April 14, 2023

Summit board announces succession plan for CEO










The Board of Directors of The Summit Center has announced that effective January 1, 2024, Stephen R. Anderson, Ph.D., BCBA-D will retire as Chief Executive Officer and move into a consulting role turning over the agency’s reins to Lisa A. Foti, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, who will be promoted to Chief Executive Officer and Amy L. Jablonski, Psy.D., Vice President-Education and Behavioral Health, who will be promoted to President.

Throughout 2024, Dr. Anderson will consult as needed to the new CEO and President on strategic direction and initiatives and assist with external fundraising to ensure a smooth transition. Dr. Anderson will also continue to oversee the development of Summit’s commercial products, SummitUp, a web-based software, and SafeGuard Protective Apparel.

“Steve’s 28-year tenure as CEO has been marked by tremendous growth not only financially, but in terms of the number of people served and the variety of programs and services provided. With a steadfast focus on evidence-based practice and many years of expertise in autism treatment, he changed the landscape in Western New York for services for people with autism,” said Mark Brand, President and CEO at Actuarial Consulting Services, Inc., and president of Summit’s board of directors. “He has grown the organization from a small local program to a nationally respected center of excellence and leaves an indelible legacy.”

In naming Foti and Jablonski as Anderson’s successors, Brand said: “With their many years of dedicated service and combined talents, we believe Lisa and Amy are the best candidates to move Summit forward in its strategic initiatives. They are both highly accomplished professionals who know the agency well and understand its strengths and opportunities. Our board has the utmost confidence in their leadership.”

Effective January 1, 2024, Dana L. Zakes, CPA, Director of Finance, will be promoted to Chief Financial Officer, reporting to Foti. She will be responsible for all financial operations and reporting.

With a staff of more than 400, The Summit Center provides educational, clinical, adult, and community-based programs and services to more than 1000 Western New York children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.


Dr. Anderson has served as Summit’s CEO since 1995 when the agency was known as The Language Development Program. During his tenure, the agency has grown from annual revenue of $4.5M in 1995 to $32.5M expected in FY 2023; from one program primarily focused on education, to more than 30 programs including day habilitation and vocational services for adults, a behavioral pediatrics clinic, and, most recently an expansion of Summit Academy called Summit Academy Enhanced, a highly specialized treatment program for students with autism who exhibit significant challenging behavior.

Dr. Anderson’s influence in the area of evidence-based treatment for autism, extends beyond Western New York. He is active in advisory positions with many agencies serving individuals with autism and held leadership roles on local, state, and national advisory boards as well as professional organizations including the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA), Council of Autism Service Providers, and the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis. He served as a Consensus Panel Member which developed Clinical Practice Guidelines on Autism for the NYS Department of Health.

During his career, Dr. Anderson has served as an adjunct professor or assistant professor at University of Kansas, Northeastern University, State University of New York at Buffalo, and University of Southern Maine teaching course work related to autism, behavior analysis, and managing challenging behavior in the classroom setting. He has provided clinical consultation to more than 40 school districts in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Kuwait.

He has authored a book and several book chapters devoted to teaching individuals with autism and has also authored, or co-authored multiple research studies focused on autism.

Dr. Anderson received his Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Psychology from the University of Kansas

Lisa A. Foti, CPA, currently Chief Financial Officer, will step into the role of Chief Executive Officer. She joined Summit in 2013 and currently oversees the organization’s Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Facilities departments. She played an essential role in steering the agency through the Covid-19 pandemic and provides strategic direction for the agency.

Prior to joining Summit, Lisa served as CFO at Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute in Buffalo. She has extensive public accounting experience having worked for both Freed Maxick, PC and Ernst & Young LLP. She also serves as a Rate Consultant to the Buffalo Water Board and Buffalo Sewer Authority.

Lisa earned a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from State University of New York at Buffalo. She is a Certified Public Accountant.

Amy L. Jablonski, Psy.D., BCBA-D, currently Vice President of Education and Behavioral Health, will be promoted to President. She joined Summit in 1999, taking on increasing programmatic and clinical responsibility. She currently oversees Summit’s Education Division which includes Summit Academy, a highly specialized school serving 340 students, most with a diagnosis of autism; and Summit’s Behavioral Pediatrics Clinic, which provides counseling and clinical services to children with mental health concerns.

In addition to her administrative roles, Amy continues to provide clinical services including diagnostic evaluations for children and adults suspected of having autism, and consultation to agencies and school districts.  She serves on the advisory boards for the Clinical Psychology Psy.D. program at Medaille University and the Achieve Program at Villa Maria College.  Amy has also served as consultant to the NYS Department of Education to review recommendations for aversive interventions.   She has held adjunct positions at the University at Buffalo, University of Rochester and Buffalo State College and has provided training and supervision for many post-doctoral fellows.

She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Canisius College and a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Georgia School of Professional Psychology in Atlanta. She is a New York State Licensed Psychologist and a Licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Dana L. Zakes, CPA, joined Summit’s Finance Department in 2015 as Manager-Financial Reporting and has taken on increasing responsibility since then. Before joining Summit, she served as Corporate Controller for the Hamister Group in Buffalo; Segment Controller for First Niagara Financial Group; Director of Accounting/Controller for Seevast Corp.; and Manager – Assurance and Business Advisory Services for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP.  She earned both an MBA and a BBA from St. Bonaventure University.