2022 Milestones National Autism Conference
Milestones Autism Resources
4853 Galaxy Parkway, Suite A
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128
Phone: (216) 464-7600
Ilana Hoffer Skoff, MA
216.464.7600 x 102
Ilana Hoffer Skoff, Executive Director and Co-founder of Milestones, knows that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Determined to bring autism training, resources and services to Northeast Ohio, Ilana co-founded Milestones with Mia in 2003. Wanting each and every child to reach his or her milestones, Ilana has coached and inspired families over the past 17 years providing practical strategies and innovative programming. Previously, Ilana worked for almost 20 years with nonprofit agencies, including consulting in the areas of development, strategic planning and grant writing.
Mia Buchwald Gelles
216.464.7600 x 101
Mia Buchwald Gelles, Operations Director and Co-founder of Milestones, makes sure everything runs smoothly. She oversees daily operations, finance, technology and HR. Mia uses her expertise in nonprofit management and project planning so Milestones can effectively serve the community. Her technical skills have enabled Milestones to develop and evolve the website and database as the organization has grown. Prior to Milestones, Mia provided 20 years of lead program management and data solutions for nonprofits and governmental agencies. Mia serves on the executive board for the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD).
Maya Holtz Groys, MA
As Milestones’ Development Director, Maya is committed to working with the staff, board and community to ensure a sustainable future.. She is dedicated to Milestones' mission of helping families and autistic individuals. Maya has 20 years of experience in the nonprofit world with a focus on development, donor cultivation, event planning and grant management. Maya's passion for organizations that help children and families included serving as Board President of Fostering Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to enriching the lives of children in foster care. Inspired every day by her three children, Maya has a master's degree in management of child, youth and family services from Brandeis University.
216.464.7600 x 103
Conference Director Leslie Rotsky has 30 years of experience as a project manager, event planner and educator. Leslie is passionate about improving the lives of autistic individuals. In her role at Milestones, she has focused on growing the Milestones Conference into a leading national autism event that delivers evidence-based education and professional development to attendees from across the country. Raising her autistic teenage son informs and inspires her work every day.
Beth Thompson, MSSA, LSW
216.464.7600 x 108
Beth has over a decade of experience working directly with autistic young adults, guiding families and individuals toward greater independence. Prior to joining Milestones in 2011, Beth served as a Youth Transition Specialist with LEAP (Linking Employment, Abilities & Potential). Beth earned her MSSA with a concentration in Community Development and Social Change from Case Western Reserve University. She has represented Milestones on the Employment First Transition Council for the State of Ohio where she assisted with policy development and implementation and also serves as a field advisor for Case Western Reserve University Graduate School of Social Work and previously sat on the internal curriculum committee. She has also presented on topics related to autistic teens and adults throughout the state of Ohio and national conferences. Beth is dedicated to mentoring self-advocates to become teachers for others and expanding community engagement for autistic individuals.
Marketing and Communications Director
216.464.7600 x 109
Lisa brings 30 years of strategy, marketing, technology and nonprofit leadership experience dedicated to supporting the autism community. A passionate patient/family, disabilities and healthcare technology advocate and national speaker, Lisa is Past President of the Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital Patient and Family Partnership Council. Lisa has presented at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) three times and at the American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Conference, American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Summit. She is a member of the NIH Clinical Center Patient Advisory Group and Rainbow Hospital Quality Council, and was a member of the University Hospitals (UH) System Maintaining the Art of Compassion during COVID-19 Task Force in 2020. Lisa served as Marketing Director for the International City/County Management Association for 20 years, and has a communications degree from Northwestern University. Lisa has two wonderful sons, one of whom is autistic.
216.464.7600 x 106
Nicole provides the foundation that supports all Milestones programming, ensuring efficiency, accuracy and effectiveness. She handles database management and oversees registration for all events, including the Milestones National Conference. Nicole is one of the welcoming, friendly faces checking in autistic individuals and families for consultations. Her previous areas of study and experience include Modern Languages, Education and technical writing. She has also been an aide in a program for children with communication disorders for 10 years.
Website & Technology Project Manager
216.464.7600 x 126
Jill has overseen the day-to-day maintenance and redesign of Milestones' website since 2012. With over 20 years of project management experience, Jill also supports essential technology projects, communications efforts and video content production for the organization. She has a BFA from Syracuse University. Jill has two daughters, one of whom is autistic and was her inspiration for joining the Milestones team.
Veronica Miller, MEd
Program Manager, Supervisor of Teen/Adult Transition Services
216.464.7600 x 115
As Program Manager for Milestones, Veronica supports transition-age and adult individuals through our Helpdesk and consultation services. Before entering the world of special needs, Veronica spent many years supporting families and children in the welfare system, leading treatment teams and building meaningful relationships with clients and community providers. This experience served her well upon her transition to the Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities in early 2021, where she discovered a passion for working with individuals in the disability community.
Veronica has a master’s in higher education administration from Southern New Hampshire University. She enjoys baking, cooking and traveling to Caribbean countries. Veronica is also an avid collector of coffee mugs, tea, and Christmas ornaments that she finds on her travels.
Nathan Morgan, MSSA, LSW
Program Manager: Early Intervention and Autistic Supports
216.464.7600 x 118
Nathan first connected with Milestones in 2015 as a professional intern. He then joined the Achievement Centers for Children as a full-time Early Childhood Mental Health Social Worker. Nathan returned to Milestones in 2018 in his current role as Early Intervention/School Age Coordinator. He is a self-advocate, actively sharing his experiences at events, on panels, local news, and our annual conference. Nathan has a BA in Psychology and Japanese from Kent State University and an MSSA from Case Western Reserve University.
Engagement and Special Events Manager
216.464.7600 x 113
Vanetta is a seasoned development professional with over 20 years of experience. As a certified event planner, she brings to Milestones expertise in planning and executing corporate, community and major fundraising events. Vanetta is passionate about many causes, including premature birth and low birth-weight babies, healthy pregnancies and health disparities in urban communities. During her time with the Solon School System, Vanetta spent time working with special needs children. In that capacity, she worked with many autistic children. She has a bachelor’s of science degree in marketing & computer information systems and has three college-age sons.
Communications and Content Manager
Autumn Ziemba McKenzie brings more than 20 years of journalism and media relations experience to the Milestones team. She has won regional Emmy and Associated Press awards for her work in television reporting and anchoring across the state of Ohio. She received the Milestones Community Leader award in 2021 for her work to increase autism education, awareness, and the Milestones mission.
Autumn is the proud mom of two kids, including an autistic son who is also a leukemia survivor. It was her son's diagnoses that spawned her advocacy for children with special and medical needs. Autumn serves on the advisory board for the Akron Municipal Court’s Connect Program, which helps people with developmental disabilities navigate the criminal justice system. She and her husband also founded and run the Operation SiFi holiday toy drive for patients at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. Autumn received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University. Autumn is a storyteller at heart, and is honored to highlight the unique stories of autistic individuals and those who love and support them.
Helena came to Milestones in 2014 after a lengthy career at Metro Health Medical Center. There, she worked extensively with the special needs population helping families navigate the medical and community systems. Now as a retired social worker with Milestones, Helena coaches families, individuals and professionals to access the multiple resources that promote education, health and independence and has a particular expertise in linking families of low income to available resources. Helena earned an MSSA from Case Western Reserve University.
216.464.7600 x 200
As Helpdesk Coordinator, Estee supports individuals and families in finding resources in their communities. Estee has a professional background in pediatric patient care and is a mother to an autistic child. As a mom, she is dedicated to serving families while being able to utilizes her own child’s and family’s experiences to help guide other families. Estee is an active PTA member currently serving as PTA President in her district while sharing her passion for advocating for the autism community.
Christa Mullis, MEd
Christa comes to Milestones as the founder of Spectrumize, an autism accessibility and advocacy company. She has also served in the developmental disability field as a researcher, advocate, educator, mentor, and consultant. Christa received her Master’s degree in Education with a focus in Special Needs and Inclusive Education from Hiroshima University’s Graduate School of International Development and Cooperation. She has worked with autism communities around the world and hopes to continue making positive changes in recognizing the strengths of autistic children and creating a more welcoming world for them to thrive.
As the Development Assistant, Mary Meister supports the development team to reach their goals, which include fundraising, donor cultivation and stewardship, event planning, and grant management. Mary is inspired by Milestone’s mission as she has an autistic sibling. Mary earned her bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and has a professional background in a corporate environment. She is excited to take what she has learned and apply it to a meaningful cause.
Carly Millis Jalowiec
Education Assistant Carly Millis Jalowiec supports the conference team in the preparation and organization of the annual Milestones National Autism Conference, and speaks at outreach events as an autistic self-advocate. Her professional background includes proposal writing, administrative organization, and technology expertise. She received her autism diagnosis at age 30 and has become a frequently-requested public speaker, sharing her experiences and advocating for the neurodivergent community.
Spanish Helpdesk Support
Michelle has had experience working with the Hispanic community since 2017 by advocating for their needs and providing Spanish interpretation and translation services. She has also worked with families in the school environment as an interpreter during IEP meetings. She is very proud to be Hispanic and is looking forward to using that passion as she helps the autistic community find the resources and assistance that families need.
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Call: (216) 464-7600 x200