Board of Directors

Scott Badesch serves as Chairman of the Board. Scott is the past President & CEO of the Autism Society. A father of a young adult with autism, Scott led his local Autism Society affiliate before joining the national office in 2010 as Senior Vice President of Development and Operations. He has more than 30 years of experience in nonprofit organizations, particularly in fundraising, chapter outreach, advocacy and public policy, and transformation of organizations. Before joining the Autism Society national office, Scott served as President and CEO of the Autism Society of North Carolina. Other experience includes 14 years as President and CEO of the United Way of Palm Beach County, and six years as President and CEO of the United Way of South Carolina.

Bryan Harkins is the Executive Vice President, Head of Markets at Cboe Global Markets. Based in New York, he runs the client service, product development, and competitive strategy for the company’s U.S. equities, futures, options, and global foreign exchange businesses, its suite of market data and access services products, as well as the firm’s growing listings business. Mr. Harkins is the co-founder of Wall Street Rides FAR, an annual series of charity bike rides benefiting the Autism Science Foundation. Launched in 2015 by Bryan and his wife Melissa, both Wall Street veterans, the event brings together professionals from across the financial services industry, and has set new fundraising records each year. He is a graduate of The University of Notre Dame and has an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Michael Lewis is an attorney, mediator, and experienced activist, serving on several non-profit boards in the fields of justice, education, and health. He currently serves as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Consultant at JAMS, where he has successfully mediated dozens of high profile disputes. He is an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School and also teaches at Harvard Law School. Michael has a BA from Dartmouth and a JD from Georgetown Law School. His granddaughter is diagnosed with autism.

Paul A. Offit, MD is the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is a recipient of many awards including the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics bestowed by the University of Maryland Medical School and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Offit has published more than 130 papers in medical and scientific journals. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed book “Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure” (2008), and “Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All” (2010). Dr. Offit is also a member of the Institute of Medicine.

Alison Singer  As the mother of a child with autism and legal guardian of her adult brother with autism, Alison is a natural advocate. Since 2007, Singer has served on the national Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) which is charged with writing a strategic plan to guide federal spending for autism research. Within the IACC, she serves as co-chair of the safety subcommittee and on the subcommittees for Strategic Plan Review and Services. Singer also currently serves on the executive board of the Yale Child Study Center, on the external advisory board of the Marcus Autism Center at Emory University, and on the external advisory board of the CDC’s Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Alison chairs the International Society for Autism Research public relations committee and is a member of the IMFAR program committee and community advisory committee. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in Economics and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Jonah Zimiles founded [words] bookstore in 2009 and has incorporated people with autism into its mission from the very start. To date, his bookshop has hired or provided vocational training to more than 100 young people with autism as part of its vocational training program. The store, which he co-owns with his wife, Ellen, also welcomes patrons with autism and other developmental disorders. The couple has two children, including a son with autism. In addition to supporting people with autism, Zimiles has also grown [words] to become a nationally recognized independent bookshop. Publishers Weekly named [words] as one of five finalists for Bookstore of the Year in 2020, and the shop consistently welcomes high-profile, award-winning authors to share their work. The Zimiles opened [words] after Jonah graduated from Columbia Business School with concentrations in management and social enterprise. Before opening the bookstore, Jonah spent a dozen years as a practicing attorney, then four years as an endowment director of a major national charity, followed by six years as a stay-at-home Dad managing his son’s autism-services home program.