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2024 Power 100: Jessica Sassi

A woman in a black pants suit Photo | Courtesy of the New England Center for Children Jessica Sassi, president and CEO of New England Center for Children
Jessica Sassi Title President & CEO Company The New England Center for Children, in Southborough Employees 941 Residence Needham College University of Florida Read all the Power 100 profiles here
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For nearly 50 years, the New England Center for Children was Vincent Strully. He founded the nonprofit from practically zero in 1975 and over the decades built it into a global leader in autism education and research.

Now, the next generation of the organization falls to Strully’s hand-picked successor: Jessica Sassi, who took over the top leadership role in 2023. Strully continues to serve as executive advisor and worked with Sassi over a three-year transition period before he retired.

Sassi, who started with NECC as a researcher and clinician before advancing to more senior roles, now oversees a nonprofit with $123.3 million in operating revenue and $118.2 million in operating expenses, according to its 2023 annual report. The center has residential and day schools in Southborough as well as the United Arab Emirates. NECC operates an additional three clinics and provides consultative services throughout the Persian Gulf region.

In New England, NECC offers consultation and support to public school districts. A patented software product linking assessment modules to student lesson plans has been licensed to school districts and private programs in 32 states and nine countries.

As diagnoses of children with autism are on the rise throughout the state, nation, and world, NECC is expected to continue to be a global leader in addressing the crisis.

Since taking over at the end of August, Sassi has already overseen major new initiatives, including the opening of an in-house dental program to serve residential students in Southborough in September, the opening of the newest clinic in Abu Dhabi in March, and the ongoing Infant Sibling Research Project, which aims to detect early markers for autism in infants who have an older sibling with autism.

Read all the Power 100 profiles here.

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