The Board of Directors of Commonwealth Autism is proud to announce that Jessica Gainous Philips, MA, BCBA, LBA, has been named the new President and CEO of Commonwealth Autism effective July 1, 2018. She will succeed John A. Toscano, MSW, MBA who recently announced his retirement, having served for 17 years.
Jessica will be the 3rd CEO in the 23-year history of the organization, which was founded in 1995. She has been with the organization since 2003 and has held various leadership positions during her tenure, most recently serving as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, where she supported her teams around mission impact and financial sustainability objectives.
“For the past 15 years I’ve had the opportunity to be part of an organization that makes services better for people with developmental disabilities and autism. Along the way I’ve learned important lessons about fostering Systems Change through capacity building efforts and I’ve been fortunate to work alongside of mentors, colleagues and community partners who are willing to challenge the status quo. I’m passionate about the mission of Commonwealth Autism and am honored to serve in this new role.”
Jessica began working in the field of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in 1994 and completed her undergraduate degree in psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her interests in applied behavior analysis led her to pursue a graduate degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, during which time she worked at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. She has taught college coursework in autism and applied behavior analysis and has participated on statewide advisory councils and workgroups, including the Virginia Autism Council and the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities. She has also served on the Board of Directors as President for SupportOne, a not-for-profit organization that provides community supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). Jessica received her certificate in nonprofit management through Nonprofit Learning Point, is an alumna of the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program and has been recognized for the past two years as a Great Boss by the Young Nonprofits Professionals Network.