NAA’s Board of Directors

OFFICERS:

Lori McIlwain
Co-Founder, Chairperson of the Board
Mom to Connor and Charlotte

Lori began her career in radio and television and has focused primarily on conceptual development, commercial copywriting, and media strategies on the agency side. She has an extensive and diverse background in advertising, marketing, public relations, and consumer behavior working with national, regional and local accounts. Her fight for a cure began right after her only son, Connor, was diagnosed with autism. Her husband Christian is also an active advocate for individuals with autism and their families.

Kelly Vanicek
Executive Director
Mom to Ashley, Rachel and Kyle

Kelly has a BA in Journalism. She has worked for the past 20 years with her husband, Bruce, at their wholesale nursery. When their son Kyle was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, she followed the path of the pioneers in biomedical interventions and has successfully recovered their son. She continues to advocate for children and their families affected by autism as a long-time volunteer for NAA and also as a Rescue Angel through Generation Rescue where she guides many families along the journey toward recovery.

Wendy Fournier
President, Founding Board Member
Mom to Michael, Sarah and Alyssa

After several years in the promotional products industry, Wendy founded a home-based web development company that allowed her to have a career in web design and be a full-time Mom.  Her 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. 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.

Katie Wright
Vice President
Mom to Mattias and Christian

Katie is the mother of two boys, Mattias and Christian. Christian regressed into autism at 2 ½ years old. Katie completed her under-graduate studies at Boston University and received a Masters in Education from Columbia University. Studying counseling psychology, she received her professional license in 2000 and was the Clinical Director of the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Stamford, CT providing free and confidential counseling services to male and female survivors of rape and sexual assaults. Katie resigned her position when Christian became ill and now, with her husband Andreas, is dedicated to working to improve the lives of children and families affected by Autism.

Rita Shreffler
Secretary, Founding Board Member
Mom to Andrew and Mary Kathryn

Rita Shreffler is a founding board member of the National Autism Association and served as Executive Director from 2006 – 2011. She earned her BA and MA from the University of Missouri, and worked in advertising and public relations for The Kansas City Star and The Daily Oklahoman for ten years. She has spent the past decade working to build public awareness of the relationship between increased toxic exposures to children and the development of neurological disorders such as autism and ADHD, lobbying at state and national levels for the removal of mercury from vaccines. Rita has been interviewed by numerous newspapers and magazines including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Mother Jones and has provided background research for Meet the Press and In These Times. Rita and her husband Arnie live with their two children near Springfield, Missouri.

George Zoglio
Treasurer

George is a graduate of Bryant University, where he received both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting in addition to an MBA. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Rhode Island Society of CPA.  George has 15 years experience in public accounting with National and Regional accounting firms, providing accounting, audit and business consulting services to small and mid-size companies, including not-for-profit organizations and Employee Benefit Plans. He also has 10 years of financial management experience in private industry, serving in senior-level positions in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, with experience in financial planning and analysis, budgeting, grant reporting and compliance and cost analysis.

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

Claire Bothwell
Board Member
Mum to Will, Katrina, and Jillian

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
Board Member
Mom to Danny

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.

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.