Through active engagement with our community, Autism Pensacola aims to:
- Educate the general public about autism
- Serve as a support group and network for parents and professionals
- Provide information to parents and professionals regarding the diagnosis, education and treatment of persons with autism
- Advocate for, and obtain, better services for the citizens of the Pensacola area who are affected by autism
- Provide social opportunities for people with autism through camps, activities and enriching programs
As a community connector, we are a beacon of light in the darkness, and a source of answers in all the uncertainty. Along with our partners, members and supporters, we are connecting people to answers that matter, working to improve lives and livelihoods, one family at a time.
We want to change the way our community thinks and feels about autism. Relationships drive our mission to maximize access to the best care and support for individuals and families affected by autism. As the largest network of parents, physicians and supporters in the community, we are helping families maximize and realize their potential to prosper, shifting the conversation from mission impossible, to mission achievable. Together, we help families connect the pieces.
Cate Merrill has been selected to serve as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Autism Pensacola, Inc. (API). She succeeds Susan Byram, the founding director.
Prior to pursuing a bachelor’s of science in Speech Pathology and Audiology, the Pensacola native attended Washington High School. Cate received a Master’s in Communication Disorders from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. Following graduate school, she gained experience within many different settings and populations including children and adults with various communication needs. These experiences led her to a path that focused on early intervention.
While living in the Mississippi Delta region, Cate identified a critical need for therapy services. She began a small business that focused on providing early intervention speech, language, occupational, and physical therapy. Upon moving back to the Pensacola area, Cate worked in the Escambia County School District. Her passion has always been working with families, and certainly addressing the challenges faced by the families affected by autism. “These families are all as diverse as their kids. There is not a prototype. Their financial situations, skills, and abilities have a range as great as the rest of the population, which makes their needs as diverse as they are. The most satisfying part of my job has always been my ability to support families through their diagnosis and steer them in directions most appropriate for their child and their family’s needs.”
Her relationship with Autism Pensacola began in 2008 when she accepted the request to serve on the Board of Directors. In 2013, she chaired the annual Connecting the Pieces gala with her husband, Collier. Cate has three children: Kit, Caroline, and Collier Jr.
Meet the Board.
The Autism Pensacola board is divided into three classes. Each Fall, Autism Pensacola members elect a class of directors to serve for three years. The board then elects officers and the executive committee at the first full board meeting following the general election in October.
Jodi Bell, Chair
Director of Advertising, Pensacola News Journal
Candy McGuyre, Secretary
Corporate Director of Marketing, Baptist Health Care
Rocky Parra, Treasurer
Autism parent and community volunteer
Mallory Studer, Vice Chair
Vice President, Cox Communications Engineering and Operations Southeast Region
Vice President Sales Marketing, FSIGroup
Becca Boles, Past Chair
Corporate Communications Director, Gulf Power Company
Scott Remington, Past Chair
President/Managing Partner, Clark Partington Attorneys at Law
Dr. Leasha Barry
(held at Pensacola News Journal Offices)
1/15/19 7:30 am
3/5/19 7:30 am
5/21/19 7:30 am
7/23/19 7:30 am
9/17/19 7:30 am
11/19/19 7:30 am
2/19/19 12:00 pm
4/16/19 12:00 pm
6/18/19 12:00 pm @ Camp
8/20/19 12:00 pm
10/15/19 12:00 pm
12/10/19 10 am to 2 pm – Board Retreat