Board of Directors
Sallie Bernard, Board Chair & Secretary
Sallie Bernard 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 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 Waissar is a consultant working with private fund managers, primarily in the venture capital realm 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. Linda 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.
Larry Butler, Treasurer
As a successful entrepreneur, Larry Butler’s combination of financial and operating experience includes gas stations and convenience stores, real estate, marketing, and venture capital. He owns Convenience Acquisition Corp., an operator of five gas stations and convenience stores in northern California. Larry is also the Managing Member of Awestruck Marketing Group, LLC, a leading experiential marketing company he founded in 2000.
Larry is an investor in numerous commercial and residential real estate projects in New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, New Hampshire, Texas, and Wisconsin. He 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. Larry is also 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 intelligent building and enterprise.
Larry graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his MBA from the University of California at Los Angeles. Larry and his family moved from Santa Monica, CA to Aspen in August 2016. His wife, Marla, attended public schools in Aspen from grades 6 through 10. Folbe, the oldest of Larry and Marla’s three children, is on the autism spectrum.
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.
Jennifer 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).
Jennifer 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.
Katie Grange’s passion for disability advocacy began after her son, Max, had an accident 29 years ago which left him with a severe anoxic brain injury. Since then, she has advocated for full inclusion in schools, community, employment, and housing throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and the state of Colorado. Max currently lives independently in his home in Snowmass Village with supports through a custom program that Katie and Max created to help him live the best life possible.
Although there are many recreational activities to choose from in the Roaring Fork Valley, Katie has worked to create a few more inclusive recreational opportunities in Snowmass. She spearheaded efforts with the local rec center to provide an adaptive yoga class that has become a big success as well as a bowling group that meets weekly at the Snowmass Bowling Alley. By collaborating with the Snowmass and Aspen Chapels, Katie helps create meaningful ways for people with disabilities to participate in the community.
Having worked in real estate in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1984, Katie is currently with Sotheby’s International Realty and ranks as 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. Katie uses her expertise to find or create affordable housing opportunities for all.
Carly Knauf, M.A.
Carly Knauf 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, 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 toward 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 Malo 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 fundraising 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.
Julie Manning spent most of her school years in Aspen. The summer of 2018 she returned with her family to live in the Roaring Fork Valley full time, leaving the urban environment of Seattle. The oldest of Julie’s three children – Olivia, has attended Ascendigo’s summer adventures camp for several years and will now benefit from the services offered in the valley. It’s the gratification of seeing Olivia’s accomplishments at camp that drives Julie’s passion for fundraising so other autism families can benefit from Ascendigo’s programs. Julie has worked tirelessly on the Ascendigo Blue Aspen event committee the last six years and spearheaded other fundraisers, as well.
Julie attended Santa Monica College then studied abroad in Florence, Italy and Paris, France.
Diagnosed on the autism spectrum as an adult, Paul Nussbaum has committed his life to helping people living with autism. He is also devoted to helping autism service providers learn more about autism and offers assistance as a consultant, trainer, and facilitator.
After a long, hard struggle with employment, academics, and communication and social issues, Paul was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome/high functioning autism at age 40. 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 engaging in advocacy work. His goal for helping others (including future generations) is to prevent others from having to go through the same intense struggles that he went through trying to find a life path and niche in the world. Paul’s purpose is to see that individuals on the ASD spectrum can live more productive and meaningful lives. His advocacy work has developed into consulting and presenting on various topics related to autism.
Paul has his own handyman business which he planned and developed in 1999.
Dan Unumb, ESQ
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 its 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. Dan 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.
Kate Noble Weitz spent a decade working in various fundraising and education positions in the performing arts. Most notable posts include Director of Education at Opera Omaha, the Associate Director of Development at Chicago Opera Theater and the Assistant Manager of Development for the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
After her son was diagnosed with autism, her focus shifted to his in-home intervention program and autism advocacy in Omaha, Nebraska. She serves on several autism-related community Boards and chairs the annual Summit for Autism Action Partnership. She was instrumental in the development and implementation of the new PATCH Program (Patience Assistance Team at Children’s Hospital) at Omaha Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, designed to provide Adaptive Care Plans for patients with special needs. As a parent advocate, she thrives on connecting clinicians, researchers, professors, autism professionals and even artists in the hopes of furthering best practice naturalistic interventions and support for individuals affected by autism. Kate has successfully channeled much of this expertise, support, and special interests into an integrated day camp she created for her son and his peers. Camp Walk Tall recently celebrated its third year with 14 campers — all out of Kate’s house.
Kate holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Beloit College and a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Indiana University.