Archived | Autism Speaks Announces New Staff Appointments | Circa November 6, 2006 #NotAnAutisticAlly

Autism Speaks Announces New Staff Appointments

Organization Names New National Director of Leadership Giving, National Director of Creative Services and Director of Communications

(NEW YORK, NY – November 6, 2006) – Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and raising money to fund autism research, today announced the appointment of three new staff members: Richard Brown joins as national director of leadership giving, Bill Shea joins as national director of creative services and Dana Marnane joins as director of communications. The announcement was made by Autism Speaks President Mark Roithmayr, to whom Brown will report, and Senior Vice President Alison Singer, to whom Shea and Marnane will report. 

As national director of leadership giving, Brown will be responsible for expanding Autism Speaks’ major gifts program. This will involve working closely with volunteer leadership to solicit gifts from individuals and corporations. Additionally, Brown will build a national staff structure to extend the major gifts program across the country.

“Richard brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Autism Speaks,” said Roithmayr. “His extensive fundraising background will augment and expand our existing development efforts.” 

Brown is a 20-year veteran of the not-for-profit world. Most recently, he served as the executive director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s New York City Chapter, where he was responsible for a $10 million annual budget. Prior to his tenure at JDRF, he was the vice president of Institutional Advancement for SUNY College at Old Westbury. Brown spent nine years with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, serving in several capacities, including area director, where he managed field operations in the eastern half of the U.S. 

Bill Shea has served as a consultant to Autism Speaks since the organization’s inception and has played a pivotal role in developing its multi-year campaign with the Ad Council. In his new role, he will expand the organization’s partnership with the Ad Council and will oversee the development of walk-related and other branded marketing materials.

“Bill’s considerable skills include an unmatched combination of creativity and strategic thinking,” said Singer. “Our portfolio of awareness activities and events will certainly flourish under his watch.” 

Shea is a 20-year veteran of the advertising community. He spent the last 15 years with McCann Erickson, a leading global advertising agency. Most recently, he was the group creative director responsible for such major advertising campaigns as Major League Baseball’s “I Live For This” and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’s “Fabio” campaign. 

Dana Marnane will oversee all aspects of Autism Speaks’ communication strategy. She has spent the last ten years with national retailer Lord & Taylor in its public relations and special events department. She created and managed the company’s charity events, partnering with hundreds of non-profits throughout the country. Prior to entering retail, Marnane served as the communications director for U.S. Sailing, the national governing body for the sport of sailing. 

“Dana brings a unique combination of communications and retail experience to Autism Speaks,” said Singer. “She will be a great asset as we broaden our existing partnerships with major retailers and look to expand into new markets.” 

Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 166 children, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of the growing autism epidemic and to raising money to fund scientists who are searching for a cure. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman and Executive Officer, General Electric, and Chairman and CEO, NBC Universal. Autism Speaks and the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) recently combined operations, bringing together two of the leading organizations dedicated to accelerating and funding biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism spectrum disorders; to increasing awareness of the nation’s fastest growing developmental disorder; and to advocating for the needs of affected families. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit

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