Board of Directors
Treasurer, Autism Speaks
Former Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, BNY Mellon Investment Management
Curtis Arledge, treasurer of the Autism Speaks board, formerly served as vice chairman of BNY Mellon and chief executive officer of BNY Mellon Asset Management. Additionally, he was responsible for BNY Mellon Wealth Management, and is a member of BNY Mellon's Executive Committee, which is the senior governing body of the corporation.
Prior to joining BNY Mellon in November 2010, Mr. Arledge 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.
Tom Bernard had a 30-year career in global finance before retiring in Aspen, Colorado to devote himself to writing and philanthropy. He has served on several corporate and nonprofit boards, and was board president of Aspen Words, the literary arm of the Aspen Institute.
In 2004, Mr. Bernard and his wife Sallie founded The Extreme Sports Camp, which provided summer and winter recreational opportunities for children on the autism spectrum. The nonprofit organization expanded to include adults and year-round programs beyond recreation, including job training, life skills and the arts. In light of the broadened mission, the organization was renamed Ascendigo.
Mr. Bernard purchased and remodeled a home in Carbondale, Colorado called The Yellow House, which is now home to three young men with autism, including the Bernards’ son, Bill, and a host couple. The Yellow House Operations, LLC staff rotates to provide 24 / 7 supervision, and the residents participate in Ascendigo programs along with non-residents. The house features state-of-the-art safety and supervisory technology, and is a model of supervised community living for adults who are more significantly impacted by autism.
Scott R. Carpenter
President and Chief Executive Officer, Savor Street Foods
Scott R. Carpenter is the president and chief executive officer of Savor Street Foods (formerly The Bachman Company), a contract manufacturer of baked and extruded food products for private brands. He joined the Bachman Company in 1992, becoming vice president of sales and marketing in 1996 and later serving as president from 2000 to 2012. Mr. Carpenter purchased the company in 2012, and repositioned it as a contract manufacturer focused on baked, gluten-free, and organic convenience foods.
Mr. Carpenter, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lehigh University, has served on various industry and community boards.
He and his wife Suzie reside in New Jersey and have two daughters. Their younger daughter, now a young adult, was diagnosed at an early age with autism spectrum disorder.
Since 2005, Mr. Carpenter has been an active supporter of Autism Speaks. In 2009, he helped found the annual Autism Speaks Fall Classic fundraising event at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey.
Chief Transformation Officer, AMC Networks
Jennifer Caserta is AMC Networks’ chief transformation officer, charged with driving and facilitating organizational structures and strategies that best position AMC Networks for successful innovation in storytelling, story formats, new products, distribution and advertising, and strengthen and grow its portfolio of assets.
Previously, Ms. Caserta was president and general manager of IFC, where she spearheaded the evolution of the brand from a niche indie film channel to a fully advertiser-supported destination for sharp, smart comedy and exclusive broadcast home to the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Through her 14-year tenure with IFC, the brand attracted top-tier talent and cultivated the success of original series including Portlandia, the Emmy, Peabody and WGA-winning sketch comedy series starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein; Emmy-nominated docu-parody Documentary Now! starring Fred Armisen and Bill Hader, written by Seth Meyers and hosted by Helen Mirren; critical darling Brockmire, starring Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet; and musical variety sketch show “Sherman’s Showcase” created by Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle, and executive produced by John Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co.
Ms. Caserta was also a key architect in AMC Networks taking on a minority ownership stake in leading comedy brand Funny or Die as well as Levity Live, a leading player in live comedy with an extensive network of premium comedy venues in the U.S., including The Improv. In addition to sitting on both boards, Ms. Caserta is responsible for the oversight of leveraging these investments for AMC Networks.
Among her many accolades, Ms. Caserta has been named one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business,” and listed in “The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100.” Variety has included Ms. Caserta in its “Power of Women: New York Impact” list, Adweek named her a “Person of the Moment” and Fast Company recognized her as a “Who’s Next” leader. Ms. Caserta sits on the executive board for the New York Television Festival and the CTAM Education Foundation at Harvard Business School while also serving on the CTAM board of directors and on the Investments and Benefits Committee for AMC Networks. In addition to serving on the board of directors for Autism Speaks, she is member of the Event Committee for the annual Autism Speaks Celebrity Chef Gala and recently was the grand marshal, with her son, of the Westchester/Fairfield Autism Speaks Walk.
Joseph T. Coyle, M.D.
Director, Laboratory for Psychiatric and Molecular Neuroscience, Mclean Hospital, Eben S. Draper Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Joseph T. Coyle, M.D. holds the Eben S. Draper Chair of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School.
From 1991 to 2001, he was chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he did post-graduate training in pediatrics and psychiatry. He was Distinguished Service Professor of Child Psychiatry at Hopkins from 1982 to 1991.
Currently, he directs the Laboratory of Molecular and Psychiatric Neuroscience at McLean Hospital. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (1990), a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1993), and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Chair of the Section on Neuroscience, 2013).
He was elected president of the Society for Neuroscience (SFN) in 1991. He has received numerous awards including A.E. Bennett Award from the Society of Biologic Psychiatry, the John Jacob Abel Award from The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET ), the Daniel Efron Award from American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), the McKnight Scholar in Neuroscience Award, the Lieber Prize for Research on Schizophrenia from National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD ) and the Julius Axelrod Award for Neuropharmacologic Research from SFN.
President, Global Strategy Group at Samsung
Cuong Do is president of the Global Strategy Group for Samsung. He is responsible for helping set the strategic direction and improve the performance of Samsung’s many businesses.
Prior to joining Samsung, he was the chief strategy officer for Merck, Tyco Electronics and Lenovo. He was also a former senior partner at McKinsey & Company, where he spent 17 years and helped build the firm’s healthcare, high-tech and corporate finance practices.
Between his roles at Merck and Samsung, he “retired” for a year to devote most of his time to addressing the challenges of autism.
A big challenge for many people with autism is the transition to adulthood. There are not enough tools, approaches or processes to help parents of these individuals understand what their children are interested in and able to do. Without those things, one cannot help put in place appropriate post-secondary education options, jobs and support for housing and transportation.
Mr. Do worked with his wife to launch Identifor (www.identifor.com) 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.
Mr. Do holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and a Master of Business Administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
In addition to being on the board of Autism Speaks, he founded Profectum Foundation as a nonprofit to train clinicians and parents on working with autistic children.
He has served on the boards of Celebrate the Children, a school for children with special needs; Caring for Cambodia, a nonprofit working to establish the model schools for Cambodia; the National Youth Science Foundation; the Tuck MBA Advisory Board; and WuXi AppTec, a leading pharmaceutical research and development outsourcing company. He was co-founder and chairman of Callidus Biopharma,a biotech company working in rare diseases, and Lysodel Therapeutics, a company developing an innovative pharmaceutical product for obesity.
Barry R. Feirstein
Barry R. Feirstein is the retired founder of Feirstein Capital Management, a private investment management firm.
He is a graduate of Brooklyn College and the Harvard Business School. Mr. Feirstein’s current activities are focused on nonprofits and the arts.
He has served two terms as chairman of the Brooklyn College Foundation. While serving at the foundation, he founded the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. This state-of-the- art school is located at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn. It is one of the only film schools located in a working studio.
Barry is a trustee and former chairman of the Anderson Foundation for Autism. He has served on the board of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Independent Film Project.
Brian L. Harper
President, Chief Executive Officer and Trustee, Ramco Properties
Brian L. Harper is president, chief executive officer and trustee of Ramco Properties (RPT). Prior to joining RPT, Mr. Harper served in various executive leadership roles within the retail real estate industry, most recently as the chief executive officer of Rouse Properties.
Throughout his 18 year career, Mr. Harper has won several awards including Chain Store Age's "10 Under 40 in Real Estate," recognizing his expertise in real estate operations, redevelopment/site densification, marketing and leasing.
In addition to being on the board of Autism Speaks, Mr. Harper is active in many professional and charitable organizations.
Inspired by his son who has autism, Mr. Harper has become increasingly committed to seeing that each person with autism spectrum disorder has the same opportunities.
President and Chief Executive Officer, RSE Ventures
Matt Higgins is the president and chief executive officer of RSE Ventures, a firm developed to foster innovation within sports, entertainment and technology.
He co-founded RSE in 2012 with Miami Dolphins owner and Related Companies founder Stephen M. Ross.
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 more than 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. Mr. Higgins also serves as a vice chairman of the Miami Dolphins.
Before co-founding RSE, Mr. Higgins served as executive vice president 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.
Mr. 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 Mr. Higgins to elevate the Jets’ national profile through unorthodox brand extensions, including a partnership with Jet Blue to create dedicated Jets’ jet flying routes around the country. By making team operations transparent and increasing access to its players, Mr. Higgins used social media to give fans and press unprecedented access to the team.
Prior to his career in sports, Mr. Higgins helped lead the recovery effort in Lower Manhattan following 9/11.
As chief operating officer of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), the agency charged with rebuilding the World Trade Center site, Mr. 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, Mr. Higgins served as press secretary under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, managing the city’s global media response to 9/11.
In 2011, Mr. Higgins was recognized in Sports Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” as one of the most outstanding executives in sports. Four years earlier, Mr. Higgins was honored as one of the top 40 executives under 40 in New York by Crain’s New York.
Mr. Higgins holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Queens College and a Juris Doctorate from Fordham Law. Mr. Higgins is a proud testicular cancer survivor who has taken up marathon running 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.
Principal Designer, The Tommy Hilfiger Group
Since launching his namesake brand in 1985, Tommy Hilfiger has become globally renowned as the pioneer of “classic American cool” style, fusing East Coast classics with a laidback West Coast twist. Inspired by iconic pop culture and American heritage, the designer and his brand are driven by an ever-optimistic vision to break conventions and celebrate individuality.
Today, under Mr. Hilfiger’s guidance, vision and leadership, Tommy Hilfiger is one of the world’s most recognized lifestyle brands that shares its inclusive and youthful spirit with consumers worldwide.
Mr. Hilfiger’s career in fashion began as a high school student in 1969 when he opened his first store, People’s Place, in his hometown of Elmira, New York.
Ten years later, he moved to Manhattan to pursue a career in fashion design, and in 1985 his namesake brand launched with a single menswear collection. It has since grown to achieve more than $6.5 billion in global retail sales in 2015 and, as a true lifestyle brand, it encompasses a breadth of collections, including Hilfiger Collection for women, Tommy Hilfiger Tailored for men, Hilfiger Denim, men’s and women’s sportswear, kidswear, and licensed lines including bodywear, footwear, accessories, watches, jewelry, and fragrances.
In 2010, PVH Corp. acquired Tommy Hilfiger Group, which today boasts an extensive distribution network spanning 115 countries and more than 1,600 Tommy Hilfiger retail stores throughout five continents, including its largest flagship store at tommy.com.
Mr. Hilfiger has a longtime passion for philanthropy and, through the global TommyCares organizations, the Tommy Hilfiger company supports various international initiatives and charities, including Save the Children, Autism Speaks and the World Wildlife Fund.
Mr. Hilfiger’s diverse achievements in business and fashion have earned him numerous distinguished awards, including the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s prestigious Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. In November 2016, Mr. Hilfiger published his memoir, “American Dreamer,” in which he reflects on his experiences in the fashion industry.
Adrian M. Jones
Vice Chairman, Autism Speaks
Managing Director, Merchant Banking Division, Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Adrian M. Jones serves as the vice chairman of the Autism Speaks board, and he 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.
Mr. Jones grew up in Ireland and served as a lieutenant in the Irish Army. In 1987 to 1988, he served in the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Southern Lebanon. He is a 1986 graduate of University College in Galway, and earned his Master of Business Administration from Harvard University in 1994.
He is the father of a child with autism.
Chief Executive Officer, Americas, Publicis Media
Tim Jones is currently the chief executive officer for the Americas at Publicis Media.
Prior to that, he led ZenithOptimedia The ROI Agency in North America, where he was committed to ensuring that each agency client received a better return per media dollar invested than any of their competitors. Under his leadership since 2005, ZO experienced unprecedented growth and welcomed a world-class roster of new media clients, including Kering, Coty, Reckitt Benckiser, Liberty Mutual, Kohl’s, JPMorgan Chase, 20th Century Fox, SONIC, Nintendo, Oracle, Farmers Insurance, Pizza Hut, Bridgestone, Liberty Mutual, DreamWorks and GoPro.
Mr. Jones has been a leader in the development and growth of Moxie — an interactive agency which is part of Publicis Groupe — and he is responsible for Performics — a performance marketing agency also a part of Publicis Groupe —and its worldwide roll out to some 40 countries.
In addition to being an Autism Speaks board member, Mr. Jones also sits on the executive board of the AdCouncil and Advertising Education Foundation.
He lives in the New York area with his wife Shelley and his three children, Dominic, Benjamin and Olivia.
Chairman, Autism Speaks
Principal, Eastern Real Estate, LLC
Brian Kelly was elected chairman of the board of Autism Speaks on May 1, 2015. He has long been an integral part of Autism Speaks as a founding member of the board of directors and its executive committee.
He is co-founder of Eastern Real Estate LLC, a leading commercial real estate investment, development and asset management firm. Eastern has orchestrated transactions of more than 25 million square feet of commercial real estate and developed more than 100 projects totaling over 12 million square feet with a value of more than $2 billion.
Mr. Kelly has a longstanding and deeply personal commitment to autism and autism-related causes.
In 2006, he led the development and property acquisition of the Melmark New England school in Andover, Massachusetts. Melmark School services children and young adults with autism and other disabilities.
In 2007, Mr. Kelly and his wife Patricia funded the construction of the Koegel Autism Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a $2.4 million project that was completed in 2009. The Koegel Autism Center is world renowned for its Pivotal Response Treatment for individuals with autism.
In 2008, Mr. Kelly received the Thomas G. Haring Memorial Award, which honors achievement in special education and is awarded by the Gevirtz School of the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2013, the Kellys established the Brian & Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship Fund at Autism Speaks to support vocational and educational opportunities for young adults on the spectrum.
Mr. Kelly was raised in New York and spent most of his adult life in Boston, where he met his wife.
In 1994, he was honored as a recipient of the Gilda Radner Courage Award, which recognizes a cancer survivor whose courageous public battles give hope to people with cancer and focuses public attention on the fight against the disease.
The Kellys now reside in Santa Barbara, California with their six children. Their eldest child, Patrick, has autism.
Music Producer, Songwriter
CEO of Green Bloom, Inc/BMG, a Joint Venture between Mann and KKR/BMG Chrysalis Rights Management
William “Billy” Mann, a Philadelphia native, began his career as a singer-songwriter, signing to A&M Records in 1994.
During that same period, he began writing, arranging and producing records for what became a string of releases with many of the biggest music artists in the world, reaching sales of more than 125 million albums that earned Grammys, Grammy nominations, Juno Awards and more.
P!nk, Robyn, Art Garfunkel, Sheryl Crow, John Legend, Take That, Sting, Joss Stone and Martina McBride are among the long list of prestigious artists in his discography.
In 2001, Mann established a development company, Stealth Entertainment, which went on to build multi-platinum, award-winning, chart-topping songwriters, artists, producers and mixing engineers, with special focus on brand partnerships.
In 2007, Mr. Mann joined EMI Music as creative advisor and a member of the board. He was subsequently appointed chief creative officer before taking on the roles of president of New Music A&R International and president of Global Artist Management. While at EMI, Mr. Mann oversaw EMI’s rosters in more than 30 countries around the world and led the development of some of the company’s most successful international artists, including David Guetta, Bebe, Helene Fischer, Tiziano Ferro, Robyn, Pablo Albaron and Empire of the Sun, among others.
In 2010, Mr. Mann was named president of creative for BMG Rights Management, North America, and founded Manncom Creative Partners and Green & Bloom/TOPL1NE Entertainment — a new hybrid development/publishing company, which he chairs in partnership with BMG.
In 2015, Mr. Mann founded The Colors You Like with filmmaker Torre Catalano, a Los Angeles-based company that meets the creative, strategic and marketing needs of corporations, brands, artists and events.
In addition to being a member of Autism Speaks national board, Mr. Mann is a co-founder of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation and was an elected Governor of Songwriters in New York for the National Academy of Arts & Sciences (Grammys).
In 2007, Mr. Mann helped draft the autism policy for the Obama/Biden presidential campaign (also securing a dedicated “autism” destination on their digital platform) and later had the honor of watching his oldest son, Jasper, receive the first pen in the Oval Office from President Obama after he signed H.R. 2005, the Combatting Autism Reauthorization Act in 2011.
In December 2013, The Manns were presented the Champion Award at The Winter Ball at the Met by the honorable U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.), one of the original sponsors of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE). Mr. Mann resides in Connecticut and is a proud husband and the father of four children.
Kevin J. Murray
Managing Director, BNY Mellon Investment Management
Kevin J. Murray is a managing director for BNY Mellon Investment Management. Mr. Murray is focused on strategic initiatives in alternative assets and non-traditional investments. The BNY Mellon Investment Management group currently manages more than $1.6 trillion in assets for institutional and high net worth clients globally.
Formerly, Mr. Murray was the managing director and head of business development for G2 Investment Group/Forbes Private Capital Group. Based in New York, he was responsible for originating and marketing G2-sponsored private equity and hedge funds and third-party investment opportunities through its global institutional and ultra-high net worth network.
Prior to 2011, Mr. Murray was the director of marketing at Federal Street Partners, a multi- manager fund focused on emerging markets.
In 2005, Mr. Murray co-founded Rock Ridge Advisors, LLC, a macro hedge fund with an institutional client base. Mr. Murray was a partner and served as chief operating officer for Rock Ridge Advisors.
Prior to forming Rock Ridge, Mr. Murray was a partner and managing director for Muirfield Capital Management, an $800 million hedge fund that launched in 2001, where he was involved with fixed income manager selection and distribution strategy.
During that time, Mr. Murray also formed and operated Pilgrim Foresight, a private investment vehicle, which offered insurance clients a tax-efficient alternative investment option.
From 1997 to 2001, he was a co-founding partner in Convergence Asset Management, LLC, a global fixed income fund launched with a team from Salomon’s proprietary trading unit.
From 1988 to1997, Mr. Murray was a partner at Cantor Fitzgerald, where he was responsible for managing the mortgage-backed trading operation.
In 1997, Mr. Murray, his wife, Susan, and other parents formed the Autism Coalition for Research and Education, which became Autism Speaks in June 2005. The Murrays have three boys, including Owen, who is on the autism spectrum.
Mr. Murray holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Siena College.
Managing Director and Global Head of Senior Relationship Management, Nomura
Henson Orser is a managing director and global head of senior relationship management at Nomura, Asia’s global investment bank, where he also chairs the Global Sales Executive Committee. Mr. Orser is responsible for further enhancing Nomura’s client proposition and coordinating resources to serve the firm’s highest priority global accounts. He has more than 20 years of industry experience.
Mr. Orser joined Nomura in 2012 as head of sales for Global Markets Americas. Prior to his current appointment, Mr. Orser was promoted in 2015 to co-head of Global Markets Americas.
Before joining Nomura, Mr. Orser spent 16 years at Royal Bank of Scotland, where he was most recently head of USD rates sales in the Americas. From 2001 to 2009, he was the branch manager of the RBS San Francisco office.
Before RBS, he worked in fixed income sales at PaineWebber and, prior to that, in institutional futures and options at Lehman Brothers. He began his career in municipal bonds sales at Lebenthal & Co.
Mr. Orser holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science from Princeton University, and is a trustee for the Winston Preparatory School, an innovative school for children with learning differences.
Valerie Paradiz, Ph.D.
Secretary, Autism Speaks
Director, Valerie Paradiz LLC
Valerie Paradiz, Ph.D. is the director of Valerie Paradiz, LLC, a consultancy that provides technical assistance, training and strategic development to schools, universities, corporations and institutions that support individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities.
Dr. Paradiz serves as secretary of the Autism Speaks board. In a part-time capacity, she serves as director of the National Autism Leadership Institute of First Place Arizona.
Dr. Paradiz is a regular columnist for the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative’s Spectrum News (Home Truths: https://spectrumnews.org/column/home-truths/). She is also the author of the 2010 International Book Award finalist in education, “Integrated Self-Advocacy ISA.” Her publications include chapters in two books from Jessica Kingsley Publishers: “Autism and Learning Differences: An Active Learning Teaching Toolkit” and “The Challenge and Promise of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Mid and Later Life.”
Additional publications include “Lesson Plan a la Carte” (AAPC, 2011), “Scholars on the Spectrum Achieving Dreams” (Auricle, 2012), and a memoir, “Elijah's Cup: A Family’s Journey into the Community and Culture of High-Functioning Autism and Asperger Syndrome” (Simon & Schuster, 2003).
Her work in autism and the disability fields has been featured in The New York Times, Redbook magazine, The Guardian, Parade magazine, NHK Japan, MTV’s True Life, the PBS NewsHour and on National Public Radio. Dr. Paradiz is the 2015 recipient of the Autism Society of America’s Adam Heavner Memorial Award for promoting successful employment of individuals with autism.
Wanting to support her son with autism, Elijah, as he experienced debilitating crises in public school in the fifth grade, Dr. Paradiz founded the pioneering ASPIE School in 2002 for middle and high school-aged students with autism. In 2006, she brought the same model program to New York University's Asperger Institute, serving as director of education from 2006 to 2007.
During this period, she participated in a study of adults with autism at NYU Medical Center and was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.
Dr. Paradiz received her Ph.D. in German Studies with honors from City University of New York’s Graduate Center. Before moving into the field of autism, Dr. Paradiz published translations of German literature (“All I Need Is Love,” Klaus Kinski, Random House, 1995), as well as narrative nonfiction (“Clever Maids: A History of the Grimm Fairy Tales,” Perseus, 2005) while teaching writing and literature at Bard College.
For more information, visit www.autismselfadvocacy.com
Herbert Pardes, M.D.
Executive Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
Dr. Herbert Pardes, after serving from January 2000 through September 2011 as president and chief executive officer of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, became executive vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Under his leadership, the hospital escalated to one of the highest ranked hospitals and comprehensive health care institutions in the United States.
Dr. Pardes has been an outspoken proponent for academic medicine, medical research, children’s health education, mental health, access to care, humanism and empathy in care delivery, information technology and medicine.
He chaired three different departments of psychiatry at Downstate Medical Center, the University of Colorado and Columbia University. He served from 1989 to 2000 as the dean of the faculty of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and vice president for health sciences.
A noted psychiatrist, he served as director of the National Institute of Mental Health and the United States Assistant Surgeon General during the Carter and Reagan Administrations. He was also president of the American Psychiatric Association.
He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received the United States Army Commendation Medal, as well as the Sarnat International Prize for leadership in the field of mental health.
He has been president of the Scientific Council of The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation for some 30 years and is also the first recipient of The Pardes Humanitarian Award in Mental Health.
He has served on commissions related to health policy appointed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, including the Presidential Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry and the Commission on Systemic Interoperability.
He serves on the NYeC Board Executive Committee for Information Technology, and is vice chairman of the New York Genome Center.
He is former chairman of the Greater New York Hospital Association, the Hospital Association of New York (on whose board he continues to sit), the Association of American Medical Colleges and the New York Association of Medical Schools.
Jamie T. Richardson
Vice President, White Castle System, Inc.
Jamie Richardson joined the White Castle home office team in 1998. He serves as vice president of White Castle System, Inc., with responsibilities for government affairs, shareholder relations, public relations and corporate philanthropy.
In recent years, Mr. Richardson has led White Castle’s involvement in entertainment projects including “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle,” “Undercover Boss,” and “Impractical Jokers.”
Mr. Richardson is frequently quoted in major print and broadcast media on restaurant industry perspectives on current events and policy issues.
He serves on the board of Family Enterprise USA, the National Council of Chain Restaurants and the Ohio Restaurant Association, where he is chairman of the board. In 2014, Mr. Richardson was named the National Restaurant Association’s Advocate of the Year, and in 2016, the National Council of Chain Restaurants’ Ambassador of the Year.
In addition to serving on the Autism Speaks board, Mr. Richardson is active in his community, serving on several charity boards. He is vice chairman of the YMCA of Central Ohio Board, and serves on the American Red Cross National Philanthropy Board.
Mr. Richardson has demonstrated a powerful passion and commitment to Autism Speaks over the past several years, spearheading White Castle efforts that have raised more than $4 million.
He has testified before the Ohio State House of Representatives and worked with Autism Speaks board member Laura Slatkin to create the Original Slider White Castle hamburger-scented candle – an effort that has raised awareness and more than $350,000 for Autism Speaks.
As a fourth generation “family member-in-law,” Mr. Richardson invests his time and passion in the White Castle vision of remaining a family-owned business for generations to come.
Mr. Richardson and his wife Kate live in Mount Vernon, Ohio and have five children, Brendan, Chloe, Mary, Grace, Maggie and Finn.
President of Program Strategy and Chief Operating Officer, FX Networks
Chuck Saftler is president of program strategy and chief operating officer of FX Networks and oversees programming strategies, including scheduling and acquisitions, program operations, business operations and digital operations for FX, FXX and FXM.
In addition, Mr. Saftler oversees special programs and hosted content, including FX’s The Download, all award show coverage including FXX’s The Creative Arts Emmys and FXM’s Red Carpet coverage, FXX’s new late night Animation Domination block and, in conjunction with FX Digital Marketing, the new video-on-demand app FXNOW featuring Simpsons World.
Mr. Saftler has the longest tenure of any FX Networks employee, having joined FX in December 1993 as director of scheduling, seven months prior to the network’s launch.
In addition to being a member of the FX launch team, he also helped launch Fox Movie Channel in its original incarnation as fXM in October 1994. He was promoted to vice president of programming in 1996, and then to senior vice president of programming at FX in June 2000. He added general manager of Fox Movie Channel to his responsibilities in July 2003 and was promoted to executive vice president of FX Networks in 2006. Mr. Saftler assumed his current role in 2013.
Mr. Saftler has played an enormous role in the growth and expansion of FX Networks. He has been responsible for assembling the most impressive movie library of any broadcast or basic cable network on television – a collection that includes the highest number of box-office hit films and the most commercial television premieres of any network. He is also responsible for acquired television series deals for FX Networks, including “Two and a Half Men,” “Mike & Molly” and “How I Met Your Mother.”
Mr. Saftler spearheaded the transformation of FXM from Fox Movie Channel and has expanded its growing library of award-winning hit and prestige films. He also oversees the development of the network’s original programming.
In September 2013, Mr. Saftler helped launch FX Networks’ newest channel FXX. He negotiated the landmark deal for the linear and non-linear rights to “The Simpsons” for FXX, including the groundbreaking 12-day “Every Simpsons Ever” marathon that helped make FXX basic cable’s fastest-growing entertainment network in primetime last year. Working with FX Digital Marketing, Mr. Saftler oversaw the creation of the acclaimed “Simpsons World” for FXNOW. He negotiated the rights to broadcast the “Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards” on FXX. He also developed the late-night animation block “Animation Domination” for the network with ADHD Studio.
Prior to joining FX, Mr. Saftler worked in various program research positions at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, as well as at Columbia Pictures Television, where he participated in the successful syndicated launches of “Seinfeld” and “Married…With Children.” He is a member of both the national and local Los Angeles board of directors for Autism Speaks.
He is a graduate of Boston University and serves on the National Boston University Alumni Council.
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 Bachelor of Arts degree in 1982 and received his Juris Doctor degree from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis in 1985.
In 2001, Mr. Savitz founded the Law Offices of Stuart M. Savitz LLC, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance transactions and general corporate services. In 2004, Mr. Savitz was the lead investor in CP Acquisition LLC, which acquired the Coco Pazzo and Coco Pazzo Café restaurants in Chicago.
Mr. Savitz 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 nine years, Team Tyler has raised over $1 million. In 2011, Spencer and the Savitz Family founded the North Shore Walk.
The Savitz family 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 and Science Committees.
Mr. Savitz also served on the Foundation Board for Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago from 2004 to 2009.
President and Chief Executive Officer, PayPal
As president and chief executive officer, Dan Schulman is focused on transforming financial services to make life easier for billions of people around the world. With his deep experience in payments and mobile technology, Mr. Schulman is leading PayPal to reimagine how people move and manage money, and how merchants and consumers interact and transact.
Mr. Schulman previously served as group president of Enterprise Growth at American Express where he led global strategy to expand the company's alternative mobile and online payment services. Under his leadership, American Express successfully launched its next-generation digital payments platform, developed non-traditional sources of revenue and introduced a suite of payment products to expand the company's demographic and geographic reach.
Prior to joining American Express, Mr. Schulman was president of the Prepaid Group at Sprint Nextel Corporation following its acquisition of Virgin Mobile USA, Inc., where he led the company as its founding chief executive officer. During his eight years at Virgin Mobile USA, he developed the company from its earliest stages as one of the first U.S. prepaid cell phone providers to a dynamic public company, when it was eventually acquired by Sprint Nextel in 2009.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Schulman was president and chief executive officer of Priceline Group, Inc., where he led the company through a period of rapid growth and expansion. He also spent 18 years at AT&T, where he held a series of positions, including president of the Consumer Markets Division.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Mr. Schulman is most proud of his achievements in helping underserved populations. While at Virgin Mobile, the company won the private sector award for bringing focus to the plight of homeless youth. During his time at American Express, he drove attention and introduced new products to the 70 million U.S. adults underserved by traditional consumer financial institutions.
Mr. Schulman earned a bachelor's degree from Middlebury College and a Master of Business Administration from New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business. In addition to being a member of the Autism Speaks board, he also serves on the boards of Flextronics, International Ltd. and Symantec Corporation, where he is the non-executive chairman of the board.
Stephen Shore, Ed.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor, Ammon School of Education, Adelphi University
Dr. Stephen Shore is a clinical assistant professor at the Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University, teaching courses in special education and autism. He focuses his work on matching well thought out educational practices to individual needs that promote fulfilling and productive lives for those with autism.
It is because of his personal experiences when he was nonverbal and his parents refused to institutionalize him that Dr. Shore has become an advocate of intensive early intervention matched to the needs of the individual with autism. He speaks and consults throughout the world on educational and social inclusion, sensory processing challenges, bullying, as well as many other issues associated with successful transitioning into adulthood for those with autism.
Dr. Shore’s writings can regularly be seen in the media. He also shares his experiences in his autobiography, “Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome,” and in “Ask and Tell: Self-Advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum,” as well as the DVD “Living Along the Autism Spectrum: What It Means to Have Autism or Asperger Syndrome.”
In addition to his work with Autism Speaks, Dr. Shore serves as president emeritus of the Asperger/Autism Network. He also is on the board of Specialisterne-USA, the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, the United States Autism and Asperger Association, and he is the president of the Asperger Syndrome Support Network of the Russian Federation.
Dr. Shore received his Ed.D. in special education from the Boston University School of Education in 2008.
Founder and Executive Chairman, Nest Fragrances
After a 13-year career as a successful Wall Street executive, Laura Slatkin left the world of finance in 1992 to pursue a very different business venture: Slatkin & Co., a luxury home fragrance brand she founded with her husband, Harry Slatkin. Its high quality, smartly designed collections established it as the most successful luxury home fragrance brand to-date, blazing a trail to a now multi-billion dollar category in the beauty industry. In 2005, the couple sold the popular brand.
That same year, Ms. Slatkin founded her own company, NEST Fragrances, initially focusing on the production of private-label and licensed home fragrance collections for the world’s most important luxury brands, including Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Jonathan Adler and NARS. In 2008, after three years of meticulous development, she launched a more personal collection of luxe home scents by the same name, the NEST Fragrances Collection. For this collection, she draws upon her own experiences, emphasizing the powerful emotional connection between scent and a sense of place.
In 2012, Ms. Slatkin launched the NEST Fine Fragrances Collection. Comprised of sophisticated botanical notes in unexpected combinations and exquisitely designed packaging, each eau de parfum in the collection continues to evolve the brand.
Outside of the fragrance world, Ms. Slatkin is committed to various causes, most notably autism, as her son is on the autism spectrum.
Along with her husband and closest colleagues, she co-founded NEXT for Autism (formerly New York Collaborates for Autism), an organization dedicated to creating replicable programs that immediately address the needs of individuals and families living with autism spectrum disorder. To date, it has created the first charter school dedicated to autism; a training institute with Hunter College; and a clinical research institute, the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, in collaboration with New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weil Cornell and Columbia University.
Steven P. Stanbrook
Former Chief Operating Officer International, S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
Steven P. Stanbrook joined S.C. Johnson in November 1996 as president, Europe, and one year later, Africa and the Near East were added to his responsibilities. In July 2006, he was appointed president of developing markets and, in September 2010, chief operating officer, international, where he covered 130 markets.
Mr. Stanbrook joined S.C. Johnson from CompuServe where he was president of its International Division. Before CompuServe, Mr. Stanbrook spent 17 years at Sara Lee Corporation, most recently as president and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Bakery.
Mr. Stanbrook also serves on the board of directors of Imperial Brands, the U.K.’s 12th largest enterprise, and he is a partner at the Chicago-based private equity firm, Wind Point Partners. Previous board roles include Hewitt Associates and Chiquita Brands International, both NYSE listed businesses.
Mr. Stanbrook and his wife Judy have five children.
Chief Communications Officer, eBay
Dan Tarman, eBay’s chief communications officer, is responsible for managing, protecting and strengthening the company’s brand and reputation among key stakeholders. He and his team play a critical role in eBay’s brand strategy, positioning the company as a global leader in the commerce revolution.
Mr. Tarman is a member of eBay’s Executive Leadership Team. He leads a 100-person global team that activates a modern, robust and dynamic communications system that deploys cutting-edge tools, technologies and techniques to drive business impact. Mr. Tarman also plays a key role in eBay’s inclusion and diversity efforts as well as employee engagement with the company’s cultural values. He also chairs the eBay Foundation.
Mr. Tarman earned his J.D. cum laude from University of Miami School of Law, and a B.A. in international relations from Tulane University.
He serves on the Boards of Directors of the Ad Council and the Anti-Defamation League Central Pacific Region. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors of the USC Annenberg School Center for Public Relations and the Board of the Stanford University Center for Autism.
Mr. Tarman spends his free time with his wife and two young sons. His 10-year-old son is on the autism spectrum.
Worldwide General Manager, Kiehl’s Since 1851
Appointed in 2010, Cheryl Vitali oversees Kiehl’s worldwide strategy, new market development, product innovation and retail marketing plans from the global home office in New York City. Under Ms. Vitali’s leadership worldwide, Kiehl’s doubled in size in a two-year time frame.
Ms. Vitali joined L’Oreal USA in 2003 as senior vice president of marketing for Maybelline New York-Garnier. In her role with the $1 billion cosmetic and hair care division, she achieved 19 percent growth in a zero-growth marketplace and helped to launch the Garnier brand in the United States. Within L’Oreal, Ms. Vitali went on to head marketing for Lancôme, stabilizing the third-ranked luxury brand in 2009 and ultimately returning the brand to market share growth in the U.S. via new category product launches in skincare and makeup.
Prior to joining the L’Oreal family, Ms. Vitali held various positions of increasing responsibility at Revlon and Procter & Gamble. She began her career in advertising, but soon realized that she wanted to be the client.
"I have always been drawn to marketing strategy, managing the complexity of brand 'personalities' in business, and making great products for consumers," Ms. Vitali says.
She is keenly focused not only on business but also helping women build their careers while managing work / life balance. In 2008, she was awarded the prestigious Cosmetic Executive Women Achievers Award, honoring women in the beauty industry who have broken through barriers to success and inspire young executives to do the same.
Ms. Vitali lives in Weston, Connecticut, with her husband James Shapiro and their two sons, the younger of whom has autism. In addition to Autism Speaks, her philanthropic efforts include the Giants Steps School, American Institute for Neuro-Integrative Development.
Philip H. Geier, Jr.
Member, GHS Partners 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 in December 2000. In February 2001, Mr. Geier formed The Geier Group to provide consulting and advisory services in the marketing, communications and venture capital areas.
Mr. Geier's philanthropic relationships as director or trustee include: Columbia Business School; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; The Whitney Museum of American Art; The International Tennis Hall of Fame; and The Norton Museum.
Mr. Geier holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Colgate University (1957) and a Master of Business Administration in marketing and finance from Columbia University (1958).
Mel Karmazin served as chief executive officer and member of the board of directors of SiriusXM from July 2008 until January 2013 when he retired. Prior to that, he served as chief executive officer and member of the board of directors of Sirius Satellite Radio from November 2004 until its merger with XM Satellite Radio.
Previously, Mr. Karmazin was president and chief operating officer of Viacom from May 2000 until June 2004. He served on the Viacom board of directors and was responsible for overseeing all of Viacom's operations. Prior to that, he served as president, chief executive officer, and member of the board of directors of CBS Corporation from January 1999 to May 2000. Before becoming chief executive officer, he was president and chief operating officer of CBS Corporation from April 1998 to January 1999.
Mr. Karmazin joined CBS in January 1997 as chairman and chief executive officer of CBS Radio, through a merger of Westinghouse/CBS and Infinity Broadcasting. He had served as Infinity's president and chief executive officer from 1981 until Infinity became a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom in February 2001. He was named chairman and chief executive officer of CBS Station Group in May 1997. Prior to Infinity, Mr. Karmazin spent ten years with Metromedia.
In addition to being on the board of Autism Speaks, Mr. Karmazin is a trustee at NYU Langone Medical Center and vice chairman of the board of trustees of The Paley Center for Media. 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.
Founder, Suzanne Wright Foundation
Senior Advisor, Lee Equity Partners
Bob Wright has had a diversified career in law, general management, marketing and television.
He served as vice chairman and executive officer of the General Electric Company and as chairman and chief executive officer of NBC Universal from 1986 to 2007.
Mr. Wright 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. Prior to that, he served as president of General Electric Financial Services and before that as president of Cox Cable Communications. He has been inducted into the Advertising, Broadcasting and Cable Halls of Fame.
Mr. Wright has a strong history of philanthropy and community service, for which he and his late wife, Suzanne, have received numerous awards and accolades.
He serves on the boards of Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, AMC Networks Inc., and is a trustee emeritus of New York Presbyterian Hospital, and an advisor to The Lustgarten Foundation.
He is also chairman and chief executive officer of the Palm Beach Civic Association and senior advisor of THL Capital.
Mr. Wright is also a former member of the executive committee of Rand Corporation and a former board member 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.
In his 2016 memoir, “The Wright Stuff,” he called Suzanne Wright, his wife of 49 years, his “chief passion officer” who approached every task with heart and was integral to his professional success.
Mrs. Wright died of pancreatic cancer in July 2016.
Together, they enjoyed spending time with their three children and grandchildren. In honor of his wife and her battle with pancreatic cancer, Mr. Wright established The Suzanne Wright Foundation, dedicated to accelerating pancreatic cancer research through awareness. As founder and chairman of the organization, he is focused on making the fight against pancreatic cancer an urgent national priority.
Suzanne Wright died at age 69 of pancreatic cancer in 2016, after a nine-month battle.
She is remembered for founding Autism Speaks with her husband Bob Wright.
She created the blue puzzle-piece logo that is now recognized around the world. Working with the Ad Council and BBDO Worldwide, Mrs. and Mr. Wright launched a ten-year public service announcement campaign credited with educating countless families about the early signs of autism.
She also led Autism Speaks’ signature global awareness initiatives. Her determination was crucial to persuading the United Nations to establish April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day and launching the international Light It Up Blue awareness campaign.
Mrs. Wright was also engaged in numerous other philanthropic endeavors, mostly directed toward helping children.
She served 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 Champions of Caring Project.
She was a trustee emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater.
Mrs. Wright received numerous awards: the Women of Distinction Award from Palm Beach Atlantic University; the CHILD Magazine Children’s Champions Award; the Luella Bennack Volunteer Award; the Spirit of Achievement Award from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's National Women’s Division; and Women of Vision Award from the Weizmann Institute of Science.
In 2008, Mrs. and Mr. Wright were named in “Time 100’s” Heroes and Pioneers category for their commitment to global autism advocacy. They also received the first Double Helix Award for Corporate Leadership from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; the NYU Child Advocacy Award; the Castle Connolly National Health Leadership Award and the American Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award.
The Wrights received honorary doctoral degrees from UMass Medical School, St. John’s University and St. Joseph’s University. At the latter two schools, they delivered the commencement addresses.
The Wrights were the first married couple to be bestowed such an honor in St. John’s history.