MEET THE STAFF
Get to know the Spectrum Team: Staff
Ann Marie Sullivan, Founder & CEO
After a progressive career that included executive-level positions at several companies that she co-founded in the US and Europe, Ann Marie combined a strong entrepreneurial sense with more than two decades of experience in building and managing start-up organizations to co-found Spectrum Works. She was the co-founder/COO of Absolute Publishing which published the luxury lifestyle magazine Absolute NY and the founder/CEO of Helix Communications AB in Sweden. Helix Communications specialized in developing educational marketing products for the pharmaceutical industry in the Nordic countries. These products included 25 peer reviewed medical journals and interactive continuing medical education programs which were developed in collaboration with medical institutions and medical opinion leaders. In addition to her for-profit experience she was a management consultant for NESC and assisted in the establishment of their Social Enterprise program which helps nonprofit organizations develop earned income programs.
Beverly Ficon, Program Manager & Job Coach
For many years, Beverly was Dean and subsequently President of Katharine Gibbs College, located in Montclair, New Jersey. She has effectively trained young adults in their pursuit of employment and implemented a job placement program for students. Gibbs’ students have attained roles of leadership and respective positions in their employment and in communities. In recent years she has been dedicated to serving her community as a volunteer for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and a member of CIACC (Children’s Inter-Agency Coordinating Council) of Essex County as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mental Health Clinic of Passaic. As a graduate of Georgian Court University, she holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration and Education and a M.S. from Seton Hall University in General Professional Education. Beverly is the mother of three and has a granddaughter diagnosed with Apraxia and Global Development Delay.
Andrea Franco, Job Coach
Andrea graduated from Seton Hall University with a B.A. in Psychology. She served her community as a swim coach for Special Olympics of New Jersey and assisted in both children and adults in their ability to compete in races. Andrea managed camps, sports and artwork programs at Community House for children with disabilities, as well as maintaining the safety of youth participants. She has also volunteered at a group home for adults with developmental disabilities.
Alexandra Garcia, Job Coach
Alexandra graduated from Seton Hall University with a B.A. in Social and Behavioral Sciences. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Public Administration at Rutgers University. Alex worked as an intern for the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where she assisted Investigators during intakes and helped resolve cases. Alex also volunteered at St. Joseph's Soup Kitchen and the Children's Specialized Hospital.
Mary Peragine, Job Coach
Mary has worked with Autistic young adults in day programs for the past four years. Previously, she worked in the public school system as a aide in the special education classroom for seven years and most recently worked at Passaic Community College advising transfer students . She currently volunteers through Catholic Charities as a visitor to a special needs adult in a group home. She has a BS in Finance from St John’s University and an MBA in Management from Montclair State University. She is the mother of three grown children.
Maritza Mendez, Job Coach
Maritza graduated from Montclair State University with a B.A. in Family Science and Human Development and a Minor in Psychology. Maritza started as a job coach intern in the Spring of 2019 and was then hired to a full time position. Previously, she had dedicated her time working with young children at an Early Learning Center. She also has volunteered at South Bergen Jointure Commission, which is a preschool working with autistic and special needs children
Get to know the Spectrum Team: Board of Directors
Robert Butters, Founder, Green Distribution
Robert Butters is a serial entrepreneur and is the owner of And Entertainment, Green Distribution, F&M Expressions and several others.
Robert started his career as a chartered accountant at Price Waterhouse (London & New York) working on audit and corporate finance. After a brief period as Director of International Audit for EMI Music, Robert worked as CFO and Vice President for Business Development for the Really Useful Company (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theatrical producing and theater real estate company). Robert later became Senior V.P. for SFX Entertainment responsible for executing the European acquisition strategy. During the acquisition and subsequent integration of SFX by Clear Channel Entertainment (CCE), Robert worked closely with the senior management in devising the ongoing business strategy. Robert left CCE in 2002 to set up And Entertainment.
And Entertainment is a boutique entertainment marketing and production company, specializing in development of live entertainment marketing concepts for branded properties. In 2003 and 2008, And Entertainment was the Executive Producer of the Harley-Davidson 100th and 105th Anniversary celebrations. In 2005, under the patronage of the Dubai Royal Family, And Entertainment produced “The Masters Art Show” – the first exhibition/sale of master art works in the United Arab Emirates. In 2010 And Entertainment was the Producer of the US Tour of a new version of Peter Pan which was launched in Kensington Gardens London in a state of the art 1,350 seat theater tent. The show has quickly become the most successful contemporary way to tell this story and has run for 2 years including successful runs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.
In 2008 Robert began a new career in managed risk taking, founding Green Distribution, an apparel printing and distribution company. Green Distribution is housed in a 100,000 square foot facility in Secaucus, New Jersey. The company employs over 300 individuals. The company provides printing and distribution services to clients such as Harley-Davidson Motor Company, The National Football League, Universal Music (over 200 bands). Green Distribution prints and ships over 50,000 apparel items a day and is one of the largest apparel screen print facility in New Jersey. In July 2013, Green Distribution purchased F&M Expressions, a leader in the manufacture of heat applied graphics.In April 2014, X-it Unlimited, a transfer distribution company in Allentown, PA. Combined, the consolidated group has 500 employees, over 15,000 active customers and is a leader in supplying printed graphics to the apparel industry.
Thomas S. Lyons, Ph.D.
Thomas S. Lyons is the Clarence E. Harris Chair of Excellence in Business and Entrepreneurship and Professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His areas of research interest include the measurement and development of entrepreneurship skills, the interface between entrepreneurship and community/regional economic development. And social entrepreneurship. He is the co-author of thirteen books and numerous articles and papers on these subjects, and has edited a three-volume set on social entrepreneurship (Social Entrepreneurship: How Businesses Can Transform Society, 2012). His co-authored book Understanding Social Entrepreneurship is the leading textbook on this subject, used at over 80 universities around the world. He was one of the pioneering scholars in developing the concept of “entrepreneurial communities,” or “entrepreneurial ecosystems,” and he continues to conduct research on this subject.
Corinne G. Catalanco, Ph.D.
Corinne has 20 years of experience in the field of special education. As a school psychologist and Assistant Director for Consultation Services at the Montclair State University Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health, Corinne currently supports families, teachers and other staff members in school districts and community settings throughout New Jersey spending time in classrooms and team meetings and conducting professional development programs focused on infant and early childhood mental health as well as the individual needs of children and adolescents with special needs. She also serves as a member of a trans-disciplinary team, utilizing a developmental, relationship-based approach with young children with developmental delays/autism spectrum disorders and their families at the University’s Ben Samuels Children’s Center and serves as faculty for the University’s Developmental Models of Autism Intervention Graduate Certificate Program which she helped to develop with Dr. Gerry Costa. Corinne also joined the adjunct faculty of the Fielding Graduate University, Infant & Early Childhood Development with Emphasis in Mental Health & Developmental Disorders, On-Line Multidisciplinary Doctoral program in Fall 2014.
Corinne has an Infant Mental Health Certificate from The Institute for Clinical Studies of Infants, Toddlers and Parents and a DIR® Certificate from the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders (ICDL). She was awarded the IMH-E-IV ®– Mentor-Clinical endorsement in infant mental health in NJ. Currently, Corinne is pursuing her doctorate in Teacher Education and Teacher Development at Montclair State University. Her work on writing first-person unique profiles to support professionals and parents working with young children with special needs was published in Exceptional Parent Magazine (2002) and is being utilized in several school districts and early childhood settings to help transition young children to inclusive educational settings.
Jennifer Leigh Kohn, Ph.D.
Jennifer has had a widely varied career focused on managing change, advocacy, and teaching. Currently Jennifer is a professor of Business (microeconomic theory, management, finance, statistics) and the founder of the Little Otter Flower Farm, a local sustainable flower farm in Bedford VA that will work with people on the autistic spectrum. Previously Jennifer was the senior administrator for the Division of Cardiology at New York Hospital-Weil Cornell Medical Center where she managed multiple process re-engineering projects to improve experiences for both patients and staff. Jennifer began her career as a community organizer on environmental initiatives (Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Big Green) and then as a consumer advocate (NJPIRG, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, NYC Office of the Public Advocate) working on banking, finance, insurance and product safety initiatives. Jennifer has degrees in political philosophy (BA, UMASS Amherst), finance and statistics (MBA, New York University) and finance and economics (Ph.D., Rutgers University).
Jennifer is also the mother of Max, a young adult with Autism. Working with Max and being his advocate through the school system has really been Jennifer’s primary job for the past 18 years. Max has taught her much more than she has taught him. Together, they have done years of DIR Floor Time, Self-Reg, multiple reading programs and learned innumerable tricks and strategies to navigate the world. Max will graduate high school in 2019 and work as the lead grower of the Little Otter Flower Farm. The Little Otter Flower Farm will not only be Max’s vocation, but also a laboratory to experiment with and teach adaptive work strategies for people with autism.
Jennifer has worked with several community organizations including the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) and the YMCA in Montclair New Jersey, and nationally she is a founding board member of Republican Women for Progress. She lives in Montclair NJ with her husband, Dave, sons Max and Sam, and their yellow lab Buck.