NFL Has 1000’s of Game Changers…

Zofia Consulting is a proud team member with Answer ALS and the NFL.

The “Game-Changing” campaign, highlighting NFL’s most famous game-changing moments, is born out of a partnership between the NFL and Answer ALS. Its purpose is to give ALS its own game-changing moment by driving donations where urgency is needed – research.

The featured game-changing moments include:  Dwight Clark’s “The Catch,” Dave Casper’s “The Ghost to the Post,” Roger Staubach’s “The Hail Mary,” Odell Beckham Jr.’s “The One Hander,” and Steve Gleason’s “The Rebirth.”

The 2015 social media campaign, the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” drew widespread awareness for ALS, and the “Game-Changing” campaign is building on its success to leverage the power of emotion to rally NFL fans around finding a cure for the disease.

The NFL and its teams, Team Gleason, current and past NFL players, Johns Hopkins Packard Center for ALS Research, Cedars-Sinai, Harvard and many others will also participate in the campaign. In addition, the broader ALS community including the creators of the Ice-Bucket Challenge, Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, will also be participating.

You can help NOW 

Text “ALS” to 27722 to donate $5.  

To further support ALS research and for more information, please visit

Thank you for your support!


Michelle Farr

CEO, Zofia Consulting

ANSWER ALS: Research Designed to Fully Understand and Defeat ALS

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Johns Hopkins University, Cedars-Sinai and Massachusetts General Hospital Announce Groundbreaking ALS Research Project of ANSWER ALS

Research Designed to Fully Understand and Defeat ALS; “Big Data” Technology Will Drive Unprecedented Analysis Capability

$20 Million in Funding from Committed Team of Donors, including the National Football League, the PGA TOUR, ALS Finding a Cure (a project of the Leandro P. Rizzuto Foundation), Travelers, The Fishman Family and The Bari Lipp Foundation

The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Regenerative Medicine Institute and the Massachusetts General Hospital Neurological Clinical Research Institute today announced the launch of an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research project of Answer ALS, the largest single coordinated and comprehensive effort to end ALS. ALS is a devastating, progressive and fatal neuromuscular illness for which there is no effective treatment. In ALS, gradual degeneration of motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord causes increased difficulty swallowing and breathing, and eventually leads to paralysis. A new person is diagnosed with ALS every 90 minutes in the United States.

The mission of Answer ALS is to:

  • Discover what causes ALS;
  • Develop sophisticated human cell models to understand ALS and screen for drug and cellular therapies;
  • Initiate individualized ALS therapy programs based on patients’ own cellular data from brain cells;
  • Discover therapies that could substantially slow, halt and ultimately cure ALS; and
  • Provide all gathered information free for worldwide use by clinicians, scientists and pharma to rapidly advance therapeutics.

“This is an unprecedented approach to understanding and defeating disease,” said Dr. Jeffrey Rothstein, Director of the Brain Science Institute and the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins University and the Executive Director of Answer ALS. “This project will bring together world-renowned ALS research scientists to work against an aggressive timeline for understanding, treating and eventually finding a cure for this disease. The substantial initial funding from these generous supporters is a critical step forward in our effort to provide hope to those affected by ALS.”

“We are combining big data, comprehensive biological analytics, technology and science in a way that would not have been possible a decade ago,” said Clive Svendsen, PhD, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Co-Director of Answer ALS. “What is so exciting and important is that all of this data will be made publicly available with free, open access to the ALS research community, so that we can make faster and greater strides together to find a cure for this disease.”

“By leveraging clinical and sample data collection systems built by the Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) with the support of the ALS Association and ALS Finding a Cure Foundation, enrollment of participants and sharing of data and samples will be accelerated,” said Merit Cudkowicz, MD, Chief of Neurology and Co-Director of the Neurological Clinical Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital and Co-Director of Answer ALS. “In partnership with our patients, their families and our NEALS research ambassadors, this collaborative project will accelerate finding treatments for people with ALS.”

The project will create the largest and most comprehensive foundation of ALS data ever amassed, encompassing clinical, chemical, genetic, protein, historical and biological data from an enormous sampling of ALS patients in the United States. In collaboration with machine learning and big data technology, the data will be mined to uncover ALS causes, subtypes, pathways gone awry and drug targets. This will establish a large and critical foundation for new clinical trials, develop new ways to categorize patients to identify specific druggable pathways and subtype biomarkers and disease pathophysiology to aid not only in early diagnosis of the disease, but also to monitor the efficacy of newly developed treatments.

This research project also could potentially provide deeper understanding of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Funded by Committed Private Donors

Answer ALS originated as a result of the 2013 ALS Team Gleason Summit, which brought together leading researchers, patients, caregivers and advocates. One of the most significant outcomes of the Summit was a plan to urgently find a treatment or cure for ALS. The event was spearheaded by former NFL player Steve Gleason who lives with ALS and founded the ALS advocacy group, Team Gleason.

A funding effort led by the Leandro P. Rizzuto Foundation and the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research has resulted in $20 million raised for Answer ALS thus far. The initial stakeholder funders are the National Football League, the PGA TOUR, ALS Finding a Cure (a project of the Leandro P. Rizzuto Foundation), Travelers, The Fishman Family and The Bari Lipp Foundation.

Their funding will launch this research project in the coming months. A total of approximately $25 million is needed to complete the first phase of the program. Funding will be coordinated through the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins University and Massachusetts General Hospital for the ALS Finding a Cure Foundation.

“I’ve always said, to change the course of this disease, as a community, we would have to be bigger than ALS,” said Gleason. “I believe that if we commit to this effort, on this scale, we will have meaningful results in our lifetime. Reaching this amount of fundraising success in such a short amount of time is inspiring. I dared capable individuals to step up and help solve ALS. These committed individuals and organizations have boldly answered that challenge.”

“The devastating impact of ALS was fully realized by the PGA TOUR’s extended family in 2004 when it tragically claimed the lives of caddie Bruce Edwards and member Jeff Julian, just months apart,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “And now we learn that one of our dear friends and longtime associates, Jay Fishman of Travelers, has been diagnosed with ALS. We are extremely proud to lend our support to this concerted effort to finding a cure for this terrible disease.”

Jay Fishman, Chairman and CEO of Travelers, who recently announced his ALS diagnosis, said, “After being diagnosed with ALS, I looked for the most aggressive project with the greatest possibility of yielding results through rapid benchmarks and milestones. This was that project.”

Fishman continued, “The passion, commitment and collaborative spirit of this expert group of scientists and clinicians are nothing short of remarkable. I am deeply impressed by their knowledge and dedication.”

“To accelerate development of treatments for people with ALS, we brought together a remarkable team of scientists, a true powerhouse, to answer one of the hardest and most important questions in the biology of ALS,” said Peter Foss, President of the ALS Finding a Cure Foundation, and General Manager of the GE/NFL TBI research project. “We support open, collaborative science that tackles fundamental therapy-driven questions and includes real-time community sharing of data. This is the best approach to accelerate finding a cure for all people with ALS.”

To learn more about the Answer ALS program or to get involved, please visit or call 1-800-490-2375.

Click here to read the entire press release 

Answer ALS

Zofia Consulting is a proud supporter and partner of Answer ALS!

Suzanne McDermott: “Global Branding on Ice”

disneyoniceWe have all seen the tragic mistakes made by corporate cultural blunders in their attempt to market globally. These failures could have been prevented with proper research, insight, and experience.  Products and services, no matter how fabulous and wanted, will never transcend local culture(s).  To be successful in a new territory means having a keen understanding of local traditions, ideology, dominant philosophies, languages, politics, and more.  Create corporate success by using intelligence to drive your organizational decisions.  That is our Philo-Zofia

Our own Suzanne McDermott writes about “Global Branding on Ice.” When creative assets leave US air space – Suzanne notes how important it is to ensure you know your audience and understand the local domains where you intend to operate.

“When you’re marketing a global brand, you need to be on your toes—especially when you’re promoting Disney On Ice. Produced by Feld Entertainment, the visual tour below gives you a sense of how our original materials migrated as the show made its way around the world. I’ve always been fascinating by what happens when creative assets leave US air space. Beginning with the key art, I hope you enjoy seeing how the work evolved from the US to Australia to several Asian markets.” -Read the rest at

Suzanne McDermottSuzanne is Zofia’s Senior Creative Services Advisor.  With over 20 years of global experience, her creative voice helps our clients envision success in new markets and with new resources. Learn more about Suzanne and our other advisors here.

Zofia Consulting CEO Highlighted by Johns Hopkins

An organization, a volunteer, and a community come together to support the Packard Center at Johns Hopkins

MichelleFarrRobert Packard Center for ALS Research
ALS advocate Michelle Farr hones in on collaboration to find a cure

Posted October 28, 2013

Michelle Farr knows first-hand that collaborative efforts lead to significant results. After 25 years of service in a number of government agencies, she is now CEO of a consulting company, Zofia Consulting, LLC,that brings together the expertise of a wide variety of disciplines in intelligence and security, and she also serves on the executive committee of the Innovative Solutions Consortium (ISC), a forum that promotes collaboration among industry leaders in the government. In her spare time, Farr is avidly involved in one of Johns Hopkins’ major hubs of collaborative science: the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins.

Malveaux_FarrRead the whole article here —>

Another article on the event from The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research Here —>!

Meeting Senator Murkowski on Innovation and Collaboration

MurkowskiToday I had the pleasure of meeting Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).  The 45-minute meeting was brought together by the Packard Center for ALS Research. Our goal was simply to highlight the recent partnership of the Innovative Solutions Consortium and the Packard Center – which we termed “collaborative businessSenator Lisa Murkowski meets collaborative science”.  In this fiscally constrained environment, innovation in science and industry is challenged to fund new ideas to tackle hard problems.  Our approach is simple – two heads are better than one…and four are better than two.

The more collaboration we can encourage and incentivize – the more apt we will be to answer challenges in national security and in science.  One area of interest shared by the Senator, the ISC, and the Packard Center (and yours truly) – is to advance research in neurodegenerative diseases and reveal prospects for new therapies.

I believe that the power of collaboration across industry and science – with the backing of Congressional leaders – will pave the way for answers to our wicked problems.  Every 90 minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with ALS.  ALS is one challenge most deserving of our immediate collective attention. Helping form these new powerful communities and bringing them to action on a shared mission is indeed a privilege.

-Michelle Farr

CEO, Zofia Consulting, LLC

Custom Zofia Totes are In! What makes them so special…


Our new totes are in! I thought they would be a great way to celebrate the upcoming holidays making them gifts to friends and clients (okay…so you know what you all are getting).  These totes are handmade by a beautiful artisan named Deb Quinn.  Each bag is expertly crafted, and unique. There are no two exactly alike!

Deb is extraordinary in many ways! First she opened her own little business where she could dedicate to her craft and talent – Designs by Quinn.  You can find her items on Facebook –

I encourage all my readers and clients to drop by and visit her virtual store.  I will be getting a few more items from there for sure!

But there is more to this story than just beautiful bags by a Made in the USA – Woman Owned Small Business.

Deb is currently fighting Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – More commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  It is a disease that runs in her family.  She discusses her story here:

Deb is a strong advocate for her family and other families fighting ALS.  She speaks publicly at a variety of forums and conferences.  She informs, educates and advocates for awareness of this rare disease and for improved resources.  She is an inspiration on so many levels and I admire the heck out of her.

To some people these may just be wonderfully cute Zofia Totes – but to me – they represent courage, creativity, and compassion. Yes – these are no ordinary totes!

I bet you wish you had one!!  Oh, you can! Check out her lovely creations and then Send Deb a note on Facebook!  

If you want one with a Zofia Logo on it (and I know you do!) – it will cost you $50.  All of which will be donated to the Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins.  Send me a note to and I will let you know how to get your own Zofia Tote! As you carry it – make sure you tell folks not just about Zofia – but about who made this bag and what it represents!

Have a great weekend!


CEO, Zofia Consulting

Organizational Intelligence, Knowledge Management, or Whatever….

Thought I might take a minute and relay a recent fantastic client meeting.  (All my clients are fantastic of course, but sometimes our interactions are so great…I have to share!).

In a recent conversation with my client (A CEO of a small company), we chatted about business fundamentals.  Sure I discussed all the recent advances in organizational learning, knowledge management, business intelligence (us and them stuff)…but we were left without a connection to the heart of his problem.

He told me, “Look – I have to make important decisions.  I need the right information to make the best decisions for MY clients”.  He continued, “I am overwhelmed with the BS of day-to-day, drive-by actions and reports…NONE of which tell me what I want to know.”

“I have decisions I have to make TODAY and I don’t have time to study this to death.”

Ok – put away all the fancy consulting speak. Out came the markers and paper…..I listened intently and captured his thoughts.  He didn’t know all the jargon of the knowledge/intelligence industry.  My client was quick to point that the latest “terms” were unimportant.  We could agree that it WAS important that he have processes and policies in place to enable his business to know how to find, assess, use and store RELEVANT information.

He wanted a way to know that his team was getting the very best information. He further acknowledged that his team (located in multiple geographic areas) had to be able to collaborate in open and closed media to advance their own knowledge.  At the end of the meeting, he said yes to installing a new approach to research, analysis and collaboration.

The approach was simple, rational and sound.  A strategy and implementation plan based in the fundamental principles of communication, enabled by some really cool technology.  NO fancy talk.  NO confounding crazy tools/gadgetry.

No need to get hi-tech…sometimes we get where we need to go with scratching it out on a piece of paper.  A few (not all) of the sketches from the meeting I posted here to share (please respect the CC license).




If you want to learn more about how Zofia can help develop your organizational approach to Organization Intelligence, Knowledge Management, (or whatever you want to call it)…drop us a note!

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