Photo of Kym and Eric Karath

When our son, Eric graduated high school, we didn’t know what we would do. We simply couldn’t find a quality day program. That’s what drove us to join with a few other families to start Creative Steps.”

Kym Karath

OUR FOUNDERS

LISA SZILAGYI

Founder & Program Director

Photo of Lisa Szilagyi

Lisa is a credentialed Special Education Teacher who has worked primarily with teens and young adults with moderate to severe disabilities. She began her career in special education after the birth of her daughter Emily who was born with tuberous sclerosis Complex. Lisa worked at Malibu High School for 17 years teaching the Life Skills class, before leaving to start Creative Steps. In 2011, Lisa was honored to receive the Malibu Times Citizen of the Year Dolphin Award for her work with special needs children.

DOUG MASTERSON

Founder, CEO & Board Member

Photo of Doug Masterson

A graduate of the University of Southern California and the Executive Program at

UCLA’s Anderson School of Business, Doug was the President and COO of Rock-It Cargo, a concert transportation company. He has served on several boards of companies in the entertainment industry and for over 10 years been active in helping manage non-profits. Together with his wife Julie, they have been in causes supporting Chromosome 18 abnormalities and significantly, Doug is a co-founder and now CEO and Board member of Creative Steps.

TONY ELLROD

Founder & Board Member

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As parents of two special needs children, Tony & Linda Ellrod are co-founders of Creative Steps. Tony is also a founding partner of the Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trestor law firm. He serves as a board member and is General Counsel to Creative Steps as well as to the Malibu Special Education Foundation, pro bono. Linda Ellrod is a former RN specializing in women’s health. Both generously volunteer their time supporting Creative Steps’ programs and fundraising.

KYM KARATH

Founder & Board Member

Photo of Kym Karath

Kym Karath is an entertainment professional. She was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the Marlborough School and the University of Southern California. She is a co founder of the Aurelia Foundation, with thanks to her beautiful son Eric who is the inspiration for her dedication to improving the lives of people with disabilities. He is the reason she “climbs every mountain”.

ROBIN MATHES

Board Member & Fundraising

Photo of Robin Mathes

Robin is a former financial consultant and current Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitrator. In addition, she is a 16 year veteran group facilitator at Our House Grief Center.  As a mother of a special needs young adult, like many of us, she was looking for a nurturing day program for her son Jake.  Finding a quality program was difficult and so she joined the other founding members to initiate the Creative Steps program. Today, she serves on the Board of Directors and is involved with fundraising and other management support.

SHELLI JARRETT

Board Member & Treasurer

Photo of Shelli Jarrett

Shelli Jarrett has spent over 15 years volunteering in the special needs community.  She met her husband Keir while managing several programs for Westside Special Olympics, but admits that she first fell in love with Devon, her now stepson.  Shelli has extensive experience in finance for start-up companies and is excited to apply those skills as Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors. 

BOB CHARNEY

Board Member & Marketing

Photo of Bob Charney

Bob and his wife Lisa have a son with autism and epilepsy. They turned to Creative Steps because of the quality of their post high school program supporting young adults out in the community. Not long after getting involved, Bob was asked to join the Board of Directors and today heads our marketing team and helps with other initiatives including management and fundraising. Bob has been in the advertising agency business for 45+ years and worked for several large and small firms in New York and Los Angeles before starting his own agency, RSC Marketing & Advertising in 1989.

MICHELLE TELLO

Chief Operations Officer

Photo of Michelle Tello

Michelle Tello is the Chief Operating Officer and Human Resources Director at the Aurelia Foundation and the Creative Steps Program. She has over 12 years of experience supporting individuals with disabilities. Michelle began her career in teaching in 2006 and after teaching preschool, high school and middle school life skills, Michelle quickly learned that she wanted to create opportunities for young adults transitioning out of the school system. In 2013, Michelle joined Creative Steps as a Life Coach. Today, Michelle is a certified CPI (Crisis Prevention Intervention) instructor and oversees 3 program sites offering support to over 90 employees and 75 adults with disabilities and their families.

LINDSEY HENDERSON

Director of Development

Photo of Lindsey Henderson

Lindsey is an experienced business development professional who brings a wealth of knowledge from her previous roles in fundraising, event management, client relations, and sales. She is responsible for pursuing grants, corporate giving, donor relations, and other initiatives to help further the mission of the Creative Steps program. She is driven by her compassion and insights learned from disabled members of her own family and her understanding of the value these programs bring to their lives.