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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 was 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. 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.


Kerry Magro, EdD
Board Member
Dr. Kerry Magro is an award-winning professional speaker and best-selling author who’s on the autism spectrum. He started speaking professionally in 2011. Kerry is CEO & President of KFM Making A Difference, a non-profit organization that hosts inclusion events and has provided over 60 scholarships for students with autism for college. Kerry also hosts a Facebook page called A Special Community, where he does on-camera interviews highlighting people impacted by a diagnosis. His videos have been watched over 25 million times. 

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
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.