Board and Staff

Board of directors

David Martin, Chair

Dave has been the Owner and President of Martin’s Auto Repair since 2006 when he took over the family business from his father. His automotive career began in 1974 working as a station helper then as gas attendant.

Dave married his wife Bo in 1992 and they have an adult daughter, Qamree. Dave bowls, plays over the line baseball, and is a passionate football fan-proudly supporting his lifelong favorite team, The Dallas Cowboys.

Dave was born with Spina Bifida and wants to help others affected along with increasing public awareness. Elected as Chairman of the Board of Directors for 2012 he looks forward to growth, increased involvement and giving.

Ron Whiteside, Treasurer

Ron has been involved in the lives of people with Spina Bifida nearly all his life. He has been an Orthotist for over 30 years and loves working with people in the Spina Bifida community. He has owned his own orthotics company and now works for Hanger. Many of our SB Families have a great love for “Mr Ron.” 

Linda Thunn

Linda has been a longtime resident of Arizona, having received her Bachelor of Human Biology from Grand Canyon University, and her Master of Science and Doctorate of Physical Therapy from AT Still University. She has been a practicing physical therapist since 2000, having worked with children with disabilities in schools and clinics beginning in 2005. Linda has volunteered many hours over the years as a physical therapist with Healthcare for the Homeless. She is an active member of the National and Arizona chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association.

As a member of the Board of Directors, Linda will oversee the monthly adult group. Linda desires to participate in the association programs to increase Spina Bifida awareness and prevention education.

Jay Brown, Secretary

Jay brings experience in the legal field. He was interested in the association because he wants to help people, including children by raising awareness to help decrease the effects of Spina Bifida through education and raise their quality of life by advocating on their behalf. He hopes to network with his fellow legal professionals to assist in raising awareness by their participating with time and donations.


Brett Kitani, Member 

Brett is originally from San Jose, California, but has been in Arizona since 1983. Brett grew up in Mesa, Arizona and went to college at the University of Arizona. He has lived all throughout the east valley and currently resides in downtown Phoenix. Brett is currently an IT Professional by day, and an avid gamer by night.

Brett was born with Spina Bifida and is a great example of an independent adult living with Spina Bifida. Brett is one of our leaders in the Spina Bifida Adult community and is looking to mentor and assist those with Spina Bifida and the families affected by it.

Lauren Zimmerman

Lauren is very excited to be part of the Board of Directors of SBAAZ!

She is passionate about helping others and hopes to make a difference for individuals with disabilities. Lauren is a speech-language pathologist who works with children with speech-language and feeding disorders. She received her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Arizona. She looks forward to helping support the mission of SBAAZ!


Board Member Application

Current Board Members, go Inside Here


Staff members

Sharri Runnels, Executive Director

Sharri has been a Phoenix transplant since 1999 coming from Orlando, Florida. Sharri and her husband, John, have three adult sons and are enjoying the new stage of ’empty nesters.’

As our Executive Director, Sharri brings to SBAAZ comprehensive experience in business administration and the non-profit arena. Her desire for the association is to see increased participation and peer mentoring among the membership as well as strong, purposeful programs to meet needs and empower those served.

Jay Dashefsky, Program Manager for the “Lead the Way” Program

Jay Dashefsky was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. He graduated with a B.A. in Humanities (with a film concentration) and a Master’s Degree in Social Work (M.S.W.) with a concentration in Policy/Program Planning, Administration, and Community.

Jay always emphasizes a can-do attitude, and enjoys seeing others succeed. Jay currently is the Adult Services and Transition Program Manager for the “Lead the Way” Program at the Spina Bifida Association of Arizona.

Angela Chaput, Program Assistant

Angela has called Phoenix home since 1997 when she moved to the valley from Connecticut.

As our Program Assistant, Angela keeps all the plates spinning with the ins & outs of SBAAZ’s service to our membership. Most of the time, the cheerful voice you hear greeting you on the end of the line at our office will be Angela, ready to direct you to the answer you are looking for!

She has been a great addition to the SBAAZ staff, please let her know how we can make your interaction with SBAAZ a meaningful one.