NAA’s Board of Directors

OFFICERS:

Wendy Fournier
President, Founding Board Member

Wendy’s youngest daughter was diagnosed with autism in 2002.  Wendy is committed to changing the perspective of autism from what was once considered a mysterious mental illness to a biologically definable and treatable medical disorder. She attends and speaks at conferences throughout the US and conducts wandering-safety training for caregivers, school administrators and first responders.  Wendy has been appointed to the RI State Commission to study the education of children with autism, and as a consumer reviewer for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for Autism Research through the U.S. Department of Defense.  She has been interviewed by major media outlets including CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, People, and Redbook Magazine.

Krystal Higgins
Executive Director

Krystal is mom to two daughters, Layla and Adalynn, and has degrees in elementary, special, and administration of education.  After years of teaching for a behavioral hospital, she left the classroom to care for her first daughter, who was born with a severe traumatic brain injury.  After teaching and advocating for students on the autism spectrum, and using biomedical and therapeutic interventions to help her own daughter recover, she is committed to helping families acquire appropriate services for their children, and to shedding light on the urgent issues facing the autism community.

Claire Bothwell
Board Chair, Secretary

Claire resides in Long Beach, California, and works full-time as the office manager of Waters, Kraus & Paul.  She is married to Bruce and has three children: Will (born 1992), Katrina (born 1994) and Jillian (born 1996). When Will was diagnosed with autism in 1995, Claire quit her job and dedicated her time to running Will’s 40+ hours a week Lovaas program and advocating on Will’s behalf. She and Bruce sued their local school district and regional center for funding for Will’s program and prevailed. Soon, she and Bruce were successfully advocating for services for other autistic children in the area. In 1997, Claire’s second child, Katrina, was diagnosed with autism and Claire co-founded the first support group in the area that specifically targeted newly-diagnosed parents. She has served on the Board of the Autism Society of America-Greater Long Beach South Bay Chapter and has previously edited their newsletter and served as the Corresponding Secretary. She was one of the founding parents of L.A.-F.E.A.T. and was a frequent contributor to the old FEATLIST. In 2000, she returned to work full-time and opened the California office of Waters & Kraus. One of her first assignments was to research the issue of thimerosal in vaccines and its link to mercury poisoning and autism. Waters & Kraus filed the first civil suit in the United States alleging that thimerosal had caused neurological damage to children later diagnosed with autism. In the meantime, Bruce Bothwell left his partners in a general civil practice and opened his own office. He now practices exclusively in special education law. Claire and Bruce strive to do as much as they personally can to address the needs of individuals with autism in their community and beyond.

Rosemarie Dubrowsky
Treasurer

Rosemarie (Roe) is a CPA who has served in executive financial and operation positions in several industries, including technology, franchise and airlines. She earned her master’s degree at Pace University in accounting in 1984. Roe’s son Danny was diagnosed with autism in 1997. Unlike many first time parents, the word autism was not new to the Dubrowsky’s, their niece was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4 and has been living in the Hunterdon Developmental Center since she was 13. The center provides a safe environment for a beautiful young girl whose mother did an incredible job advocating for and helping children despite not having the tools we have today like the internet along with the numbers of families that we see today supporting one another. According to Roe “These parents that went it alone and paved the way, are our kid’s true heroes.” Since 1997, Roe has volunteered for several organizations including CAN, Safe Minds, The NJ Governors Council, and POAC where her husband Geoff currently serves as Director of Development. Roe has lobbied for several pieces of legislation related to autism including increased money for research, IDEA re-authorization and vaccine safety. Because of Roe’s determination Danny has seen some of the best doctors in the country and no biomedical option has gone by without research. Today, Danny is in a model district verbal behavior program and is on the gfcf diet. He is also going through chelation and has a daily vitamin regimen that would revel any of today’s steroid free athletes.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

Lori McIlwain
Co-Founder, Board Member

Lori has a teenage son with autism. In 2007, she began advocating for federal resources that would reduce and eliminate injuries and deaths associated with autism-related wandering. She has been a contributor in New York Times, and featured in USA Today, Time, WebMD, Education Week, FBI’s National Academy Associate Magazine and on NPR. In 2012, Lori assisted the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in creating federal search and rescue guidelines for missing children with special needs.

James A. Moody
Founding Board Member, Government Affairs Committee Chair

Jim is a practicing attorney and Founder of Citizens for a Competitive Economy. He is very active in cause-related advocacy and has dedicated himself to serving the autism community for nearly two decades.

Leslie Phillips
Board Member

Leslie Phillips has two sons on the autism spectrum, one diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and the other with autistic disorder and significant medical issues. She knows firsthand the challenges that face both higher and lower functioning individuals and believes firmly in addressing medical underpinnings of autism in conjunction with therapeutic interventions to achieve the best outcomes.

Leslie earned an MBA from the University of Houston, first pursuing a career in healthcare marketing, then working for a NASA/JSC contractor researching human physiology in space. After her first son was born in 1994, she became a stay-at-home mom. A longtime advocate in the autism community, she serves on the board of Katy Autism Support, helped to found Katy Faith & Disability to promote inclusive faith practices, and has undergone advanced disability advocacy training.

Joseph Ranseth
Board Member

Joseph’s career in online marketing, combined with his passion for helping others, have lead him to be recognized as a leader in using social media for positive purposes. Joseph works as the Senior Marketing Strategist at Vine Multimedia, an online marketing agency in Winnipeg, and is actively involved in his local community in a number of volunteer roles, none more important than that of being a Big Brother. Joseph’s passion for using social media to do good has resulted in him being featured several times in the Huffington Post as someone Inspiring the World Through Twitter, and has had his creative fundraising campaigns for NAA featured on television several times both in the USA and Canada.