Dena is a PhD candidate at Adelphi University and serves is an inaugural member to the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) Autistic Researcher Committee and has published many book chapters and journal articles in her career. In close partnership, she developed and honed leadership skills first with regional leadership (Tennessee Autism Task Force; Tennessee Post-secondary Task Force; Partners in Policy Making; Board Member for the Autism Society of Tennessee) and later with testimonies to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), the Government Accountability Offices (GAO), the Department of Defense (DOD) and in 1999 was awarded the Cathy Pratt Professional of the Year Award from Autism Society of America. Since coming to the Arc Board of Directors, she has served on the Policy Committee for 6 years and as the Chair of the National Council of Self-Advocates for 4 years. Her contribution to the Arc’s policies included the inclusion of LGBTQAI intersectionality and maternal wellness for mothers with IDD. She was appointed to the IACC’s Mental Health Subcommittee of the Healthcare Disparities Workgroup and presented “A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs” for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC). Her international advocacy has included multiple presentations around the world and specifically, three statements at the United Nations in New York and one in Geneva (autism and women; aging and autism). Her most recent UN invitation came from the countries of Malta and Australia and focused on autistic motherhood.