President & Chief Executive Officer
Eleanor Garrow-Holding has worked, educated, and advocated in the food allergy community since 2004. She was inspired to start this work after her son, Thomas, was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies to tree nuts, peanut, wheat, and sesame; eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) triggered by milk and wheat; asthma; and environmental allergies. In December 2015, Thomas had a food challenge with wheat and passed. He is no longer IgE-allergic to wheat. After a 3-month trial with wheat and another 3-month trial with milk (post wheat) in his diet and upper endoscopies, he has also outgrown the wheat and milk triggers for EoE and is in remission from EoE as of July 2016. As of October 2019, Thomas has now outgrown peanut, almond, sesame, and brazil nut and continues to avoid walnut, cashew, pecan, hazelnut, and pistachio.
As CEO of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT), Eleanor provides leadership, development, and implementation for all of FAACT’s initiatives and programs, including Camp TAG (The Allergy Gang) – a summer camp for children with food allergies and their siblings that Eleanor founded in 2009. Eleanor has a Bachelor of Healthcare Administration degree from Lewis University in Romeoville, IL, and worked in hospital management for 16 years in Chicago and suburban Chicago prior to working in the nonprofit sector.
After Thomas was diagnosed in 2004, Eleanor established a food allergy support group in a southwest Chicago suburb, Parents of Children Having Allergies (POCHA) of Will County, focusing on education and advocacy; chaired the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy in Chicago in 2007 and 2008; was awarded the FAAN Muriel C. Furlong Award for Community Service in 2008; and advocated in the Illinois state legislature on food allergy and Eosinophilic Disorders (EGID, EoE) issues. Thanks to the efforts of Eleanor and other patient advocates, legislation to ensure insurance coverage for elemental formulas was signed into law in 2007 and legislation establishing food allergy management guidelines for Illinois schools was signed into law in 2009.
Eleanor joined the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network™ (FAAN) in 2009 as Vice President of Education and Outreach, where she oversaw educational initiatives, all food allergy conferences, the Teen Summit, Camp TAG (The Allergy Gang), a Teen Advisory Group, support group development, and more. She advocated for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Management Act (FAAMA) in Washington, DC, with her son Thomas as part of FAAN’s Kids Congress on Capitol Hill. She also advocated on Capitol Hill for the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. Eleanor served on the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) expert panel for the "Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs". Eleanor has also conducted numerous radio, television, and print interviews on food allergy issues and wrote articles for Allergic Living and Living Without magazines. She continues to present at national and regional conferences about food allergy management in school and restaurant settings and educates personnel in schools and school districts across the country on food allergy management in schools. Eleanor has also educated staff from numerous food industry companies and entertainment venues about food allergies, such as McDonald’s Corporation, The Hain Celestial Group, Mars Chocolate North America, and all SeaWorld Parks.
In 2013, Eleanor joined the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders (CCED) as Senior Specialist of Program Management at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center for one year. There she led day-to-day clinical operations, clinical research projects, program development, marketing, and development.
Now, leading the charge at FAACT, Eleanor and the FAACT Leadership Team will provide the education, advocacy, awareness, and grassroots outreach needed for the food allergy community. Eleanor serves on the DBV Technologies Peanut Allergy Patient Advisory Board, the National Peanut Board's Allergy Education Advisory Council, Sea World's Allergy Resource Team, and Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) Food Allergen Control Committee. In August 2015, Eleanor was inducted into The National Association of Professional Women's (NAPW) VIP Professional of the Year Circle for her commitment to healthcare and nonprofit industries. FAACT is The Voice of Food Allergy Awareness!
Amelia G. Smith, JD
Vice President of Civil Rights Advocacy
Amelia G. Smith, a native of Tupelo, Mississippi, practiced law in a variety of areas as a managing member of Pipkin & Murphree, PLLC before joining McLaurin Law Offices, pllc. Amelia received her B.A. in English from Mississippi University for Women and her Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi, where she concentrated on civil rights and employment discrimination.
After her son, Robert, was diagnosed with food allergies, Amelia founded Food Allergic Children’s Education in Tupelo (“FACE IT”), the only support and education organization for families with food allergies in Mississippi at the time. Once she learned about the challenges students and families with food allergies face in childcare centers and schools, Amelia developed an interest in special education law. She is a 2012 graduate of William & Mary School of Law’s Institute of Special Education Advocacy. Amelia is admitted to the Bars of the State of Mississippi, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She is a member of the Mississippi Bar Association, Lee County Bar Association, and Lee County Young Lawyers Association.
As a member of the FAACT Leadership Team, Amelia’s focus will be on Civil Rights Advocacy, advocating for food-allergic individuals’ rights to safely and equally participate in activities alongside their non-allergic peers.
Natascia Simone, MBA
Natascia Simone, a native of Connecticut, has been heavily involved in the food allergy community for over ten years. Her interest in the healthcare industry stems from her early diagnosis of a life-threatening allergy to tree-nuts at seven-years-old. She had adult-onset with shellfish allergy. Starting as a volunteer for FAACT’s Camp TAG in New Jersey in 2010, she grew into the position of Brand Ambassador and Spokesperson, and Natascia now serves as FAACT’s Program Director. She has represented FAACT at various national conferences, as well as serving as a leader for FAACT’s annual Teen Retreat. She is a role model for children, teenagers and young adults, as a young adult herself. She shares her stories and experiences of various aspects of life, including: middle/high school, college, dating, traveling, dining out, work life, etc. As a world traveler, she has a global perspective on how to manage food allergies abroad. Her passion and dedication to the food allergy community and the FAACT family is valued by many individuals across the country.
Natascia received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Connecticut, with a concentration in Healthcare Management, and a Bachelor of Business in Marketing Communications & Advertising from Western New England University. Following graduation, she served as a MBA Intern in the Medical Staff Administration at Yale New Haven Hospital working on various health & wellness initiatives.
Natascia is also involved in the Miss America Scholarship Organization. She currently holds the title of Miss Mountain Laurel 2019 and competed for the title of Miss Connecticut 2019 in June. Representing the state flower, during her reign she has the flexibility to serve various communities across Connecticut sharing her social impact, Food Allergy Advocacy: Empowering a Healthy Lifestyle. She founded the program “Be Aware, Share & Prepare” in 2013, which focuses on steps to further educate those with and without food allergies and how to manage mental and physical health issues that may arise due to having a food allergy. She also encourages and sparks interest in young women to become business leaders and be part of breaking the glass ceiling.
As FAACT’s Program Director, Natascia will manage logistics of all programs and events, such as Camp TAG, Food Industry & Research Summit, Leadership Summit, Teen Retreat, and more. Natascia will also continue to educate and advocate for families and individuals living with food allergies and anaphylaxis.
Director of Support Group Development
Lisa is a native of Ohio who currently lives in Michigan with her husband and two sons. Lisa has been managing food allergies since 2011, when her oldest son was diagnosed with a peanut and tree nut allergy at the age of three years old. Lisa knows first-hand how isolating and overwhelming it can be when you first get a food allergy diagnosis, and she is dedicated to supporting, educating, and connecting other people living with food allergies. Lisa is the Founder of a food allergy group called No Nuts Moms Group and Co-Leader of a local support group called FACES of Michigan. Her passions are her family and educating others about food allergies.
When Lisa’s son was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, she learned as much as she could to educate herself and everyone around her about food allergies. She soon realized that going on play dates with other kids was going to be challenging and searched everywhere for a food allergy group offering play dates for moms and children with food allergies. Lisa’s search ended in a dead end, so she decided to start her own group for food-allergic families looking to meet and connect with others in the area. The word about No Nuts Moms Group quickly spread, and requests for local groups in the United States and Canada came rolling in. Lisa gave other moms a chance to start their own local groups, and now No Nuts Moms Group is internationally known for supporting and connecting people with food allergies. When Lisa started the group, she had no idea about the impact she would make in the food allergy community. Lisa has helped thousands of families across the country.
Lisa has set up educational food allergy booths at local schools and other venues in Michigan. By doing so, she has reached out to other families that didn’t have access to epinephrine for their children and didn’t understand the seriousness of food allergies and anaphylaxis. She also plans food-free events for food-allergic families, such as Halloween and Easter events. Lisa was also instrumental in getting the Stock Epinephrine Bill passed into law in Michigan.
As FAACT’s Director of Support Group Development, Lisa will manage support group development throughout the country, as well as FAACT's education initiatives for the school setting and more. She will also continue to educate and raise awareness for those living with food allergies and anaphylaxis.