Colin Gerner, President and Co-Founder
Colin is the founder and President of StacheStrong and is always thinking of the next event and strategy to continually grow StacheStrong. He is a partial Yankee season ticket holder, an avid runner and never turns down an adventure! Colin earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from UAlbany in 2014 and a Master’s in Taxation from UAlbany in 2015. He is currently a Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a Tax Consultant where he works with industry-leading Telecommunication companies, as well as a variety of cosmetic and retail companies.
To me, StacheStrong is a lifestyle. It’s finding something within yourself to do the unthinkable and conquer your fears. It’s not only doing what’s expected of you, but rising above in any way possible. You can be StacheStrong during the biggest moments of the day, week or month, but it’s just as important during the little moments too. If we all can implement being StacheStrong in our day to day lives, I truly think we can make a profound difference.
GJ Gerner, Co-Founder
GJ Gerner is the inspiration behind StacheStrong. GJ was diagnosed wtih Gliblastoma Multiforme in September 2017 and fought courageously for 25 months. GJ was a manager at EY in the Tax Technology and Transformation group, where he had been since 2012 after completing his Master’s degree in Professional Accountancy at Albany. Before earning his Master’s degree, GJ earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting as well as a degree in Business Administration with a focus in Finance and Management. While at Albany he was a member of Delta Sigma Pi, serving as their President in the Fall 2010 semester. GJ lived through the joys of being an avid Mets, Jets and UNC Tarheel fan. He was the StacheStrong Treasurer for the first 2 years of our organization and has passed the torch to us to continue the fight against GBM.
Kelly Gerner, Secretary
Kelly earned a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Finance from University at Buffalo in 2015 and a General Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from D’Youville College in 2017. She currently works at First Source LLC in Buffalo NY as the Associate Assortment Manager where she analyzes First Source’s portfolio of product assortment for everyday and seasonal goods.
To me, StacheStrong is strength. It is finding your inner strength and letting it resonate and strengthen and encourage others. The power to be strong and overcome any and every obstacle that comes within your path of life. Most importantly, empowering strength in others to implement StacheStrong into their life and continuously pass it along.
M.D., Ph.D., Board of Directors
Dr. Hadjipanayis is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Oncological Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He serves as Chair of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Downtown Union Square/Beth Israel and Director of Neurosurgical Oncology for the Mount Sinai Health System. He is a board-certified neurosurgeon who has devoted his entire career to the treatment of brain tumor patients. He is Director of the Mount Sinai Brain Tumor Nanotechnology Laboratory in the Tisch Cancer Institute where he studies novel therapeutics targeting glioblastoma (GBM). His team is very active in preclinical and translational studies glioma models. His Ph.D. graduate training in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh, during his neurosurgery residency, focused on viral gene therapy of GBM. Dr. Hadjipanayis has been a tireless brain tumor advocate leading the nonprofit Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation (SBTF) in the past. He has been the PI of multiple clinical trials and a PI of university-, private foundation-, and NIH-funded grants focused on gliomas. He is the Sponsor and IND holder of a multicenter Phase II study involving the use of 5-ALA (Gliolan) and fluorescence-guided surgery (FGS) for the resection of new or recurrent high-grade gliomas. He was the first to use Gliolan and perform FGS on a glioma patient in the US in 2011. He also helped lead the effort for FDA approval of 5-ALA (Gleolan) in the US for use during glioma surgery in June 2017.
Stache Strong means how we accept each other for how we are including our challenges but look to the future to find a cure for brain tumors.
Norman E. Snyder Jr., Board of Directors
Norm is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer for Avitae USA, LLC, a premium Beverage Company that markets and sells a line of ready-to-drink caffeinated waters. He has successfully held various positions in senior/executive management during his 35 year career and holds a B.S. degree in Accounting from the University at Albany.
He is on the Board of Trustees of River Hospital in Alexandria Bay, NY and has volunteered at several local charities throughout his career.
To me, StacheStrong is a mission. Key attributes of this mission are a combination of efforts, attitudes and beliefs that supports research, education, emotional strength and hope. Until recently I knew nothing about GBM. Today I am committing myself to making a difference through #StacheStrong!
Josh Perry, Board of Directors
Josh Perry is a former pro BMX athlete, public speaker, keto consultant, BMX coach and multiple brain tumor SURVIVOR. Josh focuses on the power of his story to inspire others to foster new perspectives and take new action in their lives. Providing tools for mental strength, health, manifestation, business, and nutrition, Josh’s story illustrates how challenges come in every shape and size, but emphasizes that happy and successful people use the same mental tools to get them there, regardless of their past or current tribulations.
To me, StacheStrong is a perspective of faith, courage, and determination. It’s a symbol to block out the unwanted noise to overcome the obstacle in the way for the greater vision we set for our lives. StacheStrong is about uniting others to become empowered to overcome fear together and support one another. StacheStrong is a way of living and a choice to be greater than the odds.
Lou McKercher, Board of Directors
Lou is a restaurant industry veteran with over a decade of management experience. He is currently the General Manager of the Oskar Blues Brewery Taproom in Boulder, Colorado. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Binghamton University in 2008.
He is a rabid NBA fan and loves playing basketball, drinking craft beer, and listening to live music. Lou is a native of Upstate New York and relocated to Colorado in 2011 in search of milder winters and bluer skies.
To me, Stache Strong is entirely about selflessness and positivity. The first reaction that GJ and the rest of the Gerner clan had to GJ’s diagnosis was to ask what they could do to help other people, which really exemplifies the amazing energy behind this movement. I’ve known GJ and Colin for years, and I’ve never seen either of them without a giant smile on their face.
The strength in the StacheStrong community stems directly from the Gerners, and focuses on the knowledge that the only thing that we can have any control over in life is our own actions. The Gerners chose to keep their trademark smiles in the face of extreme adversity, and they have directed that positivity outwards in an effort to make the world a better place. That’s a team I want to be on, and every time I see a mustache it reminds me to take a moment to reassess the way I’m confronting the world. Every chance to act with empathy is a chance to stay #StacheStrong
Ben Sorber, Board of Directors
Ben Sorber grew up in Vestal, New York, with the Gerner family. Ben graduated high school with GJ and spent his summers in college going to Dave Matthews Band shows with GJ. They remain close friends and try to get together as often as their busy lives allow.
Ben is a practicing attorney in Akron, Ohio with the law firm of DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder. This past year, he was recognized as a Rising Star in the field of criminal defense by SuperLawyers, a designation awarded to less than 3% of practicing attorneys. Ben’s practice focuses on high-level felony criminal defense, as well as corporate litigation and defense of local municipalities. Prior to serving on the StacheStrong Board of Directors, Ben served on the Board of Directors for Broome–Tioga Special Olympics, New York.
To me, StacheStrong is about strength, perseverance, and the pursuit for a cure. My Uncle Tom battled GBM and I’m honored to be part of this organization and raise funds for a cure. Recent advancements leave me very optimistic that we are close to to a cure for GBM, and that is StacheStrong.
Don Boyce III, Board of Directors
Don is a risk management and compliance professional with ten years of New York based banking and securities experience. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Masters of Public Administration from the State University of New York, at Albany.
Don grew up on the same lake where GJ and the Gerner’s spent many of their summers and weekends. He shares the family’s appreciation for secret fishing holes, golf, and a good lakeside campfire.
In addition to his commitment to StacheStrong, Don serves on the advisory board for the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs where he has worked to provide advice to professors and students.
To Me, StacheStrong is a Pursuit. On our pursuit, we strive for a higher understanding, working together to support the efforts of researchers and families alike.