About DKMS

Meet our Executive Board in the US

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.

Executive Chairwoman of DKMS US: Katharina Harf

Katharina Harf meeting with a patient and their family

For Katharina Harf, DKMS and the fight against blood cancer have been her life’s passion since the age of 14. After losing her mother to leukemia, Katharina put her focus into education, ultimately moving to the United States and graduating from Harvard cum laude. With her degree in hand, Katharina returned to DKMS, the company her father founded in the wake of her mother’s death, with a desire to expand the reach and impact of their life-saving work.

“This has been and always will be personal for me. The memory of my mother will remain with me forever and will continue to fuel my effort to bring hope to families like mine, because at the end of the day that’s what this is about. Our 10 million donors are more than just some large, abstract number. They are 10 million reasons for hope. For one family out there, searching for a lifesaving match for their loved one, our donors represent one simple thing; the possibility that there is one person that could make all the difference.”

After helping her father found the first international branch of DKMS in New York City, Katharina took on a number of positions to help get the fledgling office on its feet. From managing the organizations PR and Marketing departments to acting as CEO, Katharina’s passion for the well-being of patients and their families and her dedication to increasing awareness around the cause helped DKMS quickly grow, with over one million registered donors in the US. Katharina is currently the Executive Chairwoman of DKMS in the US and the Vice-Chairwoman of the Foundation Board of DKMS, acting as the public face of the organization. In addition to the current scope of her global duties, Katharina is also acting as the Interim Managing Director for DKMS US, overseeing operations and strategy for the country’s offices.

Executive Vice-Chairwoman of DKMS US: Elke Neujahr

Dr. Elke Neujahr
Elke Neujahr

In 2018, Elke Neujahr rejoined a cause that had long been close to her heart by becoming Global CEO of the DKMS Group. She also serves as Executive Vice-Chairwoman of the Board of Directors in the US and Chairwoman of the board in Poland, United Kingdom and South Africa. With a doctorate in communication sciences, Elke served national and international executives as an expert in all questions of corporate reputation, crisis, and change management. Initially holding a variety of positions in the industry, Elke ultimately switched to the consulting side of the corporate communications business. She has been Partner and CEO of a leading European PR Consultancy before she successfully ran her own company for 15 years. With her 40 years of expertise in general management she drives the development of the DKMS Group.

“Every year, tens of thousands of donor searches are initiated across the globe. At DKMS, we are working to ensure that every patient in need finds a matching donor. Our mission is driven by the countless employees, for whom this is a matter close to the heart, and the millions of compassionate individuals across the world who we are proud to call our donors. We go out of our way to increase awareness and encourage people internationally to register as a blood stem cell donor. Aware of the need for a multifaceted approach, we will continue to extend our mission and are currently investing in providing access to transplantation. The only effective way to address blood cancer and other life-threatening blood diseases is with a macro perspective that ensures no patient is left behind, regardless of their geographic location or socio-economic status.”

As the Global CEO, Elke oversees all DKMS operations and the organization’s continued international expansion. In addition to these duties, Elke is also acting in tandem with Katharina Harf as the Interim Managing Director for DKMS US.

Head of Workup and Clinical Data, Donor Management: Hannah De Simone

Interim Head of Workup and Clinical Data, Donor Management: Hannah De Simone

Hannah comes with over 15 years of nonprofit experience dedicated to healthcare, specifically in the community building, planning and development of processes. Her journey with DKMS began in March 2013 when she joined as a Workup coordinator. With exposure to the entire bone marrow donation process, she continues to be inspired by the kindness and generosity of donors every day. Currently, Hannah manages the Workup and Clinical Data teams.

Hannah, alongside her teams, work with daily with donors who have been identified as a best match for patients in need of a bone marrow transplant, supervising all aspects of the donation process. The team educates and coordinates the entire process for donors. They harmonize all donation logistics to ensure safety for both the patient and the donor. The Clinical Data team tracks all donation forms and ensures compliance throughout the process.

Hannah graduated from Clark University with a BA in Government and International Relations and received a Master of Social Work from Hunter College.

Meet our dedicated leadership teams.
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