Sharon Starkey graduated in 1985 with a degree in Human Relations, now called Nonprofit Leadership and Management from High Point University, and holds an American Humanics Nonprofit Management Certification. Sharon has worked in the field with children and adults in the nonprofit sector and the corporate settings since graduating. Her son was officially diagnosed on the autism spectrum at the age of 6 and she began becoming active in the Autism community. She was on the board of directors for Autism and Asperger Connections from 2014 to 2018. Her husband is also on the spectrum.
Christopher Wingate is a graduate of UCCS and has a bachelors degree in Communications. He writes about autism and has served as the secretary of Autism Vision of Colorado since its founding. He was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success after graduating from college in 2020. He is on the autism spectrum.
Prior to working at Your Choice, William’s dedication to the people he serves was sparked 15 years ago while providing behavioral intervention focused work in Romania for children. He continued his work in Nebraska, as a Behavioral Support Coordinator and later as a Forensic Interviewer. He has 15 years of leadership experience and has worked in nearly every facet of waiver program systems. William has managed a day program, coordinated residential services, and has developed Behavioral Plans for over 200 developmentally/intellectually disabled adults, with a goal of reducing or eliminating their levels of psychotropic medication and other restrictions they faced. William was also a member of the Quality Enhancement Team, and has a strong understanding of regulatory statues and standards for people in services. He loves the work and the fact that he is able to serve this population, and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Meet the Board of Directors
Brenda has been an executive leader in large technology companies for the past 25 years, excelling at building strong teams, strategic planning, and program execution. Recently retired from the corporate world Brenda has shifted her focus to utilize her managerial, organizational and leadership skills to assist non-profit organizations. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Washington University and has lived in the Denver region for the past 22 years.
She has two adult sons, the younger who was diagnosed on the autism spectrum at the age of three. She is enthusiastic about family, self-advocacy, and educational and employment opportunities for all. Her focus is on encouraging others to recognize their full potential and helping them achieve their goals.
Heather Vesel is the co-founder of Peak Autism Services. She has been a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) since 2011 and has worked with children with autism using behavior analysis since 2003. She hopes that the passion she has for her job shows in everything she does.
Heather got her master’s degree from St. Cloud State University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
In her free time, Heather loves to travel, camp, hike, and generally anything outdoors. She also enjoys playing the piano, going to concerts, going to sporting events, and shopping.
Her philosophy for living is best expressed by E.B. White who says, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.”
Tara Blanchard moved to Colorado Springs in 2020 to is attend the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) and is majoring in Social Work. After graduation, Tara plans to get her master’s degree in social work and aims to get certified as a Dance Movement Therapist. Since being in the Springs, she has worked as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to children on the Autism Spectrum.
Prior, Tara worked as a Treatment Supervisor at a residential treatment center for at-risk youth, providing evidence-based treatment modalities. In her free time, Tara likes to dance, spend time outdoors, and watch anime. Tara also spends time with friends and family when she is not busy with school.
Tara lives by Brené Brown’s philosophy of "having the courage to show up when you can't control the outcome."
Brandon Sutan is an Active-Duty Service Member in the United States Army and a certified digital
marketing professional through the Digital Marketing Institute and American Marketing Association; on top of being in the military and a full-time student at the University of Maryland Global Campus, a father and husband.
Brandon has found a passion in volunteering and sharing the wealth of skills and knowledge he has learned through his experiences with non-profit organizations to help them succeed in their goals and aspirations. As a leader with consistent success, Brandon has saved various non-profit organizations over $50,000 through digital marketing projects, including creating marketing strategies, audits, and consultations.
Brandon is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Sigma Lambda, and a member of the Toastmasters International and American Marketing Association, where he continues to indulge in self-development to be able to provide the best service he can.
Alexandra Ridgeway is an emerging leader in our community. She is a Retail Service Manager; she develops training and focuses on operational solutions in banking. She won the Colorado Springs Rising Star 2023 Award for her involvement in our community.
Alexandra dedicates herself to serve her community. She is a volunteer with CASA of the Pikes Peak Region, United Way, and Solid Rock Community Development Corporation just to name a few. She is working towards becoming a community trustee in the Women’s Community Leadership Initiative with Leadership Pikes Peak.
Southern New Hampshire University is where she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance. This has lead to her be involved in the National Society of Leadership and Success.