Renee's Story

Renée’s Story

As Executive Director of The Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism, Renée Palacios understands the inequities that students with cognitive challenges often face when transitioning to the workplace. Fortunately, her background is helping people overcome injustices.

Renée holds a Master’s degree in Political Science/Criminal Justice from University of Toledo, where she also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminology. Throughout her career, she has worked with organizations that provide community supports. Renée is an accomplished advocate for those struggling against adversities such as domestic violence, child abuse, poverty, homelessness, and autism.

“Through my own trials and successes, I understand the plight of those affected by autism. I believe children deserve a shot at having the best lives possible.”

Prior to joining GLCA, Renée worked for eight years as executive director at Family House, an emergency homeless shelter for area families. She has served as a domestic violence victim advocate at Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center, as executive director at Monroe Street Neighborhood Center, and as development and communications director at Alzheimer’s Association of Northwestern Ohio.

“Some people wonder why I made the jump from working in social justice to working in the autism field,” says Renée. “My youngest son, Devin, has autism. So working at GLCA is an opportunity to combine my professional and personal passions.”

Renée grew up in Berkey, Ohio. She now lives in Blissfield, Michigan with her husband, Joshua, and their sons, Austin and Devin.

“When it comes to work, I’ve spent my life helping families—especially families with children—transition from crisis to self-sufficiency,” says Renée. “Through my own trials and successes, I understand the plight of those affected by autism. I believe children deserve a shot at having the best lives possible. And Venture Bound is an important part in making that happen.”