About Us


Ray Frieders

Kate Elliott

Position:  Executive Director
Experience: Masters in Social Work from the University of Chicago- Crown Family School with a specialization in Family Support. Worked at agencies in Illinois and Arizona to provide support to families in early childhood and beyond.

Autism Connection: Mother of a son diagnosed at 7 and daughter diagnosed at 3. 

Expertise: Overseeing grant and community programs that support individuals impacted by Autism.

Maxine Mathews

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 a teenager diagnosed with Autism at age 4 and of an 11-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.

Ray Frieders

JC Rivers

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


Kyle Lininger

Kyle Lininger, MPA, BCBA

Board Role: 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

Ray Frieders

Courtney Broome

Board Role: Vice 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.

Josh Anbar

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  

Josh Anbar

Abigail Moraga  

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

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


Courtney Henson

Eric Stark

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.

Lynda Weigel-Firor

Diane Kent

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

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

Catherine Riley


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.

Honorary Members

Pete Schwarz

Pete Schwarz

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

Courtney Henson

Courtney Henson

Board Role: Honorary Director
Professional job: Attorney (Snell & Wilmer)
Autism connection: none
Expertise: law, fund development

Lynda Weigel-Firor

Lynda Weigel-Firor

Board Role: Honorary Member
Professional job: Consultant/Grant writer (Independent)
Autism connection: daughter with autism
Expertise: fund development; non-profit management

Jared Perkins

Jared Perkins

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

© Autism Society of Southern Arizona

Autism Society of Southern Arizona is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit charity and our tax ID is 47-2524160