Denise D. Resnik

Denise is the founder and CEO of DRA Collective, formerly DRA Strategic Communications.

The mother of an adult son on the autism spectrum, Denise is the founder and president/CEO of First Place AZ, a nonprofit dedicated to developing new, innovative housing options for adults with autism and other special abilities. She is also the co-founder and board member emeritus of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), an internationally recognized nonprofit organization committed to autism research, education and community outreach and the lifelong support of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.

Other nonprofit leadership includes serving as a member of the Autism Speaks Family Housing Committee, Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) Leadership Council, National Association of Residential Providers for Adults with Autism (NARPAA) and the National Autism Transition Research Network Advisory Panel. Denise also served as a federally appointed member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) of the National Institutes of Health.

Denise serves as a member of the Arizona Community Foundation Board of Directors and BBVA Compass Advisory Board.

Denise is the editor of Opening Doors: A discussion of Residential Options for Adults Living with Autism and Related Disorders, a collaborative study by SARRC, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Arizona, the Arizona State University (ASU) Stardust Center of Affordable Homes and the Family and ASU Herberger Institute School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

Denise has been recognized by numerous local and national organizations. Among her honors are Valle del Sol's Mom of the Year (2015), Phoenix Theatre’s Women Who Care Award (2010); National Jae Davis Community Service Award by the Organization for Autism Research (2009); Valley Leadership Woman of the Year Award (2008); Kappa Kappa Gamma National Alumnae Achievement Award (2008); Human Relations Award by the Arizona Chapter of the American Jewish Committee (2007); Champions Award by the Autism Society of America (2007); Women of Worth honor by L’Oreal (2006); Athena Award by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (2001); Small Businessperson of the Year by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (2001); World of Well-Being Award by the Arizona Cactus-Pine Girl Scout Council (2001); and Arts Advocate of the Year by the Business Volunteers for the Arts of Phoenix (1998).

She graduated from Arizona State University cum laude and received her bachelor's degree in business. Denise's greatest accomplishment is her family—her husband Rob of 32 years, and adult children Matt, Ally and Whitney.



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