Jen Clark, Ph.D., Christopher “CJ” Wallace, and David Schwartzbaum Join NEXT for AUTISM’s Mission to Create National Programs That Enhance the Lives of Autistic Adults
June 13, 2023 [New York, NY]—NEXT for AUTISM (NEXT), the leading nonprofit dedicated to transforming the national landscape of services for people with autism by strategically designing, launching, and supporting innovative initiatives, proudly announces that three individuals of diverse backgrounds and talents have been elected to its Board of Directors.
Jen Clark, Ph.D., Christopher “CJ” Wallace, and David Schwartzbaum joined the NEXT for AUTISM board effective February 1, 2023. This follows the addition of Tommy Hilfiger and Jim Hogan who joined the board last year.
“Everyone who joins our board shares the belief that autistic adults deserve to live fulfilling and productive lives. We are grateful to our newest members for dedicating their unique talents and perspectives to our mission,” said Gillian Leek, CEO.
“Creating an equitable and fulfilling world for autistic adults is a mission close to my heart, and I’m excited to get to work with NEXT for AUTISM,” shared Christopher “CJ” Wallace regarding his new board appointment. “NEXT is doing what no other organization is, focusing on enhancing the lives of autistic adults through innovative programs that address the whole person.”
“As a parent, I have firsthand experience raising children with autism, and I’m deeply committed to doing my part in fostering acceptance and supporting the development of programs that will help autistic adults go beyond barriers and lead enriching lives,” shared Tommy Hilfiger. “I am honored to join NEXT for AUTISM as a board member and to help advance their mission.”
NEXT for AUTISM continually looks ahead to what’s NEXT for autism. In 2023, the organization’s 20thanniversary, NEXT remains steadfast in its quest to change the paradigm for how individuals with autism thrive throughout their adult lives. This is done by leveraging a broad range of autistic and neurotypical stakeholders, including our Board of Directors, Advisory Board, NEXTGen Board, community grant recipients, and dedicated staff. Laser-focused on the future for autistic adults, NEXT is providing skills-based training and coaching to Direct Support Professionals with our NEXT for DSP professional development curriculum, fostering inclusion in the workplace with our guided co-mentorship program called NEXT CONNECTS and launching a scholarship program called NEXT for AUTISM FELLOWS later this month aimed at recruiting the next generation of dedicated direct support professionals. Learn more at NEXTforAUTISM.org
About Jen Clark, Ph.D.
Dr. Jen Clark is a clinical psychologist, working with children, young adults, and families for over 25 years. Dr. Clark specializes in autism, ADD and anxiety. She has developed and served as the director of social programs for children with social anxiety and autism, with a focus on creating peer mentor relationships. Dr. Clark also trains interns, so they have a better understanding of neurotypical patients; many of the interns go on to pursue graduate work in the field. She also serves on the board of Neurability, an organization that helps adults with autism work in the technology industry.
About Tommy Hilfiger
Since launching his namesake brand in 1985, Tommy Hilfiger has become globally renowned as the pioneer of classic American cool style. Inspired by iconic pop culture and Americana heritage, the designer and his brand are driven by an ever-optimistic vision to break conventions and celebrate individuality. Today, under Hilfiger’s guidance, vision and leadership as Principal Designer, TOMMY HILFIGER is one of the world’s most recognized lifestyle brands that shares its inclusive and youthful spirit with consumers worldwide.
Hilfiger has a longstanding passion for philanthropy and making the world a better place for future generations. Through the global TommyCares organization, the Tommy Hilfiger company supports various international initiatives and charities including Save the Children, NEXT for AUTISM and the World Wildlife Fund. Through the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge and People’s Place Programs, the brand is also making strides in its ambitious vision to create fashion that Wastes Nothing and Welcomes All.
About Jim Hogan
Jim Hogan is an innovator, a human rights activist, and a strong representative of what is possible for autistic individuals. Jim found his passion for computer science and innovation at a young age and has since worked in leadership positions for over 30 years. Throughout his career, Jim has advocated for neurodistinct employees by helping human resources departments better understand their needs. With his powerful voice and advocacy for acceptance, he has led the way for hundreds of autistic individuals who entered the workforce behind him.
Jim wears multiple hats at Google including his roles as Chief Innovation Evangelist, Google Cloud and as Vice President, Accessibility in Technology for Google’s Disability Alliance.
About David Schwartzbaum
David Schwartzbaum is senior counsel with Covington & Burling, LLP, with over thirty years of experience representing clients in mergers and acquisitions and other transactions, including corporate governance matters. Prior to joining the NEXT for AUTISM board, David worked closely with NEXT senior management for several years on a broad range of issues as NEXT has developed and expanded its programs serving autistic individuals.
About Christopher “CJ” Wallace
Christopher “CJ” Wallace is a social entrepreneur, actor, photographer, and producer. He is the co-founder of Frank White, a purpose-driven lifestyle brand that celebrates Black culture and creativity. Its mission is ownership and the creation of generational wealth within the Black community in the cannabis, entertainment, and fashion industries. CJ is also an advocate for autism and cancer treatments that utilize CBD and THC. He is only son of the late Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace and superstar songstress Faith Evans.