| The Marfan Foundation


Each year, Heartworks New York City honors leaders in the medical, philanthropic, and corporate world for their contribution to the Marfan syndrome and related disorders community.  A partial list of past honoress include Dr. Wayne Isom, Dr. Valentin Fuster, Randy Falco, Ann Reinking, Merck & Company, Jeffrey Le Sage, and Dr. Hal Dietz.

We are pleased to announce our 2017 honorees:

Heroes with a Heart Honorees

Dr. Joseph Coselli, Professor of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine

Vice-Chair, Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery
Professor, Chief and Cullen Foundation Endowed Chair
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Dr. Coselli is the Vice-Chair of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, holds the Cullen Foundation Endowed Chair, and is Professor and Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine.  He serves as Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery at Texas Heart Institute and Associate Chief of the Cardiovascular Service at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas.  He is Program Director of the Thoracic Surgery Residency at THI/BCM and directs the Aortic Fellowship Program at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Coselli specializes in the evaluation and surgical treatment of diseases of the aorta, and was mentored by the pioneering aortic surgeon, E. Stanley Crawford.  A Houston native, he received an introduction to cardiothoracic surgery from Dr. Denton Cooley, and as a surgical resident, was instructed by Dr. Michael DeBakey.  Dr. Coselli has performed more than 10,000 repairs of the aorta and more than 3,450 repairs of thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms, for which he is world-renowned.  He has published more than 400 medical manuscripts and delivered more than 600 presentations in 27 countries.  His involvement with The Marfan Foundation includes receiving the Antoine Marfan Award (1997) in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of Marfan syndrome and cardiovascular and aortic valve surgery; he is also a member of the Professional Advisory Board of The Marfan Foundation. 

Sinclair Li

Executive Vice President, CBRE Inc.

Sinclair Li is an Executive Vice President at CBRE, Inc., the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm serving owners, investors, and occupiers.  He was born and raised in Syracuse, NY and graduated from Binghamton University with a B.A. in Economics.   Prior to CBRE, Inc. he worked at Deutsche Bank and Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Sinclair survived an aortic dissection in 2011 at the age of 35 which was discovered during a routine checkup. He credits the amazing work of his surgeon Dr. Abe DeAnda, formerly of NYU, and cardiologist Dr. Alexandra Stern of NYU, with his subsequent recovery and return to health. Sinclair has since been diagnosed, as have both of his sons, with a Marfan related genetic disorder.  His father passed at the age of 51 in 1996 from an aortic dissection as a result of the same disorder.  Following his diagnosis, Sinclair began devoting a substantial amount of time to The Marfan Foundation to raise awareness and funding for research. 

Sinclair currently lives in Manhattan with his wife of 11 years, Robyn, and their sons Preston (7) and Simon (2).

Inspiration of Excellence Award

This year The Marfan Foundation will be presenting its first ever Inspiration of Excellence Award to:

Karen Murray

Chief Executive Officer, Sequential Brands Group

Karen Murray joined Sequential Brands Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:SQBG) as CEO and member of the Board of Directors in 2017, and brings with her over 30 years of experience managing consumer brands in both licensing and operating businesses.   

Prior to joining Sequential, Ms. Murray spent nearly 10 years at VF Sportswear, a wholly owned subsidiary of VF Corporation, one of the world’s largest apparel makers. At VF Sportswear, Ms. Murray served as President and oversaw the $1.2 billion global brand, Nautica, as well as Kipling. Prior to that, she was President of its Nautica Men's Sportswear and Nautica Jeans Company businesses.

Ms. Murray began her career at Gant, where she remained for nine years before transitioning to Liz Claiborne. She assumed many different roles throughout her tenure at Claiborne, including President from 1998 to 2007. 

Shortly after her son Michael was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome in 1996, Ms. Murray began to volunteer to advance all areas of The Marfan Foundation’s mission: education, support, and research.

She has told and retold the story of her Marfan journey with Michael – reliving this scary time in her life for the benefit of others. She has recounted her experience to a range of media outlets – The Today Show and CNN, Doctor Radio, Woman’s Day, and the Wall Street Journal – to increase awareness of Marfan syndrome and related disorders and help others get diagnosed so they can receive life-saving treatment. After she appeared on the Today Show, she spoke with dozens of people, empathizing with them, sharing their stories, and providing them with information as well as an understanding ear.

Karen was elected to The Marfan Foundation Board of Directors in 1998. She currently serves as Chair of the Board, and in that role has helped set the vision for the Foundation. She has also served on the fundraising, education and awareness, and research committees, where her business experience and expertise have contributed greatly to the strategic planning and growth of these essential program areas. 

Through her passion, commitment, and advocacy, she has secured donations that helped fund a $7 million clinical trial to determine the best medication to slow aortic growth, the life-threatening aspect of Marfan and related disorders, and was instrumental in securing seed money for a critical multi-center study comparing the gold standard aortic surgery and a newer surgery that repairs the aorta while sparing the aortic valve. 

Karen is probably best known for her role as corporate host of Heartworks for the past 18 years. Since she became involved in the event, Heartworks has grown from a small gathering to the largest single fundraiser for The Marfan Foundation, raising millions of dollars to improve and extend the lives of those living with Marfan syndrome and related disorders.

The Marfan Foundation is proud to honor Karen with the first Inspiration of Excellence Award to recognize and applaud her many contributions to the Marfan syndrome and related disorders community.