Meet Our Board and Team

Matthew DeansPresident: Matthew Deans, DARS

Matthew Deans has spent the last 12 years working in and around programs that support the independent living and vocational goals of people with disabilities, with the last 7 years working at the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (VADARS).  Matthew has valued his career in serving youth in Transition ever since he was a young person volunteering with the Youth Leadership Forum as small group facilitator back in 2000.  The introduction of the concepts of leadership, self-advocacy, self-determination, independent living and opportunities to learn about resources and meet expert speakers has led his professional career into the world of Vocational Rehabilitation.  His goal has been to have a positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities.  He has experience planning, directing and managing programs for adults and youth with disabilities through volunteering as staff for the Youth Leadership Forum, I’m Determined, Sportable Adaptive Sports and Recreation, State Rehabilitation Council and United Spinal Cord Injury Association.


Richard BagbyVice President: Richard Bagby, United Spinal Assoc of VA Deputy Director

 A native Virginian, Richard was born with the sense of wanting to help others. He played football for the University of Richmond, where he decided to foster his enjoyment of service by looking to joining the U.S. Marine Corps. Unfortunately, that dream was derailed when he suffered a c-5 burst fracture from a “6ft dive into a 4ft pool” resulting in complete quadriplegia. With the help of many friends and family, he refocused his aspirations and sought to help veterans and people with disabilities through his work in accessible transportation sales, helping people become independent through driving. Richard stumbled upon the non-profit sphere somewhat by chance. Through efforts mentoring newly injured SCI’s (subsequently attaining certification as a Peer Mentor by the United Spinal Assoc as well as the Trauma Survivors Network or TSN), he learned about the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Virginia where he became an active member and eventually a Member of the Board. Richard is extremely excited to be part of an organization that has the potential of creating an immensely positive impact on our SCI/D community.  He is currently devoting his free time to rekindling his competitive fire through wheelchair racing with Sportable, as well as spending time at Virginia Beach. If you’re down that way, odds are you can catch him “pushing the boardwalk”.


David BrownTreasurer:  David Brown, Samaritans Walk

Dave has a Bachelor Of Science degree in Physics and over 10 years experience as a personal trainer. He is an experienced Olympic style weight lifter still competing after 36 years, who has applied his personal understanding of how the human body works to assisting people to optimize their health and fitness. Dave established the Ashland Athletic Club (AAC) in 2006. In 2010, he established Samaritans Walk within AAC dedicated to improving the lives of those living with spinal cord injuries and other neurological disorders.


Marielle Rando

Secretary:  Marielle Rando, Sportable.

 Marielle grew up in Powhatan, VA and attended Powhatan High School. Marielle went on to play soccer at Randolph College where she majored in Sports and Exercise and minored in Biology and Spanish. After college she went immediately into the Center for Sport leadership at VCU and took an internship with Sportable in January 2015. She did an externship in Seattle, WA and came back full time with Sportable in August 2015.  She lives in the fan, coaches for the Richmond Kickers and plays soccer in her spare time.


Caitlin BrownBoard Member:  Caitlin Brown, Samaritans Walk

Caitlin is co-owner of Samaritans Walk. She graduated from CA University of Pennsylvania with a sports management degree. She is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Caitlin is a two time VA State weight lifting champion and has been competing for 9 years.


Alison ClarkeBoard Member:  Alison Clarke, Sheltering Arms

Alison Clarke, C.T.R.S. is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and the Director of Community Recreation & Wellness Services at Sheltering Arms.  She graduated from West Virginia University with a BS degree in Recreational Therapy and a Certificate in Gerentology.  Alison has worked in the physical rehabilitation setting for 26 years.  She is a certified Diabetes Self Management, Chronic Disease Self Management, and PALS (promoting amputee life skills) instructor. Alison is an advocate for providing recreation, physical activity, and wellness programs in the community ensuring access and opportunities for all to maintain and active and healthy lifestyle regardless of their setbacks or mobility limitations.


Dr.William McKinleyBoard Member:  Dr William McKinley, VCU Health

Dr. McKinley is Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) and Director of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health System. He has served as Project Director for the VCU SCI Regional Model System of Care (a grant supported by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research).  He is also Director of the PM&R Residency Training Program at VCU and board certified in PM&R, Electrodiagnostic Medicine and Spinal Cord Medicine.  Dr. McKinley completed his residency training in PM&R in 1989 at VCU and remained on faculty to focus on clinical, academic and research pursuits.  He has presented to numerous regional and national conferences and has published extensively within his expertise of spinal cord injury.


Dr. William Carter IIIBoard Member:  Dr William Carter, VCU Health

William Carter, MD/MPH is a spinal cord injury medicine trained Assistant Professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. He completed his undergraduate degree at Georgia Tech University followed by his medical and public health degrees at University of Connecticut, internship in Montgomery Alabama, and finally residency and specialty training at VCU.  His professional goals are to improve education, communication, and systems based practice, with an eventual goal of spreading to community outreach. Outside of work Dr. Carter enjoys spending time with his family, community outreach, playing sports, learning new languages and cultures.


Executive Director:  Sharon Drennan


Sharon moved from NJ to Richmond, VA in 1997 and fell in love with the city, raising her children in the burbs and becoming active in the community.  She spent over 25 years in the corporate world and transitioned to the non-profit arena in order to engage in more meaningful work.  In 2009 her son sustained a spinal cord injury due to a rare vascular condition that eroded his spinal cord.  Sharon became a passionate advocate for her son and others in the rare disease and SCI/D community.  Her work includes drafting and supporting state legislation, advocating for disabilities on the federal level, building awareness for her sons disease through education and collaborations with medical institutions, creating support groups for rare diseases and fundraising through national and global patient events.  She holds accreditation as a certified Family Support Mentor with the United Spinal Assoc. and the Trauma Survivors Network (TSN). Sharon spends her free time with her large blended family including six children and two grandchildren.


Caregiver Chat” Facilitator: Julie Bivins, MSW

img_7137Julie Bivins is the social worker for the spinal cord injury team at VCU Medical Center’s Inpatient Rehab Unit. Prior to that, Julie worked for the Injury & Violence Prevention Program within the department of trauma surgery at VCU Medical Center. She previously worked in the mental health field, with individuals, families, and children. She currently lives in Richmond City with her husband and in her free time enjoys gardening, cooking, traveling, and hanging with her pup.