Jean Pickford, Chief Executive Officer
Jean has been leading FIRST as Chief Executive Officer since 1999.  Her passion for patient support, advocacy, non-profit management and fundraising has fueled her long career in the non-profit sector. Prior to her leadership at FIRST, Jean was employed at the American Heart Association, earning multiple fundraising awards. Her non-profit career began at the National Tay-Sachs & Allied Diseases Association of Delaware Valley, where she served as assistant Executive Director. Jean is a member of PeDRA, the Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance, the Genetic Alliance, and NORD, the National Organization of Rare Diseases. Jean currently serves as Treasurer for Coalition of Skin Diseases, headquartered in Washington, DC, and is a former Advisory Council member of the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (NIAMS), a branch of the National Institute of Health (NIH). Jean is the married mother of three children and enjoys running, cooking, and watching her children play sports.

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Moureen Wenik, Senior Director, Programs & Research

Moureen joined the FIRST staff in 2007.  Her 25 years of nonprofit experience with the YMCA, in multiple program areas, contributes to successful development and delivery of programs for the diverse group of members at FIRST.  She is passionate about helping the members of the ichthyosis community through the regional support network, FIRST to Know calls, Patient Support Forums, and contact through email and telephone.  Moureen is available to answer your questions, connect you with another family and help you navigate living with ichthyosis.  Moureen spends her off time with her family, and volunteering in her community.


Maureen Neville, Senior Director, Communications & Marketing
Maureen joined FIRST in April of 2013, as our very first communications director.  Prior to joining our team, Maureen’s fifteen-year career spanned the roles of creative writer, marketing strategist, and account manager, in both corporate and ad agency settings.  Her positions as senior copywriter for both the healthcare and retail sectors afforded her opportunity to reach new audiences with fresh and engaging communications–ultimately, reviving the “voices” of several long-standing brands. Maureen is responsible for strategic marketing planning as well as developing all multi-media communications and public relations efforts for FIRST.  Maureen lives with her husband and three dogs. She is always willing to assist in the promotion of grassroots fundraising and encourages members to share their stories with FIRST, or to reach out and just say hello.

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Lisa Breuning, Director of Member Relations
Lisa joined the FIRST team in September 2007, after nearly ten years of homemaking for her husband and two children.  From 1988 to 1998, Lisa also worked as Office Manager and Women’s Division Coordinator at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia Bux-Mont Regional Office. She joined FIRST as an Administrative Assistant and transitioned to Communications Coordinator. She is now excited for her new role as Director of Member Relations. Her duties include managing and maintaining FIRST’s database of members and associates, as well maintaining all website content. During her free time, Lisa enjoys working in the garden, reading, Sudoku and attending her children’s school and sports activities

Christine Wassel, Director of Operations

Chris joined the FIRST staff in 2010.  Prior to FIRST, Chris worked in the Pharmaceutical and Insurance sectors, in the areas of Database Management and Marketing. After having 5 daughters of her own, Chris felt drawn to the non-profit world and luckily found FIRST.  Many members have worked one-on-one with Chris as she initially launched FIRST’s grassroots fundraising arm, and managed its growth for over four years. Chris is now excited to move into her new roles in Advocacy, Assistance Funds, Pharmaceutical Discounts and Advertising. She is also excited to see children in the FIRST community grow into young adults applying for UFIRST Scholarships and continuing to be strong advocates for themselves and their loved ones.

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Madeline Bergman, Director of Development
Madeline started as the Director of Development in the spring of 2015. While she was studying Communications and Public Relations at Drexel University, she volunteered in the development office of the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House. It was here she fostered a love of fundraising and connecting individuals and companies to the mission of non-profits. She has previously worked with the North Penn School District, Epilepsy Foundation Eastern PA and Best Buddies Delaware. Madeline is available to help you plan a fundraiser for FIRST in your hometown, create a partnership between your business and FIRST or just to chat about all the exciting initiatives here at FIRST! 

contact Madeline


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