Executive Director – Deborah Pugh
Deborah Pugh has been active in the autism community since 1995, both on a provincial and national level. In 2003, with the support of parents and professionals from around BC, Deborah founded ACT – Autism Community Training. Prior to founding ACT, Deborah also served as Executive Director of the Autism Society of British Columbia.
From 1980 – 1994, Deborah was a journalist, working in Europe and the Middle East. She worked as a producer for the BBC African Service in London and as the UK’s Guardian Correspondent in Egypt from 1988 – 1994.
Deborah has a BA from McGill University, a MA from the University of London and a certificate in fundraising management from BCIT. Deborah has a young adult son with ASD. She is active in a number of provincial and national organizations. She has served on:
- Neuropsychiatry Planning Task Force – BC Children’s Hospital
- National ASD Surveillance Committee – Public Health Agency of Canada
- Online Mental Health and Autism Project (OMHAP)
- Parent Coaching Research Project Steering Committee (Chair)
- BC Association of Speech-Language Pathologists – 2016 Distinguished Service Award
- University of British Columbia’s Interprofessional Continuing Education Conference: Health & Wellbeing in Children, Youth and Adults with Developmental Disabilities – 2016 Outstanding Contribution Award
Manager of Autism Information Resources – Stephanie Porter
Stephanie Porter has a BA in Honours Sociology from the University of Waterloo. She brings to ACT extensive administrative experience, having previously worked in logistics, training coordination and human resources. Stephanie is passionate about contributing to the support of people with autism and their families, empowering them to build strong relationships with each other and in their communities. Stephanie joined ACT as the Administrative and Training Coordinator in 2017.
Financial Controller – Linda Leung
Linda Leung is a CPA, CGA with a business degree from UBC. Her professional experiences were mainly in the manufacturing and transportation industries, including the not-for-profit sector. She enjoys the natural beauty of BC and its many hiking trails, but also loves to travel. To relax, she likes to curl up in a sofa with a good book and attend yoga classes.
Digital Communications Coordinator – Ryan Quiring
Ryan Quiring has a Certificate in Web Development from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, a BA in Sociology from Simon Fraser University, and attended the New Media program at the University of Lethbridge. Ryan has previously worked in design and technical roles at DOXA Documentary Festival, Simon Fraser University’s Information Technology services, and CJSF Radio 90.1 FM.
Administrative & Training Coordinator – Mary Yamashita
Mary Yamashita has a BA in Tourism & Hospitality and Events Management. She brings extensive customer service experience to the ACT team acquired over many years in the hospitality industry, having previously worked at Four Seasons Hotel, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Walt Disney World.
Mary is the newest member of ACT’s team but not new to ACT. Her oldest son was diagnosed with ASD in 2013, inspiring her to do more for the autism community by volunteering at various organizations, as well as attending ACT’s workshops.