The board of trustees play a key role in providing overall strategic direction and monitoring MSIF’s progress. They also approve the annual budget, monitor and approve financial statements and ensure effective planning and resource management.
All board members are recruited for their skills and experience in order to help us run effectively. Particular attention is paid to experience of MS (people with/affected by MS, volunteers), size of member organisation, geographic representation, and to a Board that reflects a range of backgrounds and perspectives.
MSIF’s Board currently comprises 22 members including the Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Board Secretary. Many board members either have MS or have someone close to them who does.
The Board generally meets twice a year in person or online. There are also meetings of committees (Finance and Audit, Fundraising, People with MS Advisory) in charge of advising the Board and/or the Chief Executive.
To find out more about what the Board does, you can download our governance compilation.
Our board members
CHAIR – Mai Sharawy (Egypt)
Mai is a Professor of Neuro-Ophthalmology at Cairo University. She has founded MS Care, the first patients’ society for any disease in Egypt. She served as board secretary for six years. Mai was elected Chair of MSIF in 2019. She also serves on MSIF’s Nominating Committee.
VICE CHAIR – Guillaume Courault (France)
Guillaume is the administrative and financial manager of an industrial and textile group that focuses on private asset management. He has served as Treasurer of Ligue Française contre la Sclérose En Plaques (French MS Society) since 2007. He is a member of MSIF Finance and Audit Committee.
TREASURER – Vicky Annis (UK)
Vicky is the Executive Director of Finance, Strategy and Impact at the UK MS Society. She chairs MSIF Finance and Audit Committee.
BOARD SECRETARY – Martin Stevens OBE (UK)
Martin has been living with MS since 1993 and has been active in the UK MS Society since 1996. He is Chair for Disability Rights UK and chaired MSIF’s People with MS Advisory Committee from 2012 – 2019. Martin is also a member of the Nominating, Fundraising, and Finance and Audit committees.
Johana Bauer (Argentina)
Johana joined Esclerosis Múltiple Argentina in 2015 as has been Executive Director of the organisation since 2017. She is a trained psychologist and technician in animal-assisted interventions for people with disabilities. Johana serves on MSIF’s Fundraising Committee.
Desmond Graham (Australia)
Desmond was appointed to the MS Australia Board in 2014, and elected President in 2019. He has also been a board member of MS Plus since June 2016. Desmond also serves on MSIF’s People with MS Advisory Committee.
Martinus Desmet (Belgium)
Martinus is on the board of the Flemish MS Society and the Belgian MS Society. He has more than 35 years of experience in national and international health and development, ranging from work as a medical doctor and researcher in Belgium, Zaïre/Democratic Republic of Congo and Bangladesh, to being a health policy, planning and financing advisor at the Uganda WHO Country Office and the Uganda Ministry of Health.
Brenda Banwell (Canada)
Brenda serves as the Chief of Child Neurology and Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She also chairs MSIF’s International Medical and Scientific Board and the International Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Study Group.
Pamela Valentine (Canada)
Pamela is a trained research scientist and has served as the MS Society of Canada’s President and Chief Executive Officer since 2018. She is a founding executive member of the Patient Reported Outcomes Initiative for MS.
Klaus Høm (Denmark)
Klaus has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Scleroseforeningen (The Danish MS Society) since 2015, following a career in national and international human rights and humanitarian organisations. Klaus also serves on MSIF’s Fundraising Committee.
Herbert Temmes (Germany)
Herbert was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Multiple Sklerose Gesellschaft Bundesverband e.V (DMSG) in 2019. He brings nearly 20 years of experience in the NGO sector, having been the Chief Executive Officer of the DMSG chapter in Saarland (Southwest of Germany). He is also the President of the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP). He chairs MSIF’s Fundraising Committee.
Dimitra Kalogianni (Greece)
Dimitra, who has MS, is a member of the Board of the Greek MS Society. She serves on the Board of the European MS Platform (EMSP). Dimitra is a member of MSIF’s Nominating Committee. She also chairs the MSIF’s People with MS Advisory Committee.
Viresh Oberoi (India)
Viresh has an extensive background in corporate sales and e-commerce. Today he is actively involved in running/mentoring 4 companies. Viresh was President of MSSI from 2015 to 2021. He serves on MSIF’s Fundraising Committee.
Ava Battles (Ireland)
Ava is a health psychologist and has been the Chief Executive of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland since 2011. She is also involved with the Neurological Alliance of Ireland, the Disability Federation of Ireland and the Irish Platform for Patients’ Science and Industry. She serves on MSIF’s Nominating Committee. Ava also chairs MSIF’s CEO Advisory Group.
Mario Battaglia (Italy)
Mario is President of Associazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla (AISM) and is a founding executive member of the Patient Reported Outcomes Initiative for MS. He is Professor of Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Siena. Mario also serves on MSIF’s Nominating Committee.
Liesbeth Kooij (Netherlands)
Liesbeth was a physiotherapist at Nieuw Unicum, a multidisciplinary care institution in the Netherlands. She is now the co-founder and manager of Nieuw Unicum’s MS-Expertise centre.
Ana Torredemer (Spain)
Ana serves on the board of Esclerosis Múltiple España (EME). She also serves on the board of Fundació Cemcat, focused on research and knowledge of MS. Ana serves on the MSIF’s People with MS Advisory Committee.
Nick Moberly (UK)
Nick joined the UK MS Society as Chief Executive at the beginning of 2019. Most recently, he was CEO at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London.
Andrea Prato (Uruguay)
Andrea was diagnosed with MS in 2011, aged 22. She offers voluntary support as an honorary psychologist Uruguayan University Hospital Multiple Sclerosis Polyclinic and she is part of Esclerosis Múltiple Uruguay’s management team. Andrea also serves on the MSIF’s People with MS Advisory Committee.
Cyndi Zagieboylo (USA)
Cyndi started her career with the US National MS Society in 1985 has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since 2011. She chairs the executive committee of the International Progressive MS Alliance.
Peter Galligan (USA)
Peter is the Chair of the National MS Society. In his professional career, he is an independent banking consultant. Peter also serves on MSIF’s Nominating, and Finance and Audit Committees.
Kim Phillips (USA)
Kim has lived with MS for over thirty years and been an enthusiastic MS advocate throughout this period. Her MS-related leadership roles have included serving on the National Board of the National MS Society (NMSS) in the USA, Chair of the Southern California Chapter, and Chair of the Society’s 2019-2021 Strategic Plan Committee. Kim also serves on the MSIF’s People with MS Advisory Committee.