Board of Directors
Sallie Bernard, Board Chair
Sallie began Ascendigo, formerly Extreme Sports Camp, in 2004. Her goal was to provide the same outdoor adventure opportunities for children on the autism spectrum that typically developing children enjoy.
Sallie Bernard has been a member of the Board of Autism Speaks since 2007 and served on its Family Services Committee, Science Committee of the Board, and the Community Advisory Board for science. She was formerly the Board President of Cure Autism Now and a co-founder of the CAN New Jersey Chapter. She helped start SafeMinds, which focuses on the environmental causes of the increase in autism, and is currently its board president. She led the team which created the Yellow House, a private residence for adults on the autism spectrum where Sallie’s adult son with autism lives. Sallie has an interest in mental health issues and serves on the boards of the Aspen Hope Center and the James Kirk Bernard Foundation.
Sallie spent over 20 years in the marketing business before devoting herself full time to non-profit activities in 2005. She graduated with honors from Radcliffe College, Harvard University, in 1979. Sallie has resided in Aspen, Colorado since 2002 and enjoys the Colorado outdoors.
Linda Waissar, Board Vice President
Linda is a consultant, working with private fund managers, primarily in the venture capital space in the San Francisco Bay area. She is also on the Board of Trustees of Stanbridge Academy, a K-12 school located in northern California for children with mild to moderate learning disabilities, as well as for students struggling with communication and pragmatic language skills. She was formerly an attorney, focused on private fund formation and investment adviser regulation. She has a JD from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College. She has two daughters, one on the autism spectrum, who is a multi-year Ascendigo participant.
Dan Unumb, ESQ, Secretary
Dan Unumb has over 20 years of experience in litigation, legal counsel, and autism law. He runs the Autism Legal Resource Center in South Carolina which provides private consulting and legal work for clients seeking ABA services. Prior to establishing the ALRC, Dan worked for Autism Speaks running their Autism Legal Center. Prior to joining Autism Speaks, Dan was the Director of Litigation for South Carolina Legal Services, responsible for all aspects of litigation including planning, training, supervising, and conducting complex litigations, as well as developing litigation strategies, outreach programs, and targets for advocacy. He also established and participated in partnerships with advocacy groups, law schools, community organizations, and government agencies, and organized and participated in state and national conferences and trainings.
Dan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carlton College, and a Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern University School of Law. He is also a member of the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and South Carolina Bar.
Lawrence Butler, Treasurer
Mr. Butler is a successful entrepreneur with a combination of financial and operating experiences including, gas stations and convenience stores, real estate, marketing and venture capital.
Larry is the owner of Convenience Acquisition Corp., an operator of five gas stations and convenience stores in northern California.
Larry is the Managing Member of Awestruck Marketing Group, LLC a company he founded in 2000. Awestruck is a leading experiential marketing company.
Larry is an investor in numerous commercial and residential real estate projects in New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, New Hampshire, Texas and Wisconsin. Mr. Butler is a board member and investor in SharesPost, LLC a financial technology company which assists investors in buying and selling shares in private late-stage, venture-backed companies. He is a Venture Partner in Navitas Capital, a venture capital firm which invests in early stage companies at the intersection of the IT and Energy sectors with a unique focus on the Intelligent Building & Enterprise sector.
Larry graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984 and earned his MBA from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1989.
Larry and his family moved to Aspen from Santa Monica, CA in August 2016. Larry’s wife Marla lived in Aspen and attended Aspen public schools when she was in grades 6-10. They have three children; A 10 year old girl Folbe, who is on the Autistic Spectrum and two boys, Joshua age 8 and Marshall age 6. All three kids attend Aspen Elementary School.
Jennifer Berman, M.D.
Jennifer Berman is an American sexual health expert, urologist and female sexual medicine specialist. She is also a co-host on the Emmy Award-winning television show, The Doctors.
Dr. Berman and her sister Laura Berman hosted a US national television program titled Berman and Berman on Discovery Health in 2002 and 2003. She has also appeared on Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, CNN, CNBC, and HLN (formerly CNN Headline News).
Dr. Berman attended the University of Maryland Medical Center where she received her Master of Science degree. She went on to receive her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine. After obtaining her medical degree, she returned to the University of Maryland to complete her post graduate urology residency and then completed her fellowship training at UCLA Medical Center for Female Urology and Female Pelvic Floor Reconstructive Surgery. In 2001, she co-founded and served as director of the Female Sexual Medicine Center at UCLA, and was also an assistant professor of urology.
Matthew Goodwin, Ph.D, is a professor, researcher, and clinician with 20 years of experience working with children and adults on the autism spectrum, and developing and evaluating innovative technologies for behavioral assessment and intervention. Matthew is a founding and key faculty member of a new doctoral program in Personal Health Informatics and Director of Computational Behavioral Science Laboratory at Northeastern University. He was previously the Director of Clinical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory, Adjunct Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, and Associate Director of Research at Groden Center — an Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Providence, RI.
Matthew has developed naturalistic video and audio capture, telemetric physiological monitors, wireless accelerometry sensors, and digital video/facial recognition systems for those with ASD. He has received numerous honors for his contributions.
My passion for disability advocacy began after my son’s accident 29 years ago, which left him with a severe anoxic brain injury. Since then, I’ve advocated for full inclusion in schools, community, employment and housing throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and State of Colorado. My son, Max, currently lives independently in his home in Snowmass Village with supports through a custom program that Max and I created to help him live the best life possible.
We are fortunate to live in the Roaring Fork Valley with hundreds of recreational activities to choose from! To create a few more inclusive recreational opportunities in Snowmass, I’ve worked with our local rec center to start an adaptive yoga class that has become a big success, as well as a bowling group, called The Snowmass Slider’s that meets weekly at the Snowmass Bowling Alley. I continue to collaborate with the Snowmass and Aspen Chapel to create meaningful ways for people with disabilities to get out and participate in the community. I am a real estate broker at Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. I’ve worked in real estate in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1984 and currently am one of the top producing brokers in the Valley. Housing is one of the most important issues for people with disabilities for successful inclusion into real community. It has been an honor to assist with matching people throughout the Valley with their housing needs. I hope to continue to use my expertise to find/create affordable housing opportunities for all!
Carly Knauf, M.A.
Carly is a Rehabilitation Counselor, who has specialized in helping adults with developmental disabilities achieve their personal, social and career goals through a holistic, hands-on counseling approach. Carly has worked with individuals with autism for over a decade in a variety of settings including school, community, and home and center-based programs. Carly’s experiences include being a para-pro and student mentor for individuals with autism since her elementary school years. Her passion and responsibilities in this area grew during her collegiate years by serving on the executive board for Best Buddies, Growing Food Forward and co-founding D.A.R.N. (Disability Advocacy Rehabilitation Network). Carly’s vast knowledge of the profession and sector isn’t confined to the United States: she has traveled to Ireland and Haiti to help children and adults with disabilities and expand her scope of disability counseling to international practices. Carly also has experience creating and directing holistic and community based programs for adults on the autism spectrum as well as acquired skills paired towards managing and training staff. Currently Carly is working towards her Doctorate of Psychology in clinical psychology at the University of Denver with a focus on mental health diagnosis and counseling with developmental disabilities. When not at work, Carly enjoys hiking with her dog Rooky, rock climbing in the beautiful mountains, and can regularly be found searching for the best ice cream cone in town.
Stephanie has eight years of experience in the securities industry as an institutional stockbroker. Since her son was diagnosed with autism in 1993, she has been actively involved in fund-raising for education and services for children and adults with autism. Her son has attended Ascendigo programs for over 10 years. Stephanie has a business degree in marketing and graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1978.
Diagnosed on the autism spectrum as an adult, Paul has committed his life to help autistic people and autism service providers learn more about autism, ways to manage associated challenges, and offer assistance as a Consultant, Trainer, and Facilitator.
Being diagnosed at age forty with Asperger’s Syndrome/High Functioning Autism, after a long, hard struggle with employment, academics, and major communication and social issues, Paul says the light bulb went on – he learned about Asperger’s and Autism and found there was a huge population, just like him, with the same struggles. Joining autism advocacy and support groups to address his own challenges, in 1993, he began doing advocacy work to reach out to others in need. His focus in helping others, including future generations, is that others will not have to go through the same intensive struggle that he went through trying to find their life path and niche in the world as well as trying to develop social, employment, and other life connections for themselves. His purpose being so people on the ASD spectrum, including himself, can live more productive and meaningful lives. Paul’s autism advocacy work has developed into consulting and presenting on various topics related to autism.
Paul also developed a handyman business (a form of self employment) because he needed to survive financially. He had a vision for this business and put all the elements (vision, skills, resources, and the favorable market) together, then started the development stage. He began developing his business in 1999 and has continued it to the present.
Paul consults with and delivers presentations to public, non-public, and charter school students – ages 18-22, Special Education Teachers, school administrators, Itinerant Support Staff, and parents.