Management Team

Merl Waschler, President and Chief Executive Officer

Merl Waschler

Merl Waschler is President and Chief Executive Officer of Valley of the Sun United Way, a non-profit health and human services program provider in Maricopa County. Valley of the Sun United Way is the 3rd largest United Way in the nation with annual revenues in excess of $95M and is supported by over 90,000 individual donors, 700 business and numerous foundation, agency, community and government partners along with a 125 person professional staff. Under his leadership, United Way works to improve the lives of community members by focusing on systemic change efforts impacting children and families in Maricopa County’s underserved communities.

Merl is a Certified Public Accountant, and a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, where he earned a degree in Accounting. Prior to joining United Way, he held a variety of executive finance and managerial positions in the for-profit sector, 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 joined United Way in 1992 as Chief Financial Officer, became Chief Operating Officer in 2001 and President and Chief Executive Officer in 2007. Merl is the Executive Manager of Learn United LLC a wholly owned subsidiary of Valley of the Sun United Way that provides on-line literacy tutoring to students nation-wide.

Merl has served on numerous community boards and advisory councils including the Arizona Ready Council, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Leadership, Expect More Arizona, BUILD 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 Brooks

As 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 Dean

Nancy Dean works closely with community leaders, United Way executive leadership and the Board of Directors on key priorities and strategic initiatives. She is responsible for strategy development, implementation and assessment of the organization’s business framework. Nancy actively engages in the community and with other United Ways to identify and refine emerging practices and programs to better Break the Cycle of Poverty for kids, their families and the communities they live in. Previously at Valley of the Sun United Way, she served as the Chief Development Officer for seven years.

Nancy joined United Way in 2010. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Irvine.  Prior to coming to United Way, Nancy was President and Chief Executive Officer for the Arizona Foundation for Women and Chief Operating Officer of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross.  She also served as Vice President of Constituent Relations at the Arizona State University Foundation and has an extensive development background in higher education.

Nancy cares deeply for the community and has been involved with several organizations; including ICAN in Chandler which provides positive programs for youth, National Charity League, and the East Valley Women’s League. Through her personal service, she remains connected to the community and focuses particularly on issues faced by women and children.

Tanya M. Muñiz, Chief Financial Officer

Tanya Muniz

As 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 Skrovan

Tamera Skrovan oversees Donor Impact at Valley of the Sun United Way. She directs strategic engagement initiatives, including marketing and communications and aspects of revenue generation, including annual workforce campaigns, major and planned gifts, grants, and volunteerism. Tamera leads the engagement of organizations and individuals to achieve aspirations we all share: a good education for our kids, a roof over our heads, food on the table and the security that comes with financial independence.

Tamera 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. 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.

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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