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
Responsibilities:

Chief staff executive


Business operations


Fundraising


Events


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
Responsibilities:

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.

Rachel Luizza

Development and Marketing Manager
Responsibilities:

Marketing and Communications Management 


Website Management 


Special Event Marketing and Fundraising


Graphic Design

Rachel is originally from the Mile High City and graduated from Colorado State University’s College of Business in 2015 with a degree in Marketing, Management, and Human Resource Management.  After graduating from CSU, she worked as the Marketing and Event Coordinator at an athletic event nonprofit and volunteered at several other local nonprofits.    

After moving to the DC metro area with her partner, Rachel joined Organization for Autism Research’s RUN FOR AUTISM team as a Coordinator in March 2017 and was promoted to Senior Coordinator in January 2019.   

Missing the mountain air and wanting to start a family, Rachel moved back to live and work remotely in Fort Collins, Colorado in November 2018.   After three years working on OAR’s RUN FOR AUTISM team, Rachel transitioned into the role of Development and Marketing Manager in September 2020. 

 

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

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

Amanda Headshot

Amanda Rioux 

Manager, Hire Autism
Responsibilities:

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.

Kimberly Ha 

Director, Research and Programs
Responsibilities:

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
Responsibilities:

Undergraduate Scholarship Competition


Graduate Research Competition


Resource Fulfillment


Blog & Social Media

Margaret is an Arlington native and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2019.  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.

Joining OAR’s Programs and Outreach team in August 2019 as an Associate, Margaret works remotely from New York City.   

 

What do you like to do outside of OAR?

Margaret loves writing, reading, and cross-stitch!

Sean Flynn

Director, RUN FOR AUTISM
Responsibilities:

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.

Sarah Rodis

Senior Coordinator, RUN FOR AUTISM
Training and Events
Responsibilities:

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 She worked for SHAPE America focusing on professional development for physical education teachers.

Sarah has been a part of the OAR’s RUN FOR AUTISM team since March 2017.  She is a certified running coach and avid runner; completing 34 marathons and 10 ultramarathons.

In spring 2019, Sarah moved to live and work remotely in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her fiancé 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.