Stephen Prutsman, President
Stephen is father of two children, one with autism. He founded the group Autism Fun Bay Area, bringing music and performing arts to individuals with autism and special needs families. AFBA’s lasting impact included pioneering the ever-popular “Azure” concerts, and Camp Azure in San Francisco, a summer camp for ASD kids. A highly acclaimed concert pianist and composer, Stephen lives with his family in San Francisco.
Susan Andrews, Vice President
Susan is a lifelong educator and former Head of Presidio Hill School. A founding board member and E.D. of Oak Hill School serving students with autism, her career also includes participation on multiple boards supporting schools and children’s arts organizations. Living in San Francisco with her husband, she co-parents her grandson with autism and related developmental differences. Susan currently serves on the boards of the Eva Gunther Foundation and Presidio Hill School, and she is excited about joining SFASA.
Sara Kole, Secretary
Sara is the mother of a 16-year-old boy with autism and a 14-year-old girl. Holding a masters in public health, she is trained in public health policy and as a health educator. She worked for many years at the Michigan Public Health Institute and Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, designing and implementing community-based public health interventions. Since 2008, she has been a part-time doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders’ (ICDL) school in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, and involved with the DIR®/Floortime™ community. She lives with her family in Sunnyvale.
Alicia Mesa, Treasurer
Alicia is a mom fiercely dedicated to advocating for educational and medical care rights for her son Pablo—who is affected by profound autism—and for all children and adults disabled by autism. She has experience negotiating with school districts and running a home program with augmentative and alternative communication devices, an occupational therapist, and six behavioral techs. For 18 years she has advocated and helped many monolingual Spanish-speaking families with children on the severe end of the autism spectrum receive educational and medical services. She also translated the Mental Health and Autism Insurance Project webpage into Spanish. Alicia and her family live in Santa Cruz county.
Sarika is an autism advocate and philanthropist whose passion lies in fostering scientific research for the development of FDA-approved therapeutics to improve health and quality of life for people with autism. She is a board member of the BRAIN Foundation and has spent the past thirteen years providing 1:1 support and mentoring to families with developmental disabilities. As a mother of a child who lost his speech at the time of his regression into autism, she is also an active champion of access, choice, and development of augmentative/alternative communication (AAC) modalities for those with speech disabilities. She is a former high-tech executive with an MSEE from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from Stanford University She welcomes you to connect with her here.
Ryan is the Director of Disability Services across all Jewish Family & Children’s Services regional sites. He has worked with individuals with disabilities for over 15 years, providing a variety of services, skills, and resources to individuals across the lifespan. Ryan accepted a role as a panelist twice at the United Nations for Autism Day in 2013 and 2019 on panels for communication as a human right and on transitioning to adulthood. Ryan has expertise in developing and growing inclusive programs for neurodivergent individuals. He has been a co-leader in multiple training experiences in the autism field, both internationally and nationally.
Eileen and her husband, Nersi have three children and reside in San Francisco. She has served for over eleven years on the board of directors of Support for Families of Children with Disabilities and mentors parents of children with disabilities. Eileen has sat on multiple parent panels at UCSF Medical and Nursing schools, and at colleges, speaking to up-and-coming teachers and therapists. As a longtime active member and rising Board of Director member of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for Special Education, Eileen champions effective special education programs and advises the Board of Education on priorities in the Special Education Local Plan (SELPA).
Connie Boyar Frenzel, RN MS
Connie, SFASA past president, has been an autism advocate since 1990 and has a 34 year old son with autism. She facilitated the Parents Helping Parents ASD group for many years. A former Santa Clara County and Napa County public health nurse, Connie also worked for the Autism Tissue Program. Currently she is on the State Council Self Determination Advisory board, is a task force member on the resource committee of California Developmental Disabilities Services and is an ambassador for Disability Voices United. Connie lives on the mid peninsula.
Joyce is a proud Filipina American mother to her teenage son with Autism. She has served as a Commissioner for San Mateo County’s Commission on Disabilities, and she is a social worker for a regional center. Joyce is passionate about creating an inclusive community and making information and resources accessible to individuals with disabilities, their families, and their supporters.
Joyce and her son love living in the Bay Area. In their spare time they enjoy going to the movies, sampling the best cheese pizzas in town, and cheering for their favorite Bay Area sports teams.
Kyle lives in San Francisco, CA and has a younger brother with Autism. He graduated from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo in 2017 with a degree in English Literature and works as a Financial Consultant for Equitable Advisors.
Jill is an autism research philanthropist, president of National Council on Severe Autism, past president of the Autism Society SFBA, real estate investor who provides low-income housing for adults with developmental disabilities, former lawyer, and mother of two children with nonverbal autism. She loves hiking with her son and ice skating with her daughter, and can often be found fixing iPads. Jill lives in the South Bay and can be reached at [email protected].
Proud Autism Dad, two Unicorns in the rearview; one as founding team (Upwork) and the other as seed investor. (Gupshup) Totally operations, growth, and scale-focused. I am an advocate for autism integration and climate change.
I was a Founding Managing Partner at Follow[the]seed. I have been an expert consultant and advisor to several organizations, including a Fortune 500 public company (UBS) and the Australian government. I co-founded corporate VC/Innovation business units at Fortune 500 companies like TATA and Cognizant. I am a professional Investor, a change agent, with deal flow and business relationships spanning five continents. For almost two decades, I served on the board and now as an advisor of a global organization (CHFI) impacting the quality of healthcare in globally-distributed under-served communities.
Greg Nemitz is a San Francisco Bay Area native with over thirty years’ experience managing local and national media sales teams at Disney/ABC, Viacom/CBS (now Paramount), and Audacy/Entercom. Since leaving Audacy in December 2022, Greg has been building an advisory practice with Mahdlo Executive Advisors. In addition to serving on the board of SFASA, he is on the Advisory Board for the Bay Area Chapter of Multiplying Good and serves on the Board of Trustees for Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley.
He is the father of four, ages 12-33. His 32-year-old son Dylan is severely autistic and lives in a group home in San Ramon. Greg resides with his wife Sarah and youngest daughter in Oakland.
Yael Uziyel Naveh, PhD
Yael is the mother of two children, a 14 year-old son on the autism spectrum, and a 12 year-old girl. Her PhD in Neurobiology led to a career in research and patents before a move to the USA led to a shift in her interests. She now spends her time helping to advocate for resources and accessibility within her local Palo Alto community through their CAC and in the wider Bay Area. Her particular interests are in equal access to community resources and physical activities for children on autism spectrum.
Director of Operations and Fundraising
Leslie is a proud mom of five kids ranging from 26 years to 4 ½. She and her family have always held the community of kids and adults with special needs close to their heart. Leslie has experience in all areas – special education – primary, secondary, and post-secondary; vocational development/job coaching; as well as executive management of a 24-7 residential camp. She holds a master’s degree in Special Education/Rehabilitation Counseling from SJSU and has spent the past 20+ years working alongside wonderful families to improve the overall quality of life for our community. Non-profits serving those with developmental disabilities and/or those with mental illness are where you will always find her. She tries to create an excellent work environment by developing cohesive, effective, and compassionate teams to ensure that the world continues to open and accommodate everyone on the Autism Spectrum.
With the passing of Feda Almaliti, the autism community lost a fearless advocate, devoted mother, irrepressible friend, and tireless supporter. A long-time board member and recent board vice president, Feda made a lasting impact on our organization. She is missed. Read more here.