We have a vision of a world where the lives of children with autism, their families and communities, are transformed through learning.


Our purpose is to transform the lives of children with autism. Partnering with families, we create life-long relationships through thoughtful, innovative, empirical learning treatment programs.


Autism is a complex neurological disorder requiring work on many areas at once. Our knowledge of child development, the principles of applied behavior analysis, and the importance of functional, applied skills guide our programming decisions.

Parents work as partners with us to maximize each student’s learning potential. Ensuring each child’s success and enjoyment in the learning process and increasing the level of personal independence.


  • Fun & Balance:
    We enjoy what we do and feel a fun environment delivers better care to our kiddos. We take our jobs seriously and are committed to getting our jobs done and investing in a balanced personal life.
  • Integrity:
    Choose to do what’s right. We act in accordance with moral and ethical standards; honesty, sincerity, truth, trustworthiness. Treating others as you want to be treated.
  • Recognition:
    Providing feedback to employees about their performance, growth prospects, accomplishments, and areas needing improvement.
  • Engaging:
    Providing an open work environment to work as a team with staff and the kids we serve.
  • Family and Community:
    Serving and supporting a common purpose that supersedes personal desires, making a difference.
  • Learning:
    Creating an environment where learning is an everyday part of the firefly work life.
  • You:
    Cooperative working relationships demonstrating a high degree of proficiency and professionalism. Owning our part of any situation and work towards a solution together.

Our Team

Board of Directors

Sandra Gudat

Board President

CEO, Customer Communications Group

Sandra Gudat is the President and CEO of Customer Communications Group and Publisher of For for 30+ years she has been helping C-suite executives and Boards at organizations like Nordstrom, Macy’s and GM articulate and implement a common vision and roadmap for customer centricity. In addition, in 2012, the company was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in America. She is the publisher and Editor-in-Chief of, a website dedicated to helping Fortune 2000 companies improve their customer centricity initiatives. Sandra joined the Firefly Board of Directors in February of 2016. She was drawn to Firefly because her son, Alec is on the spectrum. Alec is the most unique, interesting and flabbergasting person she knows. Sandra states, “I am proud to serve on the Board of such an amazing, world-renowned organization like Firefly. FFA is leading the way in the treatment of kids and young adults on the spectrum.” Sandra is also a big fan of data, a core component of ABA therapy. She calls herself a “data-geek!” Sanda believes in the dignity and un-replicability of every human being; that her is driving force with everyone with whom she interacts.

Yolanda Ortega

Board Vice President

Emeritus Vice President, Student Affairs, MSU Denver
Yolanda Ortega has been a Denver resident since 1972, the same year she began working at Metro State University of Denver. Since her retirement from Metropolitan State University of Denver as Vice President of Student Affairs, Yolanda has remained active in the community and at MSU. In addition to serving on the board of Firefly Autism she also serves with Escuela Tlatelolco, a Latino Montessori K – 12 private school, Clínica Tepeyac, CHAC LARASA, and The Color of Justice, Inc., a non-profit, non-partisan organization that provided legal advocacy for communities of color in Denver. Yolanda was the Governor’s appointee to the Auraria Higher Education Center Board of Directors nd appointee for the Denver Mayor’s Commission on Cultural Affairs and the Denver Latino Commission.
Yolanda has been an actor, director, and musician with Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center and Company based in Denver for 45 years. Yolanda also co-hosts Cancion Mexicana on KUVO 89.3 FM on Sunday mornings.
Yolanda graduated from Jonesboro State University with a BA in History and German. She spent a year studying at the Universidad de Madrid in Spain. She has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver and ABD/PhD in Indigenous Leadership.

Suzie Murphy

Board Secretary

Douglas County Substitute teacher

Suzanne Murphy is a former kindergarten teacher who still enjoys to guest teach every chance she gets. She holds a Masters in Education from UNC Greeley and a Bachelor of Education from Metro State. In addition to giving her time to Firefly Autism, Suzanne volunteers at Crisis Center of Douglas County. Suzanne was led to Firefly after attending a silent auction for Firefly and was touched by the excitement, commitment and love displayed for these children. She felt she found a place where she could volunteer her services to help support such a great cause. She says, “I feel it is extremely important to gain support, knowledge and education to those in our community about autism. I would like to volunteer to support Firefly by involvement, attending events and participation.”

Ed Francis

Board Treasurer

President & CEO, INBank
Ed Francis joined Firefly’s Board of Directors in 2020. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board, President and CEO for InBank, a commercial bank serving the Denver Metro Area, southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Ed studied Managerial Finance from the University of Mississippi before his post graduate work at Louisiana State University. In addition to Firefly, Ed has served as President of the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, Baton Rouge Area Foundation and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. Mr. Francis is excited to bring his impressive background of executive leadership, team-building and finance experience to Firefly, to share ideas and help the organization grow to new heights.

John Griffith

Board Member, Immediate Past Board President

GFL Environmental, Regional Vice President

John Griffith has served on Firefly Autism's Board for over 10 years and is our immediate past Board President. Professionally he is the founder and former President of Alpine Waste & Recycling. Personally, John has personal attachments to Firefly Autism and has loved ones on the spectrum.

Diane Raba

Board Member, Past Board President

Diane Raba has been part of the Firefly Board since 2008. During that tenure she has served as Board President, Vice President, and Secretary. 
Diane learned of Firefly at an informational seminar designed to help people become involved with local nonprofit organizations. She  was immediately interested in helping the fledgling Firefly Autism Community because of her experience with Applied Behavior Analysis during her graduate work and career.
There have been so many amazing achievements because of the work that is done at Firefly every day. The initial dream of the founders was to provide all of the services to support individuals with autism in one location. That vision has come to fruition in this outstanding organization. The Firefly team is extremely talented and visionary.
Diane says,  "KEEP MOVING FORWARD; one step, one day at a time. Stay on your path and trust your journey. Never give up, keep going, and keep growing." 

Gary Moore

Board Member, Past Board President

Entrepreneur, Self-Employed

Gary Moore's initial career was in industrial distribution of warehouse equipment, including purchasing and selling a Denver based distributor where he worked 30 years. After that sale, he launched a career in speaking, writing, consulting in that industry. This included publishing 3 books on sales and sales management; and the book "Navigating in Organizations; How to Impact Organizations and Get Things Done." His community commitments have included board presidents of Big Brothers of Metropolitan Denver; Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation; and Firefly Autism as well as major commitments to Mile High United Way. He joined the Firefly Autism board in 2011. He found Firefly through his commitment as a Big Brother to a young man on the autism spectrum. Gary helped develop Firefly's fund raising gala, Laugh Yourself Blue.

William Rooney

Board Member

Partner, RubinBrown LLP

William Rooney is an experienced Tax Partner with a demonstrated history of working in the accounting industry. Skilled in Healthcare and High Net Worth Individuals consulting and planning, Nonprofit Organizations, Tax Preparation, Accounting, Partnership and S Corporation Taxation. Strong accounting professional with a BS, MA focused in Accounting from University of Denver.

Travis Plakke

Board Member

Principal, Sullivan Group Real Estate Services

Travis Plakke works with top restaurants all over the state as the Principal at Sullivan Group Real Estate Service. He came to the Board of Firefly Autism after having a chance meeting with a friend of the organization, Linda Appel Lipsius. Travis is on the autism spectrum and thought this would be a great way to give back and offer some valuable insight, with a very appropriate point of view.
Professionally, Travis recalls an event from his youth that still drives him today: When he proposed an idea for a fine restaurant we was working in his teens, he was promptly shut down by the Executive Chef. The lessons that have stuck with him have taught him to always learn and grow in any situation you might be in, but know who you are and who you want to be. With that vision, learn and grow until it's time to move on. He also believes that if one wants to affect change, it is done from the top. That is why it is his pleasure to serve on the Firefly Autism Board.
Personally, to Travis, being a husband and a father is the single most important thing he has ever done and ever will do. Being with family is incredibly fulfilling to Travis.
He says "People on the spectum don't have Autism...we are Autistic and with the right environment and resources (Firefly) their super power(s) will be revealed."

Krystal Than

Board Member

Chief HR and Compliance Officer, Peak Dental Services

Krystal Than has a been in the HR field for over 20 years, supporting organizations ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. She currently serves as Chief HR and Compliance Officer for Peak Dental. She joined the Firefly board over 5 years because of a "Great mission and great team making REAL impact." Her experience in building process, infrastructure and collaborative environments as the human resources leader is key to the impact she creates towards business mission. Krystal has also been involved in non-profit work for over 20 years. In addition to her professional life, Krystal is a proud wife to her husband Van and mother to their son, Tyler.

John Hale

Board Member

Market Health & Wellness Director Walmart Corporation
John Hale is passionate about about health and wellness, education and awareness and brings these passions to Firefly Autism’s Board of Directors. John works as the Health and Wellness Director for Walmart in the Denver Metro market. He holds an undergraduate degree in Finance from Ashford University and a graduate degree from the University of Colorado in Health Administration where he graduated Magna cum laude. In addition to Firefly, John volunteers with the Foundation for Fighting Blindness. John has a long history of supporting Firefly as a committee member and donor. Through his experience with Firefly, he was better able to identify delays in children when present and was able to get an earlier diagnosis for his own child. This example serves as a strong motivator for John to continue to invest time, money and energy into the important work of Firefly Autism.

Nicole Taylor

Board Member

Community Relations Director, Office of the Independent Monitor

Nicole Taylor is an experienced professional with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Event Management, Inclusive Excellence Framework and Team Building. Nicole also serves on the Board of Directors for PlatteForum and Think360Arts as well as being a Mayoral Appointee to the Denver Latino Commission. 

Jim C. Tolliver

Board Member

VP, Practice Leader, Woodruff Sawyer
Jim Tolliver is Vice President and National Practice Leader of Woodruff Sawyer - Private Client Group.
Jim’s insurance career spans 25 years of providing highly successful individuals, family offices and mid-sized commercial businesses with specialized risk advisory services. He oversees the personal lines practice nationally, which offers custom insurance solutions for over 1,000 individual clients across all 14 offices in the Western US, New England and Hawaii.
In addition to serving on Firefly's Board of Directors, Jim served on the Steering Committee of the Private Client Practice Group of Assurex Global from 2015-2018. He is a two-year term appointed Executive Sponsor of the Woodruff Sawyer DEI movement – Women’s Employee Resource Group.
Jim graduated from University of Louisville, with a bachelor’s Degrees in Communications.
In his spare time, he is frequently found attending kids’ sports programs with his wonderful wife, playing pickleball, traveling, floating rivers and casting flies to wild trout.

Linda Childears

Board Member

Former President and CEO of Daniels Fund
Linda Childears retired from the Daniels Fund on April 30, 2020, after serving as its President and CEO for 15 years. Under Linda’s leadership, the organization grew from $1 billion to $1.5 billion, after distributing approximately $1 billion in grants and scholarships. In addition to serving with Firefly Autism, Linda is the past Chair and a current board member of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. She has served on over 25 state/local boards and five national boards and chaired nine of them. She has received several honors including most recently the Outstanding Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award from the Denver Business Journal. Linda has received honorary doctorate degrees from Johnson & Wales University and the University of Denver.

Dr. David Landy

Board Member

Family Medical Physician
Dr. David Landy, MD joined the Firefly Board in 2019. Dr. Landy ran his own private medical practice for 21 years before selling the practice to a medical corporation. Now he is semi-retired but still involved in the study of functional medicine. Dr. Landy majored in Biology from Vanderbilt before studying medicine at University of Miami School of Medicine. Dr. Landy has been named Doctor of the Year twice, was an Eagle Scout and graduated Cum Laude in Neuroanatomy from UM Med School. Dr. Landy has worked closely with individuals on the spectrum and wants to bring ideas to educate primary care providers about Autism and Firefly.

Meyer Saltzman

Board Member

Retired CPA

Meyer Saltzman is a retired CPA. He joined the Firefly Board of Directors in 2019 after meeting Jesse Ogas while volunteering on another Board in Denver. Meyer appreciates the words of William James, who said, “I will act as if I make a difference.”

Jessen Gregory

Board Member

Partner, Ruddy Gregory PLLC

Jessen Gregory is licensed to practice law in CA, CO and TX.  Ms. Gregory focuses on corporate and commercial real estate transactional work with Ruddy Gregory. Her practice involves complex mergers and acquisitions business transactions.
In 2009, Ms. Gregory was recognized for her Pro Bono work in the Denver Bar Association’s publication, “The Docket.” Ms. Gregory earned her Juris Doctor from San Diego School of Law in 2005. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado.

Donna Goldin-Evans

Board Member

Principal at ValueIQ, LLC

Donna Goldin-Evans comes to Firefly Autism’s Board as an executive-level Healthcare Consultant. A proven leader and visionary, Donna has made a career out of solving difficult problems with innovative solutions. In addition to Firefly’s Board of Directors, Donna also serves the community through the Women’s Bean Project, Clinica Tepeyac, Denver Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, SafeHouse Denver and Project Angel Heart. Donna is passionate about the mission of Firefly Autism and is committed to growing the organization through increased efficiencies and creative problem solving.

Brent Hinkston

Board Member

Rockies Enterprise Business Unit

Brent Hinkston has been part of the Firefly Board of Directors since 2018. Brent comes to Firefly with a long career at IBM having held multiple and increasingly challenging roles in sales, sales management, sales enablement and sales strategy and execution positions. Brent is a creative and innovative thinker who exceeds at execution. In addition to Firefly Autism, Brent serves on the Colorado Technical Association and the Colorado Bioscience Association committees. Brent came to Firefly to give back and learn more about the Autism spectrum. He wants to use his experiences in business leadership and strategy to help drive a bigger agenda and leave Firefly Autism better than when he started. Brent has a family member on the Autism spectrum and through that experience has a unique perspective on what needs to be done to better the system of supports and resources for individuals on the spectrum.

John C. Morgridge

Board Member

Morgridge Family Foundation

John C. Morgridge is a Senior Investment Advisor with the Morgridge Family Foundation where he evaluates potential investments and manages investment allocation of the Foundation's endowment, among other growth and development tasks. John has an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Denver and a MBA for DU as well.
In addition to serving with Firefly Autism, John volunteers with the Morgridge Family Foundation, Eide Baily, Impact 100, and the United Way.

John is very excited about the work that Firefly Autism is doing and believes that he will bring a valuable perspective with his service to the organization.

Jessica Ostoyich

Board Member

Project Executive, Mortenson Construction

Jessica Ostoyich was born and raised in a small farming community on the eastern plains of Colorado, Jessica ventured off to the big city of Golden, Co where she studied Engineering with a Civil Specialty at the Colorado School of Mines. Jessica graduated in 2006 and began her career with Mortenson out at the Stapleton Redevelopment project as a field engineer. Since her stint at Stapleton, she has spent time on the Vestas Blade Manufacturing facility, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Integrated Bio-Refinery Research Facility, Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Charles Schwab Lone Tree Campus, Woodward Lincoln Campus, HUB RiNo, Facebook Data Center, Fitzsimons Redevelopment and is currently working on a building a pipeline of business for the Mortenson Denver Operating Group. While not working, Jessica loves spending time with her husband Ryan, traveling, and volunteering at several local non-profit organizations, including Firefly Autism. If there were 36 hours in a day, Jessica could find activities to fill 38 of those 36 hours. She also has a really cool nephew who she can’t get enough of and enjoys spending time with him showing off her rusty basketball skills, helping him with homework, and just hanging out.

Brett Winingham

Board Member

Vice President of Sales, Under 500 Buyer Group Cigna Healthcare, Mountain States

As Vice President of Sales for Cigna Mountain States, Brett leads the Sales and Service Teams for both new and existing business for Employer sponsored health plans. Cigna is a national Health Services Company whose mission is to improve the health, well-being and sense of security of those they serve. He also leads various local market initiatives focused on community engagement and improving affordability and personalization of healthcare services.

Prior to joining Cigna in 2017, Brett spent 13 years with BenefitMall, overseeing Sales & Operations for their Western Region. BenefitMall serves as a General Agency in the Employee Benefits arena and proudly serves over 1,000 Colorado Insurance brokers, representing more than 15,000 Colorado Employers. Brett joined BenefitMall through the sale of his Colorado-based Family General Agency business, which he ran from 2000-2003. He has held leadership roles in Sales Management, Operations, and Distribution working in diverse markets such as Colorado, California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Wyoming cultivating relationships and driving business results.
Brett enjoys travel, reading, outdoor activities such as golf and biking, and can frequently be found supporting one of his four children at any number of sporting event or school activity throughout the year with his wife of 24 years. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado Denver campus.

Jesse Ogas

Board Member

Executive Director of Social Responsibility and Community Affairs, 9NEWS

For 8 years, Jesse Ogas led Firefly as Executive Director and CEO. Now Jesse serves as the Development Committee Chair as well as on the steering committee for Laugh Yourself Blue.
Prior to his time at Firefly, Jesse attended college at Western New Mexico University with an emphasis in Business. He held various store and regional management positions with The May Co., Foley’s, Mervyn’s, Sears and Kohls. After 17 years he felt drawn to utilize his skill sets in the non-profit world. His first employment in the non-profit sector was for an organization that supported Developmentally Disabled Adults and their families. In 2013 he joined the team at Firefly Autism and in 2014 became the Executive Director. 
For over 30 years Jesse has served on the boards of nonprofit organizations that have significant impact on the underserved communities. These boards include the Colorado Aids Project and then on boards of Clinica Tepeyac, Kemp Foundation, Latina Safehouse, Newsed, Adams Camp, MSU Presidents Cabinet, and others.  “It’s all about relationships”. 
Jesse is an Actor/Singer and a member of one the nation’s prominent Latino Theatre companies, Su Teatro.

He is always ready to share his talents for the greater good of all people.


Amanda Kelly, Ph.D, BCBA-D

Director of Clinical Services
Dr. Amanda Kelly, BCBA-D, moved from Ireland to Colorado in 2013 to pursue a role at Firefly Autism. Dr. Kelly has presided over Firefly’s renowned Home-Based Services department since February 2015, and was promoted to Director of Clinical Services in 2020. In her role, she supervises Firefly Directors, Coordinators, Board-Certified Behavior Analysts and Registered Behavior Technicians. She also oversees and manages service provision for upwards of 150 families receiving a variety of services by Firefly.
Dr. Kelly has been in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis for close to 15 years. She completed her Undergraduate Degree in Psychology, and Masters and Doctorate in Applied Behavior Analysis from Maynooth University, Ireland. A large focus of her studies and research was on Relational Frame Theory (RFT) which is a modern account of human language and cognition; a passion that she brought to Firefly. She has presented her research at national and international conferences, and has published research on RFT, avoidance and professional burnout. Her primary research interests also include application of Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACTr) in ABA and expanding the reach and efficacy of ABA as a whole. Dr. Kelly is extremely dedicated to producing meaningful and life changing outcomes for the community, individuals, and families in Colorado.

Mandy Rades, MS, BCBA

Director of Firefly South
Mandy Rades began working with children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) 13 years ago. She is passionate about Applied Behavior Analysis and I loves what she does! Mandy has worked with clients ranging in age from 2-21 and has experience managing 15-20 line therapists as well as multiple BCBA’s.
Mandy started at Firefly Autism in 2013 and has her masters degree from Capella University in Clinical Psychology with a specialist in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Mandy plans to continue to expand her knowledge of ABA by conducting research, collaborating with BCBA’s, and attending conferences.

Kelli Smith, MA, BCBA, BCAP

Assistant Director of Home Based Services
Kelli Smith started as the Assistant Director of Home-based services at Firefly Autism in October 2020.
Her interest in working with individuals on the autism spectrum started in her undergrad programs at UC Santa Barbara, where she obtained Psychology and Sociology degrees. Shortly after graduation, she began working as a behavior therapist at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Los Angeles, CA, where she truly fell in love with the field of ABA. Over the next 8 years that followed, she obtained her master’s degree from Florida Institute of Technology and her BCBA certification in 2015, and was promoted to several leadership positions within the company.
She is passionate about teaching complex cognition skills, including social and perspective-taking skills, and working with caregivers to teach them fundamental ABA skills.

Tobin Truslow, CTACC

Director of Development
Tobin Truslow is a seasoned executive with 15 years experience in business operations and management for mid-sized through Fortune 500 companies. Tobin specializes in donor relations and fund development to support non-profit operations focused on youth and adult education programs.
Tobin has a degree from the University of Virginia in Financial Economics and participated in NCAA athletics all four years. Managing special events for the last 10 years, Tobin has worked with top celebrities such as Peyton Manning, Emmitt Smith and Mike Shanahan. He is an Eagle Scout, musician, professional photographer, certified human capital coach and enjoys mentoring other employees across multiple departments.
Tobin is a dedicated leader in the workplace and uses his drive and tireless energy to encourage staff performance and connect with benefactors building long term relationships.
When not working Tobin and his wife Angelina love to ski/snowboard, listen to live music and watch sports with their terrier Stormy.

Allison Moffett MSW

Director of Business Operations
Alli Moffett is the Director of Business Operations for Firefly Autism overseeing multiple critical functions. Alli has experience in government and public policy, as well as navigating the waters of health insurance and Medicaid regulations.
Alli is passionate about connecting families to services and enjoys being a resource for all in the community.

School Psychologist/Diagnostic Services

  • Tanner Simpson Psy.D., NCSP, LP

    Dr. Tanner Simpson is a Licensed Psychologist (PSY.0005582), and the Director of Diagnostics and Behavioral Health Services at Firefly Autism. Dr. Simpson earned his BA in Psychology from the University of Wyoming and went on to receive his MA and Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in School Psychology from the University of Colorado Denver, one of only 14 School Psychology Psy.D. programs in the country to receive accreditation by the American Psychological Association. Dr. Simpson is a Licensed School Psychologist in the state of Colorado and is recognized as a Nationally Board-Certified School Psychologist. Throughout Dr. Simpson’s graduate education, he received specialized training in the developmental and neuropsychological assessment of toddlers, children, adolescents, and adults; specifically related to the evaluation of autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, intellectual and executive functioning, developmental challenges, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, and behavioral difficulties. For more on Dr Simpson visit the Diagnostics page.

Firefly Autism is a 501(c)(3) organization registered in the state of Colorado. Donations are tax-deductible.


2001 Hoyt Street
Lakewood, CO 80215

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.