Executive Director

Bernadette Griswold, Executive Director

Bernadette Griswold

Bernadette became Executive Director of Community Access Unlimited (CAU) in February 2019.

After graduating from East Carolina University with dual degrees in Human Environmental Science/Family and Community Services and in Elementary Education, Bernadette found a career she was passionate about in November 2003. Her first position with CAU was as an Independent Living Skills Coordinator, developing and implementing independent living skills curricula for adults and at-risk adolescents. She also created and conducted staff and member trainings, as well as facilitating anger management groups at the Union County Jail.

As CAU grew, so did Bernadette’s responsibilities. As the Advocacy Assistant Director, she tracked legislation, developed positions and responded. She organized federal, local and state campaigns and recruited, developed and trained organizers with disabilities. In 2006, Bernadette was promoted to Assistant Executive Director, for which she maintained all contractual obligations, including outcomes, reporting, licensing and program inspections. She ensured the health and safety of members through rigorous program inspections and records review. She successfully achieved targeted levels of service and secured opportunities for development and growth.

In 2008, Bernadette became the Managing Assistant Executive Director of CAU, administering all aspects of CAU programs supporting people with developmental disabilities. She oversaw staff development and training and continued to maintain compliance with agency policies and contractual obligations. She also oversaw all agency quality assurance functions, including CAU’s expanding nursing and behavioral staff. She was responsible for analyzing budgets and ensuring fiscal policy compliance. During this time, CAU residential programs expanded from 13 to 50.

Bernadette became CAU’s Associate Executive Director in 2015. She adhered to national best practices to administer a social service agency with 1,100 full- and part-time employees and managed an operating budget of more than $33 million. Bernadette developed and implemented short and long-range plans and continued to oversee the expansion of programs, including writing grants, developing new programs and implementing a host of agency fundraising activities. She developed and operationalized CAU’s statewide Support Coordination program and continued developing and maintaining close working relationships with members, families, legislative leaders, and community organizations.

Bernadette is a member and active participant on many community boards, including:

  • NJ State Representative for the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), 2019-Present
  • Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities (ABCD), 2013-Present
  • ABCD, co-founder Support Coordination Alliance, 2015-Present
  • American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, New Jersey Chapter, 2005-Present
  • National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, 2008-Present.
  • East Front Condominium Association, Board Member, 2005-2020
  • Joelle Manor Condo Association, Vice President, 2005-2020
  • North Broad Street Condo Association, Secretary, 2005-2020
  • 1250 North Broad Street Condo Association, 2005-2020
  • 502 Morris Avenue Condo Association, 2005-2020
  • Linrose Manor Condo Association, Secretary, 2005-2020