Our Board Members

Pier Westra

Pier Westra was born and raised in Lakeland, Florida before attending high school at The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee and graduating from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida with a degree in Sociology. Following his undergraduate work, Pier has spent 34 years helping those in need in various roles as a property and casualty claims professional. Managing local, regional and national claims organization in day to day as well as catastrophe situations, he has found value in helping families to rebuild their lives during a time of loss. His ability to martial resources, engage the community and motivate groups to act has brought value to the Non-Profit he and his wife started called Javamo Art for Autism Foundation (later changed to Autism Shifts) and Artistas Café, a social enterprise whose mission is to employ individuals with Autism.

Pier and his wife Vicky adopted their daughter, Gabrielle, from Romania at age two and who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the age of four. Pier and Vicky became acquainted with the obstacles that face those with disabilities. Whether in obtaining the best support system available for Gabrielle, or helping young adults on the spectrum reach their highest level of independence and joy. Pier’s desire to serve those with disabilities, in conjunction with his personal and professional experiences, brings a unique and holistic approach to his role on the Board of Autism Shifts as well as Artistas Cafe.

Vicky Westra

Vicky Westra is the Founder of Autism Shifts, a 501(c)3 Non-profit Foundation and Artistas Café, a unique Social Enterprise whose mission is to employ individuals diagnosed with Autism. Prior to her current entrepreneurial role, Vicky worked at Tampa Electric Company for 22 years in various roles. Her last role prior to leaving TECO was Director of Customer Services and Marketing.

Vicky has a B.S. in Business Marketing from The University of Tampa. She is married to Pier and has one child, Gabrielle (Gabbi). Gabbi was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) when she was four years old. Through their journey with her own daughter, as well as her experience providing training and employment for individuals with Autism, Vicky has developed a very comprehensive and unique understanding of the diagnosis.

Vicky is now on a mission, through Autism Shifts, to provide greater education and understanding about the diagnosis and help communities re-imagine a new world for Autism. Autism Shifts’ programs serve the four groups that are key to making this happen, which include: 1) individuals diagnosed with ASD 2) Parents/Caregivers/Families of those diagnosed 3) Businesses who want to become Autism Employment Ready and 4) the broader population.

Vicky believes the timing is right and Tampa Bay is the perfect place to create the first Autism Ready Community model!

Dennis Hartin

Dennis has a unique passion for helping others, whether in his profession, community, or circle of friends and family. He was born in KY and locating to Tampa in 2014 with his wife and two boys. He founded Hartin Dynamics in Jan if 2018 doing anything necessary to help his clients attract and retain the best talent. He views The Autism Shifts organization as one of the best programs to help employers connect with our populations with “Uniqueabilities”. After attending Autism Shifts meetings he realized how much this population is underserved. He serves on multiple boards including Autism Shifts the Florida Association of Health Underwriters, Children’s Dream Racer and the National Center for Performance Health. His current efforts align Dynamic solutions that assist in training the neuro diverse, comforting children with cancer and the growing mental health epidemic.

Arlo Henderson

Arlo is passionate about the Autism Community. He believes the world the needs to better understand the positive impact of embracing our Autism population. He takes great pride in being a part of the creation of the job ready program training at Autism Shifts. His best days are when he is physically present to teach and share his hope for a better tomorrow with Autism Shifts young adults diagnosed with ADS. Arlo resides in Tampa with his wife Teal, and his son AJ. They have 2 adult daughters (Tiara and Taylor) and a Cane Corso named Koda, the newest addition to the family. A native of St. Louis, Missouri; Arlo earned an MBA from USF, a BA from Mississippi Valley State University and NICCM from Marquette and CLU designation from The American College of Financial Services. Arlo is also a certified in CBT and REBT Coaching Practitioner. He is also the membership director the local NFL Alumni Chapter.

Deloria Nelson

Deloria is the President and Founder of Authentic Culture and Engagement Solutions, Inc. ACE. ACE is a dynamic consulting firm that has a dual focus on organizations and individuals. Dee was recently the Managing Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Charles Schwab & Company where she lead the national Inclusion efforts for the firm. Deloria is a published author and amazing speaker who has worked professionally in Human Resources for more than 25 years with various Fortune 500 companies including Walt Disney World. Deloria’s personal brand is positive energy and an uplifting spirit. Her commitment to Diversity & Inclusion stems from her personal mission statement which encapsulates helping people find and leverage their unique gifts. In her spare time, you will find her writing poetry, spoiling her twin granddaughters or on the farm with her husband, children and adorable goats.

Marilyn Burrows

Marilyn is a strategic-thinking Marketing and PR executive with many years of experience driving brand awareness, sales and retention across consumer and business sectors. She currently runs her own Marketing Communications agency called A Strategy Matters. Marilyn brings 25+ years of experience leading national marketing strategy for GTE, Verizon and Frontier Communications. One of her favorite accomplishments was being the Marketing Director that led the team developing the Verizon brand which is currently valued at $65B. Her proudest moment with Autism Shifts was working with the media to launch the Artistas Café Food truck and seeing, Ray, one of our baristas, eloquently represent us on live TV after admitting that before Autism Shifts he had been a glorified mute. “I believe in the work we’re doing and look forward to inspiring our Autism community.”

Darcy Rouhani

Darcy is an autistic professional with over 10 years of experience in aviation engineering and manufacturing. Having served in both technical and corporate roles ranging from process analyst to corporate secretary as well as interim chief executive officer, she brings a unique voice to Autism Shifts. Darcy has an aptitude for visual reasoning and is particularly skilled at designing and analyzing complex systems and processes. Her corporate background allows her to serve Autism Shifts in developing and maintaining a variety of systems and processes. She has a passion for helping professionals and organizations embrace and navigate systemic change and in educating others regarding the value that neurodiversity brings to the world. She currently runs her own consulting company supporting aviation and biomedical engineering industries as well as healthcare.

Larry Chadwell

Larry E. Chadwell, Sr. is a co-vocational minister serving in commerce and in the church. He has started 18 businesses and 18 churches. Larry holds a B.A. degree in business management from the University of South Florida, and a Master of Arts degree in church planting from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Larry is married to Brenda and they currently have five children and fifteen grandchildren. He works at Chadwell Supply, Inc. and serves on staff at Christ Fellowship Tampa.

Provide your name and e-mail to receive a FREE printable “Emotional Guidance Scale”!

Fill out my online form.

Skip to content