Board of Directors

Jennifer Byrne

Founder, Greater Gift Initiative (GGI)

Jennifer Byrne is the Founder and Board Member of GGI. To date, GGI has been responsible for the donation of over 80,000 vaccines to children in need in developing countries in honor of clinical trial participants. Each vaccine celebrates and expresses gratitude for the medical heroism of a trial volunteer or life science professional supporting health advancement locally to affect a global impact... one child at a time. 

Formerly, Jennifer was the Chief Executive Officer of PMG Research, Inc. (PMG) expanding it from its inception as a single center site to a vast network of integrated research site partnerships throughout the United States.  During her 28 year tenure, Jennifer and her team transformed PMG into an industry market leader and health care institution partner of choice, conducting over 7,700 clinical trials with the inclusion of 150,000 trial participants across the development of hundreds of compounds and medical devices. Under her leadership, PMG became a thriving venture, successfully transitioning to a private equity partner with Frontier Capital, and subsequently to ICON plc.   

Jennifer is highly committed to building better bridges between patients, health care providers, and the life science community. Her guiding mission is to mainstream the transformation of clinical research as a care option for all patients; improving the delivery model of research  and creating space to match the right trial, to the right patient, at the right time. Jennifer was recognized as a CenterWatch Top 25 Innovator and currently serves as an Advisory Board member to CISCRP, the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine, and NC Biotech Piedmont Triad. Additionally, she is a Board Member of the Hospice Foundation and Summit School.

Amanda Wright

Executive Director

Amanda began her career in clinical research in 1998, working as a Clinical Research Coordinator within the PMG Research organization and since that time has served in various roles across the site enterprise including leadership roles in operations, patient engagement, business development and marketing. Early in her career Amanda established the first formal patient recruitment team within the PMG Research network, and currently leads a team responsible for the centralized strategies and support of integrated feasibility, patient engagement and communications for the network.

In addition to a passion for patient engagement, Amanda has dedicated a great deal of her time to forging mutually valuable strategic partnerships. These partnerships are novel within the industry, and include executive-level decision makers across stakeholders. Building consensus while creatively collaborating with a diverse range of contributors is essential to adapting to the changing landscape, while never losing sight of the importance of keeping patients at the forefront of innovation and collaboration.

Amanda has been involved with Greater Gift since its inception in 2010, and is an advocate for building awareness and participation with Greater Gift throughout industry constituents. In 2013, Amanda assumed the role of Executive Director for Greater Gift, and since that time, she has led program development and expansion to include more than 30 industry partners. Her vision is to continue partnership growth through expansion and diversification of the existing program platform.  

In addition to Greater Gift, Amanda serves on numerous boards and committees throughout the industry, many of which are centered around the engagement of patients and enhancement of the clinical trial process to address current industry trends.

Joan A. Chambers

Chief Operating Officer, CenterWatch

As the Chief Operating Officer for CenterWatch, Joan is responsible for the business operations, financial performance, marketing, and sales of the company along with setting strategic direction. A well-known speaker at industry conferences and symposiums, Joan has presented on a wide variety of topics specific to the clinical trials enterprise. In the course of her career, she has also 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 and The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP), 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.

Mark Lacy

Founder and CEO of Benchmark Research

Mark Lacy is founder and CEO of Benchmark Research – a growing and dynamic firm with a network of quality investigative research sites throughout the United States. His 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 2005 being honored as a recipient of the Meritorious Service Award.  Mark also serves on the Board of Advisors for The Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP), and as a member of the Executive Committee for the PharmaTimes U.S. Clinical Researcher of the Year competition.  In 2010, Mr. Lacy was selected by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top five “Established Entrepreneurs” for his success in growing Benchmark Research, and was recognized in 2011 by PharmaVoice as one of the 100 most Inspiring People.  This entrepreneurial approach has extended into his formation of VaxNet, a nationally prominent research network focusing on vaccines, of which he is the CEO.  Prior to founding Benchmark Research, Mark earned a B.A. degree from The University of Texas at Austin; and held several prominent positions in state and national politics, including service under a Presidential Administration.

Karen Nowatkoski

Senior Director, Site Alliances, PAREXEL

Karen has been involved in clinical research for over 25 years.  In her current role, Karen is responsible for developing strategies to improve patient enrollment in order to meet customer expectations through the Alliance Site Program at PAREXEL.  Karen has vast experience managing global clinical trials, including executive level responsibility for the successful and collaborative leadership of clinical operations management, site management, clinical monitoring teams, process/system development, global project management and project delivery, business development and pricing support.  During this time, she has worked in the pharmaceutical, CRO, and private practice environment always striving to deliver medicine in a more streamlined, cost effective manner.