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Wellville National Team

The Wellville National team members work with local teams to improve equitable wellbeing.

We also work together to forge national partnerships that improve capacity and advocate for policies, actions and investments that promote equitable wellbeing.

Finally, we provide tools and platforms for cross-community evaluation and learning.

Wellville National team: Tony, Esther, Kathleen, Christina, Jeff, Rick and Marya
Wellville National team: Tony, Esther, Kathleen, Christina, Jeff, Rick and Marya
Esther Dyson

Esther Dyson

Founder; Advisor to Muskegon, MI

Founder of Wellville and chairman of EDventure Holdings, Esther is an active angel investor, best-selling author, board member and advisor concentrating on emerging markets and technologies, new space and health. She sits on the boards of 23andMe and Voxiva (txt4baby), and is an investor in Crohnology, Eligible API, Keas, Omada Health, Sleepio, StartUp Health and Valkee, among others. From October 2008 to March of 2009, Esther lived in Star City outside Moscow, Russia, training as a backup cosmonaut.

Esther is the Wellville advisor for Muskegon County, Michigan.

Rick Brush Headshot

Rick Brush

Chief Executive Officer

As Wellville CEO, Rick leads the national project. He was previously a senior consultant at ReThink Health and a coach to successful regional health partnerships around the U.S. Prior to launching Wellville with Esther, Rick founded Collective Health, which developed the Health Impact Bond®, a pay-for-success (PFS) financing model that leverages future health care cost savings to generate upfront investment in prevention. Rick spent most of his career as a corporate strategist, including nearly a decade at Cigna, where he was Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer for the national employer segment. With a couple of Cigna colleagues (including Jeff Doemland), Rick launched the company’s Communities of Health venture, a multi-site initiative that convened public-private stakeholders to address the social determinants of health. Before that, Rick held strategy roles at Ford Credit, Bank One and KPMG. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and lives with his wife and two children in Simsbury, CT.

Kathleen Brady

Kathleen Brady

Learning and Evaluation Partner; Advisor to North Hartford, CT

Kathleen is CEO of Community Research Group, an independent organization dedicated to helping communities improve through the strategic use of data. She brings expertise in data mining and analysis, community-level research, program evaluation, synthesis of qualitative and quantitative data, and identification of best practices. She has extensive experience in higher education and community research, having built the Metropolitan Studies Institute at the University of South Carolina Upstate. She has produced over 100 community research and data analytics studies and believes strongly that data must be understood by its consumers to be useful. Currently, Kathleen serves on boards for United Way of the Piedmont, the Greenville (South Carolina) Chamber of Commerce, Spartanburg’s Way to Wellville, and the New Morning Foundation. She holds a doctor of philosophy.

Kathleen is the Wellville advisor for North Hartford, Connecticut.

Jeff Doemland Headshot

Jeff Doemland

Advisor to Spartanburg, SC

Jeff taps a passion for storytelling he refined with an MFA in fiction writing and ten years as a college English instructor. Now he mines the stories of the intrepid people in the Wellville communities eager to drive positive change. Jeff’s knack for telling these change stories was also important to the large health insurer, Cigna, when, in the mid-2000s, along with Wellville CEO Rick Brush, he spearheaded a social determinants of health initiative. Prior to Cigna he worked in combined account and creative roles at Connecticut-based marketing agencies, where he helped businesses as diverse as a minor league baseball team and a Fortune 10 manufacturing conglomerate grow by connecting meaningfully with customers and stakeholders.

Jeff is the Wellville advisor for Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Christina Koukkos Headshot

Christina Koukkos

Strategy & Communications; Advisor to Lake County, CA

Christina is a strategic consultant, writer, editor, and world traveler. She works the Wellville team on long-term strategy and communications. Before joining Wellville, she spent a decade as a business and digital marketing strategy consultant. Earlier, she led product development teams in the US and Europe for a variety of online-service companies, including Uproar and Meetup. In between all this, Christina spent 4 years as managing editor of Release 1.0, Esther Dyson’s business-technology newsletter. An avid scuba diver and off-the-beaten-path traveler, Christina co-founded the NYC chapter of Impact Travel Alliance, a nonprofit association of travel professionals dedicated to making the travel industry more economically, culturally and environmentally sustainable for local communities and residents.

Christina is the Wellville advisor for Lake County, California.

Marya Stark Headshot

Marya Stark

Advisor to Clatsop County, OR

Marya is a leadership development expert. She is a founder and was the founding executive director of Emerge America, a national training program for women in politics. Emerge has over a thousand alumnae serving in public office at the federal, state and local levels, including the first Native American to serve in the US Cabinet, Secretary Deb Haaland and the Mayors of San Francisco, Oakland and Boston. She holds a finance degree from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in applied statistics from Georgetown University.

Marya is the Wellville advisor for Clatsop County, Oregon.

Tony Tanner

Tony tanner

Operations Manager

A Miami native, this University of South Carolina Upstate alum received his bachelor’s in commercial music and a minor in psychology. He has called Spartanburg home for six years. Tony has an extensive background in community-based and nationally-led service organizations, including the West Spartanburg branch of the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. He has served as a legislative intern on the Hill. He received awards for outstanding achievement in education and in economic development from the national NAACP at its 2022 convention. Tony is the secretary of the Spartanburg County Democratic Party and the chairman of the Young Democrats of Spartanburg County. As chair, he serves as the primary liaison with outside groups and organizations. Tony applies his passion and experience in the nonprofit sector as Wellville’s operations manager. He is excited about the lessons and opportunities to come with Wellville. He enjoys hiking, playing jazz music as a trumpeter, having brunch with his mom, and driving to central Georgia to visit his four nieces.