Our Board of Directors

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Gwendolyn Harshaw

The trajectory of Gwen’s life changed dramatically over 20 years ago with the autism diagnosis for her son, Zayne. This event led to a pursuit of information to help Zayne receive the therapies and educational assistance he needed to live his best life. That pursuit also led to Gwen and her family working and volunteering in many organizations that help individuals with developmental disabilities.

 

Gwen has served and continues to serve within a variety of organizations including:

  • Parent mentor for the Aspirations program held at Nisonger Center of The Ohio State University (OSU);

  • Parent/Family Advisory Council for CAST (Center for Autism Services and Transition) at OSU;

  • Best Buddies Advisory Board Ohio;

  • Advocacy and Awareness Committee member for the Autism Society of Ohio;

  • Board member on the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council (OSILC). OSILC is a governmental body that advocates for individuals with disabilities. The appointment to this board requires an official nomination, followed by approval from the governor of Ohio.

 

Gwen’s experiences as an advocate, parent resource and a Mom have resulted in her being approached for speaking engagements to share her insight and knowledge. She has given speeches and presentations at a number of gatherings and conferences. She was requested by the Autism Society of America to be the keynote speaker at their national conference which was held in Bethesda, MD in July 2019. This opportunity resulted in her recruitment to provide the closing address at the Together for Autism Conference in El Paso, Texas in December 2019.

 

But Gwen's favorite role is being the marketing director for her son, Zayne, and his band, Blue Spectrum. Zayne’s amazing abilities as a guitarist have resulted in the Harshaw family being requested to speak and perform all over Ohio and many parts of the country. They provide an example of the benefits of supporting individuals to pursue their interests and passions. Gwen believes and lives the motto of Blue Spectrum:  

“Life is not to be viewed through the single lens of a diagnosis but to be lived through the Spectrum of potential, promise and purpose”.

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Austin St. John

Austin is an American actor and martial artist. He is best known for his portrayal of Jason Lee Scott, the first red Power Ranger in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers franchise. Austin is also an accomplished martial artist and a nationally registered paramedic.

 

He is passionate about giving back to his community through charity work, his position on the Autism Power governing board and raising awareness for underserved populations.

 

Austin connects often with people with disabilities as he travels globally to ComicCon and other professional events and realized how much potential is often overlooked in these talented people.

 

Austin connected with Tony after hearing about his vision for Autism Power. Austin continues to give his time and talents to the Autism Power mission.

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Suzy Pelok

The majority of Suzy’s career has been spent in leadership and/or executive positions within the developmental disabilities and behavioral health fields.

 

Most recently, Suzy served as Vice President of  Programs and then Director of Customer Experience and Excellence at I Am Boundless, a large private, not-for-profit organization that offers unique and innovative supports to people with complex needs.

 

Suzy is a highly experienced executive with expertise in leadership with all levels of employees, cultivation of strong teams, quality assurance, program development, innovative business line development and planning/implementation of strategic company goals.

 

Her passion is helping all people live self-determined lives. Suzy also serves on the Ohio Self Determination Association Board and has expertise in The Council and Quality and Leadership (CQL) person-centered accreditation.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/suzy-pelok-60b9b94a/