Management Team

Merl Waschler, President and Chief Executive Officer

Merl WaschlerMerl Waschler leads Valley of the Sun United Way as President and Chief Executive Officer. He guides the strategic direction of the largest non-profit investor of health and human services programs in Maricopa County. Under his leadership, United Way leverages the expertise and passion of 90,000 individual donors, 700 business supporters, volunteers, partners and staff. He leads the development of long-term systemic change that transforms individual lives in the Valley by achieving United Way’s three bold Community Objectives: 1) Ensure Children and Youth Succeed; 2) End Hunger and Homelessness; and, 3) Increase Financial Stability of Families and Individuals.

Merl joined United Way in 1992 as Chief Financial Officer. He is a Certified Public Accountant, and a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, where he earned a degree in Accounting. Prior to joining United Way, Merl held a variety of finance and accounting positions in the for-profit and government sectors, beginning his career in Washington, D.C., with Arthur Andersen and Co., the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., the Disclosure Information Group and Oryx Press.

Merl serves on several community boards including the Arizona Ready Council, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Leadership, Expect More Arizona, United Way Worldwide National Professional Council, Rodel Foundation Advisory Council, and the ASU College of Public Programs Advisory Council.

Ken Brooks, Chief Information Officer

Ken BrooksAs Chief Information Officer, Ken guides the strategic direction, mission and implementation of all information technology systems within Valley of the Sun United Way. He oversees and develops the vision for the Donor Management system, Customer Relationship Management system, Community Impact and Investment system, Human Resources and Finance systems and a variety of other systems supporting the organization’s mission.

Prior to joining United Way, Ken served in various leadership positions at Mayo Clinic including managing the Revenue Cycle systems. Ken has more than 17 years of experience in managing and leading within large healthcare and non-profit sectors. He holds a MBA from Western International University and a B.S. in Medical Technology from South Dakota State University. Ken is a graduate of Scottsdale Leadership Class 25 and Valley Leadership class 36.


Nancy Dean, Chief Strategy Officer

Nancy DeanNancy Dean directs all aspects of revenue generation for Valley of the Sun United Way as Chief Strategy Officer. She oversees annual workforce campaigns, major and planned gifts, grants and volunteerism. Nancy leads the engagement of organizations and individuals to achieve aspirations we all share: a good education for our kids, roof over our heads, food on the table and the security that comes with financial independence.

Nancy joined United Way in 2009. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities from University of California, Irvine. Prior to coming to United Way, Nancy was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Foundation for Women. Before that she was Chief Operating Officer for the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross, where she oversaw the operations of the Chapter. She also served as Vice President of Constituent Services and Management of the Arizona State University Foundation. She has extensive experience working in development for higher education.

Nancy volunteers with community organizations such as ICAN in Chandler which provides positive programs for youth and the San Tan Chapter of the National Charity League, a mother-daughter leadership development and volunteer program.

Tanya M. Muñiz, Chief Financial Officer

Tanya MunizAs Chief Financial Officer, Tanya oversees all fiscal and fiduciary responsibilities for the organization and leads the development of long term economic strategy. Tanya and her team provide key stakeholders, including the Board of Directors, the leadership team and staff, our donors and the general public with key information which helps them assess United Way’s effectiveness and efficiency. She holds a Bachelor of Accountancy from New Mexico State University. 

Tanya was recognized  as one of Arizona’s  40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40 of 2011, Financial Executive International Non-Profit CFO of the Year in Arizona 2013, and named by Phoenix Business Journal as one of Phoenix’s 40 Under 40 of 2014. Phoenix Business Journal has also recognized her as one of Phoenix’s Outstanding CFO’s and Rising Star. Tanya serves on the United World Wide Financial Issues Committee and United World Wide Diversity and Inclusion Council where she leads efforts to leverage the diversity of Latinos/Hispanics to create more inclusive communities.

Tanya serves on the Board and Finance Committee for Arizona Grantmaker’s Forum and as Board Treasurer for the Phoenix Community Tool Bank. She is a member of Financial Executive International and mentors for New Pathways for Youth. She is  an active alumnus with Valley Leadership and Valle del Sol Hispanic Leadership Institute.

Tamera Skrovan, Chief Donor Impact Officer

Tamera SkrovanTamera oversees strategic audience engagement initiatives at Valley of the Sun United Way as Chief Donor Impact Officer, including marketing and communications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State University.

She brings more than 25 years of diverse strategy, brand development and marketing experience to United Way. Prior to joining United Way, Tamera was Director of Marketing for The Nature Conservancy, where she led marketing communications for the Arizona, New Mexico and Canada programs. She helped advance Fortune 500 brands such as Target Stores and Caterpillar, Inc., and served as Director of Brand Development for one of Europe’s top internet brands, Chello Broadband.

Tamera serves on community boards including the communications committees for BUILD and Read On Arizona.

Brian Spicker, Chief Program Officer

Brian SpickerAs Chief Program Officer of Community Impact, Brian oversees Valley of the Sun United Way’s Community Objectives Plans focused on Ensuring Children and Youth Succeed, Ending Hunger and Homelessness, and Increasing the Financial Stability of Individuals and Families.  Brian guides Valley of the Sun United Way’s work on community initiative development, investment of funds into the community, and supports the organization’s public policy agenda.

He has served in the health and human services sector for more than 30 years.  Prior to joining VSUW, Brian was an Executive Director for Southwest Center, an HIV/AIDS research and resource center formerly known as Body Positive, Inc.  Brian also served as the Director of Development for an abuse prevention organization and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for violence prevention and support.  Early in his career, Brian championed the development of the first set of state funded group homes for the developmentally disabled.

Brian holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Western International University and remains very active in the community.  Brian is Associate Faculty at Arizona State University and is a member of ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, Leadership Council.  In addition, Brian serves on the Arizona Commission on Homelessness and Housing, and is a past member of the Maricopa County Board of Health.

Penny Allee Taylor, Chief Public Policy Officer

As Chief Public Policy Officer, Penny oversees all advocacy and public policy efforts for Valley of the Sun United Way at the federal, state, and local levels. She develops plans and strategies to address issues around youth and children, hunger and homelessness, and financial stability for individuals and families.

Prior to joining United Way, Penny served for 20 years in the Corporate Public Affairs Department of Southwest Gas Corporation managing issues at the Arizona State Legislature, the Governor’s Office, state agencies, and also worked with Arizona cities, towns, and counties and with the federal delegation. Prior to joining Southwest Gas, Penny served in other government relations capacities at the federal, state and county levels.

Penny has been an active member of numerous professional, community and civic organizations and was elected to the Maricopa County Charter Committee. Penny graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science.

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