SARRC Elects Two New Board Members

New Board Members: Joe Clees, a founding shareholder of the Phoenix office of Ogletree Deakins and Barbara Ralston, director of strategic initiatives at Homeward Bound

Joe Clees, a founding shareholder of the Phoenix office of Ogletree Deakins, and Barbara Ralston, director of strategic initiatives at Homeward Bound, have both been elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). 

“Our Board of Directors is an integral part of our success at SARRC,” said Dr. Daniel Openden, SARRC’s President and CEO. “The Board is comprised of community and business leaders who are deeply engaged in supporting individuals with autism and their families. Both Joe Clees and Barbara Ralston bring unique expertise and experiences to the table and we look forward to having them as part of the team.”

Clees is a founding shareholder of the Phoenix office of Ogletree Deakins, an employment law firm with more than 850 lawyers worldwide. He represents management clients throughout the world and holds many leadership roles in the firm. Before Ogletree, he was the leader of the international employment practice at Bryan Cave. Clees has earned multiple accolades over his career, including being recognized as one of the top labor and employment lawyers in the country by multiple publications. 

“Being a part of the SARRC Board is a wonderful opportunity for me to lend my knowledge to an organization that does so much for the autism community not only locally but nationally as well,” Clees said. “As a parent, I can relate to the countless families who come to SARRC looking to improve their children’s future.”

Barbara Ralston, also elected to the SARRC Board, is the director of strategic initiatives at Homeward Bound, a nonprofit that provides support services and housing to homeless families and those who have experienced domestic violence. Before Homeward Bound, Ralston was the president and CEO of Fresh Start Women’s Foundation and a local banker for more than 30 years. She has also received several community leadership awards and has served on many local nonprofit boards and committees. 

“I’ve dedicated the majority of my career and volunteer efforts to nonprofits in the Phoenix area and being elected to the SARRC Board is a great avenue to continue serving my community,” Ralston said. “With thousands of local families impacted by autism, I am looking forward to being a part of connecting them to SARRC’s high quality services.” 

Clees is a graduate of Dickinson College and the Villanova University School of Law. Ralston is a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington.