DRA Collective | First Place AZ
Denise is the founder and CEO of DRA Collective, a boutique marketing and public relations firm. Founded in 1986, the agency has been serving clients in a variety of fields including real estate, economic development, health care, education, hospitality and entertainment.
The mother of an adult son with autism, Denise is also the founder, president and CEO of First Place AZ, a charitable nonprofit dedicated to developing new housing and community options for adults with autism and other neurodiversities.
Additionally, Denise is co-founder and board member emeritus of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). Today, SARRC is an internationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to autism research, education and community outreach and the support of individuals with autism and their families throughout their lifetimes. She served as SARRC board chair from 1997-2007.
Denise also co-founded The Real Arizona Coalition, representing business, multi-cultural and faith-based leadership organizations and civic leaders across the state dedicated to S.A.N.E. solutions to federal immigration reform.
Current nonprofit leadership includes serving as a member of the ASU Watts College Dean’s Council, the Creighton University Presidential Health Sciences Phoenix Advisory Board, The Precisionists Inc. Advisory Board, the Autism Society Marketing Task Force and Home Matters® to Arizona Advisory Board. She formerly served as a member of the Arizona Community Foundation Board of Directors, Autism Speaks Family Housing Committee and the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) of the National Institutes of Health.
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 for Affordable Homes and the Family and the ASU Herberger Institute School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. A sister study focused on market segmentation, nomenclature and policy issues is now underway.
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