Board of Directors

Sandra Gudat Board President

Sandra Gudat

Board President

CEO, Customer Communications Group

Sandra Gudat is the President and CEO of Customer Communications Group and Publisher of customer.com. 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 customer.com, 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.

Linda Childears Board Vice President

Linda Childears

Board Vice President

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.
Ed Francis Board Treasurer

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.
Janette Ferguson Board Secretary

Janette Ferguson

Board Secretary

Donna Goldin-Evans Board Member

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.

Jessen Gregory Board Member

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.

John Griffith Board Member

John Griffith

Board Member

GFL Environmental, Regional Vice President

John Griffith has served on Firefly Autism's Board for over 10 years. 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.

Brent Hinkston Board Member

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.

Dr. David Landy Board Member

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.
John C. Morgridge Board Member

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.

Suzie Murphy Immediate Past Board Secretary

Suzie Murphy

Immediate Past 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.”

Jesse Ogas Board Member

Jesse Ogas

Board Member

Executive Director of Social Responsibility and Community Affairs
9News

Jesse Ogas, former CEO of Firefly Autism, now leads community engagement, manages station partnerships, and champions inclusivity at 9NEWS. Ogas is a key part of the station’s executive leadership team. Ogas has more than thirty years of nonprofit leadership experience and under Ogas’ leadership, Firefly Autism has grown to serve families and children with autism across Colorado and is considered one the leading agencies in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy nationally and internationally.

Ogas is a proud member of one of the nation’s prominent Latino Theater companies, Su Teatro. He is a community advocate that serves on a variety of nonprofit Boards, including Colorado Aids Project, Tepeyac Community Health Center, Kemp Foundation, Latina Safehouse, Newsed, Adams Camp and the MSU President’s Cabinet. He is a recipient of the Eric J. Duran Community Service Award, which honors a person of Latino descent who has made a positive impact in the Denver community.

Ogas was the 2021 9NEWS Leader of the Year, which is presented by the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. The award is peer nominated and selected and honors leaders in the community who have made significant contributions to the well-being and development of Colorado. Ogas also recently participated in 9NEWS’ Voices of Change initiative during Hispanic Heritage month. Voices of Change is an ongoing conversation that amplifies voices of community members who are provoking change toward building an equitable, inclusive, and flourishing Colorado. 

Yolanda Ortega Immediate Past Board Member Vice President

Yolanda Ortega

Immediate Past Board Member 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.
Jessica Ostoyich Board Member

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.

Travis Plakke Board Member

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."

William Rooney Board Member

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.

Meyer Saltzman Board Member

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.”

Meyer Saltzman Board Member

Leigh Sullivan

Board Member

Restaurateur & Marketing/Development Strategist

Leigh Sullivan is the Development Director for Pepper's Senior Dog Sanctuary (PSDS) in Denver, Colorado. The third-generation Coloradoan is passionate about animal welfare, management, and philanthropy. As a life-long animal lover, she was always bringing home stray dogs and wanting to help those in need. 

Prior to her work at PSDS, Leigh, a restaurateur, founded the culinary supergroup, FIVE, and spent three decades in the hospitality industry. She is a widely-respected marketing and communications strategist and is innovative in her efforts to support both the Colorado culinary world and charitable causes. In recent years, Leigh has been recognized for her invaluable service and support to the LGBTQ+ community. She also serves on the board of directors for Firefly Autism, a charity that is near and dear to her heart. 

In 2021, Leigh and her family moved outside of Denver’s city limits so they could exceed the three-dog per household maximum and focus on their work with PSDS. She now lives in Littleton with her husband, three children, and seven dogs, and a Russian tortoise named Charlie.

To learn more about working with Leigh at PSDS or to get in touch with her about about donating or volunteering to support the organization’s mission, please reach out via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Nicole Taylor Board Member

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. 

Krystal Than Board Member

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.

Jim C. Tolliver Board Member

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.
Brett L. Winingham Board Member

Brett L. Winingham

Board Member

Vice President of Sales, Cigna Healthcare
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. 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.

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

Firefly Autism is designated as a Certified Neurodiversity Workplace (CNW)

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