Speaker Bios

Amber Rivers, Esq.

Director of the EBSA’s Office of Health Plan Standards and Compliance Assistance (OHPSCA)

Washington, D.C.

Ms. Rivers is the Director of the EBSA’s Office of Health Plan Standards and Compliance Assistance (OHPSCA). OHPSCA is the primary source of regulations and interpretive guidance related to group health plans under ERISA and provides education, compliance assistance, and other technical support to plans, other government agencies and other stakeholders on health coverage-related matters. In her role, Ms. Rivers serves as the Agency’s principal advisor on health care issues; is responsible for the establishment of strategies for regulatory development; the review, analysis, and promulgation of interpretations, opinions, and regulations related to ERISA’s health care requirements; and trends in health care reform and legislative issues. She also coordinates the Agency’s technical assistance to members of Congress and Congressional committees regarding drafting of ERISA health care legislation. Ms. Rivers serves as the Agency’s liaison on health coverage-related matters to the NAIC, and coordinates the Agency’s technical support on health coverage-related matters to State government agencies. Ms. Rivers coordinates the Department’s efforts with respect to tri-agency healthcare initiatives related to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the Mental Health Parity and Addition Equity Act, the Affordable Care Act, the Families First and Coronavirus Response Act, the CARES Act, and other laws under Part 7 of ERISA. Ms. Rivers received her JD from the George Washington University Law School and her BA from Rutgers University. 

Amie Perl, MBA

Playbook Leader

Washington, D.C.

Amie Perl was a founding member of Little Leaves Behavioral Services where she served as the SVP of Operations.  Over 12 years, in partnership with a talented clinical team, Amie provided organizational and operational leadership that supported its growth from a start-up to a multi-state, multi-center program that served hundreds of clients.  Through that work, Amie developed an expertise in and passion for helping families and providers navigate the challenges of insurance coverage for ABA and was involved at the state and national levels.  She led the effort to write the "ABA Authorization and Appeals Playbook," a valuable resource for families and providers. In recognition of her efforts, she was awarded the Provider Advocate of the Year award at the Autism Law Summit in 2021. 

Prior to joining Little Leaves, Amie spent the better part of her career working for companies that change lives. She served in various strategic and operational roles at Strayer University and Weightwatchers.com. She began her career in management consulting at The Boston Consulting Group where she worked with companies across a broad range of industries, and worked in finance at Goldman Sachs.  Amie holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and graduated cum laude with a B.A. in applied mathematics from Harvard University.

Amy Weinstock

Director, Insurance Resource Center for Autism and Behavioral Health


Amy Weinstock is the Director of the Insurance Resource Center for Autism and Behavioral Health at the UMass Chan Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, and an instructor in the medical school’s Department of Psychiatry. She has an extensive background on insurance issues related to autism and has played a key role in passing several significant pieces of autism insurance legislation in Massachusetts, including the groundbreaking 2010 law requiring health insurance to cover medically necessary treatment for autism. Amy also serves as a trustee of the Riverview School, Living Independently Forever (LIFE), and as a Commissioner on the State’s Autism Commission.

Following a successful career in real estate and banking, Amy, the parent of a child on the autism spectrum, decided to merge her personal passions and professional experience. She completed a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND fellowship at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center in 2005. Following this, she served as President of the outreach organization of the Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts General Hospital for two years prior to her appointment as Chair of the Insurance Committee for Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts (AFAM)

Amy's work has been recognized through numerous awards including the Federation for Children with Special Needs Martha H. Ziegler Founders Award, the Margaret L. Bauman Award for Excellence, the Massachusetts ARC’s Distinguished Citizens Award, the Autism Speaks Advocacy Award, the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation’s Shining Star and Essential piece awards, and the Northeast ARC’s Edward C. O’Keefe Memorial Award. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and received a Master of Architecture from Harvard University.

Andréa Marcus, Esq.

Law Office of Andrea Marcus, APC


Brian Kelmar

Executive Director and Co-Founder, Legal Reform for Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled (LRIDD)


Brian Kelmar is the Executive Director and cofounder of the nonprofit Legal Reform for Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled (LRIDD). LRIDD is a national nonprofit organization, working on criminal justice reform for our most vulnerable population of those with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) such as autism. He has worked with families in every state and organizations across Canada and the UK for those with developmental disabilities caught up in the criminal legal system. He has written three legislative bills and has been the lead advocate on two other bills on criminal justice reform for developmentally disabled.  All five of the bills have been signed into law with overwhelming support. He has spoken at numerous conferences and conventions on the topic of his work and has done televisions, radio, news outlets and magazines interviews about criminal justice reform for developmentally disabled. He was recognized for his advocacy work by the ARC of Virginia for Catalyst for Change award. He has been a senior executive of large corporations as well as an entrepreneur.  He is a retired Navy Commander and Naval Aviator with over 500 carrier landings.  As a Department of Defense Military Research Fellow, he coauthored a book, on “A Model for Leading Change”.   He is a proud father of an autistic son, and his two other sons.  He has an undergraduate degree from Penn State University, an MBA from Troy State University, doctoral studies at Nova Southeastern University, and an executive education from Harvard Business School.  He is also an avid marathon and ultra-marathon runner in his spare time.

Caroline Reynolds, Esq.

Partner, Zuckerman Spaeder Law Firm


Caroline E. Reynolds focuses her practice on complex civil litigation and white collar defense.

She has represented corporations, executives, and other individuals in government and internal investigations, criminal proceedings, and civil litigation involving allegations of securities and accounting fraud, antitrust violations, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Christa Stevens, Esq.

Director of State Government Affairs, Autism Speaks


Christa Stevens, Esq. is the Director of State Government Affairs at Autism Speaks. In this role, she works closely with state legislatures and agencies, the autism community, and others to develop, enact, and implement the state policy objectives of Autism Speaks. The region of the U.S. that she focuses on includes 22 states—mostly those in the southeast, some of the mid-west, and much of the southwest.

Christa has a teen daughter with autism and her experience advocating for her daughter led her to law school after a career as an educator teaching U.S. government at the middle school, high school and college level. Her position with Autism Speaks allows her to actively use the advocacy skills and knowledge she developed as a parent, educator, and attorney.

Like many of those with autism, Christa’s daughter has significant issues communicating and many repetitive behaviors. Her daughter has some vocal speech, but it is familiar only to those who interact with her regularly, and she also uses a tablet with a text-to-speech communication app. With these communication skills, she likes to tell her mom about Disney princesses, ask her mom to sing her favorite songs, and, most recently, tell her mom, “Please go away, I need space.”

Her daughter’s future—and the futures of other individuals with autism—is Christa’s touchstone as she advocates for the prioritized goals of Autism Speaks.

Dan Unumb, Esq.

President, Autism Legal Resource Center

South Carolina

Dan Unumb is an attorney and founder of the Autism Legal Resource Center. Mr. Unumb previously served as the founding Executive Director of the Autism Speaks Legal Resource Center, where he worked to secure improved insurance and Medicaid coverage for individuals with autism in over 40 states.

He has worked with federal and state regulators to secure improved guidance and enforcement on autism-related issues and has filed amicus briefs on autism legal issues in state and federal appeals courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He is co-author of the law school casebook “Autism and the Law” and has presented on legal topics pertaining to autism at numerous national conferences and trainings.

Mr. Unumb is also co-founder of the Autism Academy of South Carolina, a treatment facility providing state-of-the-art care to children on the autism spectrum. He has served on the supporting board for the Greenwood Genetics Center and is a board member of Ascendigo, in Aspen, Colorado, which provides challenging recreational activities to children and adults with autism as well as community living support. Mr. Unumb has litigated cases in federal and state courts across the country in private practice in Boston, Washington, D.C., and Charleston and as an attorney with the United States Department of Justice.

Deborah Dorfman, Esq.

Executive Director/Attorney, Disability Rights Connecticut


Deborah is currently the executive director and one of the attorneys at Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT) and an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law. Prior to working at DRCT, Deborah was the managing attorney for the Everett Field Office of the Northwest Justice Project in Washington state. She has over 30 years of experience litigating individual and class actions, as well other systemic reform cases, in the areas of disability and related law, with a particular focus on legal issues pertaining to people with intellectual and/or mental health disabilities, including juvenile justice, access to Medicaid and state-funded services and other public benefits, Olmstead and other disability discrimination, special education, prison and jail conditions, abuse and neglect, fair housing, civil commitment, and forensic mental health, among other issues.  Deborah has also been an adjunct professor at New York Law School in the Mental Disability Law Online Program and at St. John’s School of Law and has given numerous presentations, nationally and internationally, and published a number of articles on disability rights issues. Deborah received her law degree from New York Law School in 1992.  She also has a M.A. in History for New York University and an A.B. in Social Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

Diana Davis-Wilson, DBH, LBA, BCBA

Chief Executive Advisor, Aspen Behavioral Consulting


Dr. Diana Davis-Wilson, DBH, LBA, BCBA, IBA is an Arizona Licensed Behavior Analyst with extensive experience in providing consultation and training to families, school districts, and organizational personnel across the nation.

For several years, Dr. Davis-Wilson held a leadership position at an autism provider organization based in Arizona. In this role, she oversaw applied behavior analysis programs for numerous children throughout the state. Driven by her commitment to professional development and sustainability within the field of behavior analysis, she created an inclusive curriculum-based supervision program that provided employment opportunities and training for aspiring professionals and students.

In addition to her clinical leadership roles, Dr. Davis-Wilson has actively contributed to various boards both in Arizona and on a national level. Her positions have included AzABA (Association for Behavior Analysis), the Autism Advisory Council of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), Glendale Community College's Behavioral Health Sciences Occupational Advisory Board (BHS-OAB), the Behavioral Health Centers of Excellence Scientific Advisory Board (BHCOE), and the Development Disabilities Safety Council. Furthermore, she has been appointed by the Governor as a board member with the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners.

Dr. Diana Davis-Wilson is also a university professor. She actively collaborates with other professional organizations to provide education, advocacy efforts, and guidance on early access to care, best practices, and evidence-based treatment methods. Additionally, she is deeply passionate about offering law enforcement training regarding autism developmental disabilities, crisis response, and behavior analysis.

Erick Dubuque, PhD, LBA, BCBA-D

Director, Autism Commission on Quality (ACQ)


Dr. Erick Dubuque serves as the Director of the Autism Commission on Quality’s (ACQ), a mission-driven non-profit accreditation body for organizations offering applied behavior analysis services to individuals and families impacted by autism. He is a former assistant professor with over a decade of experience coordinating, advising, teaching, and supervising students across three graduate training programs in applied behavior analysis domestically and internationally. His professional, voluntary, and scholarly activities have centered around quality control in the training and application of behavior analysis. As an accreditation administrator, expert witness, licensure board chair, and consultant, Dr. Dubuque has shaped legislation, regulations, and policies designed to protect the public and increase access to effective and ethical applied behavior analytic services for individuals with autism.

Garry Carneal, Esq.

President & CEO, Schooner Strategies 


Garry Carneal is a leading expert in health care. He has researched, written and published extensively on quality, medical management, information technology, and regulatory trends. He has an established track record in helping trade associations, certification agencies, and businesses expand their health care operations nationally. Mr. Carneal also serves on several nonprofit boards and committees.

Mr. Carneal now serves as President & CEO of Schooner Strategies (dba Schooner Healthcare Services) which he co-founded in the summer of 2007 with several health care industry leaders. Schooner promotes enhanced business development strategies by leveraging technology applications, identifying new workflow solutions, engaging in research and education initiatives, and pursuing other projects to integrate and improve health care systems.

Currently, Mr. Carneal also serves the President/CEO of RadSite. RadSite offers 5 accreditation programs in the advanced diagnostic imaging field.

Previously, Mr. Carneal served as President & CEO of URAC, a non-profit, independent organization devoted to the accreditation of health care operations. During his nine year tenure, Mr. Carneal coordinated the launching of 16 new accreditation programs which created quality standards covering a wide range of health care operations (e.g., everything from integrated health plan offerings to specialized medical management functions such as case management).

He also served as President of InforMed Medical Management Services, LLC (IMMS) and Vice-President of Legal and State Affairs, American Association of Health Plans (now AHIP).

Mr. Carneal has serves on the Board of several organizations including the National Alliance for Healthcare Purchasers, American Association of Payers, Networks and Providers (AAPAN), ClearHealth Quality Institute and RadSite. He also is long-standing member of the public policy committee for the Case Management Society of America (CMSA).

Jane Beyer, Esq.

Senior Health Policy Advisor to Washington State Insurance Commissioner


Jane Beyer has served as Senior Health Policy Advisor to Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler since January 2017. She was legal counsel to the Washington State House of Representatives for twenty years, working on a broad range of health and human services issues. Jane served as Washington State's Medicaid director from 1995 through 1998, and Washington State's Behavioral Health Commissioner from 2012 through 2015. She began her career as a legal services attorney in Tacoma Washington, graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law and is admitted to the Washington State and District of Columbia bar.  She is the Chair of the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) Executive Committee.

Jane Howard, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Co-Founder and Senior Advisor, Therapeutic Pathways and Trumpet Behavioral Health


Jane Howard, Ph.D., is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D®) and a licensed psychologist.  She is the Co-Founder and Senior Advisor to Therapeutic Pathways, an organization in Northern California that serves individuals with autism across the lifespan. Before co-founding Therapeutic Pathways, Dr. Howard was a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Stanislaus, where she taught graduate students in behavior analysis and clinical psychology.  In that capacity, she also established several university-affiliated programs for individuals with learning disabilities and developmental delays. Dr. Howard is the lead author of several widely cited outcome studies regarding treatment outcomes for individuals with autism.  She serves on the Board of the Council of Autism Service Providers and is the Past President of the Board of Directors for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Jenna Minton, Esq.

CEO, Proactive Strategies, LLC


Jenna is licensed to practice law in Maryland and is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association. In her early career she spent 5 years in the metro DC area, working for medical non-profits learning the ins and outs of the regulatory process.  Following that, she spent 10 years as the Director of Operations for a large non-profit ABA organization in Michigan where she also served as the interim Executive Director.  In 2013, she founded Minton Healthcare Strategies, now known as Proactive Strategies, LLC (PS) who specializes in guiding clients through Medicare and Medicaid regulatory processes.  Specifically, we focus on the development of Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Codes which are used to report medical, surgical, and diagnostic procedures and services.  PS also assists in valuing medical services through the American Medical Association's process (the AMA Relative Update Committee).  Clients we work with include: applied behavior analysis provider organizations and coalitions, medical specialty societies, and virtual technology companies.  We also support ABA provider organizations with audit, contracting, and claims processing issues.  In 2023 we grew our team to five and we look forward to what the future holds. 

Karen Fessel, DPH

Founder and Executive Director, Mental Health & Autism Insurance Project


Karen founded the Autism Health Insurance Project after struggling to secure services for her son, who has Asperger’s. She started AHIP to help children on the autism spectrum obtain medically necessary services by supporting families in their journey through the insurance maze. Later AHIP became MHAIP, and the journey expanded to include those with other mental health conditions. In addition to serving as the executive director of MHAIP, Karen co-moderates the ASDinsurancehelp and ASDMedi-Cal Yahoo users groups. Karen holds a doctorate in public health from UC Berkeley. Her prior work experience includes developing technology assessments and treatment guidelines for the Permanente Medical Group, and conducting research projects at the Department of Public Health and UCSF. On the public policy front, Karen co-chaired the autism subcommittee on insurance with the East Bay Autism Regional Task Force, and served as a parent advocate on the initial Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) Autism Advisory Workgroup. She is the proud parent of an 22-year-old son with Asperger's and an 18-year-old daughter.

Katie Dzurec, Esq.

Regulatory and Policy Engagement Specialist, Regulatory Insurance Advisors, LLC

Washington, D.C.

Katie Dzurec is a Regulatory and Policy Engagement Specialist for Regulatory Insurance Advisors, LLC.  She has served as Assistant General Counsel for the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority and Senior Advisor to the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner. During her tenure at the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, Katie held the titles of acting director of the Health Market Conduct Bureau, acting director of the Department’s Bureau of Managed Care, and acting director of the Department’s Bureau of Life, Accident, & Health Insurance.  For four years, Katie helped lead the Department’s efforts related to health policy and innovation, bringing various state agencies and external stakeholders together to address health coverage access and compliance issues.  In addition, she has directed inter-agency and inter-state collaboration on mental health parity enforcement and compliance efforts.  She is regarded as a subject matter expert in the areas of healthcare reform, mental health parity, and health market conduct examinations.

Katie’s healthcare compliance and advisory experience also includes time as Vice President of Regulatory and Policy Affairs at Healthsperien, LLC, in Washington, D.C., where she advised national health insurers on policy and business strategy relating to health reform, as well as conducting statutory and regulatory analyses across federal healthcare programs;  Compliance and Enforcement Division Director, Oversight Group, for the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight in the federal Department of Health and Human Services; Compliance and Regulatory Affairs Director for Maine Community Health Options; Advisor to the Superintendent of the Maine Bureau of Insurance; and as an assistant research professor at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University.

She holds a B.A. degree in linguistics from the University of Oregon, a law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law, a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Maine, and a Master of Laws in Insurance from the University of Connecticut School of Law.  Katie commits much of her free time to quilting and running with her family members. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her daughter, and their dogs, Beezus and Dave the Dog, and a COVID rescue cat called Einstein.

Kristin Jacobson, MBA

Founder & Executive Director ADEC Foundation


As part of a more than 20-year career in health care marketing and reimbursement, Kristin has advocated for autism related causes since 2006.  She led a multi-year statewide effort to pass autism insurance reform in California and was a principal drafter of SB 946, signed into California law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011. Subsequent to the passage of SB 946, Kristin was appointed to the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC)’s Autism Advisory Task Force to help draft recommendations regarding medically-necessary behavioral health treatment. In 2009, Kristin co-founded Autism Deserves Equal Coverage to help families and providers access health care treatment through private insurance and in 2013 founded Autism Deserves Equal Coverage Foundation as a companion non-profit organization. She also co-founded the ASD Insurance Help Yahoo group to assist parents secure insurance coverage for autism. Through message boards and individual case advocacy, Kristin has helped hundreds of families successfully appeal insurance denials. More than 15 of her cases have resulted in enforcement actions taken by the Department of Managed Health Care and California Department of Insurance to require compliance by health insurers doing business in California. Her most recent accomplishments include expanding the benefits of behavioral health treatment in SB 946, which was limited to private health insurance, to State employees and Healthy Families (September, 2012), Covered California (January, 2014) and Medi-Cal (September, 2014). She is especially proud of leading the effort that resulted in legislation included in the state budget that set California up to be the first state in the nation to implement new federal guidance about Medicaid autism coverage.

Kristin is a founding member and has served on the Steering Committee of the Alliance of California Autism Organizations (ACAO) since its inception in 2008. ACAO represents more than 40 autism organizations around the state. Kristin has served as the statewide Advocacy or Policy Chair for Autism Speaks since 2007. She is a Council Member on the Statewide Coordinating Council of the Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders and Chair of its Bay Area Autism Regional Task-force (BAART). She also is a member of the Consumer Advisory Panel to the California Department of Insurance under Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. She has been featured as an autism insurance expert by many news organizations, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, National Public Radio, KQED, KGO, ABC, NBC and Fox News.

Kristin received an AB from Dartmouth College where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. She earned an M.B.A. from Stanford University where she was an Arjay Miller Scholar. After starting her career as a management consultant at Bain & Company and McKinsey and Company, she has spent her career in health care marketing, with a specialty in health insurance reimbursement. She held various marketing, sales, executive and consulting positions at several medical device and pharmaceutical companies such as Heartport, Cardiogenesis, Guidant, and Threshhold Pharmaceuticals. Select accomplishments include securing FDA approval for a novel medical device, establishing a national Medicare coverage policy for a new medical procedure, and coordinating publications in major medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine.

Lorri Unumb, Esq.

CEO, The Council of Autism Service Providers

South Carolina

Lorri is a lawyer, professor, mother of three boys, and an internationally renowned autism advocate. She began her legal career clerking for a federal judge in Charleston, South Carolina, and then moved to Washington, D.C. to practice law with the United States Department of Justice, where she met the dashing Dan Unumb. She enjoyed a fulfilling career as an appellate litigator, arguing immigration cases in U.S. Circuit Courts all over the country. After two academic stints at law schools in D.C. (George Washington) and Charleston, Lorri began teaching advocacy at the Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center. She also hosted an award winning weekly television show called “The Law with Professor Lorri.” Following her firstborn son’s diagnosis with autism, Lorri began working in autism advocacy as a volunteer, writing ground-breaking autism insurance legislation for South Carolina (“Ryan’s Law”) that passed in 2007 and served as the catalyst for the national movement toward autism insurance reform. In recognition of Ryan’s Law, Lorri was awarded the Autism Society of America 2008 Parents of the Year Award (along with Dan). She was then recruited by the New York-based nonprofit Autism Speaks to lead State Government Affairs. Lorri has testified more than 100 times on health insurance issues in legislatures and parliaments around the world. For her efforts, Lorri received the NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian of the Year award and was featured in Town & Country Magazine as a Longines “Women Who Make a Difference” recipient. Lorri also served as a Commissioner for the South Carolina Department of Disabilities & Special Needs, which administers the state’s HCBS waivers serving individuals with developmental disabilities. She and Dan founded the Autism Academy of South Carolina (recently rebranded “The Unumb Center for Neurodevelopment”), a nonprofit ABA center and diagnostic clinic. Together, they also wrote the first-ever comprehensive textbook on autism legal issues called “Autism and the Law,” and Lorri developed & taught a course by the same name at GW Law School. Lorri is the founder of the Autism Law Summit. She is also a former world-champion clogger and first-runner up in her 4th grade spelling bee.

Mark Mahoney, Esq.

Partner, Harrington & Mahoney

New York

The most experienced attorney in the nation in the representation of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (e.g. "Asperger's Syndrome") charged with offenses related to online and offline sexual behavior. Author of "Asperger's Syndrome and the Criminal Law: the special case of child pornography." Author of "The Right to Present A Defense." Experienced in large complex criminal cases, like "White Collar" cases (e.g. the "Adelphia" case tried for 6 months in New York City in 2004 in which he won the acquittal of Adephia's Assitant Treasurer); "racketeering" (e.g. acquittal in 2014 of union vice president after 8 week trial and six years of litigation), criminal trademark and trade secrets, antitrust, death penalty cases and a wide variety of other criminal matters, as well as appeals. Former President of New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Board Member of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, member of Crimial Lawyers Association (Ontario, Canada), adjunct faculty at University of Buffalo Law School, 1984 - 1990.

Mary Willis, Esq.

Counsel, Ethridge Law Group

South Carolina

Mary joined the Ethridge Law Group as an Attorney. She has a versatile civil litigation practice, including both plaintiff and defense work, in multiple areas of law including, but not limited to, education/special education, products liability, insurance coverage and bad faith, personal injury, construction defect, landlord/tenant disputes, and commercial transactions/business law.

Mary earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. Mary earned her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. During law school, Mary earned multiple awards including the Roberts Senior Class Writing Award and CALI Awards in Insurance, Evidence, Contracts, Civil Procedure, and Legal Research and Writing. Mary was inducted into the Order of the Coif and the Order of the Wig and Robe.

Following law school, Mary worked as a judicial law clerk for two United States District Court judges. Prior to joining the Ethridge Law Group, Mary worked at a large insurance defense law firm in Charleston.

Mary has a passion for writing about legal issues that impact her practices areas. She is the author of the following articles: To Defend or Not to Defend: The Dilemma For Insurers, Subcontractors and their Attorneys regarding Additional Insured Coverage in Construction Defect Litigation, The Defense Line (Fall 2020), Raising the Bar: The Standard of Education Required under the IDEA, S.C. Lawyer Mag. (Nov. 2017), and Utilizing Prosecutorial Discretion to Reduce the Number of Juveniles with Disabilities in the Juvenile Justice System, 2016 BYU Educ. & L.J. 191 (2016).

Mary is admitted to the South Carolina Supreme Court, United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is a member of the Charleston County Bar Association and an active participant on the wellness committee. She gives back to the community by volunteering her time at local non-profits, and she often provides pro bono legal work. While away from the office, Mary enjoys spending time with her kids and family.

Morgan McKay, BCBA, LBA

Chief Operating Officer, 29 Acres


Morgan McKay currently the Chief Operations Officer at 29 Acres. She is Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in the state of Texas. She received her Master of Education degree in Autism Intervention from the University of North Texas where she earned her graduate certification in Applied Behavior Analysis. She is working on her MBA currently at A&M Corpus Christi and plans to graduate next year. During her time in school, she provided services in public school, day hab and residential settings. She has several years of experience in public schools both in the classroom and in district positions. Her contributions in program development, teacher training, and parent training are numerous. Additionally, Morgan has experience in non-profit work with adults with disabilities.

Tracy Guiou, Ph.D.

CEO, Catalpa Health


Dr. Guiou's over 25 years of experience in the field of ABA is comprised of wide-ranging clinical, operational, and teaching experience. Dr Guiou owned 2 ABA agencies (CA, OH) she sold in 2019 to Kadiant, LLC. Her involvement in the practice of ABA has been as an employee, business owner and in acquisition transactions on both the seller and purchaser sides.

Dr. Guiou has presented at a variety of state, national and international conferences. She currently holds certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst - Doctoral level (BCBA-D) and is both a licensed psychologist and Certified Ohio Behavior Analyst (COBA) in the state of Ohio, as well as a licensed psychologist in both Georgia and Wisconsin. She held multiple Board positions for the Ohio Association of Behavior Analysts (OHABA), including President. Dr. Guiou is also a longtime member of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA), Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), California Association for Behavior Analysis (CalABA), and American Psychological Association (APA).

Tricia Nelson

Founder & Executive Director, Utah Autism Academy


Tricia Nelson is the parent of Riley (a 21 year old profoundly autistic adult), Founder & Executive Director of Utah Autism Academy (a day-treatment clinic based ABA program for children and adults), and the President of the Utah Autism Coalition.Tricia has participated in advocacy, awareness and fundraising efforts in the autism community since her son’s diagnosis more than 19 years ago.
Tricia finds great joy in successful community integration for those on the spectrum, with a niche interest in those with profound autism. Tricia is driven to create systems and programs that promote compassionate supports ASD and their families.  

Wayne Goodwin, Esq.

Former North Carolina Insurance Commissioner

North Carolina

Wayne Goodwin is the former North Carolina Insurance Commissioner with an extensive background in insurance, law, politics, and public policy. He is also President/CEO of Seaboard Strategic Consulting, LLC.

A native of rural Hamlet, North Carolina, Wayne rose from a challenging family life of modest means to become a statewide elected official and serve in other prominent roles in the Tar Heel state.

Guided by his parents - a farmer/grocer and textile worker/elementary school assistant - the Student Body President and high school valedictorian received both the Morehead Scholarship and US Senate/William Randolph Hearst Scholarship before graduating with honors in Political Science and then his juris doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The University also presented him awards in recognition of his honors thesis and oratorical skills.

Wayne launched his law practice back home where he represented injured workers and helped families with insurance claims. In addition to serving as an attorney, he helped solve problems both as a court-appointed mediator and arbitrator. Further, he taught Business Law, American Government, and Criminal Justice at the local community college.

Only a few years out of law school, voters subsequently elected Wayne in 1996 to the North Carolina General Assembly.  One of the youngest members at the time, during his four terms he fought for public education, economic development, public safety, clean water and air, election law improvements, voting rights, consumer protection, and a healthcare bill of rights, as well as for issues and solutions of importance to children, families, courts, and medical and hospital communities.

After eight years as a state legislator, Wayne became the Assistant General Counsel at the North Carolina Department of Insurance and Assistant North Carolina Insurance Commissioner for four years. Then voters statewide in 2008 elected Wayne as only the 10th state Insurance Commissioner in North Carolina since 1899. Voters re-elected him as Insurance Commissioner in 2012 and he continued to grow a state Department of Insurance well-respected across the country.

Goodwin’s accomplishments as Insurance Commissioner between 2008 and 2016 included:

  • Saving a then-record $2.4 Billion for consumers with rate cuts, refunds, rebates, etc.
  • Approving the lowest average auto insurance rates in the USA for the first time and $50 Million in refunds directed to 1 million drivers
  • Ordering $206 Million in refunds directly to NC consumers, something that had not happened since he was last in office
  • Ordering North Carolina’s largest combination of fine, penalties, and restitution ever against an individual insurance company ($25 Million+) for its causing serious harm to consumers, physicians, and medical clinics
  • Ordering a historic $156 Million in health insurance refunds from Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBSNC) to 215,000 families, a decision of his that prompted a personal invitation to visit with President Obama in the White House Oval Office.

As a very active participant within the National Association of Insurance Commissioners(NAIC), Wayne served as Chairman or Vice Chairman of many committees over the years including:

  • Senior Issues Task Force (and Long Term Care)
  • Anti-Fraud Task Force
  • Market Regulation and Consumer Affairs
  • Health Insurance and Managed Care
  • Consumer Advocates Board of Trustees

Further, he served on the NAIC Executive Committee and was the elected Vice Chairman of the zone comprising the Southeastern United States.

As Insurance Commissioner, Wayne created Health Smart NC to help consumers fight for coverage for health conditions and procedures rejected by insurance companies. He also played a prominent role over the years in seeking mental health parity and obtaining coverage for pre-existing conditions, and updating laws, policies, and procedures intersecting with autism.

For these reasons and more, he received various recognitions for his service, including the Spirit of the NAIC Award, the Jim Long Seniors Health Insurance Information Award, and the NC Justice Center Defender of Justice Award.

During his 12 years as Insurance Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner Wayne authored or co-authored multiple essays, columns, and editorials on insurance and consumer issues --- including a detailed analysis of North Carolina’s original approach to transitioning the state in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, an article that appeared in a journal of the NC Institute of Medicine.

Moreover, he was the first North Carolina Insurance Commissioner to hold regular quarterly, biennial, or annual meetings with medical professionals, including the leaders of the state’s Medical Society and groups of radiologists, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, oncologists, dentists, endodontists, nurses, etc. Wayne also conducted listening tours and town hall meetings across the breadth of the state - in metro, suburban, and rural communities – with families, firefighters, insurance agents, local leaders, and teachers.

After concluding two terms as Insurance Commissioner, Wayne founded Seaboard Strategic Consulting, a non-traditional law firm where he has provided academic, analytical, consulting, expert witness, litigation, and research services for individuals, businesses, and the State of North Carolina on insurance regulatory matters and public policymaking. His fourth successful business, he has regularly attended and participated as a speaker, presenter, and analyst/observer at a multitude of regional and national conferences for insurance regulators, insurance professionals, consumer protection advocates, lawyers, legislators, and/or medical professionals.

Simultaneously with his consulting work, Wayne was elected statewide to two terms as Chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party.  As Chairman he championed rural North Carolina, working families, and creating opportunities for success for everyone, as well as more affordable and accessible health insurance (including Medicaid expansion).

Wayne married his beloved wife, Melanie, in 1998.  Also a lawyer and legislator, Melanie passed in 2020 after a valiant decade-long battle with breast cancer.  They have two children, Madison and Jackson. 

In addition to continuing projects and conference panelist roles related to his extensive years as an insurance regulator, Wayne remains focused on raising his children, serving as the state’s DMV Commissioner, and teaching a weekly class he founded at his church.

Kristen Koba-Burdt, BCBA, LBA



Kristen Koba-Burdt, BCBA, LBA, CDP (she/her) obtained her certification as a Certified Diversity Professional (CDP®) and co-leads the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) special interest group (SIG) for the Council of Autism Service Providers (CASP). She is fortunate to call Hawaiʻi home, one of the most diverse states in the nation, and serves as the Director of Clinical Operations for BAYADA, a not-for-profit organization. Whether in an official capacity or of her own volition, Kristen has tirelessly dedicated numerous hours to advocacy and advancement of the field of applied behavior analysis. In 2019, Kristen received the Outstanding Sustained Advocacy Award at the Autism Law Summit for her efforts related to consumer access to services, supporting families in rural and underserved areas, and focusing on increasing provider knowledge related to autism policy. She is devoted to supporting underserved communities to access ABA, creating career opportunities for a diverse workforce, and continuing to learn and grow to enhance equity and inclusion in all facets of her work. As a multi-racial, first generation college graduate, much of her work focuses on increasing diversity in our workforce, improving equity within ABA organizations, and supporting advancement and career opportunities for behavior technicians to become behavior analysts and continue to advance into all areas of leadership.

Paula Pompa-Craven, Psy.D

Chief Clinical Officer, Easterseals Southern California; APA CE Chair


Dr. Paula Pompa-Craven, Psy.D, is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in assessment and diagnosis of autism. She has been with Easterseals Southern California (ESSC) since 1995 and supported several different service lines before becoming Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer of ESSC’s Autism Therapy Services. In that role, Paula supervises a staff of over 1,400 which provides applied behavior analysis, speech, physical and occupational therapy services to over 13,000 individuals with autism and their families annually.

Paula earned her Doctor of Psychology and master’s degree at Pepperdine University and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA. Paula was media trained through National Easterseals and has served as an Autism Network Spokesperson. She has contributed her expertise through research and article publications, conference and university presentations, meetings, trainings and workshops. She has also participated in radio, television and newspaper interviews. Paula was presented the Pepperdine University’s Wave of Service award and was Pepperdine’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology’s Alumni Awardee and Commencement speaker.

Paula believes that early diagnosis and treatment are key to success for people with autism and that these individuals may have a better chance at living a quality life if their autism is identified and treated in their formative years. Her research publication and areas of interest surround outcomes, assessment and staff retention. She is also passionate about bridging the gaps in health care service delivery to individuals from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. She leads these efforts within her organization and speaks frequently to share that message and additional learning with a wider population of families, community members and professionals.