One in 68 Children has Autism
Gary Maffei has served as the Executive Director of Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) for more than 20 years. Under his leadership, QSAC has grown from nascent nonprofit to a recognized leader in the delivery of services for children and adults with autism. Over the past five years, his steadfast leadership has helped the organization to increase its services by more than 30% to meet the needs of our community.
Previously, Gary served as Executive Director of the AIDS Center of Queens County. In addition, he held various development roles with Molloy College and other New York-based nonprofit organizations. Gary received his Master's in Public Administration as well as his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from C.W. Post University-Long Island. He has received a number of honors for his work in the nonprofit sector including recognitions from the Queens Borough President and the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens.
Maffei has served as a Mayoral Appointee to two New York citywide councils, an adjunct instructor, delegate to a Judicial Nominating Convention, member of a New York City Community Board, and officer of several area political clubs. Maffei has been featured in a number of newspaper profiles. Gary serves on the Board of the InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies (IAC) where he chairs the Public Relations Committee; the Board of Directors for the Global Autism Project; and the Board of Advance of Greater New York.
Cory Polshansky joined QSAC in 1993, initially serving as Director of Case Management; however, his leadership and foresight quickly resulted in the growth of QSAC's programs and he currently serves as Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. Among his many achievements, Polshansky has overseen great expansion at QSAC, coordinating the opening of group homes, day habilitation programs, and other waiver and family support programs.
Cory began working with the developmental disabilities population in 1988 at Wilton Developmental Center. From 1989 through 1991, he was employed by the Clinton County Association for Retarded Citizens in Plattsburgh, NY. At that time, he attended Plattsburgh State University, where he earned his Bachelors of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. In 1991, he was employed at Professional Service Centers for the Handicapped, Queens, NY, where he worked in their Mental Health and Case Management Programs.
Lisa Veglia has been with QSAC since 1991. She has served as QSAC’s Deputy Executive Director since 2007, having previously served as the Associate Executive Director for nine years. In her role on QSAC's Executive leadership team, Lisa is responsible for the overall development and administration of the organization. Prior to being in senior management, Lisa held several positions at QSAC including Director of the After School Program, Director of Service Coordination, and several direct care positions earlier in her career.
Lisa received her Master’s degree in Public Administration from Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs. She also received a Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University with internships at North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center and Elmhurst Hospital. She received her Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Psychology from Queens College. Lisa is a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker and holds additional NYS certifications in School Business Administration, School District Administration, and School Administration and Supervision.
Lisa is the Chairperson of the Queens Council on Developmental Disabilities. She is the former Vice Chair of the Council , and Co-Chaired of the Children's’ Committee. Lisa is also Co-Chair of the Interagency Council’s Education Committee, where she was the former Chair of the Early Intervention Committee and is also a member of the Board of Directors. Lisa has served on several ad-hoc committees with other non-profit and State representatives to address policy development and implementation, related to the developmental disabilities and autism community. In 2012, Lisa was appointed by the NYC Mayor’s office to serve on the Community Services Board, also known as the Mental Hygiene Advisory Board.
In recognition for her work in the field of developmental disabilities, Lisa has received a number of awards and honors including the 2010 June Marcus Award from the Queens Council for Developmental Disabilities, as well as an Award of Excellence from the National Center for Disability Services, an Outstanding Service Award from the Queensboro Council of Social Welfare, and the Hearst Scholarship Award in Non-Profit Management from Baruch College. She has been featured in several newspaper articles and was in the 2005/2006 Empire edition of Who’s Who Empowering Executives and Professionals.
Lisa is an instructor with Nassau Community College, providing management and leadership training. She is also the President of the Board of Directors of the Long Island Crisis Center in Bellmore, N.Y.
Douglas "Doug" Axenfeld joins QSAC after his tenure at FEDCAP Rehabilitation Services where he serve as the organization’s Director of Financial Operations having previously served as Director of Financial Operations for nearly 10-years at YAI. Earlier in his career, Doug served as QSAC’s Controller.
Doug is a graduate the State University of New York at Buffalo where he received a Bachelor of Science in Economics.
Joseph Amodeo is the Senior Director of Development and Strategy at QSAC. In this role, he oversees the agency’s fundraising, institutional relations, external communications, strategic planning, and community relations efforts. Prior to this role, Joseph served as QSAC's Director of Development.
Earlier in his career, Joseph served as the Partnership Manager at CFY where he oversaw the organization’s corporate relations program and national events. He also served as the Development Coordinator at the New York State Dental Foundation where he worked with various stakeholders to raise awareness about the need for a multidisciplinary approach to treating and preventing HIV/AIDS. His efforts at the Foundation included hosting an international conference about the implementation of rapid HIV testing in the dental setting.
Joseph also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. He holds a Master's in Public Administration from Marist College as well as a Master of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from the State University of New York at Albany. He is a Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) and serves on numerous national committees for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).
Eileen Breen began her career in the field of developmental disabilities in 1986 where she attended nursing school in Ireland.
In February 1994, she immigrated to New York. In December of 1999 Eileen joined QSAC as the first Quality Assurance Specialist. She has since created the QA department.
While at QSAC, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Empire State College. She later went on to obtain her Master’s degree in Public Administration from Baruch College.
Mi Jung Choi serves as QSAC's Controller. Prior to this role, she served as Director of Finance for QSAC. Ms. Choi has more than 20 years of financial and accounting experience in the nonprofit sector.
In her role, Ms. Choi is responsible for the day to day operation of the Fiscal Department and provides guidance on budget development and liaises with various New York State and city health agencies.
Prior to joining QSAC, Ms. Mi Jung Choi served as the Assistant to Controller for Contemporary Guidance Services, Inc., New York, a provider of residential/vocational programs for young adults with developmental disabilities. Ms Choi received a BS in Accounting from Baruch College CUNY and became a licensed Certified Public Accountant in 2008.
Gina Feliciano is the Senior Director of Education Services; prior to that Gina served as the Director of the Preschool. Gina is responsible for the overall operation of the preschool and day school. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (Doctoral level) as well as a certified New York State Special Education Teacher and School Administrator.
Gina received her Doctorate from Columbia University in Special Education and Behavior Disorders in 2006.
Her previous professional experience includes being appointed as Director of Clinical Services, Director of ABA services and years training staff and education professionals as a Behavioral Consultant.
Gina has held academic positions as an adjunct professor at Hunter College, Pace University and Queens College teaching courses on behavior management, classroom management and education psychology.
Ms. Claire LaPlaca serves as the Senior Director of Service Coordination and Support Services. Prior to this role, Ms. LaPlaca served as the Director of Service Coordination. She oversees the service coordination department, early intervention service coordination, ISS apartments, and various family support grant programs.
Ms. LaPlaca began her career with QSAC as a direct care counselor and advanced in both clinical and administrative roles during her 15 years with the organization. She has worked in various programs such as afterschool, community habilitation, day habilitation, residential and quality assurance.
Within each department, she has held several positions typically rising to the level of supervisor. She has written policy, curricula and spearheaded new programs for QSAC. Ms. LaPlaca has a dual bachelors in sociology and communication disorders with the intent of finishing her masters in speech language pathology.
She was one of the few undergraduates to have her presentation accepted at a NYSSHLA (New York State Speech Language Hearing Association) Convention as a scholarship entry. Recently, she was presented with the June Marcus Award in 2013 for exceptional work in the field of developmental disabilities.
Andrew Linden currently works as QSAC’s Senior Director of Adult Programs. Andrew got his start in the field working at a camp for developmentally disabled people in 1989.
He came to QSAC in 1997 as a Residence Manager and opened up QSAC’s first group home. He was promoted to Residential Director a year later. Andrew started QSAC’s Human Rights Committee and served as the Chair for several years.
In 1999 he was promoted to the Director of Adult Programs and oversaw QSAC’s Day Habilitation Programs in addition to the fast growing Residential Department. He currently serves as the Senior Director of Adult Programs and oversees the operations of QSAC’s Residential, Day Habilitation, Nursing and Maintenance Departments.
Lauren Maldonado, QSAC’s Senior Director of Day Services, majored in Special Education at Skidmore College and Lesley University. She came to QSAC as a Direct Care staff in 1998. Since then, she has worked as a Residential Manager at QSAC’s IRA #1, as a Field Coordinator for the Day-Hab, and most recently as the Day-Hab Director.
Ms. Ramsay began her career in 1993 working at The Center for Life Enhancement, providing counseling to individuals with HIV/AIDS. Ms. Ramsay also worked at United Families of East Harlem, providing counseling to children with special needs. In 1994, Ms. Ramsay joined QSAC and quickly rose to her current position as Senior Director of Billing and Family Services. Ms. Ramsay oversees an office staff of 30 and over 300 field staff. Ms. Ramsay earned her Bachelors’ Degree from Metropolitan College and received her Master in Public Administration from Baruch College.