Colorado State University

Diagnosed with autism in 1950, Dr. Temple Grandin is now the most sought-after voice in autism today. Though she was considered “weird” in her early school years, she eventually connected with a mentor who recognized her interests and abilities. Having attained what the New York Review of Books refers to as a “stunning level of sophistication about the science of autism,” Temple has been instrumental in transforming the way we collectively perceive and understand the individual with autism. As an adult, she has established a massively successful career as a designer of livestock handling equipment, one of very few in the world. Half the cattle in the United States are handled in systems designed by Temple, who consults for firms such as Burger King, McDonald’s, Swift, and others. Dr. Grandin presently works as a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She also speaks around the world on both autism and cattle handling, and Front Range Center for Neurodiversity is honored to collaborate with her.


Phil is an award-winning innovator of technologies and products used by hundreds of millions of consumers and businesses worldwide. He is the founder and host of the award-winning, nationally-syndicated radio show, Killer Innovations™, and he has created and led multiple teams earning annual distinction on FastCompany’s and BusinessWeek’s “50 Most Innovative” lists. On a limited basis, Phil provides executive and organizational coaching and mentoring on innovation, creativity, culture, technology and products. His work has been covered by 100’s of news, business and technology publications and broadcast organizations including Wired, New York Time, Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Chicago Tribune, PBS All Things Considered, FastCompany, Inc, BusinessWeek, VanityFair, Rolling Stones, BBC, International Herald Tribune, USAToday and many others.

Valerie Paradiz, LLC / Autistic Global Initiative

Valerie Paradiz, PhD is the director of Valerie Paradiz, LLC, a consultancy that provides technical assistance and strategic development to schools, universities, corporations and agencies that support individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Paradiz is a national board member of Autism Speaks, where she also serves as chair of the Family Services Committee. In a part-time capacity, she is Executive Director of the Autistic Global Initiative (AGI). Dr. Paradiz is also the developer of the 2010 International Book Award finalist in education, Integrated Self-Advocacy ISA®. 2016 publications include chapters in two books from Jessica Kingsley Publishers: Autism and Learning Difference: An Active Learning Teaching Toolkit and The Challenge and Promise of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Mid and Later Life. Valerie offers workshops, consulting, professional development and comprehensive program development to schools, agencies, universities and corporations. She also provides consulting services and specialized content development to non-profit organizations and corporations that are committed to supporting families of individuals with disabilities or to diversifying their workforce by employing people with disabilities.

Brown University

Dr. Barry Prizant is recognized as one of the leading scholars in autism spectrum disorders and communication disabilities, with more than 40 years experience as a researcher and international consultant for individuals with autism and related disabilities. He is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist, an Adjunct Professor at Brown University, and Director of Childhood Communication Services, a private practice. Formerly, he was a Professor of Communication Disorders at Emerson College and Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Brown University Medical School. Publications include four books, 130 chapters and articles and The SCERTS Model manuals, an educational approach now being implemented in more than a dozen countries. Barry has presented more than 700 seminars and keynote addresses internationally, and has developed, and for 20 years, has co-facilitated an annual retreat weekend for parents of family members on the autism spectrum. Barry has received many honors including the 2014 Honors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, their highest honor, 2005 Princeton University-Eden Career Award in autism, and the 2013 Divine Neurotypical Award of GRASP (Global Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership). Dr. Prizant is also the author of the acclaimed book, Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism (Simon & Schuster, 2015).

The Skoll Foundation

As Chief Strategy Officer, Renee Kaplan oversees the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, the Skoll World Forum, Strategic Alliances, Communications, and Issue Intelligence programs at the Skoll Foundation. Renee has more than 20 years of business experience in corporate, entrepreneurial and foundation sectors. Her professional background includes eight years at Microsoft in corporate and international marketing – working directly with executive leadership and spending considerable time in India, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Following Microsoft, she was founder and CEO of an e-commerce start up, FutureWorkplace, Inc., which was eventually sold. As an entrepreneur, she was active in Young Entrepreneurs Organization (Y.E.O.) and was named to the “40 Under 40” list by the Puget Sound Business Journal recognizing the region’s visionary business leaders. After selling her business, she spent six years as Executive Vice President of the Casey Family Programs Foundation, executing a strategic reorganization of the foundation. She was most recently the principal of RKaplan Consulting, and partnered with clients including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Giving Pledge, Trusera Corporation, the Palo Alto Unified School District, Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civic Society, and Patty Stonesifer, Co-Chair of the White House Council on Community Solutions.

Tennyson Center for Children

Ned’s driving passion as a philanthropic executive is to ensure no one is abandoned, forgotten or marginalized. As the former CEO of Water for People, he brings a proven track record of launching scaled, citywide initiatives that transform political, social and economic systems to achieve those ends. He excels at building exceptional teams, harnessing the power of data to understand impact and improve, and unlocking untapped programmatic and funding potential. Ned is a proud winner of a 2011 Skoll Award For Social Entrepreneurship.

Blue Star Recyclers

Co-founding Blue Star Recyclers in November, 2009 with Tony and Mary Fagnant was the culmination of a long string of developments spanning the coincidental to the miraculous, and everyone on the founding team knew they were onto something special. Bill says, “I am the luckiest guy I know — to love your work and your team this much, while having an opportunity to lead an organization that produces such a positive human, economic, and environmental impact in the communities we serve.

Bill was named Recycler of the Year from the Colorado Association for Recycling, Employer of the Year from the Arc of the Pikes Peak Region, and Small Business Person of the Year from the Colorado Springs Better Business Bureau. He was invited to the White House as a “Champions of Change” finalist and was a Colorado Biz Magazine “CEO of the Year” Award finalist. Most recently he was selected as a Beanstalk Foundation Leader.

The Miracle Project

‘Coach E!’ referenced by the New York Times as the “Child Whisperer,” is a pioneer in using inclusive theater, film, music and movement to bring out the best in individuals of all abilities. She has worked as an on-set acting coach for Walt Disney Studios, Universal Pictures, Nickelodeon, as well as being the star of the Emmy Award winning HBO documentary, AUTISM: The Musical based on her groundbreaking theater program, The Miracle Project. The United Nations selected her memoir, Now I See the Moon, for World Autism Awareness Day; her second book, Seven Keys to Unlock Autism is used as textbook at Brown University. Elaine has been featured on CNN, CBS News, Oprah Winfrey Network, NPR, in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and in numerous other media outlets. Her students, once too shy and withdrawn to walk into a room of their peers, have now found their voice, developed their talents, made friendships and become part of a creative, dynamic community. Some have performed live in front of thousands, held guest-starring roles in TV and film, and have even appeared on stage with Jack Black, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young. Her son, who is non-verbal, is a semi-professional model, works in an organic garden and has ‘spoken’ via IPad at the United Nations. Elaine has also been a featured speaker at the U.N. Her evidence-based methods are replicable and are being requested internationally where she offers coaching, keynote speeches, on-line classes, workshops and trainings. She is excited to learn from and join other thought-leaders at Front Range Center for Neurodiversity.

Author | Speaker

Dave is a nationally sought-after speaker and mentor with Asperger syndrome, and he’s the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir, The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband. As a speaker, Dave has shared the stage with Temple Grandin, John Elder Robison, Steve Silberman, Stephen Shore, Phil McKinney, and others. He has written for the New York Times, NBC Universal, Zoom Magazine, Slate, and Huffington Post, and he writes a relationship blog for Psychology Today. When he’s not writing, speaking, or mountain biking, Dave works as a creative marketing and business development consultant for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies.

Mundus Bishop

Tina Bishop is a founding principal and partner at Mundus Bishop. In her 30 years of experience in the planning and design of public spaces, her work has yielded places nationwide that engage and enrich the communities they serve. By integrating the cultural, social, and natural attributes of a region and individual site to imbue each project, her work offers its own sense of place. A recognized leader in the field, her work ranges from historic preservation planning to rehabilitation design and new designs that are ecologically and culturally sustainable. Tina is known for her engaging facilitation processes, and skill in working collaboratively with a broad range of clients and communities. She was named the Chair-elect of the Historic Preservation Committee of the ASLA in 2014, is a Trustee of the Colorado Historical Foundation, and Board Member of the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation. Tina retreats to Crested Butte whenever possible, where she recharges her batteries in the mountain scenery.

4240 Architecture Inc.

Randy’s career-long passion for thoughtful and beautiful craftsmanship is woven into the design process, continuing throughout construction. Randy’s expertise, sensitive appreciation for the craft and qualitative expression create unique environments and experiences.

Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital

Dr. Meyer is a nurse and clinical psychologist with over twenty years of experience in pediatric and neonatal intensive care settings. She is Director of the Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice at Boston Children’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Meyer’s teaching and academic work has focused on patient and family perspectives, pediatric end-of-life care, challenging conversations in healthcare, the ethics of everyday clinical encounters, and humanism across the spectrum of healthcare. She has designed creative and comprehensive psychological services for children and their families, emphasizing the priorities that families themselves have identified. Her teaching efforts have promoted innovative simulation-based interprofessional communication and relational learning, nationally and internationally. To improve the emotional standard of care of patients and families, she has championed simulation-based educational learning to encourage clinicians, across disciplines and experience levels, be more direct, honest and confident when engaging in challenging healthcare conversations. She gave a successful TEDx Talk entitled, “On Being Present, Not Perfect” that has earned over 30,000 visits and receives over 1,000 hits monthly. Dr. Meyer has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles and chapter, and presents widely at national and international conferences. She reviews books for the Journal of the American Medical Association and serves as an Associate Editor for Simulation in Healthcare.


For the past 15 years, Steve has applied design thinking to tough challenges, unlocking growth potential for several businesses. He has served as Head of Design, Partnerships at Automatic Labs, where he built strategic relationships and connected car services that helped partners innovate their business. Steve also spent 9 years at IDEO where he developed solutions for the transportation and built-environment spaces, creating new-to-the-world products, services, and design capabilities. He has worked with several organizations, including government agencies, energy utilities, the US Navy, Fortune 100 companies, academic institutions, startups, and non-profits. He devotes much of his time to leading and mentoring design teams inside client organizations to create innovative products and digital experiences while helping to internalize design thinking. His portfolio includes award-winning automotive dashboard design, office furniture and medical injection devices (all for which he holds patents). Steve serves as an adviser to several startups and organizations, and frequently speaks at conferences and other events. His writing has been published in The Atlantic, Harvard Business Review, and Rotman magazines.

Moxie Incorporated

Dr. Lysne is a psychologist, coach, mediator, and entrepreneur with 30 years of experience working with people and families as they face difficulties that require resilience. In her clinical practice, she has specialized in developing housing and services for those with traumatic brain injury, treating American Indian children and adults recovering from trauma, and providing dispute resolution services to families in conflict. Dr. Lysne currently uses her experience to help businesses set vision and strategic plans and develop employees into leaders. Through this, she has developed a unique lens on diversity—whether cultural, neurological, corporate or familial—and creating innovative services to serve a wide range of family systems.

RRZ Advisors, LLC

Becky Zimmerman of RRZ Advisors, LLC brings insight, context and outcome-driven solutions to the multiple disciplines of comprehensive real estate development, marketing and strategic deployment. She began her career as the first Director of Marketing with the then 20-person landscape architecture and planning firm, Design Workshop. During her almost 30 years with the firm I rose to partner, and ultimately president of an 180-person international practice. Working with land owners, developers, communities and institutions gave me an in-depth understanding of the world of real estate and led Becky to form a Strategic Services group within the company which engaged in market analyses, financial feasibility studies, development strategies, development management, and tourism planning. Becky was involved with the Urban Land Institute at multiple levels such as Recreation Development Council Chair, Award Jury member, Advisory Services assignments, and teaching at the ULI Real Estate School. Becky recently served as CEO of a large non-profit agency focused on providing therapeutic recreation for people with disabilities. She provided leadership to all aspects of the organization including operations, fundraising, finance, marketing, development, board management and HR. During her time in this role, she financially turned around the organization, created a positive culture and work environment, and increased the visibility of the organization and their work. Ultimately, the lure of the real estate world enticed Becky to return to what she considers her roots. She formed RRZ Advisors, LLC and has strategically positioned herself to help the development community realize their business goals. She has devoted her career to solving complex issues in the areas of community planning, market and economics, and resorts and tourism. As a focused, independent resource, she is delighted to be back leading communities, companies and organizations in strategic and business planning, visioning and master planning, development strategy, market definition and strategy, real estate economics, facilitation and advisory services.

Holland & Hart LLP

With more than 30 years of experience in environmental law and litigation, Mr. Phillips effectively represents clients regarding state and federal permitting and enforcement actions under RCRA, the Clean Water Act (including storm water, NPDES and Section 404), and the Clean Air Act. His extensive experience includes representing companies in Superfund proceedings, overseeing Environmental Impact Statements, and supervising the permitting process under state and federal environmental laws and regulations applicable to new projects and acquisitions. From 2003 to 2007, Mr. Phillips served as the Chair of Holland & Hart’s Management Committee, overseeing substantial growth in the firm to more than 400 lawyers in seven states and the District of Columbia. Previously, he served as Chair of the firm’s Resources Department and Practice Manager of its Environmental Group.

University of Denver

Professor Philip Tedeschi is the Executive Director of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver within the Graduate School of Social Work. He has been with the University of Denver for 22 years and is the founder of the Animal Assisted Social Work Program. He is recognized for expertise in the clinical methods for Animal Assisted Interventions and coordinates the school’s Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate program for Master of Social Work (MSW) students, as well as the global Animals and Human Health professional development certificate program. Philip’s research, scholarship, presentations, training and community practice work have focused on human-animal interaction, conservation animal welfare, human ecology and international social work. Philip is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, certified Master Therapeutic Riding Instructor, former course director and instructor with Outward Bound, wilderness medical technician, certified animal cruelty forensic evaluator and humane law enforcement professional.


Dr. Patten Koenig is an occupational therapist, with a PhD in Educational Psychology who examines the efficacy of interventions utilized in public schools for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Her research focuses on utilizing a strength based paradigm and the individual with ASD’s perspective to understand the impact of these issues on quality of life and adaptive behavior in order to guide person centered interventions utilizing strengths in inclusive settings. Dr. Koenig is the Principal Investigator of the NYU Steinhardt’s ASD Nest Program, an inclusive program for children and adolescents with autism in the New York City Department of Education. She is currently Co-PI of a NSF grant entitled “IDEAS: Inventing, Designing and Engineering on the Autism Spectrum” that leverages STEM interests of middle school students with autism to develop social competence and potential career pathways. She is also PI of the GIFTED project, a 3 year grant project aimed at developing women leaders in public schools in Ghana. Dr. Patten Koenig teaches professional and post professional courses in the area of pediatric intervention, school based practice and the challenges and opportunities with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Patten Koenig has published and presented nationally and internationally on topics related to examining the efficacy of public school interventions and examining autism from a strength based or abilities based model.


Jill S. Barkin has over 15 years of experience in corporate philanthropy, nonprofit management and strategy consulting. She is passionate about creating a disciplined approach to social change and has committed both her profession and personal time to a wide range of local and national efforts to improve public education and reduce economic inequality. Jill is currently the Vice President of Regional Board Governance for Teach for America where she is an integral part of organization-wide effort to migrate from a centralized, functionally-driven model toward one with significantly more regional autonomy for the organization’s 52 affiliates. For five years, Jill was Vice President of Corporate Philanthropy and Community Relations for JP Morgan Chase in Colorado where she spear-headed the company’s multifaceted efforts to reduce the city-wide drop-out rate and promote economic self-sufficiency. In 2011 Jill was appointed by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock to serve on Denver’s Homelessness Commission and the Denver Education Compact. Jill holds a BA in Economics and Political Science cum laude from Williams College and a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Kent Denver School

Kent Denver School appointed Dr. Randal “Rand” Harrington as its Head of School to begin in July 2014. A physicist by training and a passionate science teacher, Dr. Harrington has served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Maine and a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. He was Chair of the Science Department at The Harker School in California before moving to The Blake School near Minneapolis in 2005. Dr. Harrington was named Assistant Head of School at Blake in 2011.