Autism Speaks

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Autism Speaks Reviews

12 Reviews
12 Reviews
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Liz Feld
8 Ratings
  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    It's the President's Fault!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
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    Current Employee - Manager
    Current Employee - Manager

    I have been working at Autism Speaks full-time (more than 5 years)


    There is a ground staff that is consistently empowering and encouraging each other that tries to balance out the negative aspects of this organization.


    Time to say what most of the reviewers below are too hesitant to say:

    This organization is in the process of a very heartbreaking disintegration stemming from the misdirection of the president and her senior suite. The breakdown internally has separated the organization from the well-respected and visible key leaders of the national autism community and has dismantled the relationships the charity so closely depends on from ground fundraisers and advocates. The CoFounders will have some serious apologies to make if they don't recognize these issues soon; or if not, they must be totally willing to surrender their own well-earned reputation along with the organization completely.

    For two years now there has been a widening hole in the bucket with the organization losing so much talent, that it's impossible to justify by Feld. She constantly points, implies and blames all lack of progress to 'deeply rooted' disorganization and lack of skill among employees-- it's a slap in the face to the early vision of the organization and makes mission delivery impossible.

    The current development strategy in place is theoretical and over-speculated with no real proof that it drives revenue- the leadership literally pulls articles out of the NY Times as evidence of their fundraising ideas.

    Nepotism aside (a significant amount of her executive staff comes from her and her husband's network), the leadership currently hired to be responsible for strategy and development refuses sound advice and declines to employ professionals with the experience to at least give design to poorly conceived fundraising ideas.

    The company is also in desperate need for an operations framework. Evaluating success is impossible-- their practices at financial analysis is weak as is the integrity of their data. For Feld's entire tenure the organization has delayed applying for fundraising licenses, applied for extensions to file their 990 with the IRS, and has published their annual reports late. It's Nov 2014-- and the 2013 annual report is only now being produced.

    Finally, if the strategy of the organization was intended to build a lobby and magnify their media presence...then what has happened with the attention from big press?

    Feld's issues with communications is completely three dimensional. Externally, she struggles with connecting to the community, and I would describe her prone to incitement and riot. This is more alarming than all her posturing and exhibition-- when 'off stage' she is detached and aloof and simply lacks compassion towards families of the community. In large forums, her stage presence is forced and stern; she stumbles to articulate key facts from the org's own research department, depending on boiler plates and becoming repetitive and insistent. What are we working towards if this is how she communicates?

    Internally, she lacks any vertical communication. Department goals are not clear and always changing. Furthermore, Feld models inappropriate behavior towards her suite that has nurtured a hostile work environment with subordinates. The general good humor and energy among middle and junior staff is gone and it seems Feld is in constant ideological battle. Staff are nervous, confused, browbeaten and simply...exiting.

    I'm not sure, given her resume in community politics and children's media, what this woman is searching for-- but the organization would be better off without a rogue Tinman hacking away at everything with his hatchet just to find his heart.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The Board and the Cofounders must intervene before the organization develops an internal culture that is completely incompatible to the autism community and before there are any larger financial impact.

    Doesn't Recommend
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    Disapproves of CEO

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