2021 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
Maya is excited to return to her role as Milestones Development Director and work with the staff, board and community to ensure a sustainable future. She is dedicated to Milestones' mission of helping families and individuals with autism. 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.
Special Events Director
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 children on the autism spectrum. She has a bachelor’s of science degree in marketing & computer information systems and has three college-age sons.
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 individuals living with autism. 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 teenage son who has autism 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 young adults with autism, 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 teens and adults with autism 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 individuals on the spectrum.
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 has ASD.
Communications & Content Manager
216.464.7600 x 117
Hannah supports Milestones in all communication and content creation efforts, working to broaden the organization's reach and engage our community. Hannah has a degree in journalism and psychology from Miami University and a professional background in content writing. With a passion for educating and strengthening communities through media, Hannah enjoys finding new ways to connect the Milestones community and enrich the lives of others on a daily basis.
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 individuals with ASD 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 diagnosed with autism and was her inspiration for joining the Milestones team.
Beverly Smith Malone
Ohio Family Network Manager
Beverly Malone is the parent of two twice-exceptional school-age children, one on the autism spectrum. She is the parent facilitator for the Shaker Heights, Ohio Autism Support Group and the 2018-2020 Special Education Chair for her local elementary school.
She is a former teacher and now owns Go Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in strategic implementation with frameworks for large scale inclusive change. She is also on the Leadership team of New One Shaker, advocating for a ‘universal design’ lens on local community initiatives.
Nathan Morgan, MSSA, LSW
Early Intervention/School Age Coordinator
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.
Helena Farkas, LISW-S
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 a child with autism. 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.
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 a sibling who is on the spectrum. 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.
Education Assistant Carly Jalowiec supports the conference team in the preparation and organization of the annual Milestones National Autism Conference, with a focus on technical and administrative work. Her professional background includes proposal writing, administrative organization, and technology expertise. Carly is also a self-advocate who turned to Milestones for assistance with her own autism journey, and looks forward to helping others do the same.
Nera is a self-advocate with a passion for bringing awareness and advocacy to the Cleveland area. She comes to Milestones as a former volunteer and speaker, with a long history of public speaking alongside the Milestones coaching team about topics important to the autism community.
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Call: (216) 464-7600 x200