Board of Directors


Joan A. Chambers

Chief Operating Officer, CenterWatch

As the Chief Operating Officer for CenterWatch, Joan is responsible for planning, implementing and managing the strategic direction across all divisions-- operations, finance, marketing, business development, IT, editorial and design. Joan is recognized for building profitable divisions, establishing and growing business lines, streamlining operations and hiring top talent to support the business.  

A well-known speaker at industry conferences and symposiums, Joan has presented on a variety of topics specific to the clinical trials enterprise. In the course of her career, she has also been published in clinical trade journals. For five years, she was an instructor for Barnett International's CRA/CRC programs on the site identification/qualification process. Joan is on the Advisory Board for BioBridges, Board of Directors for Greater Gift Initiative (GGI), The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP), the Executive Steering Committee for the PharmaTimes Clinical Researcher of the Year—The Americas—Awards Program, and is an active member of the Association of Clinical. Research Professionals (ACRP) and the Drug Information Association (DIA).  


Prior to joining CenterWatch in April 2010, Joan spent two and a half years with Cambridge Healthtech Institute as Senior Director of Marketing & Operations-Publications; two and half years with the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development at Tufts University as Director of Strategic Marketing & Development; seven and a half years with Thomson CenterWatch as Senior Director of Marketing & Sales; and four years working for PAREXEL International as Site Selection Specialist. Joan holds a B.S. in Marketing from Central Connecticut State University.

Mark Lacy

Founder and CEO of Benchmark Research

Mark Lacy is founder and CEO of one of the most prominent and respected Integrated Site Networks in the world - Benchmark Research. Mr. Lacy’s dedication to the advancement of clinical research is represented in his continued service on the Board of Advisors for The Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP), having served seven consecutive years. Mr. Lacy is a founding member of the Executive Committee for the PharmaTimes U.S. Clinical Researcher of the Year competition, having served the last two years as Chairman and Master of Ceremonies. In 2014 he was recognized by Vaccine Nation as one of the ‘50 Most Influential People in the Vaccines Industry’, and in 2011 by PharmaVoice as one of the ‘100 Most Inspiring People in the Life Sciences Industry’. In 2010, Mr. Lacy was selected by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top four ‘Established Entrepreneurs’ for his success in growing Benchmark Research. Mr. Lacy’s active participation with the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) has encompassed serving as Chair of the Site Manager’s Forum, Chair of the Finance Committee, being elected to the Board of Trustees; and in 2015 being honored for Innovation in Clinical Research (merging Urgent Care with Clinical Research).

Karen Nowatkoski

VP, Clincal Operations, Site Management

Karen oversees and provides global management for Worldwide Clinical Trials’ team of Clinical Operations Directors and Managers, as well their CRAs (Clinical Research Associates). She spends a significant amount of her time collaborating directly and visiting with members of the Clinical Operations team across the globe.


Karen has been involved in clinical research for over 25 years. She has vast experience managing global clinical trials, including executive level responsibility for clinical operations management, site management, and clinical monitoring teams.  Karen is a collaborative leader and she’s someone who can partner with and bring people together. She also possesses an action-oriented mindset. In her previous role, with PAREXCEL, Karen was responsible for developing strategies to improve patient enrollment in order to meet customer expectations through the Alliance Site Program.


During this time, she worked in the pharmaceutical, CRO, and private practice environment working to deliver medicine in a more streamlined, cost effective manner. She has worked for Cognizant Technology and for Quintiles, another industry leader, where she spent fifteen years in several key roles.