Dawn Allen has been the Chief Executive Officer of GHA Autism Supports, formerly known as Group Homes for the Autistic/GHA, since 1984. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Pfeiffer University and a Master of Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dawn joined the organization as a direct care staff person in 1981 when it was then known as “The Group Home for the Autistic”, the first residence that was home to five children. Since that time, GHA Autism Supports has expanded offering a number of services for individuals with autism. Under her leadership, the entity has grown from an organization serving five children to an organization that currently supports over 90 individuals in programs providing residential, vocational, educational, community and in-home services.
Within her professional realm, Dawn currently serves as the Immediate Past-President of Cardinal Innovations/Piedmont Network Council and Past-President of the NC Providers Association. She also serves as a member of the Admissions Committee of the Murdoch Developmental Center and on the board of Rubicon. In both 1998 and 2008, Dawn was named “Professional of the Year” by the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC). In addition, she was presented the Achievement Award by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Division TEACCH Program in 2008.
Over the years, Dawn has remained active in her community by serving as Past-President and Campaign Chair of the United Way of Stanly County and has served several terms on the Executive Committee of the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce. Currently, she serves as the Chair of the Stanly Regional Medical Center Advisory Council, Past Chairman of the Stanly County Community Foundation and is also an active member of the Albemarle Rotary Club.
Janet Banks earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She joined GHA Autism Supports in 1991 and currently serves as the Chief Professional Services Officer where her job responsibilities include writing behavior management programs, training and consultation on autism and behavioral topics and the development of on-line training. In addition to direct care work, Janet also served as the Director of the Autism Society of North Carolina’s Summer Camp Program and as a TEACCH Psycho-Educational Therapist. She continues to serve as a TEACCH Practitioner, travelling internationally to train others about autism.
As the Chief Human Resources and Corporate Compliance Officer of GHA Autism Supports, Tonia oversees and ensures the organization’s compliance and development of all human resource, safety and corporate compliance regulations. She is a graduate of North Carolina State University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. Prior to joining GHA Autism Supports in 1998, Tonia had 7 years of previous human resource management experience.
Sandra joined GHA Autism Supports in January, 2011 and was named Chief Financial Officer in June, 2012. She is responsible for ensuring the financial stability and liability of the organization through financial projections and revenues of expenses. Sandra received both her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master of Accounting degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May, 1994. She is also a North Carolina Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and has over 18 years of experience in nonprofit accounting. Sandra is active in her community and has served as the Secretary of the Norwood Elementary School PTO.
As the Chief Development Officer of GHA Autism Supports, Beth oversees the research and development of revenue and marketing opportunities, which includes the cultivation of donations through individuals, corporations, foundations and fundraising events. Prior to joining the organization in 2009, she served as the Executive Director of the United Way of Stanly County and as the Director of Marketing and Human Resources for Home Savings Bank in Albemarle. Beth is a graduate of Pfeiffer University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She remains active in her community and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Stanly County Family YMCA, Treasurer for the Central Elementary School PTO, Co-President of the Albemarle Middle School PTO and serves on the Stanly County/NC Pre-K Advisory Committee. She is also an active member of the Albemarle Lions Club.
As the Chief Strategy Officer of GHA Autism Supports, Dee oversees many agency operations, including serving as the GHA parent liaison. She is a 1998 graduate of Catawba College and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Information Systems with a Minor in Sociology. In 2010, Dee earned her Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Change from Pfeiffer University. She currently serves as a member of the Cardinal Innovations/Piedmont Cultural Competency Sub-Committee. Dee is also active in her community and serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the Stanly County Family YMCA and the Stanly Regional Medical Center Foundation. In addition, she is very active with parent and booster organizations within Stanly County Schools and with the membership and Ambassador programs of the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce. Dee has been employed at GHA Autism Supports since 1997.
As the Chief Services Officer of GHA Autism Supports, Melissa graduated from Gardner Webb College with a BA in Sociology in 1992. She attended the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and received her Masters in Special Education in 2000. Melissa has had exposure and direct involvement with the Intellectual Developmental Disabilities population, federal and state waiver support services (ICF & IID), children, aging population, as well as a member of various state affiliated associations. She has worked in this field for over 22 years in various roles, which have developed her skills which include clinical, medical knowledge, management, team building and leadership roles. Melissa is committed and is passionate about working with individuals with developmental disabilities.