CASDA’s Board of Directors is made of representatives from some of Canada’s leading autism organizations.

Our Board Members:

Debbie Irish – Chair

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Debbie Irish is an accomplished not-for-profit leader with over 30 years experience in developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Early in her career Debbie focused on the delivery of respite services to provide families a much needed break from caregiving. This led to the development of, a service that supports families in navigating services, as well as connecting to respite providers. Under Debbie’s leadership this program grew to a province-wide service in Ontario and Nova Scotia. Debbie worked in a variety of roles at Geneva Centre for Autism, including leading large training projects through the Training Institute, client and family focused program development, operations and lastly as the CEO. In her current role, Debbie is the Chief Operating Officer at Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work. Working in a pan disability organization Debbie uses her experience and knowledge to create new collaborative opportunities and ensures the voices of autism are represented in pan-disability initiatives.

Nathalie Garcin – Vice Chair

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Nathalie is a clinical psychologist and the founder of Clinique Spectrum, an interdisciplinary clinic serving neurodiverse individuals in Montreal.  Following the completion of her PhD in clinical psychology, she was a professor in the department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine at Queen’s University from 2000 to 2004.  She went on to act as Director of Professional Services for two developmental services agencies in Montreal, serving over 1,300 individuals with ASD and intellectual disability. Then, worked as Executive Director of a non-profit endeavour offering services, research and knowledge transfer activities for people with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities.  In 2012, Nathalie was appointed to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Advisory committee on the surveillance of Autism spectrum disorder (NASS) and in 2016, she was appointed as Board Member of the Canadian Alliance for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASDA), where she is currently co-Vice-Chair. She is also the Treasurer of Autisme Sans Limites, a non profit serving adults in Montreal.

Jill Farber – Vice Chair

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More information to come.

Kimberley Ward – Board Secretary

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Kimberley Ward completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1995 at the University of Calgary. One of the requirements associated with her doctoral program was the completion of a one-year clinical internship at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. During her years in graduate school, her research focused specifically on the social-cognitive differences associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Kimberley became a Registered Psychologist in 1996 and joined the clinical team at Society for Treatment of Autism (STA). After serving as the Clinical Director for nine years, she transitioned to the role of Executive Director in 2018. STA provides an array of services to enhance lives across the Spectrum, including early intervention, out-of-home placements for complex youth, community consultation and life skills and employment supports for adolescents and adults. She has also worked with the Government of Alberta to develop a resource manual for teachers (i.e., Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders) and draft recommendations for service delivery (i.e., A System of Care for Children with Autism: Expert Panel Report). Finally, as a Sessional Instructor Kimberley developed and taught a course that focused on “ASD across the Life Span” at the University of Calgary as part of Graduate Certificate program.

Arshad Zaver – Treasurer

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Arshad Zaver is currently the Board Treasurer at CASDA. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Specialization in Accounting. Upon completion, he decided to pursue the Chartered Accountancy designation. He has held several roles with a variety of not-for-profit organizations, some of which include the University of Toronto, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, where he currently holds a role as the Director of Finance. Arshad was appointed to the Board in June 2020. He is excited to make a positive contribution towards the autism community, while adding some flavour and spice to the finances.

Cynthia Caroll – Past Chair

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Cynthia Carroll is the Executive Director of Autism Nova Scotia and the current past-chair of the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA).

Since 2008, Cynthia has led Autism Nova Scotia to become one of the largest community-based autism organization in Canada and a recognized leader in advocacy, training, and programming across the lifespan. She has participated on numerous working groups that made recommendations to provincial and federal governments, influenced policy change, co-authored needs assessment surveys and reports, and most recently contributed to the development of CASDA’s National Autism Strategy Blueprint, which has since been prioritized by the federal government.

Cynthia’s current passion and priorities include increasing community capacity for autism supports across Nova Scotia and advocating for supported living and person-directed planning for people with autism and the greater disability community.

Adrian Bohach – Director

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Adrian is recognized as a world thought leader and innovator in the growing Social Enterprise sector. He is a gifted leader with a vision that inspires everyone he meets.

For over 35 years Adrian has built a reputation as a leader with a track record of delivering exceptional results in the business, government, and the non-profit sectors. His diverse career includes roles as an actuary, business owner, executive management consultant, writer and board chair/member. He is a pioneer of social enterprise in North America, and has been a advocate of the Social Enterprise model since 1989.

As CEO of the Enterprise4Good since 1996, Adrian has implemented his vision of sound business practices and entrepreneurial spirit to transform a small, local charity into a large, thriving business delivering social good across Canada and abroad. His passion is to grow the organization to a level where it can actually solve social issues and affect real change in societies both domestically and internationally.

Adrian has chaired and served on numerous community boards and committees including the Calgary Foundation, Calgary Homeless Foundation, Calgary Rotary Club, and Champions Employment Centre. When Adrian is not working, you can be sure to find him spending time with his wonderful children, of which he has 9. He loves being a father and enjoys all the blessings that children bring.

Brooke Pinsky – Director

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Brooke was appointed Manager of Programs and Supports with Autism Edmonton in June of 2017.  Brooke oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization’s front-line services and brings a diverse background that includes program development and delivery, project management, disability management, claims management, advocacy and board governance and administration.

Born and raised in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Brooke studied Political Science at University of Alberta prior to starting a career in Disability Management.  Brooke worked with the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta and as a Senior WCB Advocate and Corporate Advisor with the Government of British Columbia before joining the nonprofit world. 

Brooke currently lives in Edmonton with her 13-year-old daughter who is on the autism spectrum.  They enjoy listening and playing music as well as outdoor activities including gardening, camping, boating and hiking.

Heather Driscoll – Director

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Heather Driscoll is a bilingual management consultant specializing in strategic planning, marketing/ communications, knowledge management and stakeholder engagement. She has also spent several years volunteering in the education, health and special needs sectors, holding senior volunteer positions with Autism Ontario and Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth, and serving as Chair of her childrens’ school council. A key focus of Heather’s charitable work has been to help not-for-profit organizations leverage the value of emerging technologies such as social media to inform and engage stakeholder groups. As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, she has advocated for over a decade for more services for all individuals and families affected by the disorder, and for a Canadian national autism strategy.

Margaret Whelan – Director

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A tireless leader and visionary, Margaret Whelan has been active in the autism sector for well over 40 years. She spent 28 of those years as the Executive Director of Geneva Centre for Autism. Trained as a clinical Social Worker, Margaret focused her skills on program development, community capacity building and advocacy. Along the way she has mentored countless emerging professionals and leaders as they entered and contributed to the field of autism.

In addition to her work in the Toronto community, she has had a significant impact at the national level. Margaret is a founding member of CASDA. In this capacity, she has been a powerful advocate for Canadians on the Autism Spectrum. In 2014, she co-led CASDA’s National Autism Needs Assessment Project and is pleased to have worked closely with Dr. Jonathan Weiss at the University of York as co-author of the National Autism Needs Assessment report, Autism in Canada: A National Needs Assessment Survey.  

In July 2015, Margaret was appointed by the federal Minister of Health to serve on the National ASD Working Group exploring the feasibility of a Canadian Autism Partnership. In October of that same year, she assumed responsibility as Co-Director of the Canadian Autism Partnership Project (CAPP). Much of that work laid the foundation for the subsequent activity of CASDA in its pursuit of a federal commitment to developing a National Autism Strategy.

Passionate and dedicated, Margaret’s leadership has contributed to profound and positive change for the 1 in 64 Canadians who are Autistic and their families, and the communities in which they live. Her continued commitment to CASDA demonstrates her determination to ensure that Autistic Canadians can experience a better Canada, one that is inclusive and empowering. 


Rebekah Kintzinger – Director

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Rebekah Kintzinger is a mentor for autistic members of her community in Kelowna, BC, working with those who have specific needs or goals, and range from child to adult. As well as being on the board of directors for the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance, she is also an Okanagan Advisor for the Pacific Family Autism Network’s Voices of Autism program.

She also offers her time as a volunteer in a literacy program and with a community Christmas hamper program to keep her busy. She once helped to organize a rally for teachers, and her speech at the rally was posted on YouTube in addition to being in a Vancouver Sun article.

Rebekah continues to be passionate about the needs of others, and is very focused on the positive outcomes of a National Autism Strategy. She raises awareness in her community and through social media with her published writings and radio pieces from her own experiences being autistic.

Rebekah is very creative, and aside from loving to draw and write she also appreciates cooking for her two boys, and acting out scenes from Monty Python with them.

Sue VanDeVelde-Coke – Director

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Sue VanDeVelde-Coke is the President & CEO of Kerry’s Place Autism Services, the largest provider of support for children and adults on the Autism Spectrum Disorder spectrum in Canada. Dr. Coke served as Executive Vice President and Chief Professions/Nursing Executive at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, a 1250 bed facility in Toronto, Ontario, with operational responsibilities for 3500 health care professionals. Previously she was Vice President at VON National Canada, where she led the merging of Ontario VON branches into one governance and operational structure. Dr. Coke also held the position of Senior Vice President, Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre where she was responsible for the operations of the major clinical programs. She most recently served as the Executive Director of CARE, Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses and health care consultant focusing on Professional Practice reorganization, senior leadership team building, organizational reviews of organizations, HR planning, staffing and budget realignment.

She has served on numerous federal, provincial and local task forces and committees, focused on health care restructuring, human resource management and more effective ways to manage health care resources. Her most recent research has been as co-investigator on the National Nursing Quality Report, an initiative to set up a national set of structure, process, outcome nurse-sensitive quality indicators. Dr. Coke’s research “The Effectiveness and Efficiency of providing Home Care Visits in Nursing Clinics versus the Traditional Home Setting” focused on home care delivery methods, providing the empirical evidence to support the change in home care regulations to permit setting up nursing clinics in the community.

She has served on the Canadian Nurses Association, the VON National Board of Directors, and is currently a Director on the Habitat for Humanity, GTA, the Canadian Nurses Foundation Board, and the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance Board of Directors. She has served for many years on the Academy of Canadian Executive Nurses Executive Committee, including president.

Dr. Coke earned an MA from the University of Washington, MBA from McGill University and her PhD from McMaster University. She also serves as lecturer at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto, and has held similar positions at the University of Manitoba, Ottawa University, and Rush University in Chicago, Illinois. She is a Certified Health Executive.

Tanya McLeod – Director

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Tanya McLeod is currently President of The Sinneave Family Foundation (Sinneave) located in Calgary, Alberta. Committed to delivering outcomes in education, employment and supported independent living, Sinneave seeks to create opportunities, unlock potential and shape a future where autistic Canadians lead fulfilled lives. As a member of CASDA’s Board of Directors, Tanya brings decades of experience working with the federal government as well as skills and experience in governance, teamwork, strategy, risk management, and stakeholder engagement. Tanya is committed to contributing to the alliance’s collaborative work to inform the government’s development of a comprehensive national autism strategy. Tanya also sits on the Board of Directors of PolicyWise for Children and Families, a not-for-profit corporation that exists to improve child, family and community well-being by leading, creating, enabling and mobilizing research and evaluation for evidence-informed policy and practice.