Autistry Board of Directors


Janet Lawson, LMFT

Janet has worked with teens and young adults for many years. She has a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Indiana University and an M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University. She worked for years in the film industry and was a Producing Fellow at the American Film Institute. She graduated from UC–Berkeley with a major in Film Studies. As co-founder of Autistry Studios and its CEO/Executive Director, Janet is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives.

Barbara Waite-sm

Barbara Waite

Barbara is a human resources specialist with more than 20 years of experience across multiple industries, including life sciences, health care and financial services. She is Vice President, Senior Human Resources Business Partner at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. Barbara has always been an active community volunteer, serving on the board of a professional association and on the parent leadership teams of various public schools, including president of the San Rafael High School public education foundation.

Gordon Lithgow, PhD

Gordon is a scientist and an expert on growing old. His research into cell proteins and aging is changing how we understand longevity and also how we view cancer growth. Gordon received his PhD in Genetics from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He completed postdoctoral training at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the Chief Academic Officer and the Director of the Buck Institute’s Interdisciplinary Research Consortium on Geroscience. Gordon lives with his family in Novato where his Scottish accent does not go unnoticed.

Clifford Saron, PhD

Cliff is a neuroscientist who specializes in the training of attention and emotion regulation. His research and study focuses on sensory and cognitive processes in humans – including those with autism spectrum disorders. He received his PhD in Neuroscience from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and he is a leading scholar on the tangible effects of meditation. Cliff is an international speaker and lecturer and a first-class global thinker.

Gail Theller

Gail was the founder/CEO of Community Action Marin, a position she held for 47 years. She is known and honored throughout Marin county for her many contributions including programs to provide affordable, quality childcare so women could return to work, and essential mental health services to the homeless. She is also recognized as the creator of powerful collaborations with organizations such as Goodwill, Homeward Bound, The Marin Food Bank, and Ritter House.

Laura Greiss Hess, PhD

Laura is an assistant professor of occupational therapy (OT) at Dominican University. Laura’s education, clinical and research experience spans over 22 years of work with individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. She completed her PhD in Education at UC Davis and received formal OT training at the MIND Institute. She has collaborated on research publications and presented nationally and internationally on fragile X syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing, and many other topics. She has supervised several Capstone Projects at Autistry with her OT students.