GeneMatters Logo

About us

We founded GeneMattersTM with a passion to improve patient access to genetic counseling.

That spark ignited our scalable genetic counseling service.

About us

We founded GeneMattersTM with a passion to improve patient access to genetic counseling.

That spark ignited our scalable genetic counseling service.

Our scalable genetic counseling service is delivered via a web- and telephone-based platform. We partner with hospitals, health networks, clinics, academic research centers and genetic labs, to customize our service for you.

We’re excited to meet with you to learn how we work together to increase timely access to genetic counselors.

The need for genetic counseling

With exponential expansion of research and clinical knowledge in genetics and genetic testing, more patients are in need of genetic counseling. In addition, acceleration of the volume of test choices adds to the complexity, requiring focused clinical expertise of genetic counselors to guide informed decisions.

Scope and complexity of genetics field1





Growth drivers

Large-scale precision medicine initiatives
Empowered patients driving answers
New DNA analysis technologies
Genomic research growing exponentially
Society guidelines based on genomic research

1 NCBI The Genetic Testing Registry (GTR®)Accessed 1/26/18

Shortage of genetic counselors

But the genetic counseling infrastructure can’t match the trajectory. And patients face long wait times or may not have access to a genetic counselor in their area. Organizations may struggle to budget and staff for fluctuating demand or even to fill open positions. We answer that need.

Role of a Genetic Counselor

A genetic counselor is a healthcare professional with specialized training in genetics and counseling. A genetic counselor is critical to pair with genetic testing, to help a patient understand genetic health, decide if genetic testing is right for them, and if so, receive a recommendation for appropriate tests. Following testing, a genetic counselor helps a patient understand and process the results of genetic testing in order to make informed healthcare decisions.

Patients may need genetic counseling for a variety of medical reasons, such as:

  • Having a family history of a genetic condition and wanting to know their risk or their children’s risk
  • Being diagnosed with a genetic condition
  • Wanting to assess if they have an undiagnosed condition that may be genetic
  • Having a family member recently diagnosed with a genetic condition and wanting to understand their personal risk
  • Planning to get pregnant or are having difficulty getting pregnant
  • Receiving abnormal results from a routine pregnancy screening
  • Wanting to learn more about screening options for diseases more common in certain ethnic groups

Certifications and licensure

All of our genetic counselors have master’s degrees through programs recognized by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling and are board-certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and/or Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors. We have genetic counselors to provide services in all U.S. states, including states that require an additional license to practice. Our genetic counselors also receive continual training and education to stay abreast of the rapidly advancing field of genetics.

Our Leadership

To partner with you, we built a team with deep expertise in genetics—from our founder, Jill Davies, a pioneer in the field of genetic counseling, to our seasoned genetic counselors, senior leaders and advisors. We have genetic counselors across all medical specialties, with licensure in every U.S. state.

We also brought together leaders that understand health care business needs and a seasoned technology team to develop our intuitive online platform. As a portfolio company of Invenshure, we have the investment and resources to quickly scale to meet growing demand.

Most of all, we all share the passion for helping patients—they are who drive us every day.

Jill Davies, MS, CCGC

Jill Davies, MS, CCGC, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Jill Davies is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer for GeneMatters. Prior to joining GeneMatters in 2016, Jill was Director of Genetics at the Medcan Clinic in Toronto where she was responsible for developing and delivering leading-edge clinical genomics services. With over 15 years of experience in the genetic counseling field, Jill has broad expertise across clinical services, product development, business development and operations. She has a special interest in the role of genomics in primary care and preventive medicine as well as the use of technology to enable access to genomic information and services.

Mark Sylvester

Mark Sylvester, Chief Financial Officer

Mark is currently the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for GeneMatters and Invenshure, LLC. Previously, Mark was the CFO at The Emily Program, where he oversaw accounting, finance, payroll, and financial analytics. During his tenure, Mark sat on the board of directors, was a member of the senior leadership team, structured a debt and equity recapitalization, and was instrumental in business development during a period of rapid growth. Mark received his J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law and B.A. from Saint John’s University.

Kiley Johnson, MS, LCGC

Kiley Johnson, MS, LCGC, Senior Director, Clinical Operations

Kiley Johnson is Senior Director of Clinical Operations for GeneMatters. Prior to joining GeneMatters, Kiley was a genetic counselor at Mayo Clinic for 8.5 years where she had a broad range of clinical experience and was integral to the development of the Individualized Medicine Clinic, focused on utilizing new clinical technologies for patient care. Her clinical experiences furthered in the world of telemedicine as a Senior Genetic Counselor with InformedDNA. Kiley also has prior experience with Ariosa/Roche Diagnostics where she was a Medical and Scientific Liaison for 2 years, educating clinicians on Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT). Kiley's special interest is bringing new genomic technologies to patient care, with an emphasis on patient education and patient-centered decision making.

Darlene Haven

Darlene Haven, Senior Director, Marketing

Darlene Haven is Senior Director of Marketing for GeneMatters. Prior to joining GeneMatters, Darlene led Medical Marketing for Be The Match, where she directed market strategy for global cancer center services, improved referrals for cancer patients through medical education and market development, and directed marketing implementation for the clinical research program and other divisions. Her career in healthcare marketing spans oncology pharmaceuticals, healthcare services and medical devices, leading commercialization strategies, market analysis, product development and clinical education. Her passion is to improve patients’ access to care.

Elisa Poquette

Elisa Poquette, Director, Product Development

Elisa has deep background in user experience design and product management. She has led digital product teams and helped commercialize products in healthcare and scientific research. Her goal is to improve interactions between people and technology and to continually advance the GeneMatters telehealth platform.

Our Team

Alison Payne

Alison Payne - MS, LCGC
Genetic Counselor


Andy Altepeter
Senior Software Engineer


David Schommer
Software Engineer


Cherie Rao - MS, LCGC
Genetic Counselor


Erik Anderson
Systems Administrator

Erin Ash

Erin Ash - MS, LCGC
Genetic Counselor


Hanah Cytron
Genetic Counseling Assistant


Jennifer MacLean - MS, CCGC, CGC
Genetic Counselor


Judit Alfoldi
Software Engineer

Kelly Morse

Kelly Morse - MS, LCGC
Genetic Counselor


Rawan Awwad - MS, LCGC
Genetic Counselor

Samantha Brovold

Samantha Brovold - MS, LCGC
Genetic Counselor

Steve Sheldon

Steve Sheldon
Systems Administrator

Tammy Miller

Tammy Miller
Manager of Marketing and Communications

Advisory Board

Heather Zierhut, MS, PhD, CGC, Chair

Heather Zierhut, MS, PhD, CGC, Chair

Heather Zierhut is the Assistant Professor and the Associate Director of the Graduate Program of Study in Genetic Counseling at the University of Minnesota. Heather brings expertise through involvement in clinical, research, laboratory and public health. Heather has served as National Society of Genetic Counselors Access and Service Delivery Committee Chair where she developed a passion for increasing efficiency and access to genetic counseling. Heather serves as Senior Advisor for GeneMatters to provide expertise on the integration and implementation of innovative, evidence-based genetic counseling services and testing into new and growing markets.

Brent Backhaus

Brent Backhaus

Brent Backhaus is COO for Verata Analytics and Founder of Living Window. Prior to his current role as an advisor for GeneMatters, Brent served as the CTO to lead technical implementation of the telehealth platform. Previous to this position, Brent was the CTO at VRAD from its original incorporation through preparation of IPO, and is lead inventor on the VRAD patent portfolio. Brent has extensive experience with federal government contracts, including leading the winning proposal team for the multi-billion dollar Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) contract. Brent earned SB and SM degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Colleen Caleshu, ScM, CGC

Colleen Caleshu, ScM, CGC

Colleen Caleshu leads the genetic counseling team at the Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease and is Clinical Assistant Professor (affiliated) at Stanford University. Her clinical work focuses on inherited arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies. Colleen’s research interests include genetic test interpretation, integration of genetic counselors into cardiology, psychosocial aspects of cardiovascular genetics, and mindfulness training in genetic counselors. She served as vice-chair of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Education committee and as Chair of the NSGC Cardiovascular Special Interest Group.

Gillian Hooker, PhD, ScM, LCGC

Gillian Hooker, PhD, ScM, LCGC

Gillian Hooker is VP of Clinical Development for the Nashville-based Health IT firm, Concert Genetics. She holds a PhD in Molecular Genetics, her ScM in Genetic Counseling and has studied outcomes of genetic counseling and testing in several different settings. She is past-chair of the NSGC Practice Guidelines Committee and currently serves on the NSGC Board of Directors.

Thomas Musci, MD, FACOG, FACMG

Thomas Musci, MD, FACOG, FACMG

Thomas Musci is Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer at BioCeryx, Inc., a molecular diagnostic platform company. He is the former Chief Medical Officer of Ariosa Diagnostics, now part of Roche Diagnostics. Dr. Musci is board-certified in clinical genetics and maternal fetal medicine and was tenured faculty at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. He has served on genetic policy committees for both American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG).

Paul Owen

Paul Owen

Paul Owen is Chief Executive Officer, OneOme. Prior to OneOme, Paul led global commercialization for Invitae, a San Francisco-based hereditary disease diagnostics company. Prior to Invitae, Paul served as Vice Chair of Global Business Development for Mayo Clinic and leader of Mayo Medical Laboratories’ global commercial team – one of the world’s largest full-service reference labs. Prior to that, Paul held leadership roles at what is now Zimmer-Biomet and at Boston Scientific, both highly competitive, cutting-edge, and fast-paced organizations.

Sara Pirzadeh-Miller, MS, CGC

Sara Pirzadeh-Miller, MS, CGC

Sara Pirzadeh-Miller is the Assistant Director for the cancer genetics program at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and Fort Worth, TX. The program, which employees 14 genetic counselors, serves over 4,000 patients per year in hereditary cancer risk assessment through more than 20 locations in North Texas, including one of the largest service lines for indigent populations in this space nationally. Under her leadership, the program has received numerous grants to increase access to services using group counseling, telehealth, and other alternative service delivery models. She was a former Cancer SIG chair and recently was awarded the Cultural Competency Award by the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

Brittany Thomas, MS, CGC

Brittany Thomas, MS, CGC

Brittany Thomas is the Genetic Counselor Supervisor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Brittany leads the team in the development and delivery of new laboratory tools, educational strategies and operational plans. Recently she has worked to establish clinical utility of multi-gene cancer panels. She also recently co-edited the only textbook on laboratory genetic counseling.

Whatever your need for a genetic counseling service for patients, we're happy to meet with you to help brainstorm or solve. Whether or not you decide to move forward with us, we can help you decide how to meet your patients needs.

Let's connect