Board Members

Curtis Arledge
Sallie Bernard
Jim Broder
Cuong Do
Nanci Fredkin
Liz Feld**
Philip H. Geier, Jr*
Gary W. Goldstein, M.D.
Matthew Higgins
Dee Hilfiger
Tommy Hilfiger
Adrian M. Jones
Tim Jones
Mel Karmazin*
Brian Kelly*
Artie Kempner
Mark LaNeve
Billy Mann
Shawn Matthews
Gary Mayerson
Kevin Murray*
Alison Niederauer
Herbert Pardes, M.D.
Andrew Robertson
Holly Robinson Peete
Chuck Saftler
Stuart Savitz
Dan Schulman
Laura Slatkin
John B. Wilson
David M. Wittels
Bob Wright*
Suzanne Wright*

*Executive Committee members
**Staff Officers

Curtis Arledge
Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, BNY Mellon Asset Management

Curtis Arledge is Vice Chairman of BNY Mellon and Chief Executive Officer of BNY Mellon Asset Management. Additionally, Curtis is responsible for BNY Mellon Wealth Management, and is a member of BNY Mellon's Executive Committee, which is the senior-most governing body of the corporation. Prior to joining BNY Mellon in November 2010, Curtis was the chief investment officer for fundamental fixed income portfolios at BlackRock, Inc. He joined BlackRock from Wachovia Corporation, where he was the global head of the fixed income division within the bank's corporate and investment banking group. He spent 12 years of his career at Wachovia, and had oversight for various business lines in the U.S., Europe and Asia, including leveraged finance, investment grade, global rates, structured products, corporate loan and commercial real estate portfolios, and financial institutions investment banking. He and his wife, Diane, have a son on the autism spectrum.

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Sallie Bernard
Parent; Co-founder and Executive Director, SafeMinds
Co-founder and Board Chair, Extreme Sports Camp

Sallie Bernard joined the board of Autism Speaks in February 2007, following the merger with Cure Autism Now (CAN). Bernard previously served as board chair for CAN and executive director of the New Jersey chapter, helping to secure millions of dollars for autism research and treatment. She was also a member of the Founders Forum for The Autism Center of UMDNJ in New Jersey. She and her husband, Tom, have been major supporters of CAN's Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE), Clinical Trials Network, Autism Treatment Network and Environmental Innovators Award programs.

Bernard is co-founder and executive director of SafeMinds, an organization which focuses on the role of mercury in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. She has testified before Congress, presented to the Institute of Medicine, published a number of research papers and letters in science journals, and participates in several government committees addressing the effect of mercury on neurodevelopment. She is also co-founder and president of Extreme Sports Camp, a nonprofit summer camp for older children and teenagers with autism. The camp offers outdoor sports and recreation including hiking, rock climbing, swimming, rafting and water skiing.

Bernard is the founder and former president of ARC Research, a market research and consulting firm, which she sold in 2004 and is now part of Leger Marketing. She graduated with honors from Radcliffe College, Harvard University, in 1979. She is married with two children, one of whom has autism. She resides in Aspen, Colorado.

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Jim Broder
Director of Global Capital and IR, Starwood Capital

Jim Broder is Director of Global Capital and IR at Starwood Capital. He was previously Managing Director at Pierpont Securities. Priort to that, he was the Managing Director in Fixed Income Sales at Deutsche Bank. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank in July 2008, Broder was with Bear Stearns for 15 years as a Senior Managing Director in the Fixed Income Sales Division. Broder and his wife, Shannon, are parents of two sons, and have been very active in the Autism Speaks community, particularly in Nantucket, Mass. Broder has co-chaired the Nantucket Walk Now for Autism Speaks for three years since its inception.

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Cuong Do

Cuong Do retired as Merck's Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer in March of 2014. There he was responsible for both developing and executing enterprise-wide strategy and further building connections among Merck's franchises, divisions, and functions. Cuong was also responsible for Merck’s Global Health Innovation Fund, a $500 million corporate venture fund exploring future growth opportunities for Merck, as well as Regulatory Integration activities.

Prior to joining Merck, he served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Business Development at TE Connectivity, one of the world’s largest providers of products and solutions that connect and protect the flow of power and data in virtually every industry.

Prior to joining TE Connectivity, Cuong Do was Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for Lenovo, a global leader in personal computers. He previously was a Director (senior partner) with McKinsey and Company where he helped to build the company’s healthcare, high tech and corporate finance practices.

Cuong Do retired from Merck to devote most of his time to addressing the challenges of autism. More than 500,000 teenagers with ASD will transition to adulthood in the next decade and they need new tools and new processes to help them. Do is working with his wife to develop new approaches to help these individuals identify abilities, skills and interests so that meaningful post-secondary educational and vocational plans can be pursued.

Cuong Do holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and a Master of Business Administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. He recently founded Lysodel Therapeutics to explore a novel therapeutic approach for treating obesity. He also founded Profectum Foundation, a non-profit that trains clinicians and parents who are working with children with ASD. He currently or previously served on the boards of Celebrate the Children, Caring for Cambodia; the National Youth Science Foundation, the Tuck School at Dartmouth MBA Advisory Board, and WuXi AppTec (a leading pharmaceutical R&D outsourcing company). He was co-founder and Chairman of Callidus Biopharma (a biotech company working in rare diseases), which was acquired by Amicus Therapeutics in 2013.

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Nanci Fredkin

Nanci Fredkin is a former board member of Cure Autism Now, where she gave nearly $70,000 from 1999-2007. Nanci created Facing of Autism as a fundraiser in 1998. She redesigned and re-launched this highly successful fundraising event in March 2012 which took place in San Francisco, bringing in nearly $500,000 for Autism Speaks. Her personal connections and dedication in developing and executing the event was invaluable and she also gave $20,000 in donations to the event. Nanci is also a member of the Board of Directors of Telecare Corporation. The organization encompasses a family legacy that she is very proud to continue. Nanci worked in banking and was an account executive for the Estee Lauder Corporation. She has used her business experiences and brought her insight and judgment to various non-profit organizations as well as to Telecare. Nanci has a passion for and has made a commitment to children and healthcare issues. She sits on the Foundation Board of the University of California San Francisco and Theater Works Silicon Valley Board.
Nanci resides in the Bay Area of California with her husband Gary and three children.

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Philip H. Geier, Jr.
Chairman, The Geier Group LLC

Philip H. Geier, Jr., an advertising professional, became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc., in 1980. He retired from this position at the end of December 2000.
In February 2001, Mr. Geier formed The Geier Group to provide consulting/advisory services in the marketing, communications and venture capital areas.

Additionally, Mr. Geier is a Senior Advisor for Lazard Frères & Co. LLC and serves on the Board of Directors for the following companies: AEA Investors, Inc., Fiduciary Trust International, and Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. Mr. Geier's philanthropic relationships as Director or Trustee include: Autism Speaks, Columbia Business School, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Save the Children Federation, Inc., The Whitney Museum of American Art, and International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Mr. Geier holds a B.A. in Economics from Colgate University (1957) and an M.B.A. in Marketing and Finance from Columbia University (1958).

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Gary Goldstein, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Professor, Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine and School of Hygiene and Public Health

Dr. Gary Goldstein is the chair of the Autism Speaks scientific advisory committee, and president and chief executive officer of the Kennedy Krieger Institute, one of the nation's leading treatment centers for autism and other developmental disorders. He is also a professor of neurology and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine and a professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins University's School of Hygiene and Public Health.

One of the leading researchers of neurological functions and defects, Gary has helped gain international recognition for the Kennedy Krieger Institute through his studies of children with a wide range of disabilities, from rare genetic disorders to common learning problems. More than 13,000 children with disabilities visit the Kennedy Krieger Institute every year.

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Matthew Higgins
President and CEO of RSE Ventures

Matt Higgins is the President and CEO of RSE Ventures, a firm developed to foster innovation within sports, entertainment and technology. Matt co-founded RSE in 2012 with Miami Dolphins owner and Related Companies founder Stephen M. Ross.  In just a year's time, RSE has experienced explosive growth, breaking down boundaries across a space that is notoriously slow to innovate.  RSE has made investments in many emerging technologies and launched numerous startups: Derris & Company, a communications and brand strategy agency boasting over 30 clients in entertainment, media, technology, finance and sports; Insignia SE, a sports marketing firm representing top sports properties and leading consumer brands; and Relevent Sports, an international soccer agency that launched the International Champions Cup, featuring the biggest teams in the world competing across the United States. Early stage investments include cutting edge companies such as Preplay Sports, Thuzio and Poptip. Higgins also serves as a Vice Chairman of the Miami Dolphins.

Before co-founding RSE, Mr. Higgins served as EVP of Business Operations of the New York Jets, where he transformed the team’s business operations into one of the most innovative in sports. During his tenure, the Jets created a permanent home for the first time in franchise history by partnering with the Giants to build MetLife Stadium. Higgins also helped spearhead the effort to create the most state of the art practice facility in the NFL, building a headquarters for the Jets on 20 acres in Florham Park, New Jersey. His passion for innovation also led Higgins to elevate the Jets’ national profile through unorthodox brand extensions, including a partnership with Jet Blue to create a dedicated Jets’ jet flying routes around the country.  By making team operations transparent and increasing access to its players, Higgins used social media to give fans and press unprecedented access to the team.

Prior to his career in sports, Higgins helped lead the recovery effort in Lower Manhattan following 9/11. As COO of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the agency charged with rebuilding the World Trade Center site, Higgins helped implement programs and grants that revitalized Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of the attacks. In addition, he helped oversee the 9/11 Memorial design competition, which became the largest design competition in history with more than 5,000 entries from 63 countries. Prior to the LMDC, Higgins served as Press Secretary under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, managing the City’s global media response to 9/11.  In 2011, Higgins was recognized in Sports Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 as one of the most outstanding executives in sports. Four years earlier, Higgins was honored as one of the top 40 executives under 40 in New York by Crain’s New York.

Higgins holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Queens College, and a Juris Doctorate from Fordham Law. Higgins is a proud testicular cancer survivor who has taken up marathon running as a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  He lives in New Jersey with his daughter Collette and son Matthew. He is the father of a child with autism.

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Adrian M. Jones
Co-Head of the Americas, Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Adrian M. Jones is a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs in New York in the company's Principal Investment Area. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1994 as an associate of the Investment Banking Division. He has also served in the company's Communications and Media Department, on mobility assignments in Equity Capital Markets and in the Executive Office of Goldman Sachs International in London. Jones grew up in Ireland and served as a Lieutenant in the Irish Army. In 1987-88, he served in the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Southern Lebanon. Jones is a 1986 graduate of University College in Galway, and earned his MBA from Harvard in 1994. He is the father of a child with autism.

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Tim Jones
CEO, ZenithOptimedia North America

Leading The ROI Agency in North America, CEO Tim Jones is committed to ensuring that each agency client receives a better return per media dollar invested than any of their competitors. Managing ZO's industry-leading North American media brands, Tim also serves as a member of the ZO worldwide executive committee.

Under Tim's leadership since 2005, ZO has experienced unprecedented growth. Ranked by the Research Company Evaluating the Media Agency Industry (RECMA) as the second largest, fastest-growing agency, ZO has welcomed a world-class roster of new clients including Nestlé, Twentieth Century Fox, Payless Shoes, Ubisoft, Harrah's, Jenny Craig and Reckitt-Benckiser. ZO's new business success and the retention and expansion of existing client partnerships have also garnered RECMA's highest three and six-year agency performance scores.

Helming the charge into digital and diversified offerings Tim has been a leader of evolution. With the acquisition of Moxie Interactive and the strategic alignment of Performics, ZO's interactive billings total more than $550 million and represent one of the industry's largest digital units. The development and growth of econometrics, direct response, Newcast all-platform content and multicultural now offer agency clients a full complement of powerful diversified communication solutions.

Tim's career started in 1978 and has included service at Ogilvy and Mather, Bates and ZO International. Among other awards, in 2007 Tim was named an AdAge Media Maven.

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Mel Karmazin
CEO, SIRIUS Satellite Radio

Mel Karmazin is Chief Executive Officer of SIRIUS Satellite Radio, where he oversees all aspects of the company's operations from its New York City corporate headquarters. SIRIUS delivers to 7.7 million subscribers more than 130 channels of radio, including 100% commercial-free music channels. It also broadcasts nationwide the best and most compelling talk, entertainment, news, information, and sports programming.
Previously, he was President and COO of Viacom, President and CEO of CBS Corp., and President and CEO of Infinity Broadcasting. Prior to Infinity, Karmazin spent 10 years with Metromedia.

Karmazin is vice chairman of the board of trustees of The Paley Center for Media and serves on the board of Autism Speaks. He was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, and has received the National Association of Broadcasters National Radio Award and the IRTS Gold Medal Award.

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Brian Kelly
Principal, Eastern Real Estate, LLC

Brian Kelly is a principal and founder of Eastern Development, LLC, where he has invested in more than 100 retail and office projects totaling over 8 million square feet with a value in excess of $1 billion. Prior to Eastern Development, Kelly was the principal of Atlantic Retail Properties. Under Kelly's leadership, Atlantic Retail Properties was New England's largest and most active retail brokerage firm. Kelly lives in Montecito, CA, with his wife, Patricia, and their six children, one of whom has autism.

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Artie Kempner
Fox Sports

Artie Kempner is the lead director for both the NFL and NASCAR on Fox. He joined Fox Sports in the fall of 1994 for its inaugural season covering the NFL. In 2001 Kempner and his production crew took over the number one team at Fox working with Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth and Joe Buck.

Kempner is also the coordinating director of NASCAR on Fox, and directs the Sprint Cup telecasts. Fox took over NASCAR in 2001, and garnered an Outstanding Series Emmy in that first season. The coverage was honored twice more with the Outstanding Series Emmy in 2005 and 2007.

A nine-time sports Emmy winner, Kempner is very active in fundraising efforts for Autism Delaware and the Autism Speaks organization. He is the founding president of the Autism Society of Delaware (now Autism Delaware) and a former board member of the Autism Society of America. His passion to help advocate for the autism community was motivated when his middle son Ethan was diagnosed with the disorder in 1998.

Kempner was recently chosen as one of the three finalists for Home Depot's NASCAR Humanitarian of the Year award. His proudest achievements are his efforts to establish the Fox Sports supports program, and his involvement in bringing Autism Speaks and Dover International Speedway together to create the Autism Speaks 400.

Kempner played football at the University of Florida and graduated in 1981 with a degree in Journalism and Communications. He lives in Wilmington, Del. with his wife Marcy (a six-time sports Emmy winner in her own right and a dynamic autism advocate), and their three sons, Matt, Ethan and Jack.

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Mark LaNeve
COO, Global Team Ford

Mark LaNeve is the chief operating officer for Global Team Ford and a member of the Allstate senior management team. As chief marketing officer, LaNeve is responsible for all marketing activities across the corporation including brand stewardship, marketing and brand strategy, advertising, corporate identity, customer loyalty and field marketing.

LaNeve has served in a variety of senior-level marketing, sales and general management positions in the automotive industry for more than 25 years. Prior to joining Allstate in 2009, LaNeve was vice president of sales, service and marketing at the General Motors Corporation (GM) and responsible for sales, brand development and marketing for eight U.S. vehicle brands. Previously at GM, LaNeve served as vice president of marketing and advertising, and as general manager of the Cadillac division.

Brandweek magazine named LaNeve "Marketer of the Year" in 2003. He spent more than three years at Volvo Cars of North America, first as chief marketing officer and later as president and CEO.

LaNeve holds a bachelor's of arts degree in business communication from the University of Virginia.

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Billy Mann
Music Producer, Songwriter
CEO of Green Bloom, Inc/BMG, a Joint Venture between Mann and KKR/BMG Chrysalis Rights Management

Billy Mann is CEO of Green Bloom, Inc/BMG, a Joint Venture between Mann and KKR/BMG Chrysalis Rights Management.

William "Billy" Hort Mann, an inner-city Philadelphia native began his career as a traveling singer- songwriter, studio-musician and ultimately signed to an A&M Records imprint (DV8) in 1994 that led to two modest solo releases. However, Mann successfully converted his artist opportunity into access to write and produce hit songs for others and, ultimately, some of the biggest recording artists in the world. His credibility of having been both a struggling and critically acclaimed artist himself helped cement the faith of artists, talent representatives and media executives around the world who continue to turn to Mann time and again for help with content, artist development and commercial vision.

The diversity of global talent with whom Mann has worked speaks for itself: Pink, David Guetta, Robyn, John Legend, Take That, Sting, Ricky Martin, Tiziano Ferro, Backstreet Boys, Anastacia, Celine Dion, Kelly Rowland, Delta Goodrem, Seeed, Hall & Oates, Art Garfunkel, Boyzone, Phyllis Hyman, Helene Fischer, Peter Fox, Pablo Alboran, Bebe, Flex, Carole King, Jessica Andrews, Martina McBride, Josh Groban, Ilse De Lange, (the late) Grover Washington Jr., Deana Carter, Tarkan, Teddy Geiger, Paul Van Dyk, Monrose, Jessica Simpson, Joss Stone and many others.

As a composer, Billy (a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and engineer) has the rare ability to create and crossover from pop to rock, and from dance to R&B to country. His commercial instincts, positive reinforcement leadership style, ability to deliver, and boundless creativity make him one of the most in demand creative forces around the globe.

In 2001, Mann founded Stealth Entertainment in New York City's garment district. The one-man office and studio grew into a team of young executives who went on to develop multi-platinum, award-winning and chart-topping artists, songwriters, producers and mixing engineers. In addition, Stealth built successful alliances/partnerships with organizations like Seventeen Magazine, Sony Pictures Television, Target, Levi's and other brands on behalf of the company and its roster. (As part of Mann's later move to EMI, Stealth was acquired in 2007.)

In November of 2007, Mann joined EMI Music as Creative Advisor and a member of the Operating Board. Quickly thereafter, Mann was appointed Chief Creative Officer until 2008 when Mann, who also speaks Spanish, took on the roles of President of New Music A&R International and President of Global Artist Management, overseeing content in over 30 countries around the world. During his years with the company, Mann helmed the development of some of EMI's most successful international artists and partnerships including David Guetta, Bebe, Juan Luis Guerra, Tiziano Ferro, Robyn, Pablo Alboran, Paty Cantu, Belinda, Wind Up and Movic, among others. Additionally, he helped develop artist management initiatives in countries around the world (most notably, Spain, Germany, Italy and the United States) in order to expand the way EMI develops talent. Mann also led more than 50 EMI artists from around the world to action with the Red Cross following the earthquakes in Haiti and--later--Chile in an EMI initiative he named "Answer The Call."

As a creative media executive, Mann believes that commercial success, creativity, innovation and transparency with talent can and should co-exist but that each relationship should be tailor- made. At EMI, his leadership style was described as an extreme motivator whose "singular light of optimism and confidence" helped redefine the business during critical times. Departing from a more profitable EMI, Mann went on to create new ventures that embrace quality content, technology, and contrarian approaches in order to further drive positive change across the media industry.

With a constant eye on digital media since before his corporate tenure, Mann is Chairman of the Creative Advisory Board of LOCKERZ, Inc., a Seattle, WA an international social commerce website based out of Seattle, WA. The site claimed 19 million members as of July 2011 in 195 different countries. Lockerz is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), the Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and online media conglomerate Liberty Media. In August 2011, Lockerz also received funding from Live Nation.

In January of 2011, Mann was named President of Creative, BMG North America and has since been named Chairman/CEO of a new hybrid label/publishing company for songwriters called Green & Bloom Entertainment, in partnership with KKR/BMG Chrysalis. As part of his latest venture, Mann continues to consult the BMG creative team in the New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville offices, and in addition continues to write, produce, sign and develop established and new talent.

Mann balances his professional life with his passion for family and community. An autism rights activist, and co-founder of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, Mann was also an elected Governor representing songwriters for the New York Chapter of NARAS. The Mann family live proudly, passionately and happily in Connecticut.

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Shawn Matthews
Chief Executive Officer of Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.

Shawn Matthews is Chief Executive Officer of Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., appointed in March 2009, reporting directly to Chairman Howard Lutnick.   He has played a significant role in the substantial growth of the division over the past two years and in early 2009 assumed overall executive responsibility for the firm's Debt Capital Markets, Equity Capital Markets, and Investment Banking businesses. Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. is a full service fixed income broker dealer and one of 16 primary dealers of the U.S. Treasury, with a significant presence in mortgage, high grade corporate, agency, treasury, repo and asset backed securities trading and the firm is a global leader in institutional equity sales and trading.

Mr. Matthews has spent the last 20 years in a senior management role having run both desks and departments at several firms. He has also been the Managing Member of a broker dealer, West Side Capital as well as the Managing Partner of hedge fund, Alchemist Capital Management. Mr. Matthews holds a B.S. in Finance from Fairfield University and was awarded an M.B.A. from Hofstra University. He is also a member of SIFMA's Board of Directors.

Mr. Matthews and his wife Monica have four children (Erin, age 6, Maura, age 8, Ryan, age 10 and with autism, and Shawn, age 12).


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Gary S. Mayerson
Founding Attorney, Mayerson & Associates

Gary Mayerson, a board member since 2005, is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University. In early 2000, Gary founded Mayerson & Associates as the very first civil rights law firm in the nation dedicated to representing individuals with autism and related developmental disorders. To date, Gary’s law firm has helped more than 1,000 affected families in more than 30 states.  Gary also consults internationally to military and other families living abroad.

Gary is responsible for more than 60 reported federal court decisions, including the very first autism case to ever reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Many of Gary’s federal court decisions are recognized as groundbreaking decisions that are shaping the way that the court system looks at autism.

Gary speaks regularly at national conferences and major universities and has testified before Congress on the subject of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (“IDEIA”). Gary is the author of How To Compromise With Your School District Without Compromising Your Child (DRL Books 2005), as well as the “Autism in the Courtroom” chapter appearing in the Fourth Edition of Dr. Fred R. Volkmar’s seminal treatise, Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (Wiley 2014).

Gary is married with three children and has a family member who is diagnosed with autism.


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Kevin Murray
Managing Partner and Head of Global Sales, G2 Investment Group/Forbes Private Capital Group

Kevin Murray is the Managing Director and Head of Business Development for G2 Investment Group/Forbes Private Capital Group. Kevin is based in New York and is responsible for originating and marketing G2-sponsored funds and third-party investment opportunities through its global institutional and ultra-high net worth network.

 

Prior to joining Forbes Private Capital Group in 2011, Kevin was a Director at Federal Street Partners. Kevin was a Founding Partner, COO and Marketing Director at Rock Ridge Advisors, LLC, a fixed income oriented macro hedge fund launched in 2005. Prior to forming Rock Ridge, Kevin was a partner and managing director for Muirfield Capital Management, a $700 million hedge fund that launched in 2001. Kevin also formed and operated Pilgrim Financial, a private investment vehicle, during that time. In 1997, he co-founded Convergence Asset Management, a global fixed income fund. From 1988 to1997, Kevin was a managing director and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald, where he was responsible for managing the mortgage-backed trading operation.

In 1997, Kevin, his wife, Susan, and other interested parents formed the Autism Coalition for Research and Education which eventually became Autism Speaks in June 2005. They have three boys including Owen, who suffers from ASD. Kevin is currently an Autism Speaks Executive Board Member and holds a B.S. in Finance from Siena College.

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Alison Niederauer
Attorney

A native of Montclair, New Jersey, Alison Niederauer is the daughter of the late Marguerite Smith Cooper and New Jersey Judge Peter B. Cooper. She attended Vassar College from 1982 to 1986 and graduated with a degree in Psychology. She went on to attend Fordham Law School and graduated with her J.D. in 1991, and was admitted to both the New York and New Jersey Bar Associations. Alison clerked for Federal Magistrate Judge John Caden in the EDNY from 1991 to 1992 before she and her husband Duncan moved to Tokyo. While there she worked as an adviser in the legal department of Nichimen, one of Japan's largest trading companies and studied the Japanese language. When the family returned to the US in 1995, they settled in Bernardsville, New Jersey and Alison became a full-time mother to Amanda, now 21, Liam, 10; and Eva, age 8. When Liam was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at age four, there were few resources providing assistance. Alison educated herself by becoming immersed in the current literature and seeking out the expertise of a wide range of specialists, including neurologists, nutritionists, occupational, speech and physical therapists, ophthalmologists and behaviorists. Many of these specialists have been treating Liam over the past several years in hopes of gaining positive results through early intervention and consistent treatment. Liam now attends The Newmark School in Plainfield, New Jersey and is in the fourth grade. He is a bright, happy, wonderful little boy -- with a long road ahead.

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Herbert Pardes, M.D.
Executive Vice Chairman of the Board, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital


Dr. Herbert Pardes left the position as President and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, and became Executive Vice Chairman of the Board of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Nationally recognized for his broad expertise in education, research, clinical care and health policy, he is an ardent advocate of academic medical centers, humanistic care and the power of technology and innovation to transform 21st-century medicine.

Under his leadership, NewYork-Presbyterian became one of the most highly regarded and comprehensive health care institutions in the world. The Hospital is top-ranked in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report.

An outspoken proponent for academic medicine, children’s health education, mental health issues, access to care and information technology in medicine, Dr. Pardes is a regular guest on national television news programs and contributes opinion pieces appearing in the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. He is active at the state and federal level, supporting legislation to help hospitals provide quality health care while balancing today’s economic realities with making the best possible medical care available to all who need it.

Prior to joining the Hospital in 1999, Dr. Pardes served as Vice President for Health Sciences at Columbia University and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. A noted psychiatrist, he served as Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and U.S. Assistant Surgeon General during the Carter and Reagan administrations, and was also President of the American Psychiatric Association. He received his medical degree from the State University of New York in Brooklyn and completed his residency in psychiatry at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, with additional psychoanalytic training at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute.

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Andrew Robertson
President and CEO, BBDO Worldwide

Andrew Robertson has been President and Chief Executive Officer of BBDO Worldwide since June 2004. BBDO Worldwide is the current Network of the Year for The Gunn Report, The Won Report, and at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, and has been honored as Global Agency of the Year in Advertising Age, AdWeek and Campaign since 2004.

Andrew first came to BBDO in the UK in 1995, joining Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO where he ultimately served as Chief Executive. In 2001, he moved to BBDO North America to serve as President and CEO.

He began his advertising career at Ogilvy & Mather as a Media Planner. He switched to Account Management and was appointed to the Board of Ogilvy & Mather in 1986.

In 1989, he joined J. Walter Thompson as a member of the Management Group and began to head the largest of their five business groups. In November 1990, Andrew was appointed Chief Executive of WCRS.

Andrew has his degree in Economics from London University. He currently serves on the Boards of The Advertising Council, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Autism Speaks, The Special Olympics and the Center on Media and Child Health.

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Holly Robinson Peete
Actress, Author, Activist and Philanthropist

Actress, author, activist and philanthropist, Holly Robinson Peete has been touched by the entertainment industry all of her life. Her career as an actress dates back more than two decades and has led her to becoming a voice for her father, her son and her community.

An accomplished author, Robinson Peete won the 2006 Quill Literacy Award with her first book Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game: A Women's Guide to Loving Pro Football (2005, Rodale). She will release a children's picture book on autism called “My Brother Charlie” with co-author and daughter Ryan Elizabeth Peete, in 2010 (Scholastic).

Robinson Peete had her first experience in front of the camera at the age of four when she appeared on television opposite her father, Matthew Robinson who played the original Gordon, on “Sesame Street.” While she knew even at that young age her calling was to be an actress, Robinson Peete opted to lead a typical childhood. However, upon finishing college Robinson Peete's heart led her back to entertainment. In 1986, she landed a starring role on the FOX television drama “21 Jump Street” opposite unknown cast members including Johnny Depp. She has gone on to star in three additional successful television series: “Hangin' With Mr. Cooper,” “For Your Love,” and “One on One.” She performed the theme songs for both “21 Jump Street” and “Hangin' With Mr. Cooper,” she also did her own signing as Diana Ross in the miniseries “The Jacksons: An American Dream.”

It is through her successful career and longevity in the entertainment industry which continues to keep Robinson Peete in the limelight that she has been able to give voice as an activist and advocate through the HollyRod Foundation. Formed in 1996 with the mission to help improve the quality of life of people plagued with devastating life circumstances, the foundation was given life through her father's sad but inspiring battle with Parkinson's Disease. In 2000, inspired by her son, hollyrod4kids was formed to focus on children's causes and improving the lives of children affected by circumstances beyond their control. Through hollyrod4kids and her family's personal experiences, Robinson Peete has become an advocate for consistent and reliable education, treatment and support for families affected by autism. Her activism is respected around the world and she has appeared on such programs as “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Larry King Live,” “CNN,” “Access Hollywood” and many other news, political, informational and entertainment shows.

She currently sits on the Board of Overseers of the Keck School of Medicine and the Board of Directors of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.

Robinson Peete and husband of 14 years former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete are the proud parents of four children. They currently reside in Los Angeles.

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Chuck Saftler
Executive Vice President, FX Network

Chuck Saftler is the Executive Vice President of FX Networks as well as the General Manager of Fox Movie Channel. Saftler was part of the team that successfully launched shows such as The Shield, Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me, and Sons of Anarchy. Prior to joining FX, Saftler worked in various program research positions at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, as well as Columbia Pictures Television, where he participated in the successful syndicated launches of Seinfeld and Married…With Children. Saftler, his wife Colleen and their two children, one of whom has autism, live in Los Angeles. He has been a member of the Autism Speaks community since 2002, having served as a board member of Cure Autism Now, which merged with Autism Speaks in 2007. Saftler is also on the board of ACT Today!

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Stuart Savitz
Founder, Law Offices of Stuart M. Savitz, LLC Operating Board, CP Acquisition LLC

Stuart Savitz graduated from Michigan State University (James Madison College) with a BA in 1982, and received his JD from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis in 1985. In 2001, Savitz founded the Law Offices of Stuart M. Savitz LLC, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance transactions and general corporate services. In 2004, Savitz was the lead investor in CP Acquisition LLC, which acquired the Coco Pazzo and Coco Pazzo Café restaurants in Chicago.

Stuart, and his wife Amy, live in Glencoe, Illinois, with their two sons, Tyler, who has autism, and Spencer. In 2007, Spencer founded Team Tyler to participate in the Chicago Walk Now for Autism Speaks. In 5 years, Team Tyler has raised over $600,000. In 2011, Spencer and the Savitz Family founded the North Shore Walk, which has raised almost $400,000 in its first two years.

The Savitz’ began funding autism research through Cure Autism Now in 2005, and have continued their funding through Autism Speaks. Mr. Savitz has also served on the Autism Speaks Family Services Committee since 2010.

Mr. Savitz served on the Foundation Board for Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago from 2004 – 2009.

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Dan Schulman
Group President, Enterprise Growth, American Express

Dan Schulman joined American Express as Group President, Enterprise Growth, in 2010. He is responsible for the company's global strategy to expand alternative mobile and online payment services, form new partnerships and build revenue streams beyond the traditional card and travel businesses.

Schulman joined American Express from Sprint Nextel Corporation, where he served as resident of Sprint's Prepaid group since 2009. Before joining Sprint, Schulman was the founding CEO of Virgin Mobile USA, a mobile virtual operator, acquired by Sprint in 2009. Prior to that he was CEO of priceline.com and spent the early part of his career with AT&T, where he ultimately led the company's consumer long distance business.

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Laura Slatkin
Founder and President, Candela Group; President, Nest Fragrances

Laura Slatkin is the President of Candela Group, a manufacturer and international marketer of home fragrance products. Founded in 2005, Candela Group designs and produces custom collections for high-end private label clients in luxury, beauty, fashion, media and non-profit industries. Laura Slatkin began her career in the home fragrance industry in 1992 when she and her husband, Harry Slatkin, founded Slatkin & Co., the leading home fragrance company renowned for its luxurious scents, candles, potpourri and other essentials for rooms and environments.

In 2002, after their son was diagnosed with autism, Laura and Harry Slatkin founded the New York Center for Autism (NYCA), a tripartite organization dedicated to autism education, community outreach and biomedical research. NYCA created the NYCA Charter School, the first public charter school dedicated to serving children with autism which opened in 2005.

In addition to Autism Speaks and NYCA, Laura also serves on the boards of the NYCA Charter School and the Henry Street Settlement House.

Laura began her professional career in 1980 as a senior vice president with Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb after graduating from New York University. She lives in New York City with her husband and their twins, David and Alexandra.

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John B. Wilson
President and General Partner, Hyannis Port Capital, Inc.

John B. Wilson joined the board of Autism Speaks in February 2007, following the merger with Cure Autism Now (CAN). Wilson is a member of the HPC LLC Management Committee and owner and president of Hyannis Port Capital, Inc. He has held several other executive positions, including Chief Operating Officer and executive vice president of Gap, Inc.; Chief Financial Officer and executive vice president of Staples, Inc.; senior vice president of Northwest Airlines; and vice president/partner at Bain & Company. He serves on the board of several Franklin Templeton Mutual Funds as well as a number of private company boards.

During his tenure as COO, the Gap experienced its most successful growth period. From 1996 to March 2000, Gap Inc.'s sales tripled to $10 billion, net profits quadrupled and its stock market value increased 800%. Staples also experienced explosive growth during Wilson's tenure as CFO. Total sales between 1992 and 1996 grew 600% to $4 billion, net income rose by 700% and the company's stock price expanded by more than 600%.

Wilson earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1983 and his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, magna cum laude, from Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute in 1981. Wilson and his wife Leslie have been married for 17 years and have three children.

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David M. Wittels
Partner, Scopia Capital Management

David Wittels is a Partner and Head of Private Equity for Scopia Capital, a hedge fund based in New York.  His primary areas of focus are growth equity and buyout investments across a variety of industries.

Prior to joining Scopia Mr. Wittels was a Senior Managing Director and co-founding partner of private equity firm Diamond Castle Partners  and prior to that was a Managing Director at DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, which he joined in 1986.

David is a Director of Pacific Child and Family Associates, PM Pediatrics Group and West Texas Guar.  Previously he has served as a board member and board chair at a significant number of public and private companies. He holds a B.S., summa cum laude, from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

David lives on Long Island with his wife Cindy, daughter Gabrielle, and son Tyler who is on the spectrum. The Wittels family has the #1 walk fundraising team, not just on Long Island but in the entire country. They have raised over $1,000,000 for Autism Speaks since 2005 through their Walk Team, “Tyler W.”

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Bob Wright
Co-founder, Autism Speaks
Senior Advisor, Lee Equity Partners

Bob Wright served as Vice Chairman and Executive Officer, of the General Electric Company and also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal. Bob joined NBC as President and Chief Executive Officer on September 1, 1986, and served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal until May 1, 2007. Bob had one of the longest and most successful tenures of any media company chief executive, with more than two decades at the helm of one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. He has a strong history of philanthropy and community service, for which he has received numerous awards and accolades. He serves on the boards of Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, Mission Product, LLC, AMC Networks Inc., and is a Trustee of the New York Presbyterian hospital. He is also Chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association and Senior Advisor of THL Capital. Bob Wright is also the former member of the Executive Committee of Rand Corporation and a former Board of Director of EMI Group Global Ltd. He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and of the Law School of University of Virginia.

The Wrights have three children and six grandchildren. 

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Suzanne Wright
Co-founder, Autism Speaks

In addition to co-founding Autism Speaks, Suzanne has an extensive history of being actively involved in community and philanthropic endeavors, mostly directed toward helping children. She has teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York, the YMCA, and other local organizations to provide children with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, such as attending the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

Suzanne serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York; the Laura Pels Foundation; the Inner-City Foundation for Charity and Education; and the Philadelphia-based Champions of Caring Project; among others.

Suzanne is a graduate and member of the board of trustees of Sarah Lawrence College. She and Bob live in Connecticut. They have three children and six grandchildren.