Meet Team GR
Candace McDonald is a nonprofit leader with a sweet spot in her heart for a good cause and a bite of really dark chocolate. A fundraising professional by trade and a philanthropist by choice, she currently serves as the Executive Director of Generation Rescue. She’s left her mark with over 13 years of experience in nonprofit development, helping to grow Generation Rescue to be a leading national organization for families affected by autism. While at the organization, she discovered her brother, Iain, had autism, burning a deeper passion inside her. Among her many roles, including a recent run as Board Member for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, her most important is being a dedicated mommy to her son, Bodhi. In her free time, you’ll find her enjoying a cold glass of rosé, reading a good book (in between emails and brainstorming her next big idea). And it’ll most likely be in another country, alongside her family. But first, coffee! Keep up with Candace on Instagram @candacemcd.
In her role as Controller and HR Manager, Sylvia Baca manages the finances and human resources of the foundation. Having served in the public and private sectors, Sylvia has over 25 years of financial, accounting, operational, legal, and human resources experience. Earlier in her career, Sylvia has served as a Court Appointed Trustee and Receiver, Expert Witness, legal field and public accounting. She holds a Doctorate in Business with a concentration in Finance and Accounting and MBA with concentration in Accounting and Finance and Bachelors in Economics. She serves as an Adjunct Professor at National University Graduate School of Business & Management, Department of Accounting where she enjoys lecturing on Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting, Taxation, Financial Accounting and Economics. She has also served on the Board of Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County on their Executive Committee, Treasurer, Finance Committee, and Audit committee and Step Up Ventura for homeless children. She joined Generation Rescue in August 2008. Her deep commitment to GR’s mission makes her a part of a dedicated team concerned and engaged in the recovery of children with autism spectrum disorder.
Julie Demaria-Pesce received her Marketing degree in 2009 from René Descartes University in Paris, France and her Broadcasting Production degree in 2010 from the International Film and TV School in Paris, France. She then kicked-off her career in entertainment, with a focus on documentaries. She's worked with award-winning directors, such as William Karel and Anne Aghion, and award-winning production companies, including Cinétévé and Sundance Film Institute. Her versatility and experience across multiple platforms and genres (including drama, documentary, digital and TV) helped her obtain the postition of Production Manager. In 2016, she joined Generation Rescue as the Executive Assistant.
Family Support Coordinator
Shannon Fillion is a mom, wife and advocate. Her son Tyler was diagnosed with autism at age 2. She has spent the last 4 years working on his recovery and advocating for his needs and the needs of others. Shannon is no stranger to our Rescue Family Grant Program, her family was a part of the program in 2013 shortly after her son received his diagnosis. Since the Grant, her son has made remarkable strides and Shannon has continued to stay a supporter of Generation Rescue. She is a strong advocate for families and is involved in a variety of community service, problem-solving and continued education for our kids.
Member Fundraiser Coordinator
Annette Marquez has been an advocate and supporter of Generation Rescue (GR) since 2010. She has worn many hats in her personal career in events and marketing and has a passion for connecting the dots between people and businesses who want to "do good" by supporting great organizations. She has extensive experience in Corporate Social Responsibility and is committed to sharing ideas and process to help others with their charitable goals. Generation Rescue is near and dear to her heart because of the impact she has seen GR make in the lives of so many. In her words, "The families and staff at GR are incredible to be around because of their true passion to improve the lives of others." Annette has a wonderful 6 year old son named, Lennon, and they live in Austin, TX
National Programs Manager
Julie Obradovic is an educator, author, advocate, and mother of three beautiful children, one of whom is affected by autism. For over a decade, she's focused on improving the lives of families with autism through her philanthropy, writing, and political activism. Her many hats include Contibuting Editor for the Age of Autism blog, savvy host of Generation Rescue's #ChatAutism podcast, assistant to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and consultant on the groundbreaking documentary, Trace Amounts. She and her husband co-host the annual Rescue Our Angels event in Chicago to help raise money to provide medical grants to families in need. Her new book, An Unfortunate Coincidence by Skyhorse Publishing, share's her journey as a Mommy Warrior, from her daughter's regression into to autism to her recovery and the lessons learned along the way. Prior to her advocacy, Julie was a full time educator and administrator and holds a Master's Degree in each. She currently holds down the fort for GR in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and children.
PR & Marketing Coordinator
Zack Peter’s passion for activism and philanthropy began after his brother Ethan was diagnosed with autism in 2005. Through research and a talent for navigating Google, he found Generation Rescue and began volunteering for the organization at age 16. With a natural love of all things new media and pop-culture, his volunteer efforts grew into a full time position, now coordinating PR and marketing for Generation Rescue seven years later. He has published a total of four books, including the autism sibling memoir, A Shot of Hope and he is currently producing the forthcoming documentary, Sibling Warrior. His heart pumps with a dedication for the cause, the love of a job well-done, and a little too much coffee.