Meet the committed members of our working board.

Debra Vines-Founder Executive Director

Debra Vines-Founder Executive Director

Debra is Founder and Executive Director of The Answer, Inc, has been married to husband James Harlan for 33 years; has 2 children Mark and Jason.

Jason who is now 28 years old was diagnosed with Autism when he was 18 months, thus beginning her journey. As the mother of a son with Autism, she understands the joy, pain, and frustration that can mount with having a child that has special needs. So in response to her own questions and need for support, she founded The Answer, Inc., in 2007.

Mrs. Vines has is a Certified Advocate and has served within various communities and with several organizations, including: 4th District Asst. Majority Leader Senator Kimberly Lightford’s Women Committee, Member of AAABNA, Peer Reviewer for the Department of Defense (Autism) and the host of The Answer Inc Show.

Her greatest accomplishment has been to watch the families that she has aided reach milestones that were once told to them as unobtainable.

Jeffrey Mitchell

Jeffrey Mitchell

Jeffrey Mitchell holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Human Resource Management from North Central College and a Masters from the Keller Graduate School of Management with specialties in Entrepreneurship and Finance.  He is committed to a life of service and supports several local nonprofit organizations as well as his home church Parkview.  He is a Financial Associate with Thriven and focuses on insurance, retirement income strategy and estate planning with clients throughout Chicagoland.

Suzanne Williams

Suzanne Williams is a licensed, certified speech-language pathologist with a diverse background in serving children with communication disorders.  Her clinical interests lie in the area of social/pragmatic language intervention approaches for children on the Autism Spectrum.  Suzanne earned a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, andMaster’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Speech-Language Pathology   from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Syracuse University.  She has two children aged 17 and 20.

José Luis Ovalle

José Luis Ovalle works to empower and represent families in the community and is the father identical twin adult males with Autism. Also, he is an advisor for Grupo SALTO, a support group for families who have children with an ASD and whose principal language is Spanish. Mr. Ovalle is an AUCD-LEND 2009-2010 graduate in the family discipline and a member of the AUCD Act Early Illinois chapter. Additionally, he served an active role in Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA). Mr. Ovalle is an appointed executive board member for the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD). He is also very happy to participate in the board of directors to the Answer, Inc.

Rose Johnson- President

Rose Johnson- President

Rose M. Johnson is a Registered Professional Nurse with a vast background in Critical Care and Emergency Room services for over 30 years. She has provided services in Chicago’s top Trauma Centers. Over years she has merged from bedside care to Leadership in the hospital setting.

She currently works for Illinicare Health in the corporate sector as a Quality Specialists. Responsible for educating and training staff companywide on Quality Metrics the meet and exceed the National Committee for Quality Assurance standards.

Andrea Byas - Treasurer

Andrea Byas - Treasurer

AndreaWilliams-Byas R.N. Earned a Nursing Degree from Malcolm X College and a Bachelor's degree from National Louis University in Healthcare Administration. .Andrea is a wife and a mother of a Adult son with Autism diagnosed 38 years ago. Since that time Andrea has been a strong advocate for Persons with Disabilities. Andrea joined the Answer Inc. Organization in 2007and became one of the original Board Members


James is Co/Founder of The Answer Inc., VietNam Veteran and the father of Jason who is impacted by Autism.  He is retired from School District 209.

He felt very passionate about educating and supporting Men with family members impacted by Autism/Developmental Disorders which lead him to create The "Just for Men" Support Group.  He has great joy and passion in helping those within the community impacted by Autism/Developmental Disorders.

Russell J. Bonanno

Russell J. Bonanno comes to The Answer, Inc. with extensive leadership experience in government, non-profit, and for profit organizations.  Mr. Bonanno currently provides executive coaching and organizational consulting services through Protem Partners, LLC, is on the advisory board of the Illinois State Library’s Targeting Autism program, and is the Director of The Autism Program of Illinois. He has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a focus in Healthcare Management from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, and a Master’s in Education in Psychological Studies with a clinical focus from Cambridge College.


If you are simply looking for some "good works" to support in your community, you have come to the right place. Contributions from thoughtful committed citizens like yourselves allow us to fund our programming efforts and continue to provide much needed activities and outlets for Children and Parents of Children with Autism and other Special Needs.  

Click the donate button below and we will be sure to send you a special thank you gift as a small gesture of how much your donation means to The Answer Inc and each and every mother and child that is a part of the community that we serve.

Forever Hopeful,

Debra Vines, Founder/Executive Director