Sometimes a life’s calling is presented to us. For Jennifer Vertetis, when her first child was diagnosed with autism at age two, she dedicated her life to helping him and other children with autism so they will have every opportunity for the future. During the same time, Suzanne and Jeffrey Citron were establishing their family charity, the Charles Lafitte Foundation. Recognizing Jennifer’s passion for helping others, they asked her to join as director; she started in 2001 and continues today as President and Executive Director.
Jennifer met the Citrons when she worked with Jeffrey at Datek Online in Iselin, NJ. She was a Vice President in the areas of Corporate Development and Project Management from March 1997 to September 2000. Jeffrey was the founder, chairman and CEO of Datek Online Holdings Corp. until 1999.
A cum laude graduate of the University of San Diego, Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and business. She was the first female president of the Associate Student Body and a four-year varsity athlete, attracting Nike sponsorship as a marathon runner. After graduating, Jennifer earned a master’s of science degree in Sport Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she graduated summa cum laude.
In 1998, Jennifer married her college sweetheart. The family moved to Seattle, where Jennifer is from, in 2000 to be close to her parents and six siblings. Along with her oldest son, Peter, the couple has a daughter, Mary, and a son, Glorian, who is named after a young girl in Seattle who inspired thousands before dying from cancer at 11 in 2007.
Along with her role with CLF, Jennifer is deeply involved with her community. She served two terms as both President and Vice President of the Board of Directors the Academy for Precision Learning, a K-8 school in Seattle that is dedicated to the social and academic development of all children, regardless of their learning differences. Jennifer is also active with the “Friends of the EEU,” an advisory group to the Experimental Education Unit of The University of Washington in Seattle. She is a founding member and has worked on the project, which offers inclusive educational services, since 2002. From 2002 to 2006, Jennifer was on the Board of Directors of the University of Washington Autism Center, and she has spearheaded many fundraising events for autism for a number of organizations. Jennifer also spends time each week volunteering on boards and in schools. A few of her favorite activities are coaching youth cross-county, track and field, and debate teams.