SANFP E14: Brie Seward and Ken Baumgartner; Interview with Two Autism Awareness Leaders

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Barbara hosts an informative and interesting show around Autism and features two leaders: Brie Seward, Executive Director of the Autism Society of Southern Arizona, and Ken Baumgartner, the Director of InterMountain Centers.

About Brie Seward

Brie is the Executive Director of the Autism Society of Southern Arizona. She started as a volunteer on the marketing committee lending her publishing experience (Harper’s Bazaar and Gourmet magazines), e-commerce (Bond No. 9 Fragrances and Louis Vuitton), and digital marketing (Perry Ellis brands) in New York City and Miami to support ASSA.

Brie is a graduate of The U of A Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program and received her MA in communications from ASU.

The Autism Society of Southern Arizona provides unbiased information and referral services at no cost. We are typically the “first call” parents or individuals with autism make when learning about the diagnosis. We provide information on therapy options, legal considerations, transition resources, schooling, and much more.

Our website features a comprehensive listing of Southern Arizona providers and resources. We also provide customized autism training to schools, organizations, and businesses about our ever-evolving understanding of autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a complex, lifelong developmental condition that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. The Autism experience is different for everyone. It is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is often referred to as a “spectrum condition” that affects people differently and to varying degrees. 1 in 40 or 2.5% of 8-year-old children in an area of Arizona were identified with ASD by ADDSP (Arizona Developmental Disabilities Surveillance Program) in 2018.

This April, the Autism Society celebrates Autism Acceptance Month. Every day, we work to create connections, empowering everyone in the Autism community to live fully.

Be the connection this April to spreading awareness for early diagnosis, promoting inclusion in the greater community, and practicing acceptance in everyday life. Together with the Pima County Superintendent’s Office, we have created a proclamation to designate April as Autism Acceptance Month for Pima County.

While there is currently no known single cause of Autism, early diagnosis helps a person receive resources that can support the choices and opportunities needed to live fully.

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About Ken Baumgartner

Ken Baumgartner completed his Master’s degree in Special Education at Northern Arizona University in 2011. He holds a Graduate Certificate in Positive Behavior Support, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and an Arizona Licensed Behavior Analyst. Ken’s career in serving individuals with disabilities began in 2006 as a Special Education Paraprofessional.

Since then, he has worked as a Behavioral Health Technician, Practicum Supervisor, Special Education Teacher, Education Coordinator and Clinical Manager in a variety of school and clinical settings for 15 years.

Currently, Ken serves as the Director of Behavioral Consultation Service and Outpatient Autism Services for Intermountain Centers in Tucson, Arizona. Ken oversees clinic, home, and community-based interventions for individuals with a broad range of diagnoses.

Ken believes strongly in naturalistic, play-based programming using the science of Applied Behavior Analysis to promote skill acquisition and child development. Ken’s team also implements behavior change programs that are function-based, socially valid, rooted in Positive Behavior Support and promote placement preservation for individuals with challenging behaviors.

He is lucky to work with an amazing cohort of individuals who have come to seek quality supervision and work hard to become effective clinicians.

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About the Host

Barbara McClure, Executive Director  
IMPACT of Southern Arizona 
3535 E Hawser Street 
TucsonAZ  85739                                                    
Phone: 520-825-0009

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Barbara McClure wakes up each morning passionate about going to work at a place that improves lives and inspires futures every day! She has been the Executive Director of a Tucson social service nonprofit called IMPACT of Southern Arizona, for ten years. What is it that keeps you passionate about your role Barbara? 

Barbara has been a visionary and planner with decades of experience as a small business owner and in nonprofit leadership; her innovative ideas and strategic thinking, along with a talent for bringing the community together, has helped grow IMPACT five-fold in a very short time. Her talents and interests are diverse but all center around helping people, improving the community, bolstering education, building capacity and sustainability, being vocal about the rights and conditions of others, experiencing art, nurturing all inhabitants of your garden, and enjoying life to the fullest. 

And now Barbara is about to experience another exciting chapter in her life with hosting a brand-new Radio Show Podcast here on the Tucson Business RadioX Network starting in November. 

IMPACT of Southern Arizona is a 20 – year old social service nonprofit stabilizing families and seniors, and moving people out of poverty. IMPACT’s programs are designed to stretch household budgets so earned income can be spent on necessities such as improved housing conditions, fuel to get to work, utilizes, and needed medical attention and prescriptions Its clients are your neighbors! People come to IMPACT because it is a welcoming place where they are always treated with dignity and respect, and where they find resources, referrals, coaching, and help to attain the skills that can move them forward into self-sufficiency. 

Barbara grew up in Pasadena CA, moved to Long Beach for college, got married and started our family then moved to Seattle area ten years later. Took our youngest son on an 11-month motorhome trip to get to Tucson – Homeschooled for 10th grade. 

We vacationed at a rustic cabin when I was growing up, where we had no phone or television; and spent all our time outside fishing, hiking, horseback riding, listening to old radio shows, playing pool, reading comic books from the local small grocer, and using our imaginations all day long. I always admired the superheroes who defended people and cities like Gotham and Metropolis, so when our three boys were born, we named them after familiar character: Colin (Bryce for an overlay of Bruce Wayne, Kent, and Parker. Our first grandchild was born last year, and as in the family tradition, named Logan, after the Wolverine. I used to always tell them they were my superheroes – and they still are today! 

Barbara loves working with numbers and has always loved math and the organization of things, so accounting seemed perfect, but I soon realized that I if I became a CPA I would have to spend many months inside doing tax returns, and that did not appeal to me as a longterm career! I have a great imagination and enjoy creating things, so thought I should find a better path that might nurture that side of my personality. I was working in the shipping industry in SoCal at the time and fell in love with import and export, so shifted my majors to Marketing and International Business. Those were wonderful fits, and I imagined graduating and moving to the largest port on the planet, in Germany; then, I met my future husband and things took a different turn. 

A little bit about how Barbara got into Nonprofit work: 

All along with my husband and I were always involved in nonprofits and community volunteer opportunities, and often said it was too bad we could not make a living doing those things we loved so much. Leadership roles in PTO, Boy Scouts, Historical Societies, Junior League, Elks, Rotary and more. Then when we moved to Tucson I looked for a local opportunity to impact my community. A Board position was about to open at IMPACT, and my local bank branch manager, Peggy Smoot, suggested I would be very passionate about getting involved in the mission work there. I worked in the Food Bank. 

There are thousands of nonprofits in Tucson. What makes IMPACT Unique is that they bring the community together to stabilize families and move people out of poverty. Our true success lies in partnering with a large number of businesses, agencies, social clubs and other nonprofits. We invest $2.5 million in the community each year, and we do it all with a lean staff of amazing professionals supported by more than 170 volunteer shifts each week! We have put great systems in place to run efficiently, effectively and with a commitment to sustainability and integrity, protecting the community’s investment in our work, striving for perfect audits, being innovative, building capacity and most importantly – treating everyone with dignity and respect. We are an award-winning nonprofit with numerous nods to incredible customer service. Our clients are your neighbors… We improve lives and inspire futures of people living in Southern AZ.  

So, IMPACT is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and you have been at the helm half that time. Share with me the things IMPACT has accomplished over the years, and the things you have planned for this celebratory year. 

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