Ann Flippin, 37

Executive director, Autism Society of Central Virginia

Growing up with an autistic sibling can make for a rollercoaster
childhood.

For Ann Flippin, having a younger brother with autism helped her become who she is today and ultimately led to her career path. Although she left James Madison University with a degree in interior design, it was her time spent
doing community service and fundraising with her sorority that propelled her into the nonprofit world. “My brother taught me so much compassion, resilience and patience,” she says. “That relationship shaped me and put me on the path to support local autism causes.”

Understanding firsthand the struggles individuals and their families face, Flippin is highly motivated to create a community of support and significantly increase services for families. She’s been executive director of ASCV since
January 2018, serves as the current chair of the Virginia Autism Council and is active in the annual General Assembly legislative sessions, advocating for ways to enhance services for the local autism community. “I love the community we’ve built at the Autism Society,” she says. “We try to bring more people into the community and it’s very rewarding every time a new connection is made.”

The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) numbers show that one in 36 children is diagnosed with autism, up from one in 44. Flippin and her team work to fill the gaps and expand their programming to meet this greater demand. Last year, they hosted the RVA Duck Race and Festival of Inclusion, a new community event that attracted more than 7,500 participants and raised over $160,000 in its first year. “It was truly magical,”
Flippin recalls. “Individuals could be themselves and feel embraced for their unique talents and abilities, free from judgment.”

Her two young children also keep her busy. She takes her older daughter to some of the ASCV’s programs and is gratified at the bonds she forms
while having fun. “It’s promoting inclusion and it’s also peer-to-peer modeling,” she says. “She loves it.”

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