Our staff is a team that takes OAR’s mission to heart.

Meet the staff members who drive all of OAR’s day-to-day operations:

Michael Maloney 

Executive Director

Chief staff executive

Business operations



Community outreach

Adult employment initiative

Mike is part of OAR’s founding team. A native of Weymouth, MA, and a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, he graduated from Holy Cross and later earned a master’s degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University.

Mike served 23 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, included tours in Vietnam and the first Gulf War. Before joining OAR, he served as executive director of the Marine Corps University Foundation in Quantico, Va. and the Autism Society of America Foundation.

Mike and his wife, Elaine, live in Burke, VA, and have two musician sons, Kevin, a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band, “Pershing’s Own”, and Doug, Director of Bands at Chantilly High School in Chantilly, Va.

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

In his off time, Mike enjoys: any occasion to hang out with Kevin, Doug, and their wives, being Grandpa to Maxon, Selah, and Cameron, writing, enjoying his sons’ musical endeavors, and rooting for Boston sports teams.

Kristen Essex 

Deputy Executive Director

Donor outreach and relations

Planned giving

Major gifts

Foundation grants

Special events

Workplace giving

Combined Federal Campaign

Office management

Grant management

Kristen, a native of the Washington metropolitan area, spent the majority of her life in Rockville. After graduating from Randolph-Macon College, she moved to Virginia briefly before trekking halfway across the country to Dallas. Despite five great years in the Lone Star State, she missed the East Coast and moved to Alexandria in 2010.

After college, Kristen spent eight years in the insurance industry working with structured settlements. Eventually, she decided she needed a career change, and after a brief stint bartending, she ended up as Publisher and Director of Sales and Marketing for the Alexandria Times. Despite enjoying her tenure with the Times, she elected to venture away from her years of sales and find a position in the nonprofit industry, which is how she became Business Manager for the Organization for Autism Research. After three years as OAR’s Business Manager, Kristen was promoted to Deputy Executive Director in October 2018. In May 2019, Kristen graduated from Regis University with a Masters of Nonprofit Management,

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Read, hike with my dog, and spend time with my family and friends, including my daughter Sloane, who was born in November 2018.

Amanda Headshot

Amanda Rioux 

Manager, Hire Autism

Hire Autism Website

Employment Initiative

Hire Autism Events

Employment Intern Management

A North Carolina native, Amanda graduated from Appalachian State University where she majored in Global Studies and Communications and later earned a master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. At Appalachian, she also minored in non-profit management.

Having worked and interned in the non-profit sector for more than seven years, Amanda has a genuine passion for giving back to others and her community. During undergrad, she volunteered more than 300 hours as a NC-ACTS AmeriCorps member and co-led two Alternative Spring Break volunteer trips. More recently, she was a participant in Arlington County’s civic leadership development program, Neighborhood College.

Amanda joined OAR in 2018 after previously working with young people involved in the juvenile justice system in Maryland.

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Amanda loves exercising, hiking, traveling, and playing with her dog, Misha.

Chernoff photo cropped

Naina Narayana Chernoff 

Hire Autism Associate

Hire Autism Outreach

Community Engagement

Mentorship Program Development

Naina Narayana Chernoff is the mother of a child who has autism as well as the sister-in-law of an adult with ASD. After graduating from Penn State University with a degree in journalism and graduating from American University with an MA in communications, she worked in television news and at trade publications before moving to positions in the autism world. Before having children, she worked as the first editor of The OARacle and also served as the editor of The Advocate, a magazine published by the Autism Society of America.

Naina embraces the opportunity to serve as an advocate for individuals and families affected by ASD. In October 2017, she delivered a winning presentation on behalf of OAR that won the Encore Prize, a grant which will fund a mentor program aimed at securing jobs for young people with ASD. She lives in northern Virginia along with her husband, Steven, and their children.

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Naina enjoys running, working out, playing with her kids, and going on walks with her dog, Cherry.

Kimberly Ha 

Director, Research and Programs

Applied Research Competition

“Autism in the Schoolhouse” initiative

The OARacle newsletter

Resource development & distribution

Webinar Program

Kimberly studied cognitive psychology and neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh before receiving her master’s in education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Her service to the autism community began when she led a high school autism awareness fundraiser in 2007. A few years later, she entered the nonprofit sector as an intern at The Advisory Board on Autism and Related Disorders (ABOARD). She then taught in the special education classroom before joining OAR.

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Kim enjoys jogging, playing badminton, and spoiling her five-year-old corgi.

Staff Profile Picture - Margaret Gorman

Margaret Gorman 

Programs and Outreach Associate

Undergraduate Scholarship Competition

Graduate Research Competition

Resource Fulfillment

Blog & Social Media

Margaret is an Arlington native and a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College.  She majored in Political Science with a concentration on disability, and wrote a senior thesis about the growth and impact of the disability rights movement in America.  Margaret is passionate about Autism advocacy and celebrating neurodiversity.

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Margaret loves writing, reading, and cross-stitch!

Sean Flynn


Overall management of endurance program and fundraising efforts

Sponsor relations

Future event planning

Originally from Florida, Sean graduated from the University of Central Florida. After two years of working as a RUN FOR AUTISM Coordinator with OAR, he held positions in Education and the Non-Profit sector.  Most recently he managed the Charity Partnership Program for IRONMAN. Sean is a big supporter of all things UCF – GO KNIGHTS!

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

I enjoy being active and doing anything that is outdoors. Also enjoy taking in sporting events and other fun activities going on around the DC area.

Rachel Luizza

Senior Coordinator, RUN FOR AUTISM
Marketing and Events

RUN marketing and communications

Runner support and fundraising

Rachel lives and works in Fort Collins, Colorado where she graduated from Colorado State University’s College of Business with a degree in Marketing, Management, and Human Resource Management.  Prior to joining the OAR team, she worked as the Marketing and Event Coordinator at the Fort Collins athletic event nonprofit Green Events.  While there, Rachel gained experience working with runners, volunteers, and donors while coordinating charity running events.  


What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Rachel, like most Coloradoans, loves the mountains and exploring them with her husband, daughter, and their two dogs by trail running, snowshoeing, camping, hiking, and fishing.

Sarah Rodis

Senior Coordinator, RUN FOR AUTISM
Training and Events

RUN marketing and communication

Runner support and fundraising

Sarah is a native to the Northern Virginia area and a graduate from East Carolina University with a degree in Recreation Management. Before joining OAR Sarah worked for SHAPE America focusing on professional development for physical education teachers. She is a certified running coach and avid runner; completing 34 marathons and 10 ultramarathons. Sarah lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her fiance and two dogs.

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Sarah loves stand up paddle boarding, snowboarding and anything outdoors, the higher the adrenaline factor, the better! She also enjoys traveling to new places, playing fetch with her dogs, and watching/playing sports.