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

27-icon-twitter copy@mikeatoar


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 and Selah, writing, enjoying his sons’ musical endeavors, and rooting for Boston sports teams.


Kristen Essex 

Business Manager



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.

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Read, walk my dog, probably a lot of baby centric stuff soon…

Diane Lingenfelter headshot

Diane Lingenfelter 

Manager, Hire Autism Marketing and Outreach



Hire Autism Website

Employment Initiative

Hire Autism Events

Community Outreach and Marketing

Employment Intern Management


Originally from Iowa, Diane embraced life in Virginia as a military spouse. Diane worked for 15 years in special education classrooms, three of those years on a team dedicated to supporting students on the autism spectrum. Having worked many years in classrooms, she was ready for a career change. Upon completing her BS in Social Science with a minor in Criminal Justice from University of Maryland University College, and a brief stint in juvenile justice, Diane set her sights on the nonprofit world, where she could follow her passion of helping others achieve their goals.

Diane and her husband, Rusty live in Alexandria, VA. They have two sons, Jay and Lee, and a daughter Margret.

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Diane loves to read, go for walks, explore, take photographs, cook, and spend time with her mini English bulldog Daisy, French bulldog Frannie, and her kitty Goblin.


Kimberly Ha 

Director, Research and Programs


Applied Research Competition

Partnership Funds Competition


The OARacle newsletter

Resource development

Community outreach


“Autism in the Schoolhouse” initiative (Curriculum in a Box, Kit for Kids, and College Guide for Self-Advocates)

Social media

Internship management

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?

Jogging and playing badminton.


Saman Kamgar-Parsi 

Programs and Outreach Associate



Graduate Research Competition

Scholarship Program

The OARacle newsletter

Community outreach

Social media & Blog

Operation Autism

Internship management

Resource development & distribution



Saman grew up in the Washington metropolitan area and moved to New York City to attend Barnard College of Columbia University. At Barnard, she double-majored in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and French Translation & Literature, and minored in Race & Ethnic Studies. 


What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Saman enjoys reading, pretending to take horoscopes very seriously, making music, and teaching song-writing for youth.


Sean Flynn

Manager, Endurance Fundraising



Overall management of endurance program and fundraising efforts

Sponsor relations

Future event planning

Runner support

Fundraising management

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.


Emily Branham

Coordinator, RUN FOR AUTISM


Chevron Houston Marathon

Aramco Houston Half Marathon

DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon

Half Marathon and Marathon Relay

Marine Corps Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

RUN marketing and communications

Runner support and fundraising

Emily graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Marketing Management. After spending a year working in athletics marketing at the University of Notre Dame, Emily joined OAR to begin a career working in the nonprofit sector. She loves all things Hokie.

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Watching/playing sports, being outdoors, reading.


Morgan Shute

Coordinator, RUN FOR AUTISM



Bank of America Chicago Marathon

United Airlines NYC Half

Tough Mudder

Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon

RUN  marketing and communication

Runner support and fundraising

Local events

A Virginia Tech graduate, Morgan majored in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing. Prior to her job at OAR, she spent a total of 8 months living in Switzerland, and gained international nonprofit experience in Europe, Rwanda, and Kenya. While there, she scoured Europe for the best coffee (by the way, it was in Copenhagen), bungee jumped 700 ft off a Swiss Alp, played soccer with locals in a rural Rwandan village, and came face-to-face with a family of lions in Kenya. She loves brunch and hot sauce is her biggest weakness.

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Traveling, expanding her pallet (the spicier, the better), running, blogging.