has consulted with families, business owners and individuals regarding their life insurance and estate planning needs, including life insurance settlements.

Degreed as a Chartered Financial Consultant and Chartered Life Underwriter, Alan is President of Alan Kaye Insurance Agency, Inc. He has served as President of the West Los Angeles Association of Life Underwriters, Commissioner to the California State Senate’s Insurance Advisory Commission, and as a Director of the Guarantee Bank of California. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Estate Planning Council. He has served as a Fine Art and Charitable Solicitations Commissioner for the City of Beverly Hills.

Alan is happily married to his loving wife Michelle and is thrilled that his 2 daughters live nearby!

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michelle kaye

Michelle Kaye graduated from UC Irvine, after which she moved to NYC to pursue a dance career. She found success performing in numerous shows on and off Broadway and national tours including Chicago and Pippin. When she decided to hang up her dancing shoes, she developed a business designing custom invitations and party accessories for many years.

Michelle Kaye has been an active participant in the Beverly Hills community and involved in a variety of philanthropic endeavors for many years. She served 5 years on the Beverly Hills Architectural Commission. Along with serving on the board of Lupus LA, and Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors, her past involvement includes over a decade on the Board of the Beverly Hills Education Foundation, Cedars Sinai United Hostesses and as President of a City of Hope chapter. She’s chaired and planned numerous charitable events and galas for Beverly Hills Education Foundation, Windward School, Temple Emanuel, United Hostesses and Lupus LA.

Michelle is blissfully married to Alan Kaye, who is also on the Lupus LA Board. Together they are most proud of their two magnificent daughters, Gillian & Danielle ~ of which they have endless love and admiration.

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adam selkowitz

Adam Selkowitz is the founder and owner of Waterfall Films. He initially pursued an acting career, receiving a degree in Drama from Ithaca College. Adam then spent 6 years in New York, working mostly with an improv/sketch comedy group that he created called Spilt Milk. Spilt Milk performed across the country at comedy clubs, colleges and corporate events and was the official sketch comedy group at Caroline’s Comedy Club on Broadway for several years. Following his run with Spilt Milk, Adam moved to Los Angeles and switched from acting to production in creating Waterfall Films. The company’s original project, Greener Mountains, is an award-winning independent film available on Amazon Prime and other streaming services. Currently, the company has multiple projects in active development and has focused more recently on obtaining intellectual property rights around those projects.

In 1987 Adam was diagnosed with lupus and in 1999 he co-founded Lupus LA with Dr. Daniel Wallace and a small group of committed board members. Adam has led Lupus LA as Chairman of the Board for most of the last 20 years and has been at the forefront of the organization’s accomplishments, including raising over $10 million for lupus research, bringing a robust patient services program to Southern California and raising more global awareness for lupus than ever before. In addition, Adam is a member of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors and sits on their Leadership Council. He is also an Ambassador for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Adam is most thankful to his wife Laurie, a corporate attorney in Los Angeles, and most proud of their two children, 3-year-old daughter Lucy and 1-month-old son Parker, the real stars of the family.

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Stacey Uberstine

Stacey Uberstine graduated from California State University of Northridge in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science in Health Administration, with a computer science minor. One of her most notable jobs was helping to establish the Industrial Care Center which is operational at San Pedro Hospital. In 1993, Stacey transitioned into the insurance industry where she owned and operated her own State Farm Agency for more than 10 years.

Stacey was diagnosed with lupus in 1994. She stays abreast of the disease and all related medical breakthroughs and advances in research. Stacey has been an active donor to Lupus LA and has served on the committee for the Orange Ball. Stacey is married to Gary Uberstine, a prominent sports attorney, and has twin boys, Grant and Tyler, who are sophomores in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.

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Nancy Utley

Nancy Utley was appointed Chairman of Fox Searchlight Pictures in 2018. She jointly manages all aspects of the company including production, acquisitions, marketing and distribution alongside fellow Chairman Stephen Gilula. Ms. Utley has overseen many of Fox Searchlight’s most successful films to date, with a total of 116 Golden Globe® and 153 Oscar® nominations, including Best Picture winners “The Shape of Water,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Birdman” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”


Recent releases include “Ready or Not” and “Jojo Rabbit,” with upcoming releases including “A Hidden Life,” “Antlers,” “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” “Downhill” and “Wendy.” Past successful films include “The Favourite,” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” “The Old Man & The Gun,” “Isle of Dogs,” “Super Troopers 2,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “The Shape of Water,” “Gifted,” “Jackie,” “Brooklyn,” “Birdman,” “Wild,” “12 Years A Slave,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “The Descendants,” “The Tree of Life,” “Black Swan,” “127 Hours,” “Crazy Heart,” “500 Days of Summer,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The Wrestler,” “Juno,” “Once,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Last King of Scotland,” “Sideways” and “Napoleon Dynamite.”


Prior to joining Fox Searchlight in 1999, Ms. Utley served in a variety of capacities for Twentieth Century Fox Film where she developed campaigns for films such as INDEPENDENCE DAY, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, MRS. DOUBTFIRE and THE STAR WARS TRILOGY. In her role as Executive Vice President of Marketing, she oversaw all aspects of media, research, publicity and promotion for Twentieth Century Fox’s theatrical releases. She also held posts as Vice President of Media, Senior Vice President of Media and Research, and Executive Vice President of Marketing, Media and Research.

Ms. Utley holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and has been inducted into the Medill School of Journalism Hall of Achievement.

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daniel j. wallace, md

Daniel J Wallace MD, FACP, MACR is a board-certified internist and rheumatologist. A Clinical Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, he is the Associate Director of the Rheumatology Fellowship Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he also serves on the Board of Governors.

Dr. Wallace has authored nearly 450 peer reviewed manuscripts, 30 book chapters, eight textbooks (on lupus, osteoarthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome and fibromyalgia) and his practice includes caring for 2,000 lupus patients, the largest lupus cohort in the United States. With the four employees of the Wallace Rheumatic Studies Center, we have conducted numerous clinical trials, and have 3 current National institution of Health and a Department of Defense grants. Dr Wallace is co-chair of the Lupus Industry Council of the Lupus Research Alliance, past chair of the Lupus Foundation of America, and has served on the Board of Directors of the United Scleroderma Foundation and the Medical Advisory Board of the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation. He has been Chief of Rheumatology at the City of Hope and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and chairman of the Research and Education Foundation of the American College of Rheumatology.

Dr. Wallace is the recipient of the Lupus Foundation of America Humanitarian Award, Achievement Award of the Lupus Research Institute, Spirit Award of the Scleroderma Foundation, the Jane Wyman Humanitarian Award from the Arthritis Foundation, and the Healthcare Professional Leadership Award from the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation.

While a fellow at UCLA, Dr. Wallace conducted pioneering arthritis research and developed a close relationship with his mentor, Edmund Dubois. Dr. Dubois had the largest lupus practice in the United States at the time and was the principal editor of the only lupus textbook. He assumed Dr. Dubois’ practice upon his passing in 1985. Dr. Wallace is the author of eight medical textbooks (including the last six editions of Dubois’ Lupus Erythematosus, All About Fibromyalgia, The Lupus Book, All About Osteoarthritis, The New Sjogren’s Syndrome Handbook, and Fibromyalgia & Other Central Pain Syndromes). In addition, his work can be found in the New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, the Lancet, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Immunology and Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Wallace has been recognized as among the 200 best doctors in the nation by Town and Country Magazine, and among the best doctors in Los Angeles by Los Angeles Magazine, Best Doctors in America editions since 1994. Dr. Wallace spends 20% of his time teaching and in clinics where he provides free medical care. His efforts have raised over $20 million for various rheumatic disease organizations.

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janice wallace

Janice Brock Wallace received both her B.A. and M.A. in Public Administration and Public Health from the University of Southern California. Janice was one of the founders of Lupus LA and helped establish the Hollywood Bags Lady Luncheon and engineered the original relationship with Lupus LA and Children's Hospital. She has been involved in various support groups for Cedars Sinai Medical Center; was a past president of the former Amie Karen Cancer Fund, member of Women's Guild and is currently on the Board of Governors. Other work in the health field includes support for the Lupus Research Alliance, Arthritis Foundation, the United Scleroderma Foundation and the National Fibromyalgia Association. She co-authored Making Sense of Fibromyalgia with her husband, Dr. Daniel Wallace. Janice was the original book editor for The Lupus Book, All About Osteo-Arthritis and It's Not Just Growing Pains (Pediatric Rheumatology) all with Oxford University Press.


Currently, Janice is on the board of Center Theatre Affiliates (also a past president), MOCA Projects Council and Fellows for Contemporary Art Los Angeles. Janice has been married to Dr. Daniel Wallace for almost 48 years and has three married children and three delightful grandsons, Sam, Liam and Gabe.

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denise winner

Denise Winner, CFA is president and CEO of Winner Squared. With over 15 years of experience developing technologies for the capital markets and entrepreneurial ventures, Ms. Winner founded Winner Squared in 2000 to provide cutting edge financial engineering, AI, and analytical solutions for banks, insurance companies, institutional traders, money managers, and entrepreneurs. Denise was formerly the director of Fixed-Income Analytics for Transamerica Investment Services, where she designed, implemented and managed the development of a real-time fixed income analytics platform, CBO trading systems, and transfer pricing models. Her prior experience includes: Quintelligent Corporation, where she was a founding partner and responsible for research and implementation of a fund of funds; and, Leland O’Brien Rubinstein/Geske Bock, where she was financial product manager.

Denise is a Chartered Financial Analyst. She holds a B.S. in Economics from Wharton, University of Pennsylvania and completed her Masters’ Thesis in Computer Science with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence from Brown University.


Denise serves as Treasurer for Lupus LA and Energize the chairs Penn Serves, Southern California Advisory Board for Penn, Penn’s Tennis Board, and Penn’s Momentum 2020. Denise She also launcher her own nonprofit Conquer our Run to heighten awareness and raise money for lupus and breast cancer.