Katie is mother of 3 children (23, 21, 17), her 21-year old son diagnosed with High Functioning Autism when he was four. She and her husband, Todd have devoted much of their time and energy to learning about Autism and working towards ways to improve their family’s quality of life. Katie is in the process of completing Kids With Autism Can: A Photographic Journey, an inspirational story of her family’s experience. She also works to support others facing the challenges of Autism. She began working with special needs adults 20 years ago when managing a restaurant that embraced the idea of incorporating all members of the community into its staff. She has several interests, which include traveling, working with rescued dogs, and cooking. She shares her joy and knowledge of cooking by teaching students at a small private school where children are encouraged to learn in a way that works well for them.
Todd graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA degree in Mathematics and has an MS degree in Microeconomics from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He has worked for a large financial institution for the past 20 years in Credit Risk, eCommerce Sales, as well as systems design and deployment. He has many interests, which include annual weeklong backpacking trips with his four brothers, traveling with Katie and family, and playing with the kids. He is an avid reader that enjoys a wide spectrum of topics from Autism, religion, adventure books and murder mysteries. He enjoys being an assistant coach for a Challenger Baseball League team, designed to allow children with all disabilities an opportunity to play and succeed. Todd is active in his children’s lives, regardless of how they learn and participate in our world. He actively encourages fathers of Autistic children to engage and experience their child’s life in a new way. He recommends that each father take the time to enjoy the things that are special to their child. For Todd, these include watching them score a run in baseball, partner in a 3K walk to raise money, or just pretending to save the world with light sabers. The smile from any child after they succeed is worth the price of admission to their lives.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Cindy grew up in Los Angeles, California. She currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she runs her music studio, Cindy Lee Studios, LLC. She is a member of the Music Teachers’ National Association and is a certified Suzuki music teacher. Through her teachings, Cindy encountered many students with special needs and sparked her interest in special education. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts in Special Education degree at Arizona State University, with an emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Cindy is currently doing research on the use of music for developing socio-emotional skills for children with Autism. Cindy received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, where she also studied cinema-television and music. She has also studied English Literature and Poetry at Cambridge University in England. After graduation, Cindy worked in Media Sales for News America Marketing (a subsidiary of News Corporation) in Los Angeles. Cindy received her classical music training at The Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. Cindy also volunteers as the music teacher at Ethos School in Scottsdale. Her hobbies include crafts, ancient history, archeology, and reading. In her spare time, Cindy enjoys spending time with her husband Ron and their two Persian cats: Kismet and Napkin.
Lisa Hurst was born in Crystal Falls, a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She completed her BS degree at the University of Michigan, MD degree at Wayne State University and internal medicine residency at the Mayo Clinic. She is a Board Certified Internal Medicine physician and has specialized in Hospital Medicine for over 10 years. She now works as a Hospitalist for the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Lisa is the mother of three wonderful children. The best thing about life is the time spent with her husband and kids. Her family loves to stay active and enjoys family bike rides, swimming, and any type of outdoor sport! Whenever the opportunity arises, they love to travel. The second best part of traveling is coming home to their myriad of family pets in beautiful Arizona. Children with special needs are near and dear to Lisa’s heart. She is honored to be part of this project to help bring hope to the families of these wonderfully unique kids.
Sarah Lindquist was born in Bakersfield, California and graduated Summa Cum Laude from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Business (concentration in Accounting). After college, Sarah started her career as a Certified Public Accountant at Ernst & Young in San Jose, California. In 2001, Sarah and her husband moved to Scottsdale, Arizona where she worked for Republic Services, Inc. for 11 years in various accounting and finance roles, eventually specializing in executive compensation compliance and reporting. Sarah is the mother of three rambunctious boys and will soon be welcoming a baby girl. Kids with Autism Can and other special needs causes are close to her heart as one of her sons is on the Autistic spectrum and lives with sensory and emotional challenges. Sarah enjoys sewing, quilting and spending time with her family.
Lynne is a CPA who graduated with a BS in accounting from Marquette University and holds a Masters of Business with a marketing emphasis from JL Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Lynne has a diversified background working in public accounting, manufacturing, financial institutions, investment banking and as an entrepreneur. Lynne’s interests lie primarily in the business arena focusing on business development, process improvement and leadership. Her personal hobbies include: genealogy, fishing and spending time at her cabin with time for contemplation and solitude. She reads across a broad range of topics with a particular interest in history and health, including recent autism research and inspirational stories. She is particularly interested in helping the organization serve more people as it helps to overcome the challenges of having fun in a family environment. Lynne has three adult children and a wonderful husband who is a special needs bus driver.