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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Valisha Fullard Named Executive Director of California Autism Foundation

— As Executive Director, Fullard brings invaluable crisis management skills and empathetic leadership to this burgeoning California non-profit.–

Valisha Fullard

Valisha Fullard

Richmond, CA — For over thirty years, the California Autism Foundation (CAF) has provided support, resources, and education for those individuals facing challenges associated with autism and other developmental disabilities. With the critical decision to implement a significant change in leadership over the past year, CAF has worked to overcome serious financial obstacles.

Fast-forward just six months later, and Interim Executive Director Valisha Fullard has led efforts to reorganize and financially reposition the Foundation, thanks to a combination of savvy crisis management skills and empathetic leadership. As a result, it came as no surprise when CAF’s Board of Directors named Fullard as the new Executive Director.

“CAF was under immediate financial challenges, and I knew we had to make changes quickly if we wanted to stay afloat,” says Fullard when asked about her sudden tenure as Executive Director. “My leadership style is proactive, not reactive. I found that with my crisis management background, I was able to lead CAF out of our financial deficit and back in a good place.”

As the first female and minority to hold the Executive Director title of CAF, Fullard uses her experiences as a barrier breaker to ensure that the Foundation is able to provide exciting growth opportunities for people with autism and developmental disabilities. Fullard and her staff oversee multiple programs and opportunities that help make an impact within local communities, including Richmond, Contra Costa County, and greater Bay Area.

“My new leadership position has only heightened my passion for working with people with autism and developmental disabilities,” she says. “With each passing day, this environment inspires me to learn more about the people and families that we serve every day.

“After all, CAF isn’t just a non-profit; it’s a home where our consumers are undergoing truly incredible and indescribable growth,” she adds.

Fullard is used to confronting and overcoming a multitude of challenges, whether they be from professional or personal sources. Rather than hide from these dark moments in her history, Fullard embraces her past as a sign of her resilience and perseverance in navigating difficult situations.

Fullard joined CAF in the spring of 2006 as the Director of Human Resources. Originally from the Central Valley of California, Valisha lives in the Bay Area with her family and enjoys singing, acting, and volunteer work at the Shelter for Battered Women and Children.

About California Autism Foundation
The mission of the California Autism Foundation is to provide people with autism and other developmental disabilities the best possible opportunities for lifetime support, training and assistance to help them reach their highest potential for independence, productivity, and fulfillment.

Devin James, PR Manager
(314) 833-4216