Meet the Staff

Our internal team is made up of a diverse group of professionals with a wide range of expertise in nonprofit management, fund development, program development and evaluation, financial management, technology solutions, communications strategies, and more. Together, we aim to provide responsive programs and services of the highest quality to the spondylitis community.

SAA receives no government funding and relies on the generous donations from individuals to create and maintain the programs and services aimed at improving the futures of the 2.7 million Americans affected by spondylitis.


SAA’s talented staff is a major reason the organization has been able to impact the lives of so many people dealing with one of the various forms of spondylitis. Here are the people that make it all happen.

Cassie Shafer
Chief Executive Officer

Richard Howard, MBA
Associate Executive Director

Diann Peterson, CFRE
Associate Executive Director

Elin Aslanyan
Director of Programs / Editor-in-Chief, Spondylitis Plus

Jason Blackwell
Senior Marketing & Communications Manager

Sean Ewert 
Development & Annual Giving Manager

Ryan Miyamoto 
Web Developer & Content Manager

Geoff Cloepfil
Operations Manager/Executive Assistant

Cynthia Rodriguez
Programs Coordinator

Helene Hart
Membership Associate

Stay Informed

Contact Us

Spondylitis Association of America

16360 Roscoe Blvd.  Ste. 100
Van Nuys, CA 91406


Toll Free Hotline

(800) 777-8189 U.S. only
or (818) 892-1616

Give With Confidence

Independent Charities of America