Board Members

Dr. Stephen Shore, honorary chair

Aaron Feinstein

Mark Lit

Mark Newman

Mary Holland

Roslyn Weinstein

Valerie Charles

George Nickel

Nancy Small

Conrad Pinnock

About our Board of Directors:

Dr. Stephen Shore Diagnosed with “Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies” and “too sick” for outpatient treatment Dr. Stephen Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism.

In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Stephen presents and consults internationally on adult issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure as discussed in his books Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger SyndromeAsk and Tell: Self-advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum, the critically acclaimed Understanding Autism for Dummies., and the newly released DVD Living along the Autism Spectrum: What it means to have Autism or Asperger Syndrome.

President emeritus of the Asperger’s Association of New England and former board member of the Autism Society, Dr. Shore serves in the Interagency Autism Coordinating CommitteeAsperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism AssociationUnited States Autism and Asperger Association, and other autism related organizations.

Mark Newman Mark has been the Vice President of Production Services at Worth Linen Associates since 2009.  Worth Linen Associates is a Direct Marketing Consulting Firm/Agency. Mark spends the majority of his time spent on non-profit fundraising for The USO and Texas BioMedical Research Foundation. Before joining WLA, he spent 8 years at DraftFCB as Production Supervisor on the Verizon account, and helped launched the Fios Internet and TV direct mail and collateral campaigns.  Mark also handled all production for the agency’s pro bono accounts (City Harvest, Meals on Wheels, and Birch Family Services.) Prior to DraftFCB, he was Production Director at where he launched the Webhouse club division, Priceline’s venture into the world of “name your own price” for gasoline and groceries. As Senior Manager at Deutsch, Inc., he was responsible for all the agency ‘s DM clients including Ikea, Bank One, Pfizer and Snapple. He earned his reputation during 9 years as Production Manager at American Express.  He helped launched the company first co-branded cards (Delta, Hilton and Sheraton) as well as the Optimum Card, American Express’s first revolving credit card. He has a BS in Commerce from Rider University with a major in Marketing and a minor in Decision Sciences. He has also been a board member for ABILIS (formerly ARC of Greenwich) and with SEPTA of Fairfield (the largest Special Education PTA in CT.)  He is a parent of Garrett, who has participated in Actionplay program since 2012.

Valerie C. Charles, Secretary Valerie Charles is an attorney and associate general counsel at AGT International and Vocativ. She handles complex civil matters in both state and federal court.
Ms. Charles’ professional experience includes representing clients in investigations and cases brought by the United States Attorney’s Offices for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the Manhattan and Kings County District Attorney’s offices, as well as in internal investigations. She has worked on a number of high profile matters and has particular expertise in the representation of internet gaming and related e-commerce businesses. She has successfully obtained a favorable below-Guidelines sentence in a criminal matter prosecuted by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She also has experience representing a Chinese company before the NASDAQ Listing and Hearing Review Council. She continues to maintain a relationship with the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization that assists prisoners in proving innocence through DNA testing, where she interned during law school.
Ms. Charles is a graduate of DePaul University and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. At Cardozo, Valerie was the Executive Editor of Submissions for the Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative law and was the recipient of the Jacob Burns Medal for special achievement. She also served as a student law clerk for the Honorable Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. of the District of New Jersey. Ms. Charles published Hired Guns and Higher Law: A Tortured Expansion of the Military Contractor Defense, which was republished in a collection of articles in 2010.

Conrad Pinnock, Treasurer  Conrad Pinnock joined Harlem Children’s Zone in November 2007. He is an accomplished HR professional with more than 10 years experience providing strategic human resources leadership to not-for-profit organizations. Prior to joining HCZ, Conrad was Director of Human Resources for Millennium Promise Alliance, an international nonprofit working to end extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa and previously Director of Human Resources at Amnesty International USA. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration & Economics from King’s College and an MPA in Nonprofit Management from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.

George Nickel, M.S. CCC-SLP  George owns a private practice in Staten Island, New York and is certified by the National American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) as a Speech Language Pathologist licensed in New York State. He received his Master Of Science Degree in Speech Language Pathology from Brooklyn College in 1986. He has been working with children and adults in a variety of settings for twenty-five years. He has worked for the New York City Board Of Education in Junior and High Schools. He worked in a private school, The High Road School in East Brunswick, New Jersey. He worked as a Speech Language Pathologist at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) for the Laurie Neurodevelopmental Institute at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in their Early Intervention Program and The Child Evaluation Center. He was an adjunct professor at St. John’s University Staten Island and a Clinical instructor at, Brooklyn College. He was the co- founder of two private practices Pediatric and Adult Language Services (PALSS) based in East Brunswick, New Jersey and Staten Island, New York; A New Stride based on Staten Island. Mr. Nickel has provided his services to those with stuttering, voice, articulation, central auditory processing, developmental language, social skills, stroke/aphasia, oral motor, feeding difficulties and language based learning disabilities. He has served on the New Jersey State and New York City Speech- Language and Hearing Associations as a board member. He served as Vice President of the New Jersey Speech Language and Hearing State Speech Convention as well as Chair of Programs and Exhibits. He has served on The Church of St. Andrews, Staten Island Vestry and was Chairperson of Outreach Programs. In his spare time George is discovering ways to advocate awareness of Autism. Presently, serving as an Advisory Team Member for an upcoming film, Big Daddy Autism. He has written Eeya’s Rhythm, which is the first story of a trilogy to be produced into an animated film for a Public Service Announcement (PSA). The stories are about a fictional young boy with ASD and his journey to becoming a successfulyoung man. The animation was produced by Joey Travolta’s Inclusion Films in conjunction with Dani Bowman at Power-Light Studios. Dani is a 19 year old woman with ASD and has her own animation company. The stories were not only inspired by George’s young friends with ASD who taught him many valuable lessons but also to the many mentors who have taught him to have an “open mind, compassion and kindness” in his therapeutic approach. George is looking forward to being a board member with Actionplay. He will use his energy to increase funding and new programs for Actionplay.