Autism Ambassadors

In 2010 TACA established an Ambassador Group to help TACA fundraise and support our ongoing efforts of helping families living with autism.TACA Ambassador Mission:

To assemble a group of business professionals that will work with TACA as an ambassador for the foundation. The primary goal would be to garner support and awareness for TACA and autism.

Ambassador efforts will include the following:

1. Assist with event fundraising efforts (in sponsorship, attendees and auction item acquisition).
2. Assist with educational presentations on behalf of TACA in awareness and support for families affected by autism (or set them up for the Executive Director to attend).
3. Assist in helping TACA based on industry expertise or wish list needs for the TACA foundation.

Glen Ackerman

Glen Ackerman Glen Ackerman is CEO at inhouseIT, a founding board member and President of TACA’s Board. Glen has been involved in the IT services business for the past 24 years. For 18 years, he was CEO of Integration Technologies (ITI). ITI was one of the most successful IT technology companies servicing the mid market in Southern California. As a software development organization, ITI provided site intelligence applications to many of the most recognized business leaders in the retail, restaurant and real estate markets. Glen and his wife Lisa formed TACA in 2000. Glen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Tim Adams

Tim Adams Tim Adams is the principal attorney at Adams & Associates, APLC, a disability rights law firm in Orange County, California. For over a decade, Tim has zealously represented children affected by autism. Tim serves as a resource to families and professionals across the country through presentations and seminars on special education law. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine and his Juris Doctorate degree from Pepperdine University School of Law. He has served as an adjunct professor and Associate Director of the Special Education Advocacy Clinic, Pepperdine University School of Law. He has also trained Orange County Superior Court Judges regarding special education law. Tim is a board member of the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law & Advocacy (EBCALA). He enjoys snowboarding, stand up paddleboarding and traveling. Tim lives with his wife, Rose and three daughters in Orange, California.

Marc Ang

Marc Ang Marc Ang is a Financial Planner, who founded Mangus Finance, a practice dedicated to serving families with special needs, providing expertise in the areas of life and disability insurance, estate planning (including high net worth considerations), long term care, nuances around government benefits for special needs families and focusing on when it is appropriate to have a special needs trust, ABLE account or both.

Previously, he worked as an ABA therapist and founded/operated an educational services company dedicated to children with special needs. Watching children he worked with from his previous career grow up to become adults, he got involved with TACA due to a desire to make a positive impact on infrastructure around autistic adults, and helping them live full meaningful lives. He is currently based out of Claremont, CA.

Previously, Marc was a Financial Planner with Prudential and an Assistant Vice President at Credit Suisse in Private Banking and Wealth Management, based in New York. Marc has a Bachelors Degree from Pepperdine University and a Masters Degree from Columbia University.

Shana Baker

Shana Baker photo Shana Baker is Assistant Vice President at Buchanan Street Partners in Newport Beach, CA. Currently, she manages the Investment Accounting department, involved with the financial reporting to investors and oversees five fund portfolios, as well as two separate accounts. She has over 15 years experience in commercial and industrial real estate.Passionate about giving back to the community, she helped form Buchanan Children’s Charities, (501c-3) in late 2007, and serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors. BCC is focused on entrepreneurial children’s charities that make a significant impact in the local communities we serve.

Shana earned her Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Fullerton. She resides in Huntington Beach, and enjoys spending time with her nephews.

Julia S. Berle

julia-berle Julia is an experienced non-profit leader, a nationally certified interpreter for the deaf, and is married with three children. Since the time of her oldest son’s diagnosis with autism in 2002, Julia has been working tirelessly in the fight to recover her son and other children from autism. After her son lost the diagnosis of autism in 2005, Julia helped to establish and work for two non-profit organizations to inform, educate and support families who have a child or children with this diagnosis. She is the founding coordinator for the greater Los Angeles, California chapter of Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), an organization that helps more than 45,000 families nationwide. The mission of this organization is to provide emotional and informational support to parents of children with autism. TACA also provides tools that can be used to help and support these children and their families. Julia also served as a TACA mentor and was once honored as the top, single-person fundraiser nationwide for this organization. Julia is an international speaker on the subject of autism and has appeared in a variety of media outlets on the local, national and international levels. She is also a Parent Founder for the organization Generation Rescue, a non-profit group focused on funding and researching the cause(s) and biomedical recovery options for autism.

Chris Bull

Chris Bull Chris Bull serves as a Co-Founder and Managing Director of McDermott & Bull, based in Irvine California. He is responsible for overseeing the majority of the firm’s Search Consultants, as well as training and development. Formerly, Chris was an Executive Vice President in the Orange County office of DHR International, the nation’s 6th largest executive search firm. Earlier in his career, Chris spent six years operating the company he founded: American Liberty Capital Corporation. American Liberty combined cutting edge technology with the standards of commercial and residential mortgage banking retail services to become one of the largest privately held consumer finance companies based in Southern California.Chris currently serves on the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Ambassadors Board of Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) and has recently served as a Board Member for the Association for Corporate Growth. He currently resides in Laguna Hills, California with his two children. Chris received a Bachelors Degree in Economics and Finance from the University of Texas at Austin in 1985.

Dan Carney

Dan Carney Dan Carney has been a member of Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) since inception. He is an advocate for families affected by autism. Dan earned his bachelor’s degree in economics for the University of Southern California and he earned his MBA from Woodbury University. After graduation he worked for E.F. Hutton, Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney. He is the founder and President of Carney Portfolio Management, an investment advisory firm. In 1998, Dan Carney and Max Carney founded Midwest Insurance an insurance company that provides worker’s compensation for businesses and other institutions.Dan serves on the Finance Committee and the Gifts and Trust Committee for the Newport Center Methodist Church. He actively supports and coaches the Challenger Baseball and Challenger Flag Football teams. He resides in Newport Beach with his wife Vicki and their two children Michael and Aspen.

Jeff Cova

Jeff Cova Jeff Cova is Founder and CEO of Winspire Inc. Winspire assists non-profits in the United States and Canada by providing highly sought after unique experiences and travel related packages to be used in charity auctions and fundraisers. To date, Winspire has assisted over 7,000 non-profits raise more than $11,0000,000 in net revenue.Prior to Winspire, Jeff was co-founder of The Gavel Group in 2001, a company specializing in producing charity auctions for non-profits.Jeff graduated from Fresno State University with a degree in Sports Administration, working in sponsorship sales for Fresno State Athletics, Cal State Fullerton, Anaheim Angels and Anaheim Ducks.A resident of Ladera Ranch, Jeff enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife Anne and children Shane, Sammy and Mia.

Terri Donnelly

Terri-Donnelly-72dpi Terri Donnelly currently serves as Executive Assistant to the CEO and Chairman of Microsemi Corporation, a publicly traded  technology company based in Aliso Viejo, California providing semiconductor and system solutions differentiated by power, security, reliability and performance.  Terri has spent the majority of her career working for several leading Orange County technology companies, with more than 25 years dedicated to the semiconductor industry. In addition to her role with Microsemi, she serves as Executive Vice President for CompuVac Industries, a Costa Mesa-based technology company she founded along with her husband in 1999. After meeting Lisa Ackerman and spending the last seven years supporting TACA through various fundraising and awareness activities,  Terri has become a huge advocate for the organization. She also encourages friends, family and colleagues to engage with and support TACA’s wide array of programs. Terri enjoys sailing, stand-up paddle boarding and traveling.  A native Californian, she currently resides in Laguna Beach with her husband Dave and Labrador Bella.

Chad Fitzsimmons

Chad is currently the Director, Music Initiatives, CBS RADIO. Before moving to Los Angeles in 2005 to launch JACK FM, Chad worked for CBS RADIO in Charlotte, NC for 3 years. Alongside his responsibilities for 93.1 JACK FM, Chad also serves in the same capacity as Marketing Director for 97.1 AMP RADIO, also based out of Los Angeles.In August of 2005, JACK FM adopted TACA as the beneficiary for JACK’s First Show. Five years later, Chad and the JACK FM team continue to partner with TACA on various events, awareness programs, and fundraising campaigns.Chad graduated from Winona State University in 1999. He now lives in Manhattan Beach with his wife Angie and son Kellan.

Ehsan Gharatappeh

Ehsan Gharatappeh Born and raised in Houston, TX today he is the CEO of CellPoint Corporation, a global manufacturing firm based in Orange County, CA. CPT assists manufacturing companies with creative and innovative solutions to reduce manufacturing costs and increase product value. The firm delivers repair services and products to Fortune 500 companies, has over 80 employees in a wholly owned factory in Shanghai, PRC. He enjoys skiing, mountain climbing and general mountaineering. Ehsan lives in Newport Beach with his wife and two children.

Gita Gupta

Gita Gupta Gita grew up in India, and came to the US for graduate degrees in Computer Science. She spent over 20 years in Silicon Valley in executive product strategy roles at Fortune 100 companies and seed level startups, in market segments that include analytics, business applications, databases, development tools and social media. After her son was diagnosed with autism, she became passionate about helping families find answers for their children's' complex medical needs. She has created a forum focused on evidence-based interventions for these children, with several thousand members in 15 countries. Gita closely follows medical research literature in autism, and works with numerous researchers in the areas of neurology, mitochondrial and metabolic medicine, immunology, microbiome etc. Gita's family foundation identifies research with the potential to significantly improve outcomes for individuals with autism and makes seed level grants to help ideas go from conception to proof of concept. As time allows, she also consults on market strategy with early-stage startups. Gita lives in California with her husband and her 9 year old son.

Jonathan Hallstead

Jonathan Hallstead Jonathan Hallstead is the Area Sales Manager of Bay Equity Home Loans. Jonathan directs the operations of a mortgage branch that originates over 200m in residential mortgage loans annually a year. Bay Equity Home Loans is a service retained mortgage bank that is presently licensed in 30 states and does 3 billion annually in production.

Jonathan Hallstead has built a strong reputation for helping homeowners understand real estate and lending. Jonathan has over 10 years of experience in mortgage lending. In early 2013 he joined Bay Equity Home Loans to launch and grow their retail presence in Orange County California, located in the city of Irvine. Prior to joining Bay Equity Home Loans, Jonathan has owned and operated numerous mortgage branches with gross loan production exceeding one billion dollars. Jonathan also serves on the board of directors for the California Association of Mortgage Professionals.

Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine and a Master's degree in Business Administration from Chapman University. He presently holds a California Real Estate Broker's License as well as a mortgage loan originator license in; California, Colorado, Washington, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia. He has received numerous awards and honors as a production manager and loan officer. Jonathan is recognized as one of the top 1% of originators in the nation by Mortgage Executive Magazine.

Jonathan resides in Newport Beach with his wife and two dogs. He enjoys traveling, golf, surfing as well as keeping up on politics and current events. Furthermore he stays active in the local community engaging with local charities and organizations to further their causes. Find Jonathan on LinkedIn

Inna Kassatkina

Inna Kassatkina Entrepreneurial spirit, zest for life, and dedication to children are just a few of Inna Kassatkina's personal and professional traits. Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, today she is the president and co-founder of Global Language Solutions (GLS), a professional translation and interpreting firm based in Aliso Viejo, CA. GLS assists international companies with document translation, conference interpreting, creative writing, software localization, web site adaptation, and cross-cultural consulting. The firm delivers language services to numerous Fortune 500 companies, has dozens of employees, a pool of 2,000 freelance translators around the globe, and offices in France and Argentina. Inna attended Moscow State University and graduated cum laude from the University of California at Irvine (UCI) with a major in linguistics. She enjoys playing piano and tennis, loves traveling, and is fluent in several languages. Inna lives in Newport Beach with her husband and two children.

Mark Khatoonian

Mark Khatoonian Mark Khatoonian has been involved in the real estate management industry for over 20 years, and is currently with the asset management group of RREEF in Costa Mesa, California. RREEF is one of the world’s largest real estate investment managers, investing in commercial and residential property, and real estate securities globally. Primarily focused on accounting and financial analysis, Mark has worked with both large and small property managers and investment firms in Arizona and Southern California. Mark became involved with TACA though an annual charity golf tournament called the “Jimmies Invitational”, which he hosts with friends in Orange County, CA. This event has been held each of the last five years, and now benefits TACA. Mark earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance at Arizona State University. In his free time Mark enjoys travelling, golfing, hiking/backpacking, bicycling and sea kayaking.

Manny Khoshbin

manny-khoshbin Manny Khoshbin arrived in the US with his family at age 14 with not much money or resources. As an entrepreneur at heart, Manny soon realized the opportunities that existed in America and started his own business in 1989 at age 18 while still attending High School. In the early 1990’s, Manny obtained his real estate license and started a realty and mortgage company so that he could invest in distressed and bank owned properties. Today Mr. Khoshbin is guiding several companies in all aspects of its business with a commercial real estate portfolio in excess of 1,500,000 square feet in 6 states. He resides in Newport Coast with his wife Leyla Milani Khoshbin and daughter Priscilla. Manny enjoys vacationing with his family and Philanthropy through multiple causes.

Erich Kreidler

Erich-Kreidler Erich Kreidler is a seasoned leader with over 15 years of experience working in environments that require the execution of mission-critical initiatives. Currently serving as Managing Partner for KRE Consulting and Industry Professor at the University of Southern California (USC), Erich brings leading thought leadership in the areas of project management and organizational management.

At KRE, Erich leverages his ability to connect and relate to people of different generations, background or responsibilities to in the organization, both internally and working with its clients. Whether advising members of the C-suite or individual contributors, Erich takes a pragmatic approach consists of extracting the knowledge, ideas, vision and inspiration trapped within his clients' organizations to become drivers of such strategic transformation.

At USC, he lectures in Engineering Project Management and Business Engineering at the graduate level. Author of award-winning publications, Professor Kreidler was recognized by Orange County's Engineering Council by being awarded the Outstanding Educator Award. Sample publications include: "Business Acumen as an Integral Part of Project Management", "The Art and Science of Managing a Crisis" and "The Do's and Don'ts of Offshore Software Outsourcing".

Steve Plank

Steve-Plank_2 Steve Plank is an executive in Allergan’s Global Information Systems organization. Steve joined Allergan in 2005 as the Director of Regulatory Information Management. In 2007, he transitioned into the I.S. organization. Since joining the I.S. organization, he has lead the introduction of numerous capabilities, transformational technology, teams, and technology governance. Steve has over 15 years of experience dedicated in the life sciences industry with roles in the business and IS functions spanning nearly all aspects of the development and commercial lifecycle. Prior to joining Allergan, Steve held positions at Baxter and Amgen as well as consulting engagements at many of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies. Steve graduated from Temple University with a B.S. in Computer Science and received his MBA from the University of Southern California. He currently resides in Irvine, California with his wife and three kids.

Kim Yang-Uk

Kim Yang-Uk A recognized leader in the real estate community known for consistent high quality and volume production, Kim Yang-Uk offers extensive market knowledge and expertise to maximize sellers’ net and matches buyers with the perfect property. Over the past twenty-six years in the real estate community, Kim, Yang-Uk has earned the Hall of Fame, Lifetime Achievement and the Circle of Legends awards. In 2011, she was named #1 individual producer for RE/MAX in the United States. She attends the annual REOMAC conventions and Realtor for Kids Charity Golf Tournament.

With a reputation of being an ethical, reliable and assertive broker, she has effectively represented institutional sellers such as Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, & Chase Home Loans. Kim, Yang-Uk offers a cohesive team of professionals specializing in property management, valuation, rehabilitation, and closing that consistently delivers results by aligning clients’ goals with a tailored marketing strategy.

Kim, Yang-Uk obtained her B.S. in Biology from Brown University in 1984 and has also attended Dartmouth College in 1981, Ewha Woman’s University Korea in 1982, Stanford University in 1983. As an active member of Brown University Alumni Association, she participates in the annual admissions interviews and is involved in alumni community events, charity fundraising and networking. With Kim, Yang-Uk’s dynamic personality, you will rarely see her sitting still. If she is not kickboxing with her two sons or cooking with her daughter, you will find her traveling across the world with her family. Her most recent trips were to Sri Lanka with her husband and daughter where they spent time volunteering at an orphanage and to Italy for a nice and quiet girls’ trip where they explored local architecture and local cuisine. With any tasks assigned to her, Kim, Yang-Uk will exceed your expectations completing them with experience, passion and dedication.

Ambassadors are nominated by TACA board, key staff or other TACA Ambassadors to participate.To receive more information about TACA Ambassadors, please contact us for additional information.