Pam Andrews
Co-Founder / Executive Director
Public Health Official, Consultant, Philanthropist

Pam has more than 25 years of experience developing and implementing creative strategies to solve complex problems and achieve goals for clients in the public and private sector. Throughout her career, she’s focused on business development, strategic initiatives, public policy development and implementation and coalition building with the aim of creating targeted and strategic solutions designed to inform, guide, and assist clients achieve their objectives. Her experience spans across industries with primary focus on healthcare.

After a short stint in Washington DC working in the White House and the Texas Office for State-Federal Relations, she returned home to Austin and spent nearly a decade focused on developing and implementing health care policy and programs for the State of Texas. Pam served as the Committee Clerk for the Texas Senate Committee of Health and Human Services and later as the Chief Clerk for the Texas House Committee on Public Health. In these roles, Pam convened and managed many different multi-disciplinary healthcare stakeholder groups, always with the goal building consensus and support for Texas’ large and complex healthcare policy programs. During this time, Pam authored and contributed to at least a dozen published reports that examined ways to improve public health infrastructure for the state of Texas. And notably, Pam was responsible for managing a multi-year statewide analysis of ways to improve access to healthcare for children, which culminated in the creation of Texas’ Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Pam joined the private sector in 2004 as a Director for an international consulting firm where she focused on developing and implementing creative and strategic solutions for a broad range of public and private sector clients. Ms. Andrews brought a laser-focus on the Texas market, strategically developing and expanding new market initiatives, which resulted in an increase of new business and brand awareness.

On March 10th 2016, Ms. Andrews became a Niemann Pick Type C parent and advocate when both of her daughters were diagnosed with this ultra-rare disease. Inspired by their daughters Belle and Abby Andrews, Pam and her husband Chris Andrews founded the Firefly Fund (501C3) in 2017 with a mission to fund and support the research and education necessary to accelerate a cure for rare neurodegenerative genetic diseases that affect children and currently have no cure.

Pam serves as Executive Director of Firefly Fund where she focuses on initiatives designed to integrate NPC into the US public health system, including adding the disease to newborn screening lists nationwide, ensuring that any baby born with NPC never has to endure the long diagnostic odyssey experienced by her older daughter Belle.

Today Pam continues her service as a Texas public health official, serving at the request of the State’s Health Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, as a member of the Newborn Screening Advisory Committee. Additionally, Pam is an independent consultant for various healthcare clients.

Chris Andrews
Co-Founder / Board of Directors

Chris Andrews is an attorney at Amherst Holdings and philanthropist by day and an avid medical researcher and citizen scientist by night. Chris is a graduate of Texas A&M School of Law. He applied for and received the opportunity to take his third year at the University of Texas School of Law. Prior to Law School, Chris worked primarily in the financial/investment industry. He has extensive experience as a broker, market analyst, and trader. Most importantly, Chris is the proud father of Belle and Abby Andrews.

Jen Berbas
Board of Directors

Jen Berbas is a long time Austinite with extensive experience in both finance and real estate. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and worked in finance for the first 16 years of her career, where she built a reputation as a successful portfolio manager. Her expertise in navigating complex financial markets and making strategic investments was instrumental in her success in this field.

In 2012, Jen transitioned into the real estate industry, where she now serves as a broker and team lead for the Berbas Group. She has also successfully expanded her expertise into real estate investing, demonstrating her versatility and drive for success. Her recent board experience included, serving as the Chair of the Board for Family Eldercare.

With her experience as a portfolio manager and her success in real estate, she has the ability to bring a fresh perspective and innovative ideas to the table. Her commitment to professional development and her passion for making a positive impact in her community and her admiration of Belle and Abby brought her to Firefly.

Beryl “Berry” Crowley
Board of Directors / Chair, Development Board

Berry Crowley has been a public leader in the law profession since 1974, with experience as a Partner, Shareholder, Chairman, President, Trustee, Director, Executive Director, and Mentor. She broke ground as the first female President of the Texas Young Lawyers Association, and was known as the only female President for another 14 years. As the Executive Director for the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, Berry became a standout Speaker and Author of several publications, including A Guide to the Basics of Law Practice (Editions 2-10) and The Ethics Course (Editions 1-6). She has served on dozens of Boards and Lawyers Associations, while maintaining her own legal practice, Beryl P. Crowley, Attorney & Counselor at Law. She is an outspoken cancer survivor three times over and a mentor to cancer patients. Her newest passion is helping find a cure for NPC, which afflicts her two granddaughters Belle & Abby Andrews. Berry serves as Chair of the Development Committee for Firefly Fund.

Susan Dudley
Board Member

Born in Tucson , Arizona at 12 moved to Fairfield, Conn.  Attended Eastern schools and college and studied in Paris.  Came to Austin in 1974 to be the Dean of Girls at St. Stephen’s School.  Having had a variety of interesting jobs my favorite being a Realtor for over 30 years with Amelia

Bullock Realtor’s, now, Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty.

Very involved in the Austin community including Austin Edna Gladney Auxilary; Austin National Science Center; Junior League of Austin; Fleur de League Garden Club, Austin Antique Club and KLRU – Producer’s Circle, Board member and Friends of Austin City Limits And now the Firefly Fund!

Salvatore Conti and I married almost 18 years ago and have had a wonderful time with our children and three grand children; traveling, entertaining and gardening.

Patricia Gray
Board Emeritus Member

Patricia Gray holds a B. A. and an M. Ed. from Mississippi State University, and an M. S. in special education from the University of Texas at Austin.  She earned her J.D. from South Texas College of Law and her LL.M. in Health Law from the University of Houston Law Center where she was Director of Research for the Health Law and Policy Institute for nine years. Prior to joining the research faculty at the University of Houston, she served as a special assistant for health policy the University of Texas Medical Branch.   She also practiced law in Galveston for 21 years, including 16 years as a partner in the Galveston firm of Yarbrough, Jameson & Gray. She was the first woman to serve as president of the Galveston County Bar Association.  She was elected six times to the Texas House of Representatives where she was twice named one of Texas 10 Best Legislators by Texas Monthly magazine.  As a member of the Texas House, she chaired the Texas House Committee on Public Health and was the House sponsor for legislation creating the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Plan.  She also chaired the Texas Sunset Commission overseeing legislative review of Texas state agencies.   Upon retirement from the legislature in 2003, she was awarded the Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service by the American Medical Association..  In 2011, she was recognized as one of Texas’ all-time best legislators when Texas Monthly included her in their 10 best Hall of Fame and Capitol Insider named her as one of the 10 best House members for the 1990’s as part of their All Star Teams for the Decades. 

She has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center, and has previously served as a special member of the graduate faculty at the Institute for Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch.   She has been a frequent presenter on health policy issues, and was an original co-author of Control Measures and Public Health Emergencies:  A Bench Book for Texas Judges. 

Jack Gullahorn
Advisory Board

Jack Gullahorn is an Austin attorney specializing in governmental relations and the laws governing ethics compliance at the state and local levels. From 2002 to 2015, he founded and then served as General Counsel and President of the Professional Advocacy Association of Texas, the only professional trade association for the Texas lobby community. Jack is a founding member of the Legislative and Campaign Law Section of the State Bar of Texas; served on the Board of Trustees and as Vice Chair of the Seton Family of Hospitals; was a board member and served two terms as chair of Saint Louise House, a nonprofit providing housing and support services to empower homeless mothers with children; and has been a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Austin Parish since 1991. He is recognized in the 2007 – 2010 Editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the specialty of Government Relations Law.

Collin Hovinga, Pharm.D., MS, FCCP
Co-Chair, Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Collin Hovinga has over 20 years experience in the leadership and oversight of pediatric clinical trials. He is recognized as an expert in trial design, early phase pediatric drug research, regulatory affairs and outcomes research. He completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. After which, he pursued a Residency and Fellowship in Pediatric Pharmacotherapy with emphasis in Pediatric Neuroscience at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center. He completed a second a Fellowship at the Food and Drug Administration Office of Clinical Pharmacology and a Masters of Epidemiology/Genetic Epidemiology from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Dr. Hovinga is an expert in pediatric pharmacology and has held appointments with the FDA’s Peripheral and Central Nervous System Advisory Committee. He has been active with leadership roles in pediatric interventional clinical trials (including the first NIH-funded pediatric stroke interventional study) and neuroprotection-disease modification drug pharmacology NIH projects. He was most recently Chair of ACCPs Practice Based Research Advisory Committee. He has been successful in creating the research trial infrastructure for multiple top-tier pediatric hospitals. He currently is the Senior Vice President of Clinical and Scientific Development at the Institute for Advanced Clinical Trials in Children and Co-Principal investigator on an FDA grant focused on improving clinical medication and advancing research in children.

Lara Keel
Board of Directors

Lara Laneri Keel has over twenty-five years of experience in and around the Texas Capitol. She was a founder and partner in the Texas Lobby Group since its inception in 2002 before striking out on her own in 2020. Lara has been representing the interests of a broad portfolio of Texas Associations and Fortune 500 Companies before state legislators, agencies, regulators and Texas policymakers (78th- 86th Legislative Sessions).

Prior to founding the Texas Lobby Group, Lara served as an in-house business lobbyist with the Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce (TABCC), the state’s largest business association, and continues to serve TABCC as an Executive Committee and Board Member. During her tenure at TABCC, Keel was an expert on healthcare and employer-sponsored healthcare issues. Prior to her tenure at TABCC, Lara worked on legislative and policy issues in the Texas Senate with a deep policy and legislative understanding of Healthcare, Appropriations and Sunset Advisory Commission issues.

Raised by parents who made their living in a fourth-generation family business, Lara enjoys representing a wide spectrum of business interests at the Texas Capitol. She understands the impact that state government can have on all businesses that operate in Texas.

Forbes D. Porter, M.D., Ph.D.
Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Forbes D. Porter is a senior Investigator with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Intramural Research Program at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Dr. Porter received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and subsequently trained in Pediatrics and Genetics at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He is board certified in Pediatrics and Clinical Genetics. Dr. Porter came to the NIH in 1993 as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Heiner Westphal’s laboratory and subsequently formed his own research laboratory in the Heritable Disorders Branch of NICHD. Dr. Porter’s research at the NIH has been focused on understanding pathophysiological processes underlying human genetic disorders in order to develop and test therapeutic interventions.

MariBen Ramsey
President / Board of Directors

MariBen Ramsey has served on more than 25 boards of nonprofit organizations at the local, state, national, and international levels. MariBen advises nonprofit organizations in governance, board development, fund development, endowments, legal issues, planning, and organizational strategies as well as philanthropic planning for individuals and families. She is the former Chief Philanthropy Officer and General Counsel for the Austin Community Foundation and a former shareholder of the Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody law firm in Austin, Texas. MariBen is also the Founder and Principal of Ramsey Philanthropy and MariBen Ramsey Law, PLLC. She serves as President of the Board for Firefly Fund.

Amy White, M.D.
Board of Directors

After attending medical school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Amy White completed her residency in Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and became Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. She went on to become the attending physician in the Pediatric Emergency Department at UNC before moving to Austin in 2004. She has practiced Primary Care Pediatrics and Urgent Care Medicine in Austin since then and has served on the Executive Board of The Volunteer Healthcare Clinic. While she hasn’t been Belle & Abby Andrews’ pediatrician their entire lives, it has been publicly noted that Amy played a critical role in their diagnosis as well as in their lives ever since she found Belle in her exam room with what she noticed was an abnormally large spleen in 2015. Amy was the first doctor to lead the Andrews family down the path to answers they had been seeking for years.