Dennis C. Maher (President)
President Dennis C. Maher was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He arrived in Hawaii 30 years ago and made the Islands his home. He is currently the Corporate Director of Facilities and Construction for The Sullivan Family of Companies. He is also President and CEO of Genus Hospitality Group Hawaii, a consulting firm.
Mr. Maher also serves the community in other ways as Vice President and Treasurer for the Hawaii Hotel Visitor Industry Security Association and as a Director of Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Associations Engineers Advisory Council. Lastly, he is married and a father of five children, his youngest being on the Autism Spectrum.
Jeffrey Krepps (Vice President)
Jeffrey Krepps is the National Director of Strategy and Development for BAYADA Behavioral Health and Habilitation. He has over 20 years of professional experience developing systems that support individuals with autism, both nationally and in the State of Hawai’i. Jeffrey has successfully developed the following organizational units: Nursefinders Behavioral Health, BAYADA Habilitation (Hawai’i), BAYADA Educational Services, and BAYADA Applied Behavior Analysis. He has worked with BAYADA to create autism centers on both Oahu and Maui. In addition, Jeffrey has several years of international health care consulting experience in business development and planning with Healthvisions NZ. Taking pride in the ability to build community relationships, he has been involved with various community organizations. Jeffrey has founded the Special Education Provider Alliance (SEPA). He has served as Co-Chair of the Leeward Community Children’s Council and the Vice-Chair of the Puna Community Development Action Committee. He has been an active participant in the Special Education Advisory Council and more recently the Hui for Educational Excellence. Jeff is originally from Pennsylvania but has called Hawai’i home for 21 years. He has lived throughout the state and currently resides in Kailua-Kona.
Susie Fujikawa (Secretary/Treasurer)
Susie Fujikawa is the Director of Sales and Marketing, Luxury for Aston Waikiki Beach Tower & Espacio Waikiki. A sales and marketing leader in Hawaii with extensive experience in various industries including travel, hospitality, digital marketing, and aviation, her professional background includes key leadership and management positions at Marriott International, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Trump International Hotel Waikiki, Hawaii Island Air, LivingSocial, and Travelocity.com. In her most recent role as the Director of Sales & Marketing for The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, she oversaw all global strategic sales and marketing initiatives for the iconic Waikiki oceanfront hotel. In addition to serving as Secretary/Treasurer for ASH, Susie also serves on the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center and the Pacific Asia Travel Association – Hawaii Chapter. Born and raised on the island of Oahu, Susie is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and resides in Honolulu with her husband.
Ember Freitas (Director)
Ember Freitas is originally from Texas and moved to Hawai’i in 2010. Ember is a 2016 Graduate of St. Joseph’s University with a BS in Professional and Liberal Studies: Autism Concentration with a Minor in Psychology. She received her Master of Education in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from Grand Canyon University in April 2019. Ember is also a Board Certified Cognitive Specialist and Advanced Certified Autism Specialist. Ember will be attending Arizona State University Online to pursue a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Ember is a mother of four, both of her sons being on the Autism Spectrum. She is excited to be on the board for the Autism Society of Hawaii and is passionate about advocating for children on the spectrum and supporting their families!
Jessica Militich (Director)
Jessica Militich is originally from the Pacific Northwest and migrated to the Aloha State to pursue a degree in psychology. She is a 2020 graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and is interested in neurology and neuroscience. Jessica is a member of the international honor society, Pi Gamma Mu, and is also a member of Psi Sigma. As a person with autism, she understands the challenges people with autism face first hand. Past employment as a lifeguard and swim instructor gave her the experience of working with children impacted by autism. From that experience, she gained a passion for helping those who like her, have autism. She has made it her life’s goal to heal challenges people, particularly children with autism face first hand, through integration and acceptance. She is honored to be a board member for the Autism Society of Hawaii and excited to work with families of Hawaii impacted by autism.
Sandy Schuffler (Director)
Sandy Schuffler resides on the East Side of Hawaii Island, living in Hilo for 40 years. Her passion in life has always been children and resembles them in her child-like personality. Having raised her medically fragile son with a rare genetic condition and on the Autism spectrum, she realized her goal in life. That goal is to bring joy, hope, and fun into every day with a heart to serve. Sandy currently works for Bayada Home Health as a Habilitation Technician and has also worked in the DOE as a ParaPro. She enjoys meeting her clients “where they are” and then inviting them into the community for a day of fun, learning, and adventure.
Donalyn Dela Cruz (Director)
Donalyn Dela Cruz is the Senior Vice President for Strategies 360 Hawaii. She has over 20 years of professional communications experience in both the private and public sectors. Donalyn is a former broadcast journalist and has worked in all areas of print and digital media, public relations, crisis communications, communications strategy, government affairs, and community outreach. In the public sector, she served as the Communications Director for the Hawaii State Department of Education, Deputy Communications Director for Governor Neil Abercrombie and Press Secretary for the late US Senator Daniel Akaka. Donalyn is also a communications subject matter expert for the Center for Homeland Defense and Security. A graduate of Leilehua High; Donalyn holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaii – Manoa and a MA in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.
Marian Tsuji (Director)
Marian Tsuji is the Oahu Administrator for the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. She is responsible for the job and career development and placement of individuals with disabilities.
Prior to returning to the state government, Ms. Tsuji was the President and CEO of Lanakila Pacific for 15 years. A local non-profit providing programs and services to individuals with physical, cognitive, and intellectual challenges, the organization was transformed into a successful social enterprise receiving numerous local and national awards and recognitions.
Ms. Tsuji’s career has been committed to improving the condition of individuals with challenges. She held various positions in Hawaii and NYC’s criminal justice systems including Deputy Director of Hawaii’s correctional facilities and Assistant Commissioner of Alternatives to Incarceration for the NYC jail system.
Ms. Tsuji also participates in various community and government boards and commissions.
Dr. Linda Michaud-Emin (Director)
Dr. Linda Michaud-Emin received her Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she became a subject matter expert in understanding what drives and motivates individuals involved in aggregate decision-making. Linda leveraged her ten years of higher education background in Behavioral Economics and advanced R&A in her Labor Relations and Human Resources career, where she brings an additional ten years of experience and revels in quantitative and organizational design areas. Most recently, Linda has served as the Human Resources Director of Faculty Relations and Recruitment at Hawai’i Pacific University.
Being an individual on the Autism Spectrum, a major goal of Linda is to help anyone impacted by autism gain self-confidence, successfully navigate and flourish in a neurotypical world, and understand the very unique values and perspectives that those on the spectrum can bring to society and the workforce, for “without autism traits, humans might still be living in caves.”
Tanya Gamby, Ph.D. (Director)
Tanya Gamby, Ph.D. is a Hawaii licensed psychologist and Past- President of the Hawaii Psychological Association. Dr. Gamby grew up on Kaua’i and then trained and worked with some of the top autism providers in the world. The ABA models that are currently recognized as best practice for children with autism are based on the pioneering work of Dr. Lovaas and his colleagues. Before moving back to Hawaii, Dr. Gamby was the Associate Clinical Director of the Lovaas Institute (and worked directly with Dr. Lovaas); taught ABA classes at UCLA, and was a staff supervisor on the Lovaas Multisite Replication Project. Prior to working at the Lovaas Institute, Dr. Gamby was a clinic supervisor for Dr. Tristram Smith’s ABA clinic in Washington. Dr. Smith is widely recognized and respected for his extensive research and clinical contributions in the autism/ABA field. Dr. Gamby has over twenty years of experience doing ABA/early intervention with children with autism and is excited to be providing quality ABA services to the children of Kaua’i.
Dr. Gamby (along with Lindsey Shepherd, LBA) is co-owner of Autism Services Kaua’i. After years of providing ABA services and serving as consultants to various organizations, Tanya and Lindsey decided to open their dream clinic. They incorporated the best treatment principles and hired the best staff they could find and created a clinic where children are set up for success and the staff is excited to be there.
Ivalee Sinclair (Honorary Board Member)
Honorary board member Ivalee Sinclair has over 40 years’ experience helping students with disabilities. She received the lifetime achievement award from the Mental Health America of Hawaii and served as chairwoman for the Special Education Advisory Council. She was nominated for the Jefferson Award in 2008 and served on the Coalition for Children with Special Needs. She has fought for services for her own children when they were in school.