Kate Elliott, MSW
Position: Executive Director
Experience: Kate joined the Autism Society of Southern Arizona team in 2022 after being a group participant and volunteering with the agency for years.
She earned her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Chicago with a specialization in Family support and worked managing a Family Support Program and later worked with families at the Domestic Violence Alternative Center at the Juvenile courts.
She has two Autistic children and is excited to bring her experience and love for the Autistic community to support the families and individuals in our programs while strengthening the Autistic community, advocating and promoting Allyship in southern Arizona.
Autism Connection: Mother of a son diagnosed at 8 and daughter diagnosed at 3.
Expertise: Program development, community engagement, and family support.
Position: Information and Referral Specialist
Experience: Finding resources across Pima County in the mental and behavioral health community. Began working in mental health in 2007. Has worked for nonprofits since 2010.
Autism Connection: Mother of an adult diagnosed with Autism at age 4 and of a 14-year-old diagnosed with Autism at age 10.
Expertise: Navigating through behavioral health systems from initial diagnosis of Autism to transitioning to adulthood. Including working with State agencies and therapeutic agencies.
Role: Program and Marketing Specialist
Experience: Became a registered behavior technician and is close to finishing her bachelor’s degree in Psychology in Applied Behavior Analysis
Autism Connection: Is a boy mom of two very smart, funny, and hardworking boys. She found her passion for Autism after her first son was diagnosed with Autism. She started learning and researching everything she could possibly know about Autism.
Expertise: Has the privilege of advocating and educating in the community while working and is constantly improving her already amazing understanding of social media and marketing materials.
Role: Grant writer
Experience: Over 15 years as a nonprofit fundraiser/grant writer. Over 25 years as an executive/senior manager with municipal and voluntary hospitals, social service agencies, school systems, and academic institutions.
Autism connection: An aunt of an adult with autism. Substantial experience overseeing continuous quality improvement in health care services for individuals with disabilities living in community settings.
Expertise: Human Services, Pre K-12 and Higher Education, and Health Care
Board Role: President and Governance Committee Chair
Professional job: Senior Director of Clinical Services at Hope Inc. Hope Inc is a Peer and Family Run Specialty Provider of Behavioral Health Services. Every employee at HOPE is either a peer or a family member who is dedicated to a unique model of service delivery that focuses on a team approach to recovery. In his role, he oversees all clinical services for the Southern Arizona agency.
Autism Connection: My autism connection is that I started out working at Intermountain Academy which serves children with autism. After working at the school, I fell in love with serving individuals with autism. I went back to school and get my master’s in special education with an emphasis on behavior support. After completing my degree, I became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
Expertise: Knowledge of behavioral health and physical health systems. I provide autism resources and referrals for families to get appropriate services. I also have knowledge of the insurance world as well.
Kyle Lininger, MPA, BCBA
Board Role: Past President
Professional job: Vice President of Clinical Integration at Intermountain Centers
Autism connection: Family member and supporter of the Autistic community
Expertise: Management, Leadership, Integrated Healthcare Expertise, Public Policy
Josh Anbar, DrPH, MPH
Board Role: Secretary and Internal Committee Chair
Professional job: ASU Professor
Autism connection: Individual diagnosed with Autism
Expertise: First-person experience with autism; public health; education
Affiliations: University of Arizona; Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health: American Public Health Association
Board Role: Treasurer
Professional job: Contract Data Manager at Collins Aerospace
Autism connection: Interest in service to the autistic community
Expertise: Finance, Accounting, Data Management, and Health Insurance Knowledge
Laura Valenzuela, M.S. CCC-SLP
Board Role: External Committee Chair
Professional job: Speech Language Pathologist
Autism connection: Works directly with individuals and families affected by Autism.
Expertise: Communication Disorders & Applied Behavior Analysis
Board Role: Director
Professional job: Senior Marketing Coordinator, Banner University Health Plans
Autism connection: He is an accomplished public speaker who openly shares his own lived experience facing and overcoming challenges including a diagnosis on the autism spectrum.
Expertise: He holds a JD degree from the Dickinson School of Law at Penn State and is a graduate of ASU’s School of Social Work – Tucson Campus with a Master’s in Social Work. In addition, Eric is also certified by the State of Arizona to provide peer support as a Recovery Support Specialist with over a decade of experience working in the behavioral health field.
Affiliations: Teaches self-advocacy skills and how to more effectively navigate the public healthcare system.
Board Role: Director
Professional job: Director of EDvance, an educational support program designed to empower staff to advance the achievement of students with disabilities, Pima County School Superintendent’s Office.
Autism connection: Provided speech therapy to students with autism during 39-year career in public schools. Advocated for services and supports for students with autism as Assistant Director of Special Education in the Vail School District
Expertise: Communication Disorders
Catherine Riley, MD
Board Role: Director
Professional job: Developmental Pediatrician, Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Arizona
Affiliations: AZAAP medical director: Early Brain and Child Development
Autism connection: Medical provider
Expertise: medicine, education, and program development
Board Role: Board Member
Professional job: Senior Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Tucson Electric Power.
Autism connection: An adult daughter with autism.
Expertise: Communications, public policy, and business management.
Board Role: Honorary Director and Chair of the Affiliate Leadership Committee for Autism Society of America
Professional job: Tucson Branch Manager/Engineer (GHD)
Affiliations: former Advisory Committee member of Arizona Autism Coalition; former VP of Tucson Council of Arizona Autism Coalition; former Board Chairman of Tucson Alliance for Autism
Autism connection: son with autism
Expertise: management; strategic planning; advocacy
Board Role: Honorary Director
Professional job: Attorney (Snell & Wilmer)
Autism connection: none
Expertise: law, fund development
Board Role: Honorary Member
Professional job: Consultant/Grant writer (Independent)
Autism connection: daughter with autism
Expertise: fund development; non-profit management
Board Role: Immediate Past President
Professional job: CEO of The Children’s Clinics
Affiliations: Governor’s Commission on ASD Member, Tucson’s Commission on Disabilities Issues Commissioner, Sonoran University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Community Advisory Member, Former President of Tucson Council of Arizona Autism Coalition.
Autism connection: Service Provider
Expertise: System change; behavioral health systems; strategic planning; management