Our Advisory Board

Our  Advisory Board

Calyn Holdaway

(WA, USA) has worked in the non-profit sector for more than 20 years as a volunteer across a wide range of philanthropic organizations, both nationally and in Australia and Japan. She currently serves as the founder of The Ducere Group (a non-profit organization committed to ensuring that at risk students have equal access to high quality public education). At Ducere she leads a group of committed volunteers to find and create additional resources for at risk students, their families, and those who teach them. She is a fellow of the Washington State Charter Association Community Leadership Program and is a strong advocate of charter schools as an innovative means for all children to receive a free appropriate public education. As the mother of three children with exceptional needs, Calyn is a compassionate and diligent special education advocate and a voice of reason for those who cannot speak for themselves. 

Kathia Schierning

My name is Kathia Schierning (Denmark). I am diagnosed with Aspergers and call my self ‘Aspien Woman.’ I have been married for 11 years to Nikolaj. He is Neurotypical. We have 3 children, and 2 are diagnosed with autism. I work full time at my company Aspien Women. Our goal is to help women with Aspergers and autism into work, and advocate for women and autism. I teach about autism to professionals, companies that employ people with autism, and to people on the spectrum. I also give talks about my story and how autism is a part for my life. I am based in Denmark. www.aspienwomen.dk kathia@aspienwomen.dk

Gary Jesch

Gary Jesch (Nevada, USA) is the founder of Invirtua Inc., a Carson City, NV-company established to help those on the autism spectrum, by providing live interactive avatars for therapy sessions. His computer hardware and software package came out in 2016, as a ‘ProSystem’ for autism agencies and private therapists, and is also undergoing research at the University of Nevada-Reno and Brigham Young University in Utah. As a child, one of Jesch’s closest cousins discovered he was on the spectrum. Jesch wanted to help. When he was pioneering his live animation technology, he was inspired by Dr. Rosalind Picard of MIT’s Media Lab to one day use the technology to help autistic individuals. Jesch introduced an autism community website in Nov. 2015, called ‘Autism Animated,’ to contribute to the well-being of people and families on the autism spectrum. With the support and guidance of Dr. Stephen Shore, Prof. Ian Hale and Dr. Tom Buggey, Autism Animated has grown to 100 members and includes 60 site listings and valuable content in the form of webcasts, videos, articles, events, news. There are also member forums, key places where members can contribute. Membership is free.

Leonora Gregory-Collura

Leonora Gregory-Collura Dipl. RBS TTC (Vancouver, BC, Canada), is a graduate of two distinguished British Performing Arts schools: Elmhusrt Ballet School and the Royal Ballet, England. For over 40 years, Leonora has pioneered supporting disadvantaged minority groups ‘with special needs’, providing the tools of the performing arts to further individual opportunity for an integrative global cognitive education. Volunteering the majority of her time as an advocate, teacher, producer/director, choreographer and philanthropist, Leonora alongside her partner and husband Charlie Collura, with the creation of ANCA Consulting Inc., (a company serving autistic people and their families) paved a pathway of inclusion into all aspects of society, alongside the philanthropic ANCA Foundation, which supports a platform for a global voice and interactive experiences, inclusive of various sectors of society such as business, education, culture, economic development and humanitarian. The autistic community members of ANCA enjoy worldwide access to a network, never before experienced in the history of the autistic community through the global platform of the ANCA World Autism Festival & Trade Show , inclusive of the first international awards recognition known in our history. The first all autistic consulting company to employ autistic people set a precedence for many to be established locally, nationally and around the globe since the inception of ANCA.

Rajesh Anandan

Rajesh Anandan (New York, USA) is a social entrepreneur, growth architect and a Co-Founder of ULTRA Testing, an innovative company that employs individuals on the autism spectrum to work from home as software testers. After a stint at Microsoft as a program manager, Rajesh joined Bain & Company where he specialized in business incubation and growth strategy for technology, media, financial services, healthcare and retail clients. For the past decade, Rajesh has focused on scaling social innovations, including as head of UNICEF Ventures and as Co-Creator of UNICEF Kid Power, the world’s first Wearable-for-Good. Rajesh has a BSc and MEng in Computer Science & Electrical Engineering from M.I.T. with concentrations in AI, Systems Dynamics and Economics. ultratesting.us

Jen Elcheson

Jen Elcheson (aka Jen Ilczyszyn) (B.C., Canada) was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as a teenager in 1998, during a time when very few females were identified. Jen is currently employed as a para-educator for the public school system, where she works with many neurodivergent learners, including autistics. She also is a part time daycare assistant. Jen has a passion for peer mentoring/consulting and supporting fellow autistics and is the Western Canadian Ambassador of the International Aspergirl Society, founded by author Rudy Simone. She serves as the co-administer of a long running international support group for women on the spectrum. Jen’s aim is to help fellow autistics empower themselves, to navigate the confusing outer world with more confidence, and to show others they are not alone in this often confusing journey. Jen has written for the former Australian Asperger’s Autism Network Magazine and currently writes for Spectrum Women magazine. She is a contributing author to a book to be published in 2018 about Spectrum Women. She loves animals, her eclectic friends, travel, psychology, music, the arts, and supporting others (and much more).

Deborah Kukreja

Deborah Kukreja Born in the United States, Deborah has lived in India with her family for the last seven years. As a special educator, she teaches children one-on-one in a holistic school dedicated to raising children consciously, while providing a strong foundation for their spirit. Aside from teaching, Deborah loves to write. In the past, Deborah was Chief Editor and writer for the Karuna Journal, a magazine dedicated to individuals, families, and teachers in all forms around the globe, whose lives are touched by different ways of being. Deborah is a mixed masala of neurotypical and neurodiverse characteristics. She doesn’t fully embody neurotypical thinkers or Aspies’ unique perceptions. She’s a lower case letter in between, learning to bridge both worlds. Deborah feels blessed to be on the selection committee for the ANCA World Autism Festival.