CaringBridge Announces Three New Board Members

Eagan, Minn. (September 5, 2017) – CaringBridge is pleased to announce the appointments of Berit Francis, John Orner and Dr. Véronique Roger to its board of directors. They join a board of 19, comprised of individuals from the technology, health care, business, and nonprofit communities. Board members for the Minnesota-based nonprofit are appointed to a two-year term and can serve up to three consecutive terms. The board works side-by-side with the CaringBridge senior leadership team to provide counsel, guidance and governance in the direction and operation of the organization. In addition, they raise awareness for the CaringBridge mission and work to attract support.

“I am thrilled to welcome Berit, John and Véronique as new CaringBridge board members. Their knowledge is invaluable, as we are seeking to grow and reach more people during a time of need,” said Liwanag Ojala, CEO of CaringBridge. “It is exciting to add more experts in the medical and financial fields, especially those with ties to major organizations and companies, such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Mayo Clinic. These new board members bring a wealth of knowledge about health care and will help further the mission of CaringBridge.”

Francis is a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital ambassador and the founder of the St. Jude “Red Carpet for Hope” national gala. She is a national advocate for survivors of sexual assault and has volunteered for the Sexual Violence Center locally and the RAINN Organization nationally. More recently, she helped to produce the film Brave Miss World, which focuses on issues of sexual violence. She is a licensed RN and formerly held leadership roles in the nursing field in Berkeley, California, and at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A mother of four, Francis’ youngest daughter, Marit, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a cancer of the brain, in 2008. Francis documented her daughter’s journey through CaringBridge and discovered that writing on the site was both therapeutic and helped her navigate this family health crisis, by not feeling alone. She has served as an ambassador on its behalf and on the executive advisory board since November 2012.

Orner is the vice president, treasurer and chief investment officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. He is an accomplished treasury, investment, finance, mergers and acquisitions, debt and insurance risk management professional with more than 29 years of executive leadership and asset management experience. Orner says the reason he joined the CaringBridge board of directors is simple – it aligns with his sense of duty and service to those battling significant illness as well as the family and friends who support them.

Dr. Roger is a cardiologist, epidemiologist, and outcomes researcher. She is also a professor of internal medicine and a professor of epidemiology at Mayo Clinic. Her research focuses on the occurrence and outcomes of cardiovascular diseases. She served as the founding director of Mayo Clinic, Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science in Health Care Delivery, which focuses on the science of best practice. Dr. Roger says that joining the CaringBridge board is a unique opportunity to contribute to a purpose-driven organization, which plays a key role in the delivery of holistic compassionate care.

About CaringBridge

CaringBridge is a global nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate with and support loved ones during a health journey through the use of free personal websites. Their mission is to amplify the love, hope and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier. Nearly 90 percent of all funding comes from individual donors. Since its founding in 1997 by Sona Mehring, more than 675,000 CaringBridge websites have been created. Combined, they have received 2.1 billion visits. For more information, visit