Executive leadership

From just a couple staff members and a doctor with a vision, we have grown to be the largest PKD patient advocacy organization in the world. Located in Kansas City, we are run by a dedicated staff proud to be the voice for the millions of people impacted by polycystic kidney disease.

Andy Betts, Chief Executive Officer

andy_betts_tie_200_300 Andy Betts has been an executive for over 15 years, with extensive experience leading health and human service institutions, managing development, marketing, board relations and volunteer functions for non-profit organizations in the United States and Europe. Betts comes to the Foundation from The Salvation Army, where he was the Executive Director of Development for one of the largest divisions in the US, raising over $50 million annually. He has also held leadership roles for Outreach International in Kansas City, MO, and UCB broadcasting in England. Betts is accustomed to growing existing and new revenue stream while eliminating deficits at every organization he has led. As a volunteer, Andy served as Board Chair and fundraiser for Camp Quality U.K., a British national cancer charity, and volunteers for Autism Speaks.

Betts has a Bachelor of Arts in marketing and management from Coventry University, England, and post-graduate training in strategic management from Harvard Business School and the University of Indiana, Purdue University.

Amanda Hanova, Chief Operating Officer

Amanda is an accomplished leader with over 15 years’ experience partnering with executives, boards, staff at all levels, internal and external partners, and volunteers to align organizational strategy with operational excellence. Before joining the PKD Foundation team, Hanova served as operations director for the American Academy of Family Physicians and chief operating officer for the Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors. Prior to that, Hanova was an associate director for marketing and development at Missouri State University, as well as a senior manager for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Hanova holds a master of science in management from Baker University and a bachelor of science in political science from Missouri State University. Hanova is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified through the University of Kansas.

Chris Rusconi, Ph.D, Chief Research Officer

Chris is an executive leader with over 20 years of experience in the biotechnology world. Chris has a proven ability to actualize platform technologies across key segments and has a strong technical background with extensive global pharmaceutical development and regulatory experience. Before joining the PKD Foundation, Chris served as the Chief Scientific Officer of Vitrisa Therapeutics. Prior to joining Vitrisa, he co-founded and served as the SVP for Discovery/Preclinical Development and Chief Scientific Officer of Regado Biosciences. Before that, he was Director of Research for the Program in Combinatorial Therapeutics and Assistant Research Professor of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center. He received his B.S. with honors from the University of Kansas and earned his Ph.D. in molecular cell biology from the University of Colorado as an NSF Graduate Fellow in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Thomas Cech. He completed his training as a Jane Coffin Childs post-doctoral fellow in the Surgery Department at Duke University Medical Center. In addition, Chris sat on the University of Kansas Biological Sciences Advisory Board and the RNA Society of North Carolina.

Stephanie Sullens, Chief Advancement Officer

Stephanie Sullens is a skilled fundraiser with 15 years of experience, primarily in academic medical fundraising, where she partnered with leadership to successfully develop and cultivate support for multiple research and patient care initiatives. Sullens served as the Senior Director of Development at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, where she lead all advancement operations. Earlier in her tenure at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Sullens held the same title on its Chicago campus and focused on innovation and research activity.  Prior to that, Sullens was the Senior Director of Advancement and Chief Development Officer at the University of Missouri Trulaske College of Business. She also served on the KU Endowment development team during the Far Above campaign and quest for National Cancer Institute designated. Sullens holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with emphasis in finance and real estate from the University of Missouri.  She also completed an Innovation Fellowship from the University of Missouri System and Washington University.