Please meet our esteemed Board of Directors. Thank you all for believing in our mission.
Founder - Executive Director
Ava’s Heart Founder, Ava Kaufman is herself a heart transplant recipient. Eight years ago, having always been very healthy, a rare autoimmune disease left her in dire need of an emergency heart transplant. The enormous expense and strain caused her to lose her successful business, marriage and home. Observing firsthand the service gaps for post-transplant patients, Ava vowed to create a systemic change so that others facing organ transplant could find more support, guidance, and resources, honed for their unique situation. Her passion fueled her determination and founded Ava’s Heart.
TV Host & Producer
Karla Gordy Bristol is CEO of Gordy Bristol Entertainment, a host of the television show, “Beverly Hills View”, host and producer of a live social media show, “Karla Dawn Live” and an entertainment producer. She grew up in the entertainment industry with many legendary family influences, and formerly worked at Motown Records. Karla’s earlier years began as a professional dancer, instructor, and choreographer from an American Bandstand regular, to Lionel Richie and Smokey Robinson music videos, to international stage shows and concerts. After a colorful career in entertainment and real estate sales, executive producing ten short films, “Destination Beverly Hills”, on her home city was rewarding.
Karla is passionate about helping others and making a difference. She is the co-founder of Friends of Fuller B. Gordy and is co-producing their 11th annual entertainment Strikefest extravaganza, where they honor non-profits. She’s been on various boards, been honored and recognized by State Congressional Leaders, and the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills City Councils, and she’s especially honored to be on the board of Ava’s Heart Foundation and to be an Ava’s Heart Hero Award recipient. The stories of the transplant patients and witnessing Ava Kaufman’s compassionate heart, compel her to help with their mission.
Karla’s grateful for her experiences, teachings and lessons learned from her parents, Iris Gordy, a former Motown Records vice president and executive producer, and the late Johnny Bristol, a Grammy nominated songwriter and artist, and producer, which taught her to show kindness to others.
Musician, Producer, Composer
Tommy Coster’s life has revolved around music from conception. At the age of 9, Tommy found himself on-stage playing keyboards in front of 60,000 people with Eric Clapton and that was only the beginning. Tommy’s father, Tom Coster, has been a fixture on the Jazz and Rock scene for more than three decades, perhaps best known for his keyboard work with Santana.
Tommy’s songwriting career began very early in life when he co-wrote the song “Zulu” in 1977 with Carlos Santana for Santana’s Moonflower album. The record went gold and Tommy was just 12 years old when he received his first gold record award.
At the age of 19 Tommy decided to moved to Boston in 1986 to attend Berklee College Of Music where he studied jazz composition . Since that time, Tommy has gone on to produce, play, and write on his father’s Jazz records including such players as Dennis Chambers, Michael Brecker, Mark Isham, Steve Smith, Frank Gambale, Armando Peraza, Scott Henderson, Dean Brown, Walter A., and Randy Jackson, to name a few.
Tommy in 1992 moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Los Angeles where he began the next chapter of his musical journey. It was in 1999 that he met Dr. Dre through his dear friend Dennis Chambers. The first collaborative project that Tommy and Dre shared was Eminem’s second record project entitled “The Marshall Mathers LP”. One of the many results of this collaboration was the writing of “The Real Slim Shady” which went on to sell over 25 million units globally. Tommy went on to score several film trailers for films such as “Serving Sara” with Matthew Perry and Elizabeth Hurley, “Barbershop” with Ice Cube and Cedric The Entertainer, and many more. Later Tommy would go on to co-write on 50 Cent’s first record, and contribute as a keyboardist on “The Game”, “D-12”. “Ice Cube”, “Snoop” and many others.
All in all Tommy has contributed to projects totaling over 75 Million units sold. Tommy’s work has been globally recognized with gold and platinum awards from all over the world including a Diamond Award from the RIAA certifying more than 10,000,000 units were sold for the “The Marshall Mather LP” in the United States alone, which only 140 projects in the history of the music industry have ever achieved.
Along with a philanthropic motif that is always playing in Tommy’s life, he has gone on to vertical into becoming and entertainment entrepreneur discovering pioneering technologies and architectures that discover and monetize IP in an attempt to preserve an industry that needs the young and talented artists of tomorrow. Like Quincy Jones said to Tommy one day years ago, “you’re the future of music”.
As an art entrepreneur, university administrator and educator Victoria Franklin has consistently mentored and guided young professionals in their pursuit of successful careers and continues to make significant contributions to Los Angeles civic life.
Her leadership roles have included Chairperson and Commissioner South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission, National Health Service Corps Ambassador, New York Sister Cities Commission Cultural Exchange Chair (linking New York and Tokyo), UCLA Transportation Service Advisory Board Chair, Susan B. Komen Foundation Circle of Promise Advisory Board, Member of the City of Los Angeles and South Bay Workforce Development Boards and Beverly Hills Lions Club.
Victoria received her BA in World Cultures with an emphasis in Art History at UCLA prior to earning her MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA.
Lifelong Non Profit Advocate and Death Survivor
Joe Lafferty is his name and he likes to be funny but “isn’t average” and his story is no “joke.” He is a former sports business professional and current author, coach, speaker, and advocate for cancer, organ donation, and kidney health.
Born in Pittsburgh, Joe was diagnosed with Lymphoma at age 8. After two years of aggressive chemotherapy/radiation treatments, Joe was declared cancer-free. During this time he was a nationally ranked swimmer and found his first true love, football.
Then at age 12 he became the “poster kid” for the Leukemia Society of Pittsburgh, speaking at events and befriending star athletes and celebrities starting his lifetime of Appreciation Advocacy.
At 13, Joe was diagnosed as an insulin-dependent diabetic, a side effect of the chemotherapy. Despite this, he played football at Woodland Hills High School, and college football for Mercyhurst University. Joe returned home to coach at his alma mater before traveling the country for a series of sports business jobs.
Joe worked for notable sports organizations, including the Orange Bowl, the Dallas Cowboys, and the University of Memphis. At 30, he contracted a staph infection and had one eye removed. He returned to Pittsburgh, which had developed into a world renown medical community and resumed coaching at Woodland Hills. He remained there for many years, coaching 12 future NFL players including current standouts, Quinton Jefferson,(Seahawks) Rob Gronkowski(Buccaneers) and Miles Sanders(Eagles) All this despite his declining health due to organ failure, they thought.
To be eligible for an organ transplant, Doctors needed to repair an issue Lafferty didn’t know he had. Radiation from his cancer treatment likely damaged two heart valves which worsened over the years. They needed to be immediately replaced. In July of 2008 he had successful surgery but three days later flatlined in his hospital bed after being awake, aware, and asking breakfast. An amazing team of frontline heroes at UPMC Montefiore hospital never stopped. Seven minutes and they brought Joe back to life.
Six months later he was listed on the kidney/Pancreas block transplant list expecting a two to three year wait.
In February 2010, “Unstoppable Coach Ha-Ha” received a new kidney and pancreas. He soon learned the organs were donated by a 16-year-old, Justin, who’d suffered brain death in a car accident.
Joe co-wrote a book, Justin Time: A Memoir of Faith and the Fight for Life, that chronicles his fascinating life and honors the memory of his donor.
He is also an active board member for OurLegacy, an OPO serving all of central Florida, along with Ava Kaufman is a “Real Life Expert” or Donate Life Hollywood and works with the National Kidney Foundation. Two years and two weeks to the day of his transplant this then thirty-nine year old bachelor met Jennifer, the love of his life.
As a former New Yorker, Sidra Franklin LoCurto began volunteering at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Upon her arrival in LA in 1996, she started volunteering at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She was assigned to the Emergency Department where she is still active after 21 years. In addition, Sidra received her hospice and bereavement training and worked with patients at Cedars-Sinai until the dissolution of those programs. She became a member of Pet Partners and visited patients at Cedars-Sinai with her Chihuahua Taj for the past six years. She visited with many patients who were awaiting heart transplants and offered support weekly.
When Sidra met Ava Kaufman in a dance class, Ava shared her story and they immediately bonded. Sidra was so impressed with Ava’s Heart Foundation and passion for her cause, that she knew that it was kismet that they met. Sidra is so proud to be a board member of Ava’s Heart Foundation. Sidra is an interior and landscape designer and has an eponymous business. Her husband Sal and her 16 year old son Wil are the lights of her life in addition to her 5 rescue dogs.
Senior Vice President of Sales, CareDx
Greg is an experienced Vice President of Sales and Commercial Operations with a demonstrated history of working in the biotechnology industry. Greg is an experienced and successful sales professional and leader skilled in Negotiation, Sales, Medical Devices, Sales Operations, and Sales Management.
Currently as Senior Vice President of Sales at CareDx, Greg manages day to day commercial operations for CareDx’s services category including solutions for transplant patients to monitor the health of the allograft. Leading a team of highly successful individuals, Greg and team have launched AlloSure in the United States.
Previously, Greg held positions as Vice President of Sales at Boston Heart Diagnostics, and managerial positions at SpectraCell Laboratories and ALCiS Health.
Greg is very connected to the field of transplantation both professionally and personally. Greg’s 6 year old daughter, Madelyn, received a heart transplant in 2015 and is now a thriving 1st grader who is full of life. Greg is very proud to be part of an organization who is dedicated to transplant patients and committed to improving patient outcomes through innovative, non-invasive testing solutions throughout the entire patient journey.
President Walter Properties - Palm Springs Hilton