Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the governing body of the Autism Society of North Carolina. Our Board is made up of a diverse, dedicated group of volunteers, many of whom are parents or family members of individuals with autism.

Executive Committee


Elizabeth Phillippi, Chair - Elizabeth Phillippi has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Emory University. She worked in the banking and auditing fields for many years before leaving the workforce to dedicate more time to her family and the business owned by her husband. Ms. Phillippi has served as a member of the Advisory Parent Panel for Learners with Exceptionalities, the Advisory Board to the Superintendent of the Charlotte/Mecklenburg School System, and the Advisory Board for Camp Boomerang, and as treasurer of the ASNC Mecklenburg County Chapter. She lives in Charlotte and has an adult son with autism.





Ruth Hurst, Ph.D., Vice Chair - Ruth Hurst is Director of Psychology at Central Regional Hospital. Formerly, she was on the psychology faculty at UNCW, worked for the TEACCH Autism Program, and worked in an Iowa state run residential facility for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. She has expertise in the fields of autism and applied behavior analysis.  She graduated from Catawba College and went on to earn her advanced degrees in psychology from Drake University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Hurst has many professional memberships, including the NC Practice Improvement Collaborative, a project of the NC DMH/DD/SAS; the NC Psychological Association (NCPA), the North Carolina Association for Behavior Analysis, and the American Psychological Association. Dr. Hurst was a founding member of the board for The Homestead, a residential and day program for adults with autism in Iowa, and was a member of the board for the Autism Society of Iowa. She has a strong personal and professional interest in serving people on the autism spectrum and their families. Dr. Hurst lives in Chapel Hill.


John Townson, Secretary - John Townson is Director of Environmental Management at Marine Corps Installations East-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, where he oversees a broad array of Department of Defense environmental programs. Mr. Townson served in Peace Corps Honduras from 1980 to 1983. He has served for several years on the Board of Directors of a local charter school, The Tiller School, and was the school's Chair of the Board for two years. Mr. Townson was a founding member of the Crystal Coast Chapter of ASNC. He currently serves on the Consumer Family Advisory Council for Trillium Health Resources. Mr. Townson’s primary objectives for serving with ASNC are to improve the quality and availability of services to those affected by autism, especially in the underserved rural areas of North Carolina. Mr. Townson lives in Carteret County with his wife and daughter.




John Delaloye, Treasurer - John Delaloye is the Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Brand Gear Company based in Asheville. Mr. Delaloye also has served as the Chief Financial Officer of an investment banking firm; co-founded a real estate brokerage firm; was a Partner in a private equity group; and served as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of other corporations. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 1989 and a master’s degree in business administration from The University of Chicago in 1992. Mr. Delaloye is a member of the board of directors of the Asheville Buncombe Chamber of Commerce and has served on the board of the Friends of the Western North Carolina Nature Center and the board of governors of Biltmore Forest Country Club. He lives in Asheville with his wife and two children. He serves to improve the quality of life of individuals on the autism spectrum. His oldest son has Asperger’s Syndrome, and Mr. Delaloye and his wife, with his son’s support, share their experiences with others to promote awareness and understanding. Individuals on the spectrum have many different (not less) gifts to share, and Mr. Delaloye’s family wants to help others see and appreciate these gifts.



Sharon Jeffries-Jones, Immediate Past Chair - Sharon Jeffries-Jones is the Executive Vice President-Director of CRA/Community Development for BB&T. She has a BS from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Duke University. Ms. Jeffries-Jones has many years of experience working with nonprofit organizations. She serves on the boards of Habitat for Humanity in Winston-Salem and the NC Community Development Initiative in Raleigh. Ms. Jeffries-Jones lives in Winston-Salem and has a son who has autism.






Courtney Cantrell, Ph.D., Director - Courtney Cantrell is a clinical psychologist currently serving as a Client Advisor at Care Management Technologies, a Relias Learning Company. Dr. Cantrell previously served as the Senior Director of the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. Prior to that, she worked on Medicaid reform and was Assistant Director for Behavioral Health at the state’s Medicaid agency. In these roles, Dr. Cantrell became increasingly connected with the autism community and impressed by the Autism Society of North Carolina. As a board member, she is able to maintain that connection and continue to give back to the community, using her experiences. Dr. Cantrell is the mother of two young girls and lives in western Wake County.

Ray Evernham, Director - Ray Evernham is a three-time NASCAR Champion crew chief and host of Velocity’s hit TV series “AmeriCarna.” In 2006, he was named Top All-Time Crew Chief by Motorsports Media and has also been dubbed NASCAR Winston Cup Scene Crew Chief of the Decade. He is a nominee for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Mr. Evernham and the Evernham Family-Racing for a Reason Foundation helped found and continue to support ASNC’s IGNITE community center for young adults with Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning autism in Davidson. Mr. Evernham lives in Cornelius with his wife, his daughter, and his son, who is on the spectrum.

Mark Gosnell, Director - Mark Gosnell is Senior Director of Client Service for RGP Consulting in Charlotte. Mr. Gosnell joined RGP in 2002 and is one of the practice leaders of the Charlotte office. Prior to joining RGP, Mark was a Director at PwC Consulting (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and a Senior Consultant with Accenture. He is a lifelong resident of North Carolina and a Davidson College graduate. Mr. Gosnell and his wife have three children, the oldest of whom is a healthy and happy young man with autism. He hopes to leverage this experience to encourage families with their own unique journeys with autism.

Barbara Haight, Director - Barbara Haight retired in 2012 from the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy; during her four-year tenure she received seven Honor Awards for Performance Excellence from the Secretary of Labor. Her previous experience includes 17 years as Senior Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton, a global consulting firm headquartered in McLean, VA, where she helped to develop and implement the firm’s community outreach and philanthropy efforts. Ms. Haight attended Rockville College and the University of Illinois, where she majored in accounting. She has served on many organizations’ boards, including the International Partnership Association, the US Chamber of Commerce’s Business Education Network, and the American Cancer Society. Ms. Haight plans to draw on her knowledge and relationships to help ASNC develop policies, practices, and opportunities for individuals with autism to have meaningful employment experiences. She and her husband live in Raleigh and enjoy being near their son, daughter-in-law, and grandson.

Monique Justice-Nowlin, Director - Monique Justice is a contractor for VF Corporation, working as a project manager in the global business technology department. She earned a bachelor of arts in humanities from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Ms. Justice-Nowlin has volunteered for the ASNC Guilford County Chapter, serving as Chapter Chair for several years.  Currently she serves as Chair of the Development Committee of the ASNC Board. Monique has gratefully served ASNC for 10 years because many years ago, ASNC was there to help her family become educated, supported, connected, and knowledgeable after her son’s autism diagnosis. She lives in Greensboro with her husband and their four children.

Joey Nichols, Director - Joey Nichols runs her own lobbying and consulting firm in Raleigh. She has more than 20 years of experience in helping candidates and clients with public affairs, fundraising, and political strategy. Her diverse experience includes political and nonprofit fundraising, start-up campaigns of all kinds, lobbying and government affairs, client management, state government, and special events. Ms. Nichols has worked extensively on health-care legislation in the past few years and will bring her knowledge and observations of autism-related issues at the legislature to the Board. She is a graduate of North Carolina State University and lives in Raleigh with her husband, Dan, and her son, Jack.

Fran Pearson, Director - Fran Pearson is Program Director of the Congregational Social Work Education Initiative in the Department of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has a BS in Sociology with a concentration in Social Work from Appalachian State University, a BS in Nursing from UNC Greensboro, and a Master of Social Work from UNC Greensboro. Ms. Pearson lives in Greensboro and is a member of the Interactive Resource Center Advisory Council and the National Social Worker Honor Society. She was named NASW Social Worker of the Year in 2006 and is a current Board member of the Triad Health Project. Ms. Pearson’s interest in supporting autism-related causes began after a close family friend’s son was diagnosed with autism.

Michael Reichel, M.D., Director - A Michigan native, Dr. Reichel is the Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine in Greenville. He also serves as the Medical Director for the Greenville Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA) and is the Forensic and Staff Pediatrician for the Tedi-Bear Child Advocacy Center in Greenville. Prior to his arrival in NC, Dr. Reichel spent more than a decade as the Medical Director and Co-Founder of the Baltimore County Child Advocacy Center in Maryland. He has three grown children.

Dale Reynolds, Director - Dale Reynolds is the president and owner of Carolina Pride Carwash Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of carwash systems and solutions based in Roxboro. He also owns and operates carwashes in Durham. Mr. Reynolds is past president of the NC Professional Carwash Association. He is also Vice President of the Southeastern Carwash Association, and the Roxboro BB&T board. Mr. Reynolds graduated from Wake Tech in Raleigh. He and his wife have two sons with autism. Their oldest son is attending Savannah College of Art and Design, and their youngest is attending High Point University.

Dave Spicer, Director - Dave Spicer is an adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who has devoted his life to improving the lines of communication between the worlds of the autistic and the neurotypical. From 2000-2004, Dave took a number of sociology and anthropology courses at UNC Asheville to help him better understand societies and social interaction. A popular speaker around North Carolina and beyond, he most recently gave the commencement speech at Talisman Academy in Hendersonville, a private school serving the autism community, and also made the opening presentation at Autism Pride Week in Asheville. Dave has served previously on the ASNC Board of Directors, where his personal perspective on living with autism provided valuable insight for others on the Board. Dave lives in Asheville with his husband. His autistic adult son lives in northern Maine.

Chris Whitfield, Director - Chris Whitfield is a Managing Director at GreerWalker, a CPA firm based in Charlotte, and oversees their Outsourced Accounting Solutions practice. Mr. Whitfield also currently serves as Finance Director for MANA Nutritive Aid Products, a nonprofit organization that produces ready-to-use therapeutic foods for the treatment of acutely malnourished children throughout the world. With several relatives on the autism spectrum, Mr. Whitfield has seen firsthand its impact on families and appreciates the opportunity to support the Autism Society of North Carolina’s mission in serving those families. Mr. Whitfield and his wife live in Charlotte, where they raised their two sons and daughter.

Dana Williams - Dana Williams is an Executive Customer Representative with Merck & Company, Inc. She has expertise in the pharmaceutical industry and current market trends affecting health care. Ms. Williams earned a BS in Finance at UNC Greensboro and then worked in the banking industry with First Citizens Bank. She returned to UNC Greensboro to earn her MBA. After completing her MBA in 2005, Ms. Williams began working for Merck and Company, Inc.  Ms. Williams is passionate about increasing autism awareness in underserved and minority communities and has been involved with ASNC workshops to increase inclusion of individuals with autism in faith communities. She is married and the mother of twin boys on the autism spectrum. Ms. Williams lives in Fayetteville.

Jeff Woodlief, Director - Jeff Woodlief is the President of Premiere Communications and Consulting in Raleigh, which provides structured cabling systems and unified communications to blue chip clients throughout the Southeastern US. He has been with the company since its founding in 1993. He earned a bachelor’s in Business Administration from East Carolina University. Premiere has been an active supporter of ASNC for several years, through both donations and volunteer efforts. Mr. Woodlief serves on the Board to give back to the community and hopes that by serving, he is able to make a contribution that will help make someone’s life better. Mr. Woodlief lives in Raleigh with his wife and 16-year-old twin boys.