Advisory Board


Rajesh Anandan, M.Eng. is an intrapreneur, entrepreneur and growth architect, the co-creator of UNICEF Kid Power, the world’s first wearable-for-good, and co-founder of ULTRA Testing, a high quality software testing company employing individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Rajesh began his career at Microsoft as a program manager, and then joined Bain & Company where he focused on business incubation and growth strategy for technology, media, financial services, healthcare and retail clients. For the past decade, he has worked in the impact sector, including setting up and running the Private Sector division at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and launching and scaling up UNICEF Ventures at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Rajesh has a BSc and MEng in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT with concentrations in Artificial Intelligence, Systems Dynamics and Economics.

Isabelle Gauvry is the Director of Public Relations for Omnicom Media Group. Isabelle oversees media relations for Omnicom Media Group (OMG), the media services division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC). Omnicom Media Group brands include global media agencies OMD and PHD; OMG’s data-informed marketing platform Annalect; Accuen, OMG’s trading desk; search specialty agency Resolution Media; Optimum Sports Media and Marketing; and Novus Media. Over the course of a 30 -year career that includes both agency and independent consultant stints, Isabelle has worked with top brands across the consumer, healthcare and retail categories, including  Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Gillette, Comcast, AstraZeneca, Princess Cruises, Eli Lilly, Boston Market, Exxon, Shire, Verizon and Wawa Food Markets.While Director of National Media Strategy for top-five global PR agency Porter Novelli, Isabelle led strategic planning teams in eight US offices, and spearheaded a migration from media-focused to audience-centric strategic planning and measurement.  In conjunction with that effort, she brokered the first-ever relationship between Nielsen and a public relations agency, and was responsible for  introducing account-planning best practices to both new business and existing clients’ program development. As an independent consultant, Isabelle provided discipline-neutral brand marketing services — including media relations, consumer insights, strategy and content development, and internal/external sell-in support — to leading national and regional brands, both direct-to-client or as an adjunct agency resource. In 2006 she coined the term Alpha Boomers to describe the first cohort of Baby Boomers to turn 60, and published an analysis of the impact and implications for healthcare marketers that earned international distribution. And in 2009, she helped develop the Consumption Context Index, a forecasting model that uses econometrics-based proxy indicators to track and predict consumer outlook and behaviors. Isabelle is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in three years.  She and her husband live in Bucks County, PA with their two youngest sons, Will (17)  and Ben (14).  Her eldest son, John (32) lives in New York, and works in the media industry.

Lynda Geller, Ph.D. has been in the field of autism spectrum for three decades. She served on the faculties of Georgetown University, Stony Brook University and NYU Medical Schools for 25 years, where she worked on the development of clinical centers providing a wide array of services for children and adults with autism spectrum conditions. Dr. Geller has a clinical practice in New York City and founded Spectrum Services, a multidisciplinary group of independent practitioners dedicated to providing social, psychological, psychiatric, speech and language, vocational training and employment, family support, consulting and coaching services for children and adults with Asperger Syndrome and related conditions. She serves on the advisory boards of Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association (AHA) and the YAI/NIPD Network’s Center for Autism and the editorial board of Autism Spectrum News. Dr. Geller has taught numerous courses on autism spectrum at Georgetown University, Stony Brook University, Pace University, and Bank Street College. She writes scholarly and popular articles, conducts professional training and continuing education, testifies on behalf of children and adults on the spectrum and speaks at regional, national and international conferences.

Cindy Gentry is a senior partner with Mercer US, Inc, a global human resource consultancy.  She has over 27 years of experience in developing client-focused human resource and process improvement solutions. A leader in the field, Cindy is at the helm of projects involving international retirement and benefits, executive compensation, global compensation and benefits strategy, investment consulting, HR transformation, competency development, talent management and merger and acquisition activities. She holds a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Public Health and has published articles for the California Healthcare Foundation.  She was a recent architect and lead advisor on Mercer’s When Women Thrive research on gender diversity in the workplace. She was awarded Diversity Journal’s 2012 “Women to Watch” award. She also speaks out with a strong voice on advocacy for persons on the autistic spectrum as she has an adult son with Asperger’s syndrome.

Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D. is the Director of Education – Upper School for the McCarton School in New York City. Dr. Gerhardt has over 30 years’ experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in support of adolescents and adults with ASD in educational, employment, residential, and community-based settings. He is the author or co-author of articles and book chapters on the needs of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder and he has presented nationally and internationally on this topic. In addition, Dr. Gerhardt serves as Chairman of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research, on the Editorial Board of Behavior Analysis in Practice, and on numerous professional advisory boards including the Autism Society of America. Dr. Gerhardt received his doctorate from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey Graduate School of Education. Dr. Gerhardt’s research interests include issues related to intensity of behavior analytic instruction with adolescents and adults, community integration and employment, development of adaptive behavior competencies, positive behavior supports with complex individuals, and the use of technology to support community safety and independence.

Elise Hahn Felix, LCSW is the Director of the Compass Program. Ms. Hahn Felix is an experienced clinical social worker with over 25 years experience in the field of working with people with disabilities. She has worked in Jewish Communal Services at various JCCs as well as being the Principal of a reform congregation (for 5 years) where she established a resource room and services for children with learning disabilities. She also has worked in the field of addiction and substance abuse for over 17 years. For the last 15 years she has worked for Jewish Child Care Association as Director of the Compass Project, giving direction to teens with learning disabilities and who are on the Autistic spectrum and PDD, who are facing high school and college transitions. Ms. Hahn-Felix works with special programs on several JCC’s and college campuses in Long Island, Manhattan, Westchester and Queens. She has been in private practice for the past 17 years, in Huntington, Long Island.

Myrna Harris, M.Ed, CAS has spent over 30 years as a special educator, teaching and leading in a variety of settings: hospitals, residential treatment centers, and urban and suburban school districts. As an associate of Educational Resources Unlimited, LLC, Ms. Harris is committed to developing and finding appropriate educational opportunities for children and young adults who are struggling and the families they serve. For 20 years, she was a member of the Hendrick Hudson School District Committee on Special Education, a Special Education Department Leader, and for the past fifteen years, the Chairperson of the Committee on Special Education. Ms. Harris attended Fordham University and Columbia University Teachers College for her Master’s and advanced postgraduate degree in Special Education and Educational Administration and Leadership. She is a New York State certified Special Education Teacher and a NYS School and District Administrator with additional training in Life Space Crisis Intervention. As an Adjunct Instructor of graduate and undergraduate Special Education courses and a speaker to both educators and parents, she has given numerous national, state and local workshops and seminars on meeting the instructional and behavioral needs of students with emotional and learning challenges. Ms. Harris is a member of the Nonverbal Learning Disorders Association (NLDA), National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), and the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). She serves as a member of the Ramapo for Children Advisory Board. Ms. Harris regularly attends national and regional conferences to keep current in best practices in the education and growth of children, adolescents and young adults with special needs.

Susan Larson, as a mother to Drew, her 19 year old son on the spectrum, has been an Autism awareness advocate for over 15 years. She has served as Minnesota’s District 196 Parent Support Group facilitator; founder and chair of FACE (Facing Autism in a Caring Environment), an affinity group at Best Buy; co-chair on INCLUDE, a disability affinity group at Best Buy; co-founder of the Minnesota Autism Society’s (AuSM) Autism & Employment Forum (yearly); and is on the Board of Directors at AuSM. Susan’s passion is ASD Employment. In the past, she accepted the Employer of the Year Award from both AuSM (the Autism Society of Minnesota) and from the Autism Society of America. Ms. Larson has a background in Marketing Communications and Community Relations and has worked for Novartis, the American Red Cross, TRIA Orthopaedic Center, Second Harvest, the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney, and as a contributing writer for Autism magazine. She looks forward to contributing as a member of ASTEP’s Advisory Board. Susan lives in the St. Paul suburb of Apple Valley with her beloved dog Ollie, and her son, Drew, when he’s not attending Minnesota State University at Mankato.

Michael McManmon, Ph.D., Ed.D. founded the College Internship Programs in 1984. He received a B.A. in English from Mt. St. Mary’s College in Maryland, a Masters in Counseling from Shippensburg University, a Masters in Human Development from the University of Kansas (through a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health), and a Doctorate in Special Education from the University of Nevada. He is licensed as a Psychologist by the State of Massachusetts. Prior to Founding CIP, he worked for state, private and non-profit organizations in several states and was certified as a family teacher through the Boys Town Center in Nebraska. During his 39 years of experience with students with Learning Differences and Asperger’s Syndrome, Dr. McManmon has worked on Curriculum Development, Staff Training, Program Evaluation, and Administering Community Based Programming. He speaks and presents at professional conferences nationally and internationally. He has a unique perspective as he himself was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and grew up in a large family with several individuals on the spectrum. He has six children and 12 grandchildren, and is an avid artist, swimmer, gardener and traveler. He is a blog author for Psychology Today and his book of advice for parents will be published in Fall 2011 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. He is on the board of ASTEP (Asperger Syndrome Training and Employment Project) and a member of ASA, AANE, NACAC and LDA.

Pat Schissel, LMSW is the Executive Director of the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, Inc. (AHA), a support and education parent and professional group with members across the New York State region. She facilitates support groups, manages the AHA website and the AHA eNews, a worldwide listserv, and is the coordinator of AHA’s two yearly conferences. Ms. Schissel is an adjunct associate professor at Adelphi’s Ammon School of Education where she taught undergraduates and graduates about Asperger Syndrome and related conditions. She also served as a Board of Education Trustee for close to twenty years. Ms. Schissel is a graduate of Adelphi University’s School of Social Work and is on their autism task force. She is on the editorial boards of the Autism Spectrum News and the Autism Spectrum Quarterly and writes a monthly column on autism related issues for the Long Island website 516/631ADS. Ms. Schissel is the mother of two; one an adult on the autism spectrum who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in his 20’s and the other an attorney who works in public interest law.

Stephen Shore, Ed.D., an individual with Asperger Syndrome, is a Professor at Adelphi University teaching courses in special education and autism. In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Dr. Shore presents and consults internationally on adult issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure as discussed in his books Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Ask and Tell: Self-advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum, and the critically acclaimed Understanding Autism for Dummies. He is also President emeritus of the Asperger ‘s Association of New England, and serves on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, the Board of Directors for Autism Society of America, Unlocking Autism, MAAP, the College Internship Program and USAAA.

Leah Silverman, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and a Learning Disabilities Specialist at the Office for Students with Disabilities at UCLA. While she works with various disability groups including students with Learning Disabilities, ADHD, psychological disabilities, and traumatic brain injuries, her specialization, interest, and passion is working with students on the spectrum. Leah works with students to identify their strengths and challenges in the academic environment and develops strategies to help her students succeed while at UCLA and after graduating. She also works with the faculty and staff to create a supportive learning environment. Prior to UCLA, Leah worked with individuals on the spectrum of various ages at Family, Adult, and Child Therapies, a Los Angeles-based, not-for-profit organization created and guided by parents of children, young adults and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She also worked at Verdugo Hills Autism Project, Head Start, and The Help Group (a nonprofit primarily serving children with special needs related to autism spectrum disorder). Leah is originally from Washington, DC but currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. In her free time she enjoys traveling and kickboxing.

Brenda Smith Myles, Ph.D., a consultant with the Ziggurat Group, is the recipient of the 2004 Autism Society of America’s Outstanding Professional Award and the 2006 Princeton Fellowship Award. She has written numerous articles and books on Asperger Syndrome and autism including Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage, and Meltdowns (with Southwick) and Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Practical Solutions for School Success (with Adreon). The latter is the winner of the Autism Society of America’s Outstanding Literary Work. Dr. Myles has made over 500 presentations all over the world, written more than 150 articles and books on autism and Asperger Syndrome, and served as the co-chair of the National ASD Teacher Standards Committee. She is on the National Institute of Mental Health’s Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee’s Strategic Planning Consortium and the Autism Society of America’s Panel of Professional Advisors. Dr. Myles is also on the executive boards of several organizations, including the Organization for Autism Research and Maap Services, Inc. In addition, she was recently acknowledged as the second most productive applied researcher in ASD in the world from 1997 to 2004.