Kenneth Mendez became CEO and President of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) in early 2018. He came to AAFA from AdvaMed, the world’s largest medical technology association, where he served as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for 12 years.
Mendez’s career has bridged the corporate and non-profit sectors. Early in his career, he worked on Wall Street in investment banking and then in business development at The Walt Disney Company. His career focus evolved to the non-profit sector based on a connection to causes about which he is passionate. Mendez, an avid fly fisherman, left Walt Disney to become the Chief Operating Officer of the nonprofit, Trout Unlimited, America’s largest cold-water fisheries conservation organization. Based on his success at Trout Unlimited, he was recruited by AdvaMed to develop and launch new business initiatives, manage business operations and lead strategic planning. He has built his career in the senior leadership of nonprofits by growing the reach of these organizations, a track record he brings to AAFA.
Since joining AAFA, he has led the organization in establishing a new multi-year strategic plan that emphasizes dramatically reducing the impact of asthma and allergies on the underserved and tripling the size of AAFA’s online asthma community. The new strategic plan’s vision is for AAFA to be recognized as the most trusted ally serving the asthma and allergy community.
Mendez has quickly become a thought leader in the asthma and allergy community. He served as an External Reviewer for the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s (ICER) asthma assessment. In that role, he informed ICER on how to better represent the patient voice. In 2019, Mendez served as a patient advocacy expert for ICER’s review on emerging peanut allergy therapies.
Under Mendez’ guidance, several patient advocacy organizations have joined together to advocate on issues important to people with food allergies – including sesame allergy. He also leads communications with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on ongoing access barriers to epinephrine auto-injectors.
He is quoted in outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post and NBC Nightly News, among others. Mendez has an MBA in marketing from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in American History and American Art from Harvard College. Mendez also has a personal stake in AAFA’s mission as he and two of his children manage asthma and allergies.