Jennifer Bizub – Chief Human Resources Officer
Liz Feld is the president of Autism Speaks. She joined Autism Speaks in January 2012 as the EVP of strategic communication. Liz has devoted much of her career to public policy and strategic communications. She served as a public affairs specialist at the White House Office of Management and Budget, and a press officer for Vice President George H. W. Bush during the Reagan Administration. She was Director of News Information at ABC News and Senior Vice President of Communications for Nickelodeon. Over the past several years, Liz has appeared on national and local television networks and authored editorial pieces on public policy issues and Republican politics.
Liz most recently served for four years as the Mayor of the Village of Larchmont, N.Y., located in New York State’s Hudson Valley (Westchester County). As mayor, Liz garnered more than $4 million in state, federal, and local grants to support local projects and restored the Village surplus to $2.3 million, resulting in the Village's first-ever AAA credit rating from Moody's Investor Services. She is an award-winning environmentalist and has received past endorsements from the New York League of Conservation Voters for her work. Liz also served as a Larchmont Village Trustee from 2002-2006.
Liz holds a B.A. degree in Government and Political Theory from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. (1982). She is married to Joel Feld, a television executive, and has three children, Alex, K. C., and Matthew.
Peter H. Bell is executive vice president for programs and services at Autism Speaks. He oversees the foundation's government relations and family services activities and also serves as an advisor to the science division. Prior to his role at Autism Speaks, Peter was president and CEO of Cure Autism Now, which merged with Autism Speaks in February 2007. In his leadership role at Autism Speaks, Peter has been involved in numerous accomplishments that have had major benefit to the autism community including: advancing autism insurance reform in state legislatures across the nation, as well as federal health care reform; securing legislative support and appropriations for autism research through the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (CAA), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and recent renewal of the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 (CARA); developing highly regarded resources for families, such as the Autism Speaks' 100 Day Kit, School Community Tool Kit, and Transition Tool Kit; and establishing a funding mechanism to award over $2.0 million in grants to service provider organizations who are working with individuals with autism around the country.
Peter's professional affiliations include being a member of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) since its inception in 2001 where he currently serves as chair of the Community Advisory Committee and is a member of the Finance Committee. He chaired the Integration Panel of the Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) for autism research in FY2007 and served as the alternate chair in FY2008-2009. In 2008, Mr. Bell co-founded Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA), a national consortium of organizations working together to promote a collaborative spirit and develop both public and private sector support to improve the lives of adults living with autism. Autism Speaks presently serves as the managing partner of AFAA and Peter serves as president.
Peter lives in New Jersey with his wife Liz and three teenage children. Their oldest son, Tyler, has autism. He holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University.
Geraldine Dawson became Autism Speaks' first chief science officer in January of 2008. In this role, Dawson serves as the scientific leader of Autism Speaks, working with the scientific community, stakeholders, and science staff, to shape, expand, and communicate the foundation's scientific vision and strategy. Dawson is also Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Prior to joining Autism Speaks, Dawson was Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Washington (UW) and Founding Director of the UW Autism Center, which has been designated an NIH Center of Excellence since 1996. While at the University, Dawson led a multi-disciplinary autism research program focusing on genetics, neuroimaging, diagnosis, and treatment. Dawson's own research has been in the areas of early detection and treatment of autism, early patterns of brain dysfunction (electrophysiology), and more recently, development of endophenotypes for autism genetic studies. Dawson received continuous NIH funding for her research from 1980 until 2008 when she left UW to join Autism Speaks.
Dawson's scientific achievements include discovering that autism symptoms could be recognized during infancy, defining the earliest manifestations of autism, pioneering the use of event-related brain potentials to study early brain dysfunction in autism, development of behavioral and electrophysiological endophenotypes in genetic studies of autism, and development and evaluation of the Early Start Denver Model, an intervention for infants and toddlers with autism. Dawson has published over 180 scientific articles and chapters and co-edited or authored a number of books about autism spectrum disorder and brain development, including Autism Spectrum Disorders; Human Behavior, Learning, and the Developing Brain; and A Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism. She has received over 50 grants supporting her research, including 17 research grants from NIH. From 2000-07, Dawson founded and directed University of Washington Autism Center's multi-disciplinary clinical services program, which is the largest of its kind in the northwestern United States. A strong advocate for families, Dawson has testified before the U.S. Senate on behalf of individuals with autism and played a key role on the Washington State Autism Task Force.
Dawson earned a Ph.D. in developmental and child clinical psychology from the University of Washington. After graduate school, she studied as a postdoctoral fellow at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA and, a year later, accepted a position as Assistant Professor at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. In 1985, she returned to the University of Washington as a faculty member, where she continued her research on autism and practiced as a clinical psychologist specializing in autism until she accepted her current position at Autism Speaks. She currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and daughter.
Lisa joined Autism Speaks as the staff liaison for the Family Services Committee in June of 2006. In May of 2007 she was appointed director of family services.
Lisa's focus is to provide direction and management of the Family Services program at Autism Speaks, and to serve as the guiding force behind the Family Services mission which is to: 1) empower families and individuals impacted by autism to make informed decisions that maximize the quality of life and development potential of affected individuals; 2) to promote research funding that yields evidence for the best practices in the treatment of autism and associated disorders; and 3) to serve as a catalyst and advocate for the implementation of best practices in autism treatment, education, and services from early intervention through adult care.
Lisa's prior work experience includes a 19 year career at Saks Fifth Avenue where she was Vice President, Divisional Merchandise Manager. In addition, she is a past president of her local School Community Association, has participated on many special education committees, is a frequent parent member of the committee on special education in her school district, has presented at several autism conferences, and has worked as a teaching assistant at Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism's Martin C. Barell School. Lisa lives in Manhasset, New York with her husband Paul and two children, one of whom has autism.
Cathy Kanefsky joined Autism Speaks in June of 2009 as Director of Field Training and Development, and was promoted to National Director of Chapter Development in March of 2010. In her current role as Vice President of Chapter Development, Cathy Kanefsky is driving overall growth throughout the field. Her primary focus is guiding success in fundraising, volunteer development and continued activity that supports mission integration throughout the field. The field's continued focus on revenue growth through Walk Now for Autism Speaks will be enhanced by new fundraising initiatives; and focus on mission will ensure science, awareness, family services and advocacy are integrated into all field activity. Under Cathy's leadership, a regional field structure is being developed that will facilitate growth into a chapter based organization.
Cathy is a 16-year veteran of the not-for-profit world. Before joining Autism Speaks, she served as the National Director of Family Team Development for the March of Dimes, where she was responsible for the development and implementation of a pilot program that led to an organization-wide launch. Prior to her national position at the March of Dimes, Cathy served as the State Director of the Delaware Chapter.
Cathy is personally dedicated to her work at Autism Speaks as the mother of a 17-year son and 19-year old twin sons with autism. Cathy holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in Communications from the University of Delaware.
Dana Marnane joined Autism Speaks in 2006 as director of communications then was promoted to national director of communications and marketing in 2007, responsible for media relations, awareness and communication strategy. In her current role as vice president of awareness and events, she is responsible for raising Autism Speaks' visibility among donors, families, governmental agencies, and the general public in support of Autism Speaks' mission. She continues to lead the communications strategy and all media relations for the organization, but now also manages the creative and national events teams. Dana coordinates the activities and publicity around World Autism Awareness Day and facilitates Autism Speaks' international awareness and partnership efforts. She also oversees our award-winning awareness campaign in partnership with the Ad Council and BBDO.
Prior to joining Autism Speaks, she spent ten years with national retailer Lord & Taylor in its public relations and special events department. She created and managed the company's charity events, partnering with hundreds of non-profits throughout the country. She also served as the communications director for U.S. Sailing, the national governing body for the sport of sailing. She is a Board member emeritus of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation's Westchester/Fairfield Chapter and resides in Westchester County, N.Y.