Denise is the founder and president/CEO of First Place AZ (established in 2012), co-founder of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC, established in 1997), and founder and CEO of DRA Collective, a marketing/communications firm (established in 1986) that serves clients in a variety of fields, including real estate, economic development, healthcare, education and hospitality.
Denise serves as a member of Arizona State University’s Watts College Dean’s Council, the Creighton University Presidential Health Sciences Phoenix Advisory Board, The Precisionists, Inc. Advisory Board and the Autism Society Marketing Task Force. Former leadership positions include the Autism Speaks Housing Committee, Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism Leadership Council, National Association of Residential Providers for Adults with Autism and the National Autism Transition Research Network Advisory Panel. She has also served as a federally appointed member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the National Institutes of Health.
Denise has received numerous local and national honors for her civic contributions and business accomplishments. She graduated cum laude from ASU, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Her adult son Matt, who has autism, and others with different abilities inspire her work.