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MEET THE BOARD MEMBERS

Rita Saliba

Rita Saliba

After graduating with a degree in Banking from the Saint Joseph University in Lebanon, Rita worked at one of the leading banks in the country. She quickly advanced in her career to become a Senior Credit Officer for the Bekaa region before she came to the United States in 2007.

She began her transformation journey to become an advocate for children with autism and other developmental disabilities shortly after her youngest son was diagnosed with autism.

She earned several certifications in Special Education Advocacy, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Self-Center Planning and Self Determination support.

She recently graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Justice Studies and plans on continuing her masters in Nonprofit Leadership and Management.

Armed with her knowledge in Business Administration and Finances and her passion for fighting for the developmentally disabled, Rita started Blissful Seeds in 2020.

 

In her capacity as an Executive Director, she works to create a thriving business for her contractors for them to be integrated in their communities as Equal Productive citizens.

Fady

Fady Nasrallah, MD 

Fady Nasrallah, MD is a Trauma and Emergency General Surgeon and Surgical Critical Care Specialist of the Scripps Clinic Medical Group. He completed his undergraduate studies in Biology and Medical School at the American University of Beirut (Lebanon) before moving to the US for residency training in General Surgery at Waterbury (CT) Hospital General Surgery Program then Fellowship training in Surgical Critical Care and Trauma at University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.

He is happy to be known as Chris's and Michael's dad!

Co-founder of Blissful Seeds, as inspired by Michael, to help Adults with Autism showcase their abilities rather than being judged by their disability. If he ever has free time, he enjoys swimming and fixing/problem solving things. Watching SciFi movies (with Chris) is another outlet to enjoy.

Zahra

Dr. Zahra Ghorishi

Dr. Zahra Ghorishi is board certified neonatologist with over 20 years of experience.  She considers it a privilege taking care of some of the world’s smallest infants and infants who require intensive support at birth.  She has been involved in scientific research as well as teaching medical students and residents.

 

She is passionate about providing quality care for her patients and their families by being an advocate, a listener, and a teacher.  As an experienced neonatologist, she understands the unique needs of premature infants and complex medical conditions which require special attention during this critical period of life.


She also founded a non-profit organization to help families with children on the autism spectrum have access to resources and support. The organization provided educational support, social activities, counseling services, and financial assistance for those who needed it. She is passionate about helping others understand autism better and has been an advocate for the rights of individuals on the spectrum.

Board member

Vanessa Scarbrough

Vanessa Scarbrough is Partner at APR Construction, Inc., a family-owned commercial general contractor for 14 years. Her duties include formulating the strategic direction and oversight of day-to-day company performance, monitor financials and revenue margins, litigation management, risk management, contracts, regulatory compliance, and relationship preservation.

 

She is a graduate from National University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in strategic communications. She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Arizona Global Campus pursuing a PhD in organizational development and leadership.

Vanessa has two amazing boys with Autism age 9 and 5. They are her world. One of her passions is helping the special needs community through volunteering, spreading awareness, sharing resources, and educating others on seeing individuals with Autism for their abilities and not disability.

Board Member 2

Kara Horat

Kara is a self-motivated, positive person. She is also a serious business-minded professional and like a lot of women out there, wears many hats. She is an adviser, educator, strategist, mentor, entrepreneur, mother, wife, sister and friend.

 

She spent half her life on the east coast and half on the west coast. So, she has an East-Coast work ethic with a Southern California vibe. 

 

Her personal mission is to serve, support and empower women in business. I firmly believe “who you are is more important than what you do” and my passion is to help other entrepreneurial women realize “who they are” whether it’s by providing a community in support of female entrepreneurs, strategizing to help an entrepreneur lay a firm foundation for a new business or helping another woman jumpstart her dreams. 

Board member 3

Christa Sisson

Christa is a speech-language pathologist and owner of TideSpeak Language & Speech Therapy, Inc. She began her career working with individuals with autism and other developmental differences during her undergraduate years as a therapy tech and as an academic tutor. After receiving her degree in Elementary Education, Christa returned to school to pursue her interest in speech-language pathology. Christa has participated in a clinical travel abroad course and worked in private practices, neurology-based clinics, client homes, and virtual telehealth for varied levels of support needs. Her passion is autism and sensory-based therapies that promote inclusivity in all aspects of community involvement.

 

Christa has served on executive committees in advisory and member management roles for both local and national nonprofit organizations, including Junior League of San Diego, Alpha Delta Pi, the Oakleaf Club, and Voices for Children, to name a few. Her creativity and event planning skills shine in the nonprofit world, and her love of connecting people is unmatched.

 

Christa began her involvement with Blissful Seeds during her time working with Michael, watching his passion for art inspire his overall well-being and participation in community activities. She and her two children, Harrington (age 4) and Lennon (age 1), enjoy spending time outdoors, making fun pancakes, and being in the water. 

Board member 4

Kelly Harfouche

Kelly Harfouche is a Critical Care Nurse at Scripps Memorial Hospital and an Aesthetic Nurse Injector at KQ Aesthetic Society which she founded here in San Diego.

Kelly is highly motivated, compassionate

and caring with a lifetime of experience in volunteering with children and adults with disabilities. As a prior Swimmer, Softball, and Basketball player she spent many years coaching adolescents with disabilities for the Special Olympics in her home state of Maryland.

While completing her undergraduate studies in nursing, Kelly was able to use her time off volunteering at Orphanages in Romania.

As a lifelong artist and painter herself, Kelly is an avid believer in the healing touch of art and the human connection that can be made through it.

Board member 5

Laura Imthurn

Laura is a recently retired LCSW.  She obtained her Masters Degree in Social Work from San Diego State University and worked as a Medical Social Worker for Kaiser the past 15 years.  She is the proud mother of 3 adult children.  Her middle child has a rare genetic condition called Williams Syndrome.  Laura served as a Regional Coordinator for the Williams Syndrome Association and started a monthly social group for young adults with Williams Syndrome 14 years ago.  She continues to lead this program.  She has advocated for people with disabilities in both her personal and professional life.  Her belief that her son, and others with developmental disabilities, can lead full and productive lives, with the right supports and resources in place, is a strong motivating force for her.  

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