MEET OUR BOARD of Directors

MaxLove Project's Board of Directors is comprised of talented individuals throughout the community. Each of our members brings with them incredible expertise and passion. We are so proud and grateful to have a group of extraordinarily talented people supporting our cause. 

Erica Balkhi Having a varied background, Erica Balkhi has experienced careers in several fields. A profession in medicine and science was a desire in her early years as she worked for one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the country, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and then transitioned to earn her Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology where she worked with both children and adults for over 10 years. Now, working as an Entrepreneur for the last 13 years, Erica has had a career as a Human Resources Director in her own businesses managing up to 700 employees. Erica's greatest treasures in life are her husband, children, and family.  Her youngest son, Nicolas, was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of 4 young years. She learned about MaxLove Project while Nicolas was in chemotherapy treatment. Learning about nutrition, wellness, and improving her families quality of life is part of her mantra and vision. MaxLove Project has certainly propelled her along this journey." Why I Love MaxLove "MaxLove Project is an amazing organization providing families with essential resources, human connection, and care during a time of critical need.  We were one of those families and have experienced MaxLove Project first-hand. I would love for all families going through this journey with their child to have this vital support system!"

Erica Balkhi

Having a varied background, Erica Balkhi has experienced careers in several fields. A profession in medicine and science was a desire in her early years as she worked for one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the country, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and then transitioned to earn her Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology where she worked with both children and adults for over 10 years. Now, working as an Entrepreneur for the last 13 years, Erica has had a career as a Human Resources Director in her own businesses managing up to 700 employees. Erica's greatest treasures in life are her husband, children, and family.  Her youngest son, Nicolas, was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of 4 young years. She learned about MaxLove Project while Nicolas was in chemotherapy treatment. Learning about nutrition, wellness, and improving her families quality of life is part of her mantra and vision. MaxLove Project has certainly propelled her along this journey."

Why I Love MaxLove

"MaxLove Project is an amazing organization providing families with essential resources, human connection, and care during a time of critical need.  We were one of those families and have experienced MaxLove Project first-hand. I would love for all families going through this journey with their child to have this vital support system!"

 
Megan Keller Megan is a Marriage and Family Therapist and the proud Mama of Karter and Kody.  She enjoys adventuring outdoors with her husband and her boys. Her passion is to help people feel heard, valued and find hope. As a therapist, Megan specializes in grief and loss, trauma and crisis stabilization. She works at a local high school in Irvine, California. Her role is to focus on mental health and wellness with teens and families who are in crisis or struggling.  Her goal is to increase awareness of support systems, promote social-emotional learning and develop vulnerability with each person and family she meets with. She believes that working with the whole family unit provides for the most powerful growth potential and genuine discovery of hope.  Why I love MaxLove I love how MaxLoveProject has a focus on the whole family and how survivorship begins day one, when the diagnosis is given. I love how MaxLove provides a supportive community of families fiercely fighting childhood cancer together which caters toward that powerful feeling of "we are not alone."  At MaxLove, I am particularly inspired by the Ohana Project, where whole families feel valued, cared for and empowered.  I believe that each individual in a  family bravely battling childhood cancer has a specific set of resiliency skills & if we are able to tap into those internal resources; love will grow, hope will be found and families will thrive. 

Megan Keller

Megan is a Marriage and Family Therapist and the proud Mama of Karter and Kody.  She enjoys adventuring outdoors with her husband and her boys. Her passion is to help people feel heard, valued and find hope. As a therapist, Megan specializes in grief and loss, trauma and crisis stabilization. She works at a local high school in Irvine, California. Her role is to focus on mental health and wellness with teens and families who are in crisis or struggling.  Her goal is to increase awareness of support systems, promote social-emotional learning and develop vulnerability with each person and family she meets with. She believes that working with the whole family unit provides for the most powerful growth potential and genuine discovery of hope. 

Why I love MaxLove
I love how MaxLoveProject has a focus on the whole family and how survivorship begins day one, when the diagnosis is given. I love how MaxLove provides a supportive community of families fiercely fighting childhood cancer together which caters toward that powerful feeling of "we are not alone."  At MaxLove, I am particularly inspired by the Ohana Project, where whole families feel valued, cared for and empowered.  I believe that each individual in a  family bravely battling childhood cancer has a specific set of resiliency skills & if we are able to tap into those internal resources; love will grow, hope will be found and families will thrive. 

 
Kara Walson Orange County business owner (Hush Hush Bang Bang salon, Costa Mesa, CA) I have been a salon owner since 2008, with 27 people working at my salon.  My salon is eco-conscious and we strive to give back to the community as much as we can.  I am married and have a teenage son attending middle school.  I love music, fashion, food, traveling, and spending time with my friends who are my family. Why I Love MaxLove As a parent in the Tustin area who has become very familiar with MaxLove over the past few years, I am drawn to the organization because of its approach — thrivership rather than just raising money to find a cure.  I have been personally affected by cancer, as my mom battled for years and lost her battle in 2009.  When my salon put on the MaxLove Mama’s Night Out event, it was one of the most fulfilling things that I have done in recent years.  I’d love to give more to the program!

Kara Walson
Orange County business owner (Hush Hush Bang Bang salon, Costa Mesa, CA)

I have been a salon owner since 2008, with 27 people working at my salon.  My salon is eco-conscious and we strive to give back to the community as much as we can.  I am married and have a teenage son attending middle school.  I love music, fashion, food, traveling, and spending time with my friends who are my family.

Why I Love MaxLove

As a parent in the Tustin area who has become very familiar with MaxLove over the past few years, I am drawn to the organization because of its approach — thrivership rather than just raising money to find a cure.  I have been personally affected by cancer, as my mom battled for years and lost her battle in 2009.  When my salon put on the MaxLove Mama’s Night Out event, it was one of the most fulfilling things that I have done in recent years.  I’d love to give more to the program!

Emily Frye I’m a Los Angeles native who found my way down to Orange County after attending film school at Cal State Long Beach (some 20 years ago).  My intention was to go through their Art program (my parents discovered my artist talents at the tender age of 4, when I would repeatedly draw “pickles bending over”), but fell in love with filmmaking during my Freshman year.  After college, I got a job at an animation studio in Hollywood and worked my way up from Production Assistant to Color Designer.  When the studio folded, I transitioned into the freelance graphic design world.  I’ve been at it for 11 years, working with a variety of clients, primarily music industry related.  This schedule has afforded me the flexibility to stay very involved with my kids’ activities, and to take on new projects like MaxLove. :) I live in North Tustin with my husband, 2 sons (Quinn, 10, and Quaid, 5), and our geriatric bull terrier.  I’m obsessed with design, music, fashion, vintage knick-knackery, travel, and food.  I am often remembered by my red lipstick! Why I Love MaxLove I’m drawn to the energy of MaxLove — I see its focus working first hand through Max, who is one of my son’s best friends.  I’m eager to help it grow to a nationwide level where many others can reap the benefits of its mission!

Emily Frye

I’m a Los Angeles native who found my way down to Orange County after attending film school at Cal State Long Beach (some 20 years ago).  My intention was to go through their Art program (my parents discovered my artist talents at the tender age of 4, when I would repeatedly draw “pickles bending over”), but fell in love with filmmaking during my Freshman year.  After college, I got a job at an animation studio in Hollywood and worked my way up from Production Assistant to Color Designer.  When the studio folded, I transitioned into the freelance graphic design world.  I’ve been at it for 11 years, working with a variety of clients, primarily music industry related.  This schedule has afforded me the flexibility to stay very involved with my kids’ activities, and to take on new projects like MaxLove. :) I live in North Tustin with my husband, 2 sons (Quinn, 10, and Quaid, 5), and our geriatric bull terrier.  I’m obsessed with design, music, fashion, vintage knick-knackery, travel, and food.  I am often remembered by my red lipstick!

Why I Love MaxLove
I’m drawn to the energy of MaxLove — I see its focus working first hand through Max, who is one of my son’s best friends.  I’m eager to help it grow to a nationwide level where many others can reap the benefits of its mission!

 
Jillian Kraus Jillian is Vice President of Business Development at Brainard Strategy and is responsible for developing the Orange County and Inland Empire region for the company. She is an enthusiastic driven individual who has experience leading high performing teams because of her athletic and academic background. She has strong international experience with multicultural teams and understands the workings of an effective group environment. At UCLA, she was Co-Captain her senior year and won four NCAA National Championships in women’s water polo, selected as a 3-time All-American athletically and academically, and was honored as the Mountain Pacific States Federation Conference Player of the Year. Prior to joining Brainard Strategy, Jillian was a member of the United States Senior National Team for Women’s Water Polo and committed herself to a selective full time training group, competing in several international tournaments for a position on the Olympic Team. She has traveled extensively and was able to proudly represent her country by winning five Gold Medals and a Bronze Medal during her athletic career. While with the National Team, she received her MBA from UC Irvine, The Paul Merage School of Business, and was an assistant coach for UC Irvine Women’s Water Polo Team for three years. After returning from playing professionally in Rome, Italy for Roma Pallanuoto, she launched JK Aquatics Academy. It is a successful business that targets an untapped market of boys and girls of all ages interested in private water polo lessons and clinics nationally and internationally. Jillian attended University of California, Los Angeles and graduated with a B. A. Degree in political science. Why I Love MaxLove "I have a lot of pride for our community as I was born and raised in North Tustin. I attended Arroyo Elementary, and grew up playing water polo for SoCal and Foothill High School. I have been blessed with many great mentors and opportunities through sports, education and other activities. With this being said, I am excited to get involved with children and families who are in need and a cause that serves the local and national community."

Jillian Kraus

Jillian is Vice President of Business Development at Brainard Strategy and is responsible for developing the Orange County and Inland Empire region for the company. She is an enthusiastic driven individual who has experience leading high performing teams because of her athletic and academic background. She has strong international experience with multicultural teams and understands the workings of an effective group environment. At UCLA, she was Co-Captain her senior year and won four NCAA National Championships in women’s water polo, selected as a 3-time All-American athletically and academically, and was honored as the Mountain Pacific States Federation Conference Player of the Year. Prior to joining Brainard Strategy, Jillian was a member of the United States Senior National Team for Women’s Water Polo and committed herself to a selective full time training group, competing in several international tournaments for a position on the Olympic Team. She has traveled extensively and was able to proudly represent her country by winning five Gold Medals and a Bronze Medal during her athletic career. While with the National Team, she received her MBA from UC Irvine, The Paul Merage School of Business, and was an assistant coach for UC Irvine Women’s Water Polo Team for three years. After returning from playing professionally in Rome, Italy for Roma Pallanuoto, she launched JK Aquatics Academy. It is a successful business that targets an untapped market of boys and girls of all ages interested in private water polo lessons and clinics nationally and internationally. Jillian attended University of California, Los Angeles and graduated with a B. A. Degree in political science.

Why I Love MaxLove
"I have a lot of pride for our community as I was born and raised in North Tustin. I attended Arroyo Elementary, and grew up playing water polo for SoCal and Foothill High School. I have been blessed with many great mentors and opportunities through sports, education and other activities. With this being said, I am excited to get involved with children and families who are in need and a cause that serves the local and national community."

 
Queenie Wong My husband, Jimmy and I have lived here in sunny Southern California since 2006, along with our four beautiful children, Claire, Joshua, Emma, Olivia. Then, in January 2016, our seemingly carefree days turned into our worst nightmare when Joshua was diagnosed with DIPG. As a result of a surgical biopsy, Josh fought the remainder of his days with severe brain injury and went home to his Heavenly Father on September 25, 2016. Nutrition, natural supplements, in home PT, OT, acupuncture and support from MLP, all gave him the means to survive and thrive for those 8 1/2 months. My identity is rooted in our family's strong faith, our great love for America's favorite pastime, my passion for a healthy lifestyle, and my desire to make an impact on the needs of our communities. I am honored to continue the work that began with Josh's journey to advocate for the children and families in this community. I hope my past experiences, my efforts through the JoshStrong Legacy Memorial Project and my enthusiasm for building awareness will add to the diversity of this group. I look forward to working together to make a difference, to honor our son and to change the face of pediatric cancer. Why I Love MaxLove The community that is MaxLove Project is vital to the emotional, physical, psychological well being of our local pediatric cancer children and their families. Although my son, Josh, is no longer here with us, without the proper nutrition, integrative therapy and emotional support he received, we would not have had those precious few months more that we had with him in the end. We strive to work tirelessly to promote awareness, education and improve the quality of life so the entire MLP family survives and thrives.

Queenie Wong

My husband, Jimmy and I have lived here in sunny Southern California since 2006, along with our four beautiful children, Claire, Joshua, Emma, Olivia. Then, in January 2016, our seemingly carefree days turned into our worst nightmare when Joshua was diagnosed with DIPG. As a result of a surgical biopsy, Josh fought the remainder of his days with severe brain injury and went home to his Heavenly Father on September 25, 2016. Nutrition, natural supplements, in home PT, OT, acupuncture and support from MLP, all gave him the means to survive and thrive for those 8 1/2 months.

My identity is rooted in our family's strong faith, our great love for America's favorite pastime, my passion for a healthy lifestyle, and my desire to make an impact on the needs of our communities. I am honored to continue the work that began with Josh's journey to advocate for the children and families in this community. I hope my past experiences, my efforts through the JoshStrong Legacy Memorial Project and my enthusiasm for building awareness will add to the diversity of this group. I look forward to working together to make a difference, to honor our son and to change the face of pediatric cancer.

Why I Love MaxLove
The community that is MaxLove Project is vital to the emotional, physical, psychological well being of our local pediatric cancer children and their families. Although my son, Josh, is no longer here with us, without the proper nutrition, integrative therapy and emotional support he received, we would not have had those precious few months more that we had with him in the end. We strive to work tirelessly to promote awareness, education and improve the quality of life so the entire MLP family survives and thrives.

Jason Joseph I'm married to a Tustin native but am originally from LA, I have a 7yr old son and a 4yr old daughter. Film editing is strong in my bloodline. I've followed after my award-winning grandfather in the movie industry and haven't looked back. It's been over 15yrs editing on everything from commercials, TV to feature films. Why I Love MaxLove I was introduced to MaxLove Project through my wife who works for Tustin Unified. I started looking into the project and immediately realized that this is a organization I need to be involved with. From the leading edge on how nutrition and cancer to the family consultations and the home grown organization. It has grown so much since I started volunteering I'm honored to be on the board and help push this movement forward.

Jason Joseph

I'm married to a Tustin native but am originally from LA, I have a 7yr old son and a 4yr old daughter. Film editing is strong in my bloodline. I've followed after my award-winning grandfather in the movie industry and haven't looked back. It's been over 15yrs editing on everything from commercials, TV to feature films.

Why I Love MaxLove
I was introduced to MaxLove Project through my wife who works for Tustin Unified. I started looking into the project and immediately realized that this is a organization I need to be involved with. From the leading edge on how nutrition and cancer to the family consultations and the home grown organization. It has grown so much since I started volunteering I'm honored to be on the board and help push this movement forward.

 
Mika Savani I graduated with an Environmental Engineering degree from UCI.  I spent 5 years at Perot Systems Corporation as a Business Consultant. My core industries included utilities and finance.  My focus is on improving business processes through efficiency and adding technology.  I moved to GMAC-RFC to manage the business analyst team and work on strategic IT initiatives. Over the last several years I have stayed at home to raise my kids.  During this time I have managed the back office of my husband’s medical practice and volunteered for different organization. Why I Love MaxLove MaxLove is important to me because it brings families together at a crucial time to lean and learn from each other.  I’m excited to bring MaxLove’s holistic approach to childhood cancer through treatment and remission to more families.

Mika Savani

I graduated with an Environmental Engineering degree from UCI.  I spent 5 years at Perot Systems Corporation as a Business Consultant. My core industries included utilities and finance.  My focus is on improving business processes through efficiency and adding technology.  I moved to GMAC-RFC to manage the business analyst team and work on strategic IT initiatives. Over the last several years I have stayed at home to raise my kids.  During this time I have managed the back office of my husband’s medical practice and volunteered for different organization.

Why I Love MaxLove
MaxLove is important to me because it brings families together at a crucial time to lean and learn from each other.  I’m excited to bring MaxLove’s holistic approach to childhood cancer through treatment and remission to more families.