New Executive Director, Jacquie Benestante, Announced!

We are thrilled to announce that Jacquie Benestante has been named as the Executive Director of Autism Society of Texas (AST).

Jacquie has been a part of AST for over 6 years and was most recently Interim Executive Director. Before that, Jacquie served as Deputy Director and has experience working in many areas of the organization as well as with statewide partners and stakeholders. Jacquie is excited to lead AST as it continues to grow and is dedicated to serving individuals with autism and those that support them.

Jacquie is on the Autism Society of America’s Public Policy Advocacy Committee, and also works on state advocacy issues, including creating Texas Autism Advocacy Day.

Prior to working at AST, she served as a volunteer in school and community leadership roles doing advocacy work to increase school funding and improve autism therapy insurance coverage. Before the birth of her son, Jacquie worked as a clothing designer in New York for 12 years. She is a graduate of the University of Texas and also completed the Texas Partners in Policymaking program, graduating with the 2019 class. She lives in Austin with her husband, teen son, and a cat named Ringo who misbehaves during Zoom meetings. She has a personal connection to autism which motivates her to work on improving outcomes and opportunities for all on the spectrum.

Jacquie is honored to lead an organization that advocates for the needs of autistic children, adults, and their loved ones.
Jacquie can be reached at