1. Diana Clynes - Executive Director

    Diana Clynes is the Executive Director for AAKP. She is responsible for implementing and executing the mission and national strategy for the Association. Mrs. Clynes initiates and manages the organization's funding contracts and maintains and develops existing and new relationships with industry, government and organizational partners. She represents AAKP on a variety of state and national renal-related committees, coalitions and workgroups. Diana works directly with the Board of Directors and Executive Leadership Committee to create program metrics and analyses to ensure mission, goals and objectives of the Association are being met/exceeded, are meaningful and create positive behavioral changes in constituents.

    Diana joined AAKP in 2005.

    Prior to joining AAKP, Diana conducted public relations, communications and marketing for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Outreach Coordination and Division of Marine Fisheries Offices as well as the Tampa Bay Port Authority. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations as well as a minor in Business.

  2. Valerie Gonzalez - Director of Office Operations

    Valerie Gonzalez is the Director of Office Operations for AAKP. She is responsible for overseeing effective operating procedures across the Association. Her primary duties include reviewing company documents to make inferences about factors like communication or productivity; overseeing HR activities; communicating with upper management to improve company operations; defining, implementing and revising operational policies and guidelines for the organization; and overseeing patient support services.

    Valerie joined AAKP in 2005.

    Valerie brings many years of office managerial skills to AAKP. Before joining AAKP, Valerie worked for Choice Medical Management Services as a Complex Care Services Specialist. She also served as Office Manager of Troya Engineering and Fabrication, Inc.

  3. Erin Kahle, MPA, CNP - Deputy Director

    Erin Kahle joined AAKP in April 2017 as Director of Stakeholder Operations for AAKP’s Center for Patient Engagement & Advocacy. Her primary responsibilities included establishing a national network of patient ambassadors and encouraging patients and family members to be engaged in various awareness, advocacy, and research opportunities to ensure their voices are heard and improvements are made in kidney care.

    In 2021, Erin took on the role of Director of Patient Insights, Data Analytics, and Advocacy, overseeing additional activities that fall under AAKP’s Center for Patient Research & Education by managing the organization’s research operations which includes original kidney patient survey data and expert advice to leaders in government, industry, think tanks, and academia involved in standing up and recruiting patients for research studies, technical evaluation panels, advisory committees, clinical trials, and substantive efforts to include patient insight data across the product development lifecycle —including regulatory and payment decisions. Alongside AAKP’s Executive Leadership, Erin works closely with federal government officials, medical researchers, industry leaders, and investors who are committed to re-establishing kidney patient consumers to their rightful place at the center of all kidney health, innovation, research, and policy decisions.

    In 2023, Erin became Deputy Director to further support the Executive Director and continue building relationships with potential partners across industry, government, and nonprofit.  She will continue her focus on enhancing AAKP’s Ambassador Initiative that she created in 2017 and overseeing the planning and execution of all AAKP programs and events.

    Prior to joining AAKP, Erin worked at the National Kidney Foundation Home Office in New York City for over 13 years in program development and advocacy. She also worked at a nonprofit organization in King, North Carolina with a focus on programs in early childhood education. Erin has a BA in Communication Studies, received her Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, and earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a concentration in Nonprofit Management.

  4. AAKP Staff Marketing Jennifer Duplessie
    Jennifer Rate - Director of  Communications and Digital Operations

    Jennifer joined AAKP in 2020 as Marketing and Communications Manager and took on the role of Director of Communications and Digital Operations in 2023. She is responsible for the organization’s social media strategy, branding, marketing, publications, and public relations efforts. Her tasks include managing and creating social media content, graphic design, overseeing aakpRENALIFE and e-newsletters, website content, and development activities. Jennifer also heads clinical trial and educational awareness campaigns from a marketing/recruitment perspective, develops strategies to leverage resources from private, non-profit, and government sources in support of established goals and objectives, and works to maintain strong communications among stakeholders in the development process.

    Prior to joining AAKP, Jennifer worked in publishing as a copyeditor and digital marketing professional. Jennifer received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Texas A&M University in 2018. Although Jennifer first joined AAKP while residing in Washington, D.C., she now lives outside of Austin, Texas .

  5. Jerome Bailey- Director of Patient Engagement and Advocacy 

    Jerome Bailey returned to AAKP in February 2023 as the Director of Patient Engagement and Advocacy. His responsibilities include organizing and executing the association’s annual patient service programs and activities and assisting with the coordination of public policy education and events. Jerome will also support AAKP’s efforts in patient engagement opportunities, such as servicing dozens of requests every year for clinical trial awareness and recruitment campaigns, patient advisory boards, technical evaluation panels, focus groups, patient surveys, clinical research, and public policy research.  Jerome previously served as the Marketing and Communications Director for AAKP from 2006 - 2016. From 2016-2023, Jerome worked as the Associate Director of Patients and Family Engagement for the End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) National Coordinating Center (NCC). There he led the ESRD NCC Patient and Family Engagement Learning and Action Network (NPFE-LAN). He was instrumental in forging new pathways for kidney patients and their family members to be included in the ESRD Networks quality improvement activities (QIA) and ensuring collaboration between ESRD Network Organizations and kidney disease stakeholders. Jerome attended the University of Florida, where he received a degree in Telecommunications with an emphasis in Television News.

  6. Tangi Falber- Administrative Lead

    Tangi Falber joined the AAKP team in May 2015.  She is the Administrative Lead for AAKP’s front office and manages store orders, mailings and databases.

    Before starting at AAKP, Tangi was a stay-at-home mom for over seven years to her three children.  Over the years, she volunteered as PTA President, Girl Scouts Troop Leader and for the Patel Conservatory Parent Volunteer Committee.  Prior to that Tangi worked in Customer Service in the Insurance industry.

    Outside of work, Tangi enjoys taking her daughters to see Broadway shows and visiting theme parks with her family.

  7. Marie Mitchell- Administrative Assistant 

    Marie Mitchell joined the AAKP team in 2019 as a part-time Administrative Assistant.  She is excited to be working for a non-profit organization and to be helping patients.  She brings positive energy and enthusiasm to her work at AAKP. 

    Marie is originally from El Paso, Texas.  Before coming to AAKP, Marie worked for over 23 years as the Office Manager for USA Gold in Denver, Colorado.  She oversaw administrative duties at the office including accounts payable and receivable, as well as customer communications.

    Marie and her husband, Andre, recently moved to Tampa, Florida.  Marie loves to cook and eat healthy.  She also enjoys staying active by playing tennis, golf and fishing.  Marie has one daughter and is a proud grandmother of three grandchildren.