The Emily’s Entourage Champions Campaign recognizes and applauds young professional leaders helping to make a difference in the quest to cure CF.
Nominated in recognition of their philanthropic spirit and community involvement, the 2017 Emily’s Entourage Champions leverage their personal networks to reach a fundraising goal of $1,500 by December 2, the night of the annual Evening With Emily’s Entourage Gala.
Emily’s Entourage is blown away by the commitment and passion of these young professionals every year and are excited to recognize their amazing efforts at the gala this year, including awarding the champion that raises the most money the EE “Champion of the Year.”
Meet the 2017 EE Champions!
ROBERT & PAULA BARG
Bio: Robert and Paula are a brother sister team who grew up with Emily in Lower Merion and both graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, just like Emily too! Robert is currently a Senior Actuarial Sales Manager at FIS Global and Paula works as a Program Manager for Comcast. Both siblings currently live in their hometown of Philadelphia. In their spare time, Robert enjoys reading, running and biking and Paula enjoys running and yoga.
Fun Fact: “I’m a father of twins.” – Robert / “I have never lost in a watermelon eating competition!” – Paula
Favorite City: “Philadelphia” – Robert
Favorite Song: “Fake Empire by The National” – Robert
Favorite Movie: “Batman Begins” – Robert
Super Power: “Be able to fly.” – Robert
Who Would You Have Lunch With? “Leonardo da Vinci” – Robert
Why Robert Got Involved In EE: “I’ve been lucky to know Emily nearly my entire life, but even after all of these years, I’m still in awe of her confidence, her resilience and her charisma. I want to share her story and her message with those who don’t know her yet (which is a dwindling number of people).”
Why Paula Got Involved In EE: “I feel very devoted to ensuring that all individuals (especially the wonderful Emily) deserve the opportunity to live their healthiest and most enjoyable life. My hope is to help everyone who has lived with CF to breathe a little easier.”
Bio: Jesse was born and raised in Bala Cynwyd and went to school with Emily from preschool through high school. He went on to attend Colgate University (just like Emily’s parents Liza and Michael) and is currently a professional poker player who travels around the world playing in live poker tournaments. In 2016, Jesse finished 51st out of 6,737 in the World Series of Poker Main Event and even gave EE a shoutout on ESPN! When not playing poker, Jesse loves to attend concerts and festivals and being involved in local politics and social justice.
Fun Fact: “One time in college I stayed awake for seven consecutive days (Sunday to Sunday) to finish several research papers due at the end of the semester. One star, do not recommend.”
Favorite City: “Playa del Carmen, Mexico”
Favorite Song: “Decks Dark by Radiohead”
Favorite Movie: “The Big Lebowski”
Super Power: “Teleportation, because there’s too many people and places I love in the world and not enough time to see all of them.”
Who Would You Have Lunch With? “Elon Musk”
Why Jesse Got Involved In EE: “This year I’ve gotten to a position in my career where I feel like I could realistically raise a significant amount of money, and that’s an opportunity that I’m not willing to waste when the need is so immediate and dire. The poker community has proven itself to be remarkably philanthropic in recent months, and it’s time for me to tap into this resource on behalf of EE.”
Bio: Ben is currently a sophomore at East Stroudsburg University where he is majoring in Communication with a concentration in Public Communication and Advocacy. Ben stays involved on campus by mentoring incoming freshman, being a building manager and being a part of MMI (Man of Multi-culture Intuitive) and MOCA (Man of Color Alliance). In the past, Ben has worked for several non-profit organization including Yes! And… and Providence Center. In his free time he likes to write poetry and be involved on campus.
Fun Fact: “I cannot go a day without working, in order for me to stay focused I have to stay busy.”
Favorite City: “New York City”
Favorite Song: “Mi Gente Featuring Beyonce & Willy William & Fall Apart By Post Malone”
Favorite Movie: “A Nightmare Before Christmas”
Super Power: “Be able to know everything in the world.”
Who Would You Have Lunch With? “Barack Obama”
Why Ben Got Involved In EE: “I have been so fortunate in my life to be connected to such giving, caring, and change-driven people. I look forward to helping propel a cure for Cystic Fibrosis as a Champion of Emily’s Entourage.”
Bio: Sarah grew up in Harrisburg, PA and attended West Chester University where she studied respiratory care. She is currently a Respiratory Therapist at Hershey Medical Center. Sarah has been a volunteer at Pennsylvania Vent Camp, a camp for children who are ventilator dependent and at Vent Camp Horizons, a fall program for campers who are over 21. She has volunteered in the past with Habitat For Humanity and Pine Mountain Settlement School through her sorority Alpha Sigma Tau. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Fun Fact: “I used to have a pet eel.”
Favorite City: “Philadelphia”
Favorite Song: “Silence by Marshmello ft. Khalid”
Favorite Movie: “Parent Trap”
Super Power: “Teleport”
Who Would You Have Lunch With? “Ellen Degeneres”
Why Sarah Got Involved In EE: “I have been a volunteer at the Emily’s Entourage Gala the past three years and thought this would be a great opportunity to become more involved in the organization. Especially now, working directly in the hospital with other people affected my CF, I really want to do everything I can to raise money to help find a cure!”
Bio: Jessie is a New York native, but after attending Tulane University (where Emily’s brother Coby and sister Julia attended), New Orleans is in Jessie’s blood. She is now living back in New York City and works as a Strategic Planner for Razorfish Health to uncover key opportunities to grow and better service their customers. Besides work, Jessie likes to spend as much time as she can outside and loves to play sports and go on runs or long walks.
Fun Fact: “I recently went to Kenya on a pro bono consulting trip to work with a health-tech start-up company. I am fascinated by the global application of the skillsets I have developed in the states as a strategic planner and am very passionate about the global health/international development field.”
Favorite City: “Nairobi”
Favorite Song: N/A
Favorite Movie: “The Big Sick”
Super Power: “To cure disease.”
Who Would You Have Lunch With? “Paul Farmer”
Why Jessie Got Involved In EE: “Ever since getting involved with Emily’s Entourage at Tulane, I have been inspired by the grit, compassion and ambition of the Kramer-Golinkoff family and am fascinated by the research pursuits of Emily’s Entourage. I want to help Emily and others with orphan diseases to find a cure.”
Bio: Hayley grew up in Huntington Valley and currently lives in Elkins Park, PA. She’s very close with her parents and two younger sisters and her 4-year-old dog Lily (for the record, anyone who meets her falls in love with her!). Besides being on the gala planning committee for Emily’s Entourage, Hayley is also a volunteer for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation where she does outreach and acts as a support for families and patients. Hayley is a coffee addict who in her spare time loves photography.
Fun Fact: “I was born in Cape Town, South Africa.”
Favorite City: “New York & Wilmington, Vermont”
Favorite Song: “Kind of addicted to anything Dear Evan Hansen at the moment.”
Favorite Movie: “Mrs. Doubtfire”
Super Power: “The ability to cure illnesses and to teleport myself to places I want to visit.”
Who Would You Have Lunch With? “My bubby (great grandmother) who I miss every day.”
Why Hayley Got Involved In EE: “That’s probably the easiest question to answer. It’s simple. When I met Emily and Liza I simply fell in love with them. As someone living with a chronic, rare disease myself I feel such a strong connection to the cause of EE. I want to do whatever I can to help try and find a cure to help save Emily and others with CF. I feel so incredibly proud to be a part of EE and to be involved with such a special group of people!”
CHLOE PLISSONNEAU & EMMA MARTINEZ
Bio: Chloe and Emma are the first ever international EE Champions! These french natives met three years ago when they paired together for a class project while attending high school in the southern city of Carpentras. Their friendship fueled over their love for action and their belief that they must leave a mark on this world and they believe that a committed friendship can truly be world-changing. Chloe is currently studying Organizational and Decision Science at Paris-Dauphine University and Emma is studying at the Vatel International Management School. Outside of their studies, these friends spend hours no the phone talking together while reinventing the world.
Fun Fact: “I was named a “Human of Emily’s Entourage” earlier this year: it was such and honor and privilege! Emma went to the Paralympics last summer, with the organization SOLIDARIO: it was an adventure of a lifetime, and changed her life, as she more than ever realized that life is to be lived 100%!”
Favorite City: “Athens in Greece, is our dream-like city!”
Favorite Song: “Indestructible, by Armin Van burren, because the lyrics represent the message we want to convey during this fundraising (especially the chorus!!!)”
Favorite Movie: “Intouchables”
Super Power: “Being able to be at two places at a time, so we could make it to the gala on December 2nd, while being in France and studying for exams! Also, if we could have the power to make everyone in this world realize that they have a role to play out there, and that this life is so worth living, that would be the greatest gift.”
Who Would You Have Lunch With? “Emily and her family, of course, but as we know this is going to happen, let’s say ALBERT CAMUS, our favorite author.”
Why Chloe & Emma Got Involved In EE: “There are so many reasons why! First, we, together, like to defeat our limits: we need to take up to something bigger than ourselves! Also, we want to make the world realize, first how strong-willed we both are, and to show everyone how strong the bonds of friendship can be. Secondly, we’ve accepted the challenge to make the world understand the importance of individual actions: this world desperately seeks actors, not spectators! Also because we believe it is our duty to make this world a better place to live. Last but not least, of course, because we’ve been deeply touched by Emily’s story: it is one that must not and moreover SHOULD NOT leave anyone indifferent! Plus, Liza has always had such kind words for us!”
Bio: Belle is the youngest EE Champion ever at just seven years old! Belle lives outside of Philadelphia with her mom, dad, little brother and dog Lola. Belle is currently a 2nd grader at Penn Wynne Elementary School in Ms. Boone’s class. Outside of school, Belle loves to write, illustrate stories, sing songs from “Wicked”, dance to records and play with her brother. This summer, Belle won an Outstanding Dramatics award from Camp Arrowhead. When she grows up, she wants to be a mom, a writer, a famous artist, on Broadway and a worry doctor to help people with their worries. Her favorite color is rose gold.
Fun Fact: “I take classes in painting and musical theatre and volunteer with my parents. Last year we collected 300 books for kids who didn’t have them.”
Favorite City: “New York City”
Favorite Song: “For What It’s Worth” By Buffalo Springfield, “Dancing Through Life” from Wicked and “One Day More” from Les Miserables.”
Favorite Movie: “Frozen”
Super Power: “The power to turn invisible.”
Who Would You Have Lunch With? “Idina Menzel”
Why Belle Got Involved In EE: “I want to be an EE Champion because I don’t want Emily or anyone else to be going through a sickness that stops them from being able to breathe every day. I want to find the medicine for CF and I want it to be purple. I want to cure Cystic Fibrosis.”
TOMMY & ELLY WATTS
Bio: Tommy and Elly are a husband and wife team this year who currently live in Fayetteville, NC with their 14-month-old daughter Soraya and their dog Bella. Tommy grew up in Ardmore and is a graduate of Lower Merion High School (just like Emily!) and received his undergraduate degree from Mount Ida College and an MBA from Phoenix University. Tommy was a four year lacrose player and a US Army Combat Veteran who served two deployments in Iraq and Haiti, where he achieved his Airborne wings along with numerous other military awards. Tommy is currently a General Manager for Two Men and a Truck and in his spare time coaches lacrosse and enjoys doing filming and editing with his GoPro. Elly was born in Iran, but raised in Germany and is a graduate of the University of Giessen. She went on to achieve her NC real estate license and in her spare time loves photography, going to the gym and spending time with family.
Fun Fact: “I jumped out of a perfectly fine airplane and helicopter 47 times in the Army.” – Tommy / “I have family all over the world and am fluent in English, Farsi, German and a little Spanish.” – Elly
Favorite City: “Antalya, Turkey”
Favorite Song: “All Music” – Tommy / “What About Us By Pink” – Elly
Favorite Movie: “Varsity Blues” – Tommy / “Mary Poppins” – Elly
Super Power: “Invisible” – Tommy / “To heal people.” – Elly
Who Would You Have Lunch With? “My father who passed away.” – Tommy / “Tupac” – Elly
Why Tommy & Elly Got Involved In EE: “This hits home for us as our daughter, Soraya, is a carrier of CF.”