“Every day I think of the 500,000 plus Canadians with autism and their families, and each decision I make has to reflect their needs. It’s a responsibility I’m honoured to take on.”
Jill was appointed Executive Director in 2013, following her active involvement as a member of the Board of Directors. With over 25 years of experience working with the autism community, her dedication has made a profound impact.
Spurred by her initial interest in autism during time spent in a special education classroom during high school co-op program, her passion led her to spend 15 years as a consultant and therapist specializing in ABA therapy. Jill has remained steadfast in her resolve to advocate for increased research and accessibility to necessary supports and services for autistic people and their families.
As the vice chair of the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA), Jill contributed to the development of a Blueprint and a Roadmap presented to MPs, Senators and Federal agencies alongside CASDA colleagues, urging the federal government to implement a national autism strategy. Advocacy efforts continued with policy briefs, letter writing campaigns, news conferences and summits that ultimately led to a commitment by the federal government to develop a national autism strategy.
Under her leadership, Autism Speaks Canada’s funding of innovative research and commitment to diverse programming has grown. Her attention to diversifying revenue has been pivotal to the success of Autism Speaks Canada. Participating collaboratively with stakeholders, community partners and major corporate partners has resulted in spreading an educational message about neurodiversity, acceptance and inclusion across the country.
Jill holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (BA Sc) and Applied Psychology from the University of Toronto. She was part of both the Canadian Autism Partnership Project working group and the National Autism Surveillance System advisory group chaired by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Jill enjoys being active and begins taking care of herself by walking, running, strength training, biking or practicing yoga. She has instilled her love of the outdoors and movement in her three beautiful children and can often be found cheering them on at sports events with her husband. She maintains strong bonds with the families whom she worked with as a therapist early on in her career and is grateful for all they have taught her.