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Tharan Leopold

President and Executive Director

Connect with Tharan on LinkedIn and Twitter

How are you connected to lupus and/or related autoimmune diseases? 
I myself live with an autoimmune disease and have friends and family members who likewise live with autoimmune diseases such as Celiac Diseases and Multiple Sclerosis. It is estimated that one in five Americans lives with one of the 80+ defined autoimmune diseases. The likelihood that you know someone who lives with an autoimmune disease is great.

What do you hope to accomplish and contribute as a board member for Lupus Link Minnesota? 
While not a voting member of the board, I get the honor to work with a fantastic and growing board. They have accomplished so much in a short period of time and continue to make strides in advancing the mission and vision of Lupus Link Minnesota.

Let's hear your best pitch: Why should someone support Lupus Link Minnesota? 
Simply put – because lupus (and all autoimmune diseases) don't take a vacation from attacking a person's immune system! Your support is vital in order to grow greater awareness about lupus and related autoimmune diseases on a statewide level and to reach for new advancements in a cure of this invisible autoimmune disease. Your support advances our vision of "Awareness Today. A Cure Tomorrow."

Tell us about your family. 
My wife Ruth and I met in graduate school and have three energetic boys: Sam (16), Max (13) and Miles (10). They keep us on our toes … from guitar and cello lessons, to swim meets, to Boy Scouts, theatre productions, and 4-H! Needless to say, I typically don't have a hard time falling asleep at night. Our dog Wylie joined our family several years ago from a rescue shelter.

Name a hero of yours. Why that person?
A person I admire and who has been an inspiration to me is Dennis (Jon) Ginther. He was the first person to hire me out of college and served as a great mentor and role model to me for the first 12+ years of my career. He has a strong work ethic, is fair and professional in his approach, and has such a great outlook on the importance of an optimistic mindset.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 
Is there such a thing? The things I enjoy most are traveling and learning about new places and cultures, camping, and listening to a good podcast. Eventually I'd like to get back into running since I've done a handful of marathons and half marathons.

What's one thing that would surprise us about you? 
I worked at a radio station part-time in graduate school as an on-air host.

Any other final thoughts you wish to share?
I hope through reading these Meet the Board segments that you have gained a good feel for our board members. They are people like you and me with a true desire to champion for lupus awareness, education, and research. As we bring on new board members, we will make sure to introduce you! And look forward to meeting them at upcoming events.