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2023 Annual conference - Speakers

Brittany Bauerle M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Director of Functional Assessment and Treatment Implementation
Centria Autism

Brittany Bauerle is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a master's degree in Education, with a specialization in Early Childhood and Autism. Brit has spent the last 15 years working in homes, clinics, schools, and communities with a variety of diagnoses, neurodiversities, and across a wide variety of ages (birth through early adulthood). Providing mentorship to clinicians in the field has become a passion of hers over the past several years, especially in the areas of Practical Functional Assessment (PFA) / Skills Based Treatment (SBT) and Universal Protocols. Brit is an active moderator of the PFA/SBT Community, an online community that offers support to practitioners for PFA/SBT. At Centria, Brit is able to combine both passions of providing mentorship and coaching clinicians through a company-wide clinical shift in PFA/SBT and Foundations of Care. 

danyelle s. goitia beal, PsyD, BCBA
Loving Hands Family Support Services

Dr. danyelle s. goitia beal earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her dissertation: Trauma and Resiliency in Black American Women began a journey of breaking the stigma of traumatic events that can plague the Black community. Simultaneously, dr. beal completed her pre and post doctoral internship supporting survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse and within the LGBTQIA2+ communities. She earned her Masters in Teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing Studies with an emphasis in Applied Behavioral Analysis from National University and her Bachelors in Child Development with an emphasis in Communicative Disorders from California State University, Long Beach. Finally, she also contributed to an anthology titled "Shenomenal Women: that became a #1 Best Seller where she began to discuss her experiences through her own healing journey. 
Dr. beal began her journey through ABA in 1997 when she was pregnant with her first baby. She answered a job posting for a child with autism and fell in love within 2 weeks of working with the family. Since then, dr. beal has worked in some capacity of leadership over 25 years. Currently, she supports children, families and women who are underrepresented. Dr. beal has held positions as a direct service provider, clinical supervisor, clinical director, program director of a non-public school to owner of a non-public agency, called Loving Hands Family Support Services in Southern California. She provides educational and behavioral support to school districts in the protection of their Black and Brown student population. She trains community agencies on how to safely de-escalate sensitive members of the community who are in behavioral and mental health crises. Finally, Dr. beal teaches School Psychologists who want to become certified in Applied Behavior Analysis and mentors BCBAs who have ethical violations through the BACB to support them in getting back into good standing.  
Dr. beal is a highly regarded Psychologist/Behavior Analyst who specializes in developmental disorders and trauma. She is considered a servant leader because she leads with compassion and unconditional regard for anyone who sits across from her. As a trauma survivor, dr. beal has overcome insurmountable odds that has formed her journey through healing which she calls “heart work”. She understands that to truly begin to live a life of intention; one must get to the “heart work” of their own healing journey. This incorporates every aspect of a person's environment and her approach to healing is comprehensive and multi-faceted.   

Carey Beranek, MS, BCBA, LBA
Vice President of Children and Youth Services
AZA United

Carey Beranek, M.S., is a Licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She is the Vice President of Children and Youth Services at Arizona Autism United. Carey is a past president and founding member of the AZ Association for Behavior Analysis. She has worked serving autistic individuals and their families for over 25 years. She is an advocate for high-quality ABA services that increase the quality of life for the people served. Her most recent professional focus includes developing and using accurate organization-wide outcome measures to inform service delivery. 

Cara Brown, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Senior BCBA and Clinical Supervisor
Arion Care Solutions, LLC - East Valley ABA Center

Cara Brown is a board-certified behavior analyst known for her dedication to person-centered care, interdisciplinary collaboration, and passion for high-quality supervision of RBTs and trainees. Holding a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a STEM focus from St. Catherine University (2015) and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction of Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University (2017), Cara currently serves as the Senior BCBA at Arion Care Solutions, LLC., where she oversees the East Valley ABA Center and is Co-Chair of Arion's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. As a former educator, Cara has experience teaching in both general education and special education settings, which has only honed her passion for advocating for strength-based treatment plans to promote socially significant change. Beyond her professional achievements, Cara's interests span soccer, culinary endeavors with her spouse, and adventurous hikes with her loyal pittie companion, Luna. She eagerly awaits the arrival of her baby boy in January 2024, marking an exciting new chapter in her life. 

Mari-Luci Cerda, PhD, BCBA, LBA-TX
Lighthouse for Equitable Access and Practices (LEAP)

Mari Cerda is an Indigenous woman, Autist, wife, mom of 3, and board-certified, trauma-informed behavior analyst who consults with neurotypical professionals to support the development of neurodivergent affirming and compassionate practices. A former special education teacher of 13 years, Mari moved into this work when she realized that her own Autistic experience could help others develop better supports and acceptance for the Autistic community. Mari is also the co-founder of The LEAP (Lighthouse for Equitable Access and Practices) Institute, a non-profit whose mission is to increase equitable access for marginalized groups entering the field of applied behavior analysis through quality supervision support and testing scholarships. LEAP is also working to shift the culture around the supervision relationship in the field of ABA. When she is not working on one of many projects, Mari enjoys retreating into her home with her family and spending time in her gardens to recharge.

Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi, EdD, BCBA
CEO & Founder

Dr.  Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi is a board certified behavior analyst, with a doctorate degree in education from Loyola University of Chicago.  She holds a master’s degree in special education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a master's degree in educational leadership from the American College of Education.  She is a graduate of the infant studies and mental health program at Erikson Institute of Chicago. In addition to her BCBA credential, she is an Illinois licensed special education teacher, an Illinois Early Intervention provider, and State of Illinois evaluator.  Professionally, she has served as a special educator, clinician, educational administrator, and professor of special education.  Her clinical experience spans infancy through adulthood.  Currently, she is the CEO & Founder of ULEZI, LLC Co-founder of Inquiry, Inc, and serves as a court-appointed special advocate, for children in the Illinois foster care system.  She is also a Board of the Association for Behavior Analysis Affiliate Chapters Board and former President of the Illinois Association for Behavior Analysis. She is a champion for human dignity, liberation and self-expression and is deeply committed to using her skills and experiences, paired with the science of applied behavior analysis, to transform the lives of the people she supports and serves, in ways that make a meaningful and positive difference for their lives. 

Natalie Erling, M.A., CCC-SLP
Director of Speech-language and Feeding Services
Ally Pediatric Therapy

Natalie Erling M.A., CCC-SLP, is a licensed and ASHA certified speech-language pathologist who has been working with the pediatric population for over 9 years, focusing on providing support to autistic individuals. Natalie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Dakota Wesleyan University in 2011 and received her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from The University of South Dakota in 2014. She completed externships at Gilbert Public Schools in Gilbert, Arizona and HealthSouth East Valley Rehab Hospital in Mesa, Arizona. She completed her clinical fellowship within Gilbert Public Schools. Her therapy experience includes AAC, stuttering, voice, motor, speech sound disorders, language disorders, and feeding and swallowing. Natalie’s current role as Director of Speech and Feeding Services for an Arizona based company allows her the opportunity to practice within in her clinical focus areas. Her clinical focus includes autism, responsive feeding, mentorship of clinical fellows, and the clinical collaboration of BCBAs and SLPs. She is passionate about integrated care and neurodiverse affirming care and the impact it has on the clients she serves. 

Kiana Hernandez, RBT

I am a first year Hispanic college student in my family. I started my career in ABA during the pandemic as an ECH and Habilitation provider. Where I then became an RBT and have been an RBT for two years now. I value providing quality and compassionate care for the families I serve and work with. It has been a goal of mine to help support past, present and future technicians. I am one of this year's AzABA Intern where myself and two other interns have been hosting a SIG called Modern ABA for Technicians and Trainees. Where we speak about Modern ABA topics, network and create a safe space for technicians and trainees. I am continuing my undergraduate studies and hope to pursue my education in ABA.

Bella Holmen, BCBA
Ally Pediatric Therapy

Bella is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a Master's degree in Special Education- Applied Behavior Analysis and Bachelor's degree in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. Prior to becoming a BCBA, Bella spent over 2 years as a preschool teacher and traveled to Bali, Indonesia where she volunteered in various schools and daycares. Through these experiences in working with children, she discovered her passion for neurodivergent children.  
She took this passion and began her journey within the field of ABA as a behavior technician at Ally Pediatric Therapy in June 2020.  A couple months after working as a behavior technician, Bella decided to pursue the field further by enrolling in the Master's program to become a BCBA. In July 2023, she received her certification and proudly accepted a BCBA position at Ally.  
In January 2023, Bella became a student intern with the Arizona Association of Applied Behavior Analysis. In this role, Bella and 2 other interns currently run the Todays ABA for Technicians and Trainees special interest group, presenting quarterly on topics relevant to technicians and trainees such as assent/assent withdrawal and self-management.  
Bella is passionate about growing within the field of ABA and providing compassionate care, with particular interests in assent-based practices, Gestalt Language Processing, coping strategies, and emotional-regulation. 
Outside of work, Bella enjoys traveling internationally and immersing herself in various cultures. She's visited 26 different countries including Turkey, Australia, Iceland, Vietnam, Singapore, and Norway. She also enjoys running, snowboarding, and spending time with friends and family.

Cindi Kennedy, MA, BCBA
Director of Functional Assessment and Treatment Integrity
Centria Autism

Cindi is a native Floridian who currently works with a large scale organization mentoring clinicians in neurodiverse affirming practices focused on uplifting individuality and promoting assent-based therapy. Her passion for ensuring all autistic recipients of ABA services are uplifted and have a voice in their own treatment decisions drives her to be active as a moderator in the PFA and SBT Community. Cindi has worked as a Director of Clinic-based services at an early intervention clinic in Florida where she also has experience as an in-home and telehealth clinician. 

Hillary Laney, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Vice President of Functional Assessment and Treatment
Centria Autism

Hillary Laney, BCBA, is passionate about providing services to clients with significant behavioral needs which prioritizes dignity, safety, rapport, and assent. She received her M. Ed from the University of Washington and has extensive experience as a practitioner and in supporting practitioners, agencies, and schools to provide more comprehensive services to those who need them most. Hillary currently serves as the Vice President of Functional Assessment and Treatment at Centria Autism. She is responsible for staff development and training oversight across the agency in the implementation of assent-based interventions including; Universal Protocols, Practical Functional Assessment, and Skill-Based Treatment. In the past year, Hillary has overseen the training of over 300 supervising clinicians and her team has supported over 300 successful Practical Functional Assessments. In her free time, she volunteers moderating the PFA & SBT Community, an online group of over 20,000 members, which provides free content for members to learn and grow in assent-based practice.  

Liisa Podosek, MSW, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Director of Functional Assessment and Treatment Implementation
Centria Autism

Liisa Podosek is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a Master of Social Work and Master of Education, as well as over 10 years of experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities, autism, and other mental health diagnoses. Liisa has spent much of her ABA career serving individuals with co-occurring diagnoses and developed a particular passion for working with those who engage in severe behavior, as well as mentoring clinicians to do the same. Liisa is an active moderator of the PFA & SBT Community, an online community which supports practitioners in the use of Practical Functional Assessment and Skill Based Treatment (PFA/SBT).  At Centria, Liisa has supported development of and actively provides mentorship within a company-wide program aimed at building clinicians’ competency with implementation of Universal Protocols and PFA/SBT. 

Amanda “Mandy” Ralston, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, IBA
Founder & CEO. Serial Entrepreneur. Clinical Intelligence & Data Analytics Leader. Neurodiversity/DEI/Culture Forerunner. Dynamic Speaker. Creative/Creator. Evangelist in Chief.

Amanda (“Mandy”) Ralston is a queer, neurodivergent serial Founder. She is a 25-year veteran practitioner and has been certified as a behavior analyst since 2002. During her career she has founded two clinics that provided applied behavior analysis services to hundreds of families, schools, and individuals with autism or other developmental or intellectual disabilities. She successfully exited to the 4th largest ABA provider group in 2019.
Mandy has served as a Subject Matter Expert to several international workgroups and panels related to Behavior Analysis, Ethics, Outcomes, and Practice. She is a featured speaker in several mediums globally. She has twice been nominated for Small Businessperson of the Year in 2015 and 2017. She was the recipient of the Autism Innovation Award at the Autism Investor Summit in 2023.
Ralston creates unique solutions by synthesizing her own history of reinforcement and punishment with evidence-based practices, Clinical and Business Intelligence, and Technology to further support clinicians, funders, businesses, and founders in changing the world for Quality of Life, Outcomes, neuro/diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Her behavior continues to be shaped by its impact on a world where autism exists, and the field of behavior analysis.
Her most recent venture is NonBinary Solutions - a data analytics and technology firm making Clinical Decision Support Systems for providers and other constituents of Applied Behavior Analysis and neurodiversity.

Yvette Regalado Sierra, M.A., BCBA-LBA
BCBA Supervisor
Arion Care Solutions

Yvette is a first-gen, Chicana woman, mom and wife. Additionally, she is an Arizona Licensed (LBA), as well as a nationally credentialed Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Her introduction to behavior analysis came as a parent whose child received services at home. While the applied science of behavior analysis significantly changed the trajectory of her family’s life, it wasn’t always delivered through a compassionate lens. After falling down the rabbit hole of the history of ethics in the field, she sought to be part of the change!
Yvette became an RBT in 2019 and has served in the home, school, and clinical settings. She received her M.A. in Special Education from Arizona State University and accrued most of her hours post graduate school, after taking a break from the field during the 2020 pandemic. After her return in 2021, Yvette had the opportunity to work with many supervisors whose values aligned with her own. With their support, her personal and professional experiences, she was able to pass the BACB exam on her first attempt. She has been a BCBA since 2022 and is hopeful about the future of the field as allistic leaders push to shift to more inclusive and neuro-affirming practices. Yvette’s shared experiences with parents, RBT’s and bilingual families provide her with a unique opportunity to provide relatable, compassionate, person-centered care. When she is not offering support to others in the field, she enjoys reading, listening to a true crime podcast, spending time with family and working out.

Mary Stevenson, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Director of Learning & Development
Ally Pediatric Therapy

Mary Stevenson received her Master’s in Education in 2012 with a focus on Consultation and Collaboration from Arizona State University.  She became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and was licensed to practice in the state of Arizona by the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners in 2016.  In addition to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Mary has worked with children diagnosed with Downs Syndrome, Mosaic Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, ADD/ADHD, Intellectual, and other Developmental Disabilities.  Mary has worked with children one-on-one in clinic, home and school settings, incorporating parent and provider training into her practice with a focus on collaborating and integrating treatment.  Mary is proficient in creating and implementing comprehensive and focused skill acquisition programs and behavior reduction plans.  Her current position has allowed her to utilize the principles of Organizational Behavior Management to design, develop and implement learning and training that improves individual and team productivity.  Key responsibilities include managing the content, development, delivery and implementation of new hire training programs.  Mary’s professional interests include early intervention, skill assessment and acquisition, supervision, staff and parent training, and organizational behavior management. 

Ehren Werntz, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA
Vice President of Family and Community Services
AZA United

Dr. Ehren Werntz is the Vice President of Family and Community Services at AZA United. His work over the past 20+ years has focused on improving the lives of people with autism as well as the families and communities that support them. Specifically, his work focuses on the treatment of severe behavior, values-driven caregiver training, and advanced clinician training. Most recently Dr. Werntz has contributed to the scientific literature on compassion in ABA and is working to move his practice and the field toward measurable compassionate outcomes.  

Arizona Association for Behavior Analysis
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