Chicago, IL, November 3, 2022
Sharon Watson, Easterseals
The Easterseals National Board of Directors has elected four new members including Erhardt Preitauer, President and CEO, CareSource; Mark Berryhill, CEO, Equal Pride; Craig Erlich, President and CEO, Friendly’s Restaurants; and Mark Whitley, President and CEO, Easterseals Southern California.
“Easterseals is honored to have the commitment of these exceptional corporate and nonprofit leaders as volunteer leaders on our National Board of Directors,” said Easterseals National Board Chair Dr. Catherine “Alicia” Georges. “Their diverse expertise and insight will help inform our work in leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access to education, healthcare, and employment through our life-changing services and powerful advocacy for the 61 million Americans with disabilities today, including veterans and seniors, to ensure they can fully participate in society.”
An accomplished healthcare executive with a track record of driving significant growth, profitability, innovation, and operational excellence, Preitauer joined CareSource in May of 2018 with two decades of transformational leadership and government-sponsored health plan expertise. Preitauer is a champion of technology and innovation in long term care. His career includes leadership positions with Horizon New Jersey Health, Aetna, WellCare Health Plans, and UnitedHealth Group. He holds a Bachelor of Science in finance and economics from the University of Nevada and earned a MBA degree from Penn State University. A current board member of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the Dayton Development Coalition, and the Ohio Business Roundtable, he previously served as Board Chair for the Medicaid Health Plans of America and as a board member of the Institute for Medicaid Innovation. In June of 2019, Preitauer was named by Glassdoor as one of the highest-rated CEOs in the country, ranking #20 on their annual list based on employee reviews.
As CEO of Equal Pride, Berryhill is leading the organization with his strong background in journalism, video, marketing, and branded content. His career has taken him from reporting to managing award-winning television newsrooms in Boston, San Franciso, and Pittsburgh, and he served as Vice President of news and marketing for the Meredith Broadcast Group then founded Meredith Video Solutions, taking brands like Better Homes and Gardens, Shape, and others to television, digital video, and branded content. Berryhill has served as a consultant for digital expansion to major publishers and broadcast groups for years and was President and Chief Content Officer for his company, Equal Entertainment, which acquired Pride Media, home to Out Magazine, The Advocate, and Pride.com, in June of 2022 and is rebranding as Equal Pride. He is active in the queer and equality communities when it comes to charity work, mentoring, and speaking engagements.
Erlich has been President and CEO of Friendly’s Restaurants for two years, revitalizing the iconic brand after he acquired the company as President and CEO of BRIX Holdings, a role he held for seven years. A strategic leader in retail operations, logistics, real estate, business development, team building, and marketing, Erlich has held leadership positions with CVS Health, Jo-Ann’s, and KB Toys. He currently sits on the Governing Board of Directors for Easterseals North Texas and has been a volunteer leader for Easterseals for more the past 15 years after serving as Vice President for Easterseals New York, Vermont, and Coastal Fairfield County from 2011 until 2013.
A lifelong disability advocate, Whitley is President and CEO of Easterseals Southern California. Since assuming that role more than 30 years ago, Whitley has overseen the organization’s growth from a $1.5M to a $330M+ organization, making it the largest of Easterseals’ 70 Affiliates nationwide. Currently serving more than 14,000 people through 70-plus services sites and hundreds of community partnership locations across Southern California, Easterseals Southern California offers the highest quality autism therapies, adult and senior day services, child development and early education programs, residential services, and employment services for people with disabilities and veterans. With a vision to make Southern California the most inclusive place in the country for people with disabilities to live, learn, work, and play, Whitley has developed a team of more than 2,600 professional staff committed to leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access for people with disabilities, veterans, and seniors in their communities through services and advocacy. The organization is the go-to disability inclusion organization in Hollywood and across media and entertainment, earning its reputation through award-winning multi-media campaigns as well as through the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge and the Media Access Awards Presented by Easterseals. Whitley began his career with Easterseals in 1976 as a recreation coordinator for Easterseals Arkansas and has held increasingly responsible positions throughout his tenure including at the Easterseals National Office in Chicago and as President of both Easterseals Utah and Easterseals Maryland before joining Easterseals Southern California.
Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access through life-changing disability and community services. For more than 100 years, we have worked tirelessly with our partners to enhance quality of life and expand local access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. And we won’t rest until every one of us is valued, respected, and accepted. Through our national network of Affiliates, Easterseals provides essential services and on-the-ground supports to more than 1.5 million people each year – from early childhood programs for the critical first five years, to autism services, medical rehabilitation and employment programs, veterans’ services, and more. Our public education, policy, and advocacy initiatives positively shape perceptions and address the urgent and evolving needs of the one in four Americans living with disabilities today. Together, we’re empowering people with disabilities, families, and communities to be full and equal participants in society. To learn more, visit www.easterseals.com.