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Our Board

OFFICERS

LIEZL ELS (SECRETARY)
FOUNDER, ELS FOR AUTISM FOUNDATION
561-320-9514

STUART MAKIN (TREASURER)
PARTNER, STONEHAGE LIMITED

MARVIN R. SHANKEN (CHAIRMAN)
CHAIRMAN, SHANKEN COMMUNICATIONS/FOUNDER, ELS FOR AUTISM FOUNDATION

BOARD MEMBERS

MICHAEL ALESSANDRI
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI CENTER FOR AUTISM AND RELATED DISABILITIES

GIUSEPPE CIUCCI
CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD STONEHAGE LIMITED

ERNIE ELS
FOUNDER, ELS FOR AUTISM FOUNDATION

PATRICK MCMAHON
FOUNDER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
CO-CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, MKP CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, LLC

PAMELA MINELLI
DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING CONSULTANT
561-320-9528

STEVE PECK
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ELPECKO WORLDWIDE, LLC

 

ADVISORY BOARD

Mission

To provide first-hand knowledge of autism and guidance to the Els for Autism Foundation on current programs and services and future initiatives on The Els Center of Excellence campus. The Advisory Board was created to ensure that the Foundation receives input and direction from people with autism.

Advisory Board Members

 

Rachel Barcellona

Rachel Barcellona received her A A. degree from St. Petersburg College and is currently attending the University of South Florida studying interdisciplinary social science with a concentration in international and women’s studies. Rachel is also studying languages and will be auditioning for vocal performance in opera this spring at the University of South Florida. Rachel won the Els for autism award in 2017 and is a spokesperson for the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at the University of South Florida, and also is on their advocacy board. Rachel was named an ambassador for Unicorn Children’s Foundation, a board member of Safe Minds Inc. and has traveled with the global autism project internationally. Rachel is a member of the international thespian Honor Society and an opera singer and author. Rachel also has competed in pageantry and has won local, state and national titles. She has been working on her platform Ability Beyond Disability for the past 8 years.

Andrew Blitman

Andrew Blitman, who earned his degree in Marine Conservation Science & Policy from the University of Miami, is a local from South Florida who served on the UM-NSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities constituency board from 2011 to 2017. He currently works as a sea turtle specialist for Broward County’s Sea Turtle Conservation Program. He is the author of five books: one comprehensive poetry anthology, three illustrated poetry books written and drawn from the perspective of animals, and a memoir about his December 2012 Birthright trip to Israel. Andrew is also a regular spoken word poetry contributor to open mic nights at the Bailey Contemporary Arts Center in Pompano Beach. To read his works, you can visit his website: andrewblitman.com.

Merrick Egber

Merrick Egber started working with the Els for Autism Foundation just a few months before the ribbon cutting of the Els Center of Excellence in 2014! He earned his B.A. in Communication Studies from Florida Atlantic University, with specialized classes on group facilitation, management, and organizing. Currently, he is a member of two boards, APSE and our Els for Autism Advisory Board, and is also busy working as an administrative assistant, assisting all departments in their work. On the side, he is a self-published author who has written numerous works of poetry and song lyrics that are on Amazon.com and Lulu.com and managed to get a few of them recorded as actual songs, which can be found on MerrickEgber.com.

Hunter Huff

Hunter Huff has had an unforgettable journey, especially as a client for the Els for Autism Foundation. Throughout the journey, he discovered our culture of how we interpret and understand the needs of individuals with autism. He was introduced in April of 2017 midway through the work experience program session at Jupiter Medical Center. Thanks to an internship at PGA National Resort, Hunter is now a part-time employee working in the stewarding department and has been employed there since December 2017. He also got to help out at the Autism Spectrum Award Ceremony of 2018 due to becoming a noteworthy contributor to the Foundation. Hunter Huff is a proud graduate of the Jupiter Community High School Class of 2016, where he was a star on the boys’ varsity bowling team, participated in the Best Buddies program, and even got to help out at pep rallies. He is an athlete for Special Olympics, where he participated in bowling, basketball, and track and field.

Adam Jones

Adam Jones graduated with honors from Meredith Manor in 2009 with a Riding master’s degree. He has been working at Madison Fields for over three years. At Madison Fields, Adam actively advocates for autism awareness and employing adults on the autism spectrum. He believes that people like him deserve a fighting chance and a way to find their true sense of self-worth. He continues to grow in his own riding career and aspires to show at the Washington International Horse Show.

“Horses have taught me so much about life and myself. They really inspire me to be a better person.”

John Miller

John Miller was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1968.  During his childhood, he worked hard to overcome many academic and social obstacles.  He decided to get a Masters in Special Education to help young people succeed academically and in life.  During this period he was diagnosed with autism, which answered many questions.  For over a decade he has taught students with varying degrees of autism and settings.  Beyond teaching, he has consulted, creating pragmatic and organizational programs for individuals with autism.  For over a half a decade he has presented on a variety of topics that deal with pragmatics, inclusion, transition, among others throughout the United States.  Presently, he sits on the Florida board of the Autism Society and Florida Atlantic University CARD Constituency Committee.  In September, he became a member of an education and programming committee at the Autism Society of America.  In his book, Decoding Dating received the Dr. Temple Grandin Award for Outstanding Literary Work of the Year.

Haley Moss

Haley Moss was diagnosed with autism at age 3. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2018 and graduated from the University of Florida in 2015 with Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Criminology.

She is a renowned visual pop artist and the author of “Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About” and “A Freshman Survival Guide for College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About.” She also illustrated and contributed to the anthology “What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew.” Her writing has been featured in publications such as HuffPost, Teen Vogue, Bustle, Elite Daily, and The Mighty. Haley also co-hosts the “Spectrumly Speaking” podcast, which is dedicated to women on the autism spectrum.

Haley currently serves on the constituency board for the University of Miami – Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities and the Board of Directors for Different Brains. She previously served on the board of Unicorn Village Academy.

Ron Sandison

Ron Sandison works full time in the medical field and is a professor of theology at Destiny School of Ministry. He is an advisory board member of the Autism Society Faith Initiative of Autism Society of American. Sandison has a Master of Divinity from Oral Roberts University and is the author of A Parent’s Guide to Autism: Practical Advice, Biblical Wisdom published by Charisma House and Thought, Choice, Action. He has memorized over 10,000 Scriptures including 22 complete books of the New Testament.

He speaks at colleges, conferences, autism centers, and churches. Ron and his wife, Kristen, reside in Rochester Hills, MI, with daughter, Makayla. His website http://www.spectruminclusion.com.

For additional information:

Contact: Dr. Marlene Sotelo, Chief Operating Officer
Email: marlene.sotelo@elsforautism.org