Our Mission Statement
Supporting Neurodiversity From Autism to Alzheimer’s and All Brains In Between!
Different Brains ® is dedicated to promoting the understanding and acceptance of the basic variations in the human brain known as neurodiversity; ending the stigma attached to the related diagnoses and treatment; uniting silos of resources and research whose goals could be better achieved through collaboration; offering support to families and caregivers; and improving the lives and maximizing the potential of those whose brains may be different.
Click on a name below to see their bio
Carmen Baez is President—Latin America at Diversified Agency Services (DAS), the largest division of the Omnicom Group, the world’s leading marketing communications company. As regional executive, Ms. Baez is responsible for the development and growth of DAS operating companies in the regions of Mexico, Central and South America, including worldwide leading agencies such as Rapp Collins, Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, and Porter Novelli International.
Ms. Baez has over 25 years of experience in the marketing communications industry. She joined Omnicom from its inception in 1986 and held various executive positions at Rapp Collins Worldwide, where she served as president of the Boston office from 1988 until 1991. During this tenure, Ms. Baez counseled clients in a wide range of industries including high technology, financial services, telecommunications, travel and entertainment.
In 1993, after a two-year sabbatical to travel the world, she co-founded Baez Zahorsky, Inc. (BZI), a Boston-based marketing communications consulting company specialized in strategy planning and program development. BZI clients included Bank of Boston, Omnicom Group and The Walt Disney Company, among others. In 1997, she rejoined Omnicom to lead the DAS expansion in Latin America.
Today, in addition to her international responsibilities, Ms. Baez also leads and oversees all DAS multicultural marketing and diversity initiatives in the USA marketplace. She also works closely with DAS US-based agencies, supporting them in their marketing and business development efforts.
A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ms. Baez is trilingual—fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese. She has also traveled extensively through the regions of Southeast Asia, Australia, India, Europe and the Americas.
Ms. Baez serves on multiple industry and community boards including The Women’s Health Leadership Council of the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, The Miami Ad School and Pro Mujer—Latin America’s leading micro financing and women’s development network.
Lori J. Butts, J.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Lori J. Butts is the CEO and President of the Clinical & Forensic Institute (CFI) with offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida. After graduating from Clemson University with Honors, Dr. Butts received her law and doctoral psychology degrees from the innovative jointly sponsored program by Villanova School of Law and MCP Hahnemann University Department of Clinical Psychology. Dr. Butts completed her internship in clinical and forensic psychology at New York University School of Medicine, Bellevue Hospital, and Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, She fulfilled her residency requirements at CFI where she was trained by Dr. John A. Spencer. Dr. Butts is licensed to practice psychology in Colorado and Florida and is a member of the Florida Bar.
At CFI, Dr. Butts is responsible for the overall coordination and supervision of the various components of service delivery provided by her program staff, which encompasses a comprehensive array of clinical and forensic services. The clinical services include the REACH program for court ordered sexual offender treatment, the LIMITS program, mental health treatment for offenders, individual, family, and group therapy as well as sports and performance interventions. Additionally, CFI offers diversion programs with the City of Hallandale and Town of Davie to assist with providing psychoeducational opportunities to divert individuals from further legal involvement.
The forensic services include forensic psychological evaluations (expert testimony on competency, sanity, alternative sentencing, capital sentencing mitigation, downward departure), case review and annotation, case consultation, witness preparation, direct and cross examination, and jury consultation, education, and selection. Dr. Butts has been admitted as an expert in Florida State Circuit Courts, the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.
Dr. Butts is the Past President of the Florida Psychological Association (FPA). She has previously served as the President of the Forensic Division of FPA and the Co-Chair of Legislative Affairs and Public Policy Board. Dr. Butts has also served on the Committee on Legal Issues (COLI) for the American Psychological Association. She has received the “What A Woman Award” and has been recognized as a Distinguished Psychologist for her dedication and service to the profession of psychology by the Florida Psychological Association. In 2016, she was recognized as the “Mental Health Professional of the Year” by the Broward County Crime Commission.
Francie Rose Canter
Nick DeCristofaro, Ph.D.
Nicholas DeCristofaro is the Chief Technology Officer at Solidia Technologies, a New Jersey-based company providing sustainable product solutions to the building materials industry. Solidia’s patented processes reduce the cost of cement and concrete products while enabling the carbon footprint of these materials to be reduced by up to 70%.
Throughout his career, Nick has focused on the development and commercialization of advanced materials. He came to Solidia from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he directed the Office of Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property. Prior to joining UMass, Nick held a variety of research and business management roles over a 28-year career that included positions at AlliedSignal, Honeywell International and Hitachi Metals, in the U.S. and abroad. He has 68 U.S. patents and over 30 peer-reviewed publications to his credit.
Nick earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in metallurgy, and a doctorate in materials science and engineering, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has served as an adjunct professor of materials science at Clemson University, as Vice Chairman of the Educational Council at MIT, on the board of directors for the Pioneer Valley Life Science Institute (MA), on the peer review panel of the Fiber Optic Materials Research Program at Rutgers University, and as a member of the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology. A resident of Chatham, NJ, Nick was elected to the Board of Education for the School District of the Chathams, and was a member of the Board of Directors for the Interfaith Council for Homeless Families of Morris County.
Bernard Karcinell has been the CEO of a number of different companies and is a former partner at one of the world’s largest accounting firms. He now serves on the board of a publicly traded company as well as providing tax and finance advice to select clients.
Natalia Laurie, is a staff member in the Audit Department of MBAF. She has been in the accounting profession since 2015. Natalia has performed audits in various industries including non-profit, wholesale/distribution, aviation and manufacturing.
Her responsibilities include planning, risk assessment, and testing processes along with all aspects of an audit engagement. Natalia’s non-profit experience focuses on audits that integrate the organizations compliance with its major programs as well as its basic financial statements such as reporting on organizations internal controls and adherence to grant awards based on audits of State, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations and Chapter 10.650, Rules of Auditor General. She also has experience in the preparation of Form 990. Education: Florida International University – Master’s of Accounting / Nova Southeastern University – Bachelor’s of Accounting
Becca Lory, CAS, BCCS
Becca Lory, CAS, BCCS was diagnosed on the autism spectrum as an adult and has since become an active advocate and life coach for individuals on the autism spectrum. Becca has published multiple articles along with speaking publicly about life on the autism spectrum with the goal of spreading acceptance, understanding, and encouraging self-advocacy. She spent four years supporting the autism community in the non-profit sector in her work for grass-roots organizations that provide resources and services directly to individuals on the autism spectrum, their families, and the professionals who work alongside them. Becca left non-profit to pursue dual certifications as an Autism Specialist (CAS) and Cognitive Specialist (BCCS). She now provides supports directly to the autism community as a life coach and by teaching improvisational workshops geared toward assisting teens and adults on the spectrum with the practice of social and independent living skills. She continues her advocacy work through her blogs, public speaking engagements, and the weekly podcast that she co-hosts. Becca is honored to sit on the Advisory Board of the Nassau-Suffolk chapter of the Autism Society of America and the Board of Directors of Different Brains. No matter her role, Becca is dedicated to guiding and supporting individuals on the autism spectrum with unwavering passion and commitment.
Debbie Origho Manigat, M.S., DMFT(c)
Debbie Origho Manigat, M.S., DMFT(c) Impacting people and communities for positive growth and holistic wellness is the mission of Debbie Manigat. As an existential Wellness Counselor and Mental Health Advocate, Debbie leads the “Your Life Matters” or #LifeMatters social change initiative for bringing global attention to mental wellness and suicide prevention in diverse and disadvantaged communities. Under President Obama’s Administration, Debbie was invited to the White House for their “Making Healthcare Better Series on Suicide Prevention” and created the “Mental Health Pledge” GoFundMe Campaign to raise funds for at-risk youth and disadvantaged families to receive free mental health services.
Locally, Debbie serves as a motivational speaker, mindfulness teacher, and holistic event organizer for numerous health, wellness, and corporate events throughout South Florida. Most recently, she served as a panelist for the inaugural “Your Health is Your Wealth” event for the Broward Chapter of the Urban League Young Professionals as well as their “Young Professionals Annual Retreat” at the Westin hotel in Fort Lauderdale. In Palm Beach, Debbie created and hosts the annual “Dinner with Doctors” and “Mental Health Masterclass” events in partnership with the Urban League of Palm Beach County Young Professionals.
In 2016, Debbie was highlighted by Legacy Magazine as one of “South Florida’s 40 Under 40 Black Leaders of Today and Tomorrow” and selected as the Education and Empowerment Honoree from the National Council of 100 Black Women (South Palm Beach Chapter) for her outstanding commitment to mental health awareness. In 2017, Debbie was elected again as Legacy Magazine’s “South Florida’s 40 Under 40 Black Leaders of Today and Tomorrow”.
Coach Debbie is also a Communications Specialist, Freedom Coach, and Family Therapist. She believes that words are transformative which is why she uses her communications and therapeutic background to help people rebuild their self-esteem, use their words effectively, improve how they relate to challenging people or situations, and ultimately, resolve conflicts peacefully and professionally. Additionally, an integral part of her work is helping people heal from adverse childhood experiences or ACES. ACES are traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. These experiences range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian. She helps young professionals solve problems to unlock their past adverse childhood experiences and discover their resilient potential- mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Leveraging the power of relationships, Debbie empowers families to reconnect through learning how to heal past trauma. All in all, Coach Debbie is living proof that pain cannot destroy your purpose and she even uses her life experiences and expertise to inspire everyone to shine!
Debbie (Origho) graduated from Dillard High School with honors and is the first person in her family to graduate from college. Debbie graduated magna cum laude from Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and African American Studies, Palm Beach Atlantic University with a dual Master of Science in Mental Health/ Marriage and Family Therapy, and is presently working on her Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy at Nova Southeastern University (NSU). Debbie is a past recipient of the Golden Key International Honour Society $20,000 Graduate Scholarship Award (2010), Honorable Mention designee for the JM Lexus African American Achievers Award for Community Service (2012), and first ever Women of Tomorrow Graduate Scholar (2016).
Today, Coach Debbie serves as a Program Specialist for the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Site Coordinator for Brazelton Touchpoints (Harvard University Boston Children’s Hospital approach to working with families), and is an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant/ Trainer for Family Central of Broward County. Within her work, Debbie is trained in and embraces the following methodologies: Art Therapy with Mindfulness Techniques (CP), Play Therapy Techniques (CP), Trauma Focused- CBT (MUSC), Solution Focused Approach (CSC), SIX SIGMA Yellow Belt (CSC), Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention (CSC), Calming Children in Crisis (CHS), Teen Outreach Program Facilitator (Wyman), Bullying and Emotional Intelligence (CHS), Infant Mental Health Level 1 & 2 (CSC), Prepare ENRICH certified Trainer, Marriage Counselor/ Mentor (SFACC), and many others.
Within the community, Debbie is extremely passionate about creating authentic experiences where people can connect and thrive! She hosts a Mommy and Me Life Group called “Moms Like Me”, in partnership with the nonprofit YouMoms, Inc. She also serves as a Board Member of Different Brains, Inc. nonprofit, Co-Chair/ President of the Palm Beach Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (PBAMFT), Women of Tomorrow Mentor, and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. When she is not serving in those capacities, she is leading the NSU CAHSS Graduate Student Government Association Doctoral Marriage and Family Therapy Department Representative, TJ Leroy Medical Society student member, National Society of Collegiate Scholars lifetime member, and the exciting club of motherhood! She is a proud mom of two brilliant children that help keep her growing and learning daily. All in all, Debbie is so grateful for her journey and attributes God’s grace and guidance for her many opportunities to serve.
Brandon C. McDaniel, J.D., LL.M.
Brandon C. McDaniel is an attorney at Lowe, Fell and Skogg, LLC, where he is responsible for overseeing a wide variety of corporate and real estate transactions on behalf of a Fortune 10 company. These transactions range from managing complex asset and real estate acquisitions to structuring policies and business programs to comply with abstruse regulatory regimes. When Brandon isn’t negotiating complex for profit deals, he relies upon his post-doctorate training in tax law to assist non-profits and small businesses.
Brandon’s legal experience spans businesses of many shapes and sizes, from small startups to a Fortune 10 company. Brandon’s legal knowledge has even been featured in interviews with Colorado Public Radio and OutFront Magazine.
Unlike most attorneys, Brandon possesses an entrepreneurial spirit, having started several successful businesses. Brandon began his first business venture in middle school programming websites for local businesses, and founded a law firm fresh out of school. Owing to his success as an entrepreneur and lawyer, Brandon was a recurring Guest Speaker on the Million Dollar Butterflies Radio Show helping to encourage youth entrepreneurship.
Before becoming a lawyer, Brandon was a freelance programmer with full stack experience stretching from C to PHP. With more than two decades of coding experience, Brandon’s technical expertise includes developing websites, designing and programming small robots, building multiple custom-made 3D printers, and coding machine learning algorithms. Brandon’s latest hobby projects involve designing household items for 3D printing.
Todd Paton capitalized on the knowledge learned from success and failure both of which he experienced early in his career. Undaunted by the devastating impact the “Great Recession” had on his highly successful mortgage banking business, Todd chartered a life course that has taken him to his current position as President of Paton Marketing, a full service digital marketing agency based in Miami, Florida which specializes in Website Development, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing.
Paton Marketing is rapidly becoming acknowledged as one of the leaders in the digital marketing space. In 2012, Todd was recognized by Constant Contact for his outstanding achievement as a certified expert. The company was named “Best of 2013” for Internet Marketing and Website Design in a survey of Daily Business Review readers. The contest garnered over 9,120 votes. Paton Marketing won this award again in 2015.
Todd is also a frequent and highly rated speaker on industry related topics. He has been featured in the Miami Herald on a number of occasions for his online “makeover” work.
His ever popular workshops “Dominating Your Industry Online” are held monthly in conjunction with his affiliation with the Counselors of America’s Small Business (SCORE). That company mantra was recently taken even further with Todd’s weekly radio show “Dominate Your Industry” which airs Monday nights at 10:00 P.M. EST on 880 The Biz, an innovative way to create content for Paton Marketing clients while providing listeners with some real-life information to help their businesses.
Perhaps the greatest accolades for Todd come from his diverse and robust client list, many of whom have long-term relationships that have created mutually successful ventures for both parties.
Todd’ commitment to community is exemplified with his unselfish participation in a number of charitable and non-profit organizations. He is the incoming president of the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club. He is a past board member of American Diabetes Association of Miami and was on the Father of the Year Committee. Todd is the charitable Ambassador for BNI Miami Dade and the President of his BNI Chapter, Biscayne Connection. Todd has been an active volunteer for SCORE since 2010.
Todd lives in Weston with his wife, Nicole and their three daughters Ava, Grace and Mia.
Hackie Reitman, M.D.
Different Brains founder Harold “Hackie” Reitman, M.D. is an author, filmmaker, retired orthopedic surgeon, former professional heavyweight boxer, the past chairman and president (and current board member) of The Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County, and a neurodiversity advocate. However, it was his role as a father that led to the creation of Different Brains.
Hackie’s daughter Rebecca grew up with epilepsy, 23 vascular brains tumors, and underwent 2 brain surgeries before the age of 5. Her struggles and recovery put him on the road to, through 26 professional heavyweight boxing matches, raising money for children’s charities (to which he donated every fight purse). Rebecca eventually went on to graduate from Georgia Tech with a degree in Discrete Mathematics, and Dr. Reitman wrote and produced a film based on her experiences there (The Square Root of 2, starring Darby Stanchfield of ABC’s Scandal). After graduation, Rebecca received a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. Hackie, shocked at his own ignorance of the topic despite being an M.D., embarked on years of research that culminated with his book Aspertools: The Practical Guide for Understanding and Embracing Asperger’s, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Neurodiversity(released by HCI books, publishers of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series).
This experience revealed to Hackie the interconnectedness of the conditions that fall under the neurodiversity umbrella, while alerting him to the in-fighting and fractured relations that often plague the organizations tasked with serving the community. Convinced that overcoming these schisms could help all of society, Hackie forged the Different Brains philosophy of inclusive advocacy.
In the company’s initial years of operation, Hackie self-financed all of the content on the website. Currently he is the host of our weekly interview show Exploring Different Brains, writes blogs for the site, and tours the country speaking at conferences, conventions and private functions, all with the goal of improving the lives of neurodiverse individuals and their families, and maximizing the potential of those with different brains.
Kimberley Spire-Oh is an attorney in private practice. Ms. Spire-Oh received a J.D. from Hofstra School of Law and a B.S. in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell University. Her practice focuses on special education law and advocacy and disability law representing clients throughout Florida. Prior to starting her law practice, Ms. Spire-Oh was legal editor for LRP Publications’ reporters, bulletins and treatises involving disability law. She has also worked as a mediator, as a Congressional caseworker, as donor relations officer for the Harvard School of Public Health, and as a grant writer and consultant for numerous nonprofit organizations. In addition to serving on the board of Different Brains, Ms. Spire-Oh currently serves as co-president of the Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) of Florida, co-chair of the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County’s Education Committee, co-chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee and member of the Advocacy Committee for LDA of America; on the Board of Advisors for the Council for Autism and Neurodiversity; and as a member of the Florida State Advisory Committee for the Education of Exceptional Students, the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking 2012 Class, the Florida Association of Special Education Attorneys, the Disability Rights Bar Association, as well as the Palm Beach County School District’s Diversity and Equity Committee and Exceptional Student Education Advisory Committee. She received a 2011 Multicultural Leadership Award from the Florida Diversity Council. Ms. Spire-Oh has first-hand knowledge of disabilities as an individual with a seizure and autoimmune disorders and as mother of a twice-exceptional child.
With over 30 years of experience as a high-level bank executive, Lynne Wines has paved the way for professional women across our community. Currently, Lynne serves as a director and member of the audit and risk committee of BankUnited, a $30 Billion commercial bank with over 100 branches. Most recently, Lynne spent a year at Harvard University as an Advanced Leadership Fellow, studying social entrepreneurship and developing a project on financial literacy and micro finance. She is currently enrolled in a Master’s of Public Administration programs at NYU. Before her year at Harvard, Lynne worked with the Seminole Tribe of Florida leading their effort to acquire a financial institution. Prior to that, she served as the President/CEO of First Southern Bank, headquartered in Florida. Lynne truly worked her way through the ranks of the banking industry, beginning her career as a teller, then a bank comptroller, and on to chief financial officer and chief operating officer before becoming CEO at Union Bank of Florida in 19999. Following the acquisition of Union Bank by Colonial Bank, Wines headed Colonial’s South Florida operations. Subsequently, she became President of CNLBank and CEO of First Southern Bank.
Lynne currently serves on the boards of 211 First Call for Help, DifferentBrains.com and was recently appointed by the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court to the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice Business Council. She has been actively involved with United Way of Broward County for more than 20 years. She has served on United Way’s Board of Directors and was Chair in 2010-12. She recently served as Chairman of 2-1-1 Broward, and has served as a member of the Board of Directors for WPBT Public Television Channel 2, Broward Women’s Alliance and Senior Volunteer Services, American Heart Association, March of Dimes, Council for Educational Change and Work-Life Balance Institute.
Her professional affiliations include a four-year term on the board of directors for the Florida Bankers Association. She is a frequent guest Lecturer for Florida Atlantic University’s Executive MBA program. Among the many prestigious awards presented to her are the South Florida Business Journal Diamond CEO Award; Commercial Real Estate Women’s (CREW) Women at the Top Honoree; Women of Distinction Award; South Florida Business Journal’s Business Woman of the Year; and U.S. Banker magazine’s “25 Most Powerful Women to Watch.” Lynne holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Nova Southeastern University and is currently enrolled in a Master’s of Public Administration program at NYU. She has one son, Shawn, who resides in Los Angeles.