Laura Slatkin is the CEO of NEST Fragrances, a luxury home fragrance company. She previously served as President of Slatkin & Co. and, prior to that, Senior Vice President at Lehman Brothers. In 2003, Laura and her husband, Harry, along with a group of colleagues, founded the New York Center for Autism (NYCA), a tri-partite organization dedicated to autism education, community outreach and biomedical research. In 2005, NYCA founded the NYCA Charter School, the first public charter school dedicated to serving children with autism. In 2008, NYCA funded and established the Hunter College Autism Center's "Teach the Teacher" Program. This year, NYCA partnered with New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medical College to form the Institute for Brain Development, a comprehensive autism institute to be established in White Plains, NY.
Laura serves on the Board of Directors of Autism Speaks, NYCA, NYCA Charter School, New England Center for Children, and the Henry Street Settlement House, and the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry Advisory Board. Laura has a son who was diagnosed with severe autism.
Research and Professional Activities
After completing her degree in finance at New York University in 1979, Laura joined Lehman Brothers where she earned the title of Senior Vice President and remained until 1992. Following her successful Wall Street career, in 1994 Laura joined forces with her husband, Harry Slatkin, and together they founded Slatkin & Co., a luxury home fragrance company. In 2005, Slatkin & Co. was acquired by Limited Brands and Laura went on to found Candela Group, a home fragrance company which focuses exclusively on developing home fragrance and bath and body products for luxury brands. Candela Group creates home fragrance/personal care collections for over 45 prestige brands including Ralph Lauren, Estee Lauder, Christian Dior, Restoration Hardware, Papyrus, D. Porthault, Laura Mercier, NARS, and Jonathan Adler. In 2008, Laura will launch NEST Fragrances, her own collection of scented candles, which will debut at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and specialty stores worldwide.
In 1999, shortly after giving birth to twins, Alexandra and David, the Slatkin's son was diagnosed with severe autism. In response to this life altering issue, Laura and Harry with a group of colleagues founded the New York Center for Autism (NYCA), a tri-partite organization dedicated to autism education, community outreach and biomedical research. NYCA founded the first public charter school dedicated to serving children with autism which opened in 2005, the NYCA Charter School. The Charter School was created as a model school for the New York City Public School system. In 2005, NYCA organized its first Autism Think Tank, The Neural Basis of Autism, in partnership with the National Institute of Mental Health, the Simons Foundation and Columbia University.
In the fall of 2008, NYCA opened the doors of the Hunter College Autism Center: Teach the Teachers Program: Created with seed money from NYCA, Hunter College created a graduate level program that trains professionals to serve people living with ASD and their families. Today there are more than 100 professionals enrolled.
In 2009, NYCA helped form a consortium of national, regional and local autism organizations called Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism. Through a think tank, national town hall meeting and autism congress, AFAA set a national agenda for legislative and policy changes.
This year, NYCA partnered with NewYork Presbyterian Hospital and its affiliated medical schools of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell medical College to form the Institute for Brain Development (IBD) on NYP's 214 acre campus in the heart of White Plains. The IBD will maintain comprehensive state-of-the-art medical and clinical research programs in a single setting to address the needs of individuals living with ASD, and other developmental disorders of the brain, at all life stages, along with their families.
NYCA has future plans to develop partnerships in Westchester with community organization to create vocational, recreational and residential programs for adults with ASD while simultaneously considering the importance of community integration, independence and safety.
Laura serves on the Board of Directors of Autism Speaks, New York Center for Autism (NYCA), NYCA Charter School, New England Center for Children and the Henry Street Settlement House. She lives in New York City with her husband and their twins, David and Alexandra.