OUR TEAM

STAFF

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Bethany Keener

Executive Director

Bethany has nearly two decades of experience in nonprofit communications and development. She has eight years of experience working in organizations that support adults who have intellectual disabilities, and prior to her role at Spirit Club Foundation worked as the communications director for a nonprofit focused on affordable housing.

 

Bethany holds a bachelor’s degree from Goshen College, a Master of Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame, and an associate degree in graphic design from Northern Virginia Community College. She lives in Silver Spring with her husband and two sons. To stay active, she enjoys dancing, hiking, playing Frisbee, and kayaking.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Sifa Bokwala | Assistant Vice President/Branch Manager, M&T Bank, Antique Row
Board Member

Sifa Bokwala serves as the Assistant Vice President/Branch Manager at the Kensington M&T Bank. She holds an associate degree in Business Administration from the Institute des Volcans in Congo (DRC), and a bachelor’s degree in economics and computer science from KICTI in Nairobi, Kenya. In addition to her extensive experience in the banking industry, Sifa holds a certificate in French Translation and Interpretation. 

 

Sifa lives in Glenn Dale, Maryland, with her husband Patrick and their two children. Her family loves adventure and traveling.

Jared Ciner | Founder & Director, SPIRIT Club
Board Member

Jared Ciner is SPIRIT Club’s Founder and Director. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified fitness trainer, and is certified by the Maryland Department of Health’s Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) to work with people of all abilities. 

Jared lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife and two children. 
 

Sharon Freiman | Disabilities Advocate, Retired Attorney

Board Secretary

Sharon has been an advocate for people with disabilities for more than 30 years. She has served as Commissioner on the Montgomery County Commission for People with Disabilities and engaged in lobbying at the Federal level and in Annapolis. One of Sharon’s sons is active in Special Olympics, Best Buddies, and Main Street, and as a result, she has gotten involved with those programs as well. 

 

Sharon is an attorney by trade and is presently retired from practice to focus on her advocacy work. She has two adult sons and two adult stepsons. She and her spouse live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Susan Hoffmann | Communications Manager, Montgomery County's Office of Community Partnerships

Board President

Susan is the Communications Manager of Montgomery County's Office of Community Partnerships.  She is the founding producer of the Silver Spring Jazz Festival, the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade, and producer of the Silver Spring Summer Concert Series.  Before joining the Office of Community Partnerships, Susan worked on the redevelopment of downtown Silver Spring, serving as Marketing Manager in the Silver Spring Regional Center.  Susan joined Montgomery County as a Legislative Liaison in the Office of Intergovernmental Relations working during the legislative sessions in Annapolis. 

 

Susan is also the former Mayor of Rockville, Maryland.  As a three-term member of the Rockville City Council, Susan was a leader in the redevelopment of Rockville’s Town Square and surrounding downtown.

In addition to the Spirit Club Foundation Board, and continuing her interest in public service, Susan has been active with many organizations over the years, and currently serves on the Judicial Inquiry Board of the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival, and formerly served as President of the Jubilee Foundation Board of Directors, and Vice President of the D.C. Special Olympics Board.

 

Susan was named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women and is the recipient of the Betty Mae Kramer Community Service Award.  She was president of the Montgomery County Chapter of the Maryland Municipal League and vice president of the Maryland Mayors Association.  A graduate of Temple University, her Bachelor of Science degree is in Communications.  She came to the DMV to work on the Capitol Hill staff of U.S. Representative Peter H. Kostmayer of Pennsylvania.  She has lived in Montgomery County since 1978 and currently resides in Rockville.  Susan is most proud of her daughter and son, and two grandsons.

Richard Male | Founder & President, Richard Male, and Associates

Board Member

Richard Male is the founder and president of Richard Male and Associates, a nonprofit consulting firm based in Denver, Colorado. He is a nationally recognized keynote speaker, writer, trainer, and educator. Rich has helped author and steward public policy reform on the national level including the Community Reinvestment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He has taught fundraising, leadership and governance issues at the Master in Nonprofit Management degree program at Regis University, University of Colorado, Hawaii Pacific University, State University of New York at Albany. 


Rich lives in Denver and has four beautiful children. He is a Master Gardener and grows lots of heirloom tomatoes and peppers. Rich works extensively in Africa.

Gary McPherson, ll | Senior Managing Partner, McPherson Financial Partners 

Board Treasurer

Gary’s work in the financial industry spans 18 years. Today, he is the Senior Managing Partner of McPherson Financial Partners, LLC (MFP), a comprehensive financial services firm in Bethesda, Maryland. 

He also serves on the board of the Community Education Resource Group in Washington, D.C. Gary partners with AFEA, a North Carolina non-profit, to deliver financial education to the Bethesda community. Since 2014, Gary has volunteered and provided financial literacy to African American student-athletes and young adults with disabilities. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree in business management with a minor in financial planning from Towson University, Gary holds the following certifications: Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA), Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®), and Certified Long-Term Care (CLTC). 

Gary and his wife, Amy, live in Gaithersburg with their two children. They are actively involved in Montgomery County community and the local Jewish community.

Sam Smith | Fitness Trainer, SPIRIT Club

Board Member

Sam Smith is a fitness trainer at SPIRIT Club. He holds a physical fitness certification from Berkshire Community College and is a certified running coach through the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA). Sam has run six Marine Corps Marathons and one New York City Marathon. A proud man with Autism, Sam has been working for SPIRIT Club since its inception. 


Sam lives in Rockville, Maryland. In addition to being a fitness enthusiast, he is an avid musician.

Chris Urban | Director of Corporate Partnerships, BurnAlong

Board Vice President

Chris Urban is the Director of Corporate partnerships at BurnAlong, a corporate wellness platform with integrated social support that offers live and on-demand programming. He previously worked at Kaiser Permanente for more than a decade. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Cabrini College and a master’s in public policy from George Mason University. He also serves on the board of the Jubilee Foundation.