Executive Team

Smart, passionate, innovative, enthusiastic, collaborative, caring, tireless—just a few of the superlatives that describe our leadership team and their approach to guiding our organization as it grows to serve more donors and save more patients.

Chief Executive Officer: Carina Ortel

Chief Executive Officer: Carina Ortel

In 2006, I left a promising advertising career in my homeland of Germany and traveled to Peru, where I served as a translator for volunteer doctors, worked in a kindergarten, and launched a fundraiser to help disabled children and adults.

It felt good to make a difference.

When I returned home, I received my annual donor update letter from DKMS in Germany. I opened the letter and decided to apply for a job. So began my rewarding journey in the fight against blood cancer.

From the start, I fell in love with our organization and mission. For nearly 8 years, I served in various capacities including marketing, operations, and corporate budgeting and reporting. As Corporate Secretary, I worked closely with our global board and founder on strategic planning, and gained an in-depth understanding of the lifesaving work we do.

What inspires me most about DKMS is that we help ordinary people get the opportunity to do something extraordinary – give another human being a second chance at life. Every day I am amazed by our people – our passion to help, the way we collaborate, and the way we never give up. I am humbled by the selfless generosity of our donors, and the strength, grace and spirit of our patients.

It is my life’s greatest honor to lead this brilliant organization as we expand our reach, increase our registrations and help save more lives.

We are making a difference and we will continue working together every day to achieve the dream of connecting every patient in need of a bone marrow transplant with a donor who can make it happen.

Chief Operating Officer: Agata Maraszek-Dudek

Agata brings nearly 10 years of experience in community engagement and donor center operations, globally to DKMS. In the US, she oversees three departments: Donor Recruitment, Data Management and Logistics. Her role is to essentially ensure that all donor recruitment services work together to establish and build relationships with new and existing corporations, service sectors, colleges/universities and surrounding communities to increase donor registrations and raise awareness for DKMS’s mission activities across the country.

Agata is no stranger to the DKMS family. Before crossing borders to the United States, she was one of the first employees of DKMS Poland. Being there at the start of DKMS Poland, Agata held many positions and played an important role in getting DKMS Poland up and running. She created their donor recruitment program, including constructing procedures, standards and platforms applicable to the country population and needs. From this success, Agata oversaw and established several additional departments including Logistics, Data Management and Development. While working for DKMS Poland, Agata simultaneously for two years taught economics at University of Promotion in Warsaw, Poland.

Prior to her work at DKMS, Agata worked in sales in the retail industry. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Management in 2013 and her Master’s degree in Management in 2015, both from the University of Promotion.

Director of Strategic Planning, Performance, and Partnerships: Whitney Gaeta

Whitney Gaeta

Whitney is an accomplished healthcare industry leader with over 10 years’ experience in the medical field. She brings extensive knowledge from the public healthcare sector including physician, hospital, and health system account management, strategic development and planning, as well as medical sales. Her professional experience includes driving multimillion dollar profit growth at a biopharmaceutical start-up company through development and expansion of a physician referral network on a national level, as well as national strategic account management with a medical industry leader.

At DKMS, Whitney currently leads three departments: Strategic Planning, Transplant and Collection Center Management, and Quality Assurance. Whitney unifies these areas through her innovation and solution oriented thinking. Prior to this role, she represented DKMS in the US bone marrow transplant community by managing medical partnerships as the Transplant and Collection Center Liaison.

Her passion for leading others is matched by her passion for helping others. Whitney has a personal connection to blood cancer and is honored to support DKMS’ mission of providing hope for patients and their families.

Whitney graduated with honors from Kennesaw State University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a concentration in genetics.

Director of Donor Management (CT/WU/Medical Logistics): David Means

David has nearly 20 years of experience in blood marrow donor donation. At DKMS, he oversees three teams: Work Up, Follow Up, and Medical Logistics. David and his Work Up team are responsible for the care of donors who have been identified as the best match for specific patients in need of a bone marrow transplant. The team handles all aspects of the donation process including educating donors about the process and ensuring donor and patient safety. The Follow Up team is responsible for overseeing donor recovery, coordinating post-donation medical care, ensuring donor and patient confidentiality, and managing donor-patient contact following transplant. The Medical Logistics team provides administrative support including managing the medical records for Work Up requests, coordination of local medical resources, and data entry.

David earned his Bachelors of Science degree in biology at Emory University and received his Masters in Public Health from Drexel University.

Director of Human Resources: Nilsa Gomez

Nilsa brings over 20 years of professional experience in Human Resources to DKMS. As the Director, Nilsa leads and manages all aspects of human resources, including but not limited to recruitment, selection, benefits, compensation, training, staff development, performance management, employee relations, corporate policies, and payroll.

Prior to joining DKMS, Nilsa worked in a variety of leadership positions including Vice President of HR at Urban Resource Institute (URI), HR Manager at Marchon Eyewear and Director of HRIS at Merrill Lynch. While she enjoyed being a part of the business world, Nilsa knew there was a more meaningful task for her out there. Nilsa was drawn to DKMS because of its mission to provide second chances of life to those suffering from a blood cancer or blood disorder.

Nilsa enjoys being the human connection in a professional environment. When she sees the difference employees make in the lives of those in need by putting a smile on their face, taking the burden of hosting a drive, or registering a potential lifesaver; Nilsa knows it is all worth it.

Nilsa received her Masters’ in Psychology/Education from Teachers College at Columbia University.