FightSMA Names New Executive Director; Relocates Headquarters to Nation’s Capital

(WASHINGTON, DC) – FightSMA, an international nonprofit organization created to strategically accelerate the search for a treatment and cure for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), has named Ron Imbach as its new Executive Director, effective Dec. 1, 2011.

Ron Imbach is replacing the current CEO and founder of FightSMA, Martha Slay, who guided the organization from its inception in 1991 until the present.  Under Martha’s leadership, FightSMA has grown from an initial crusade to bring higher levels of awareness and understanding of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) to the public to a leading advocate and research-centered organization focusing on the treatment and cure of the disease and support for the families of children with SMA.

For the past 20 years, Martha Slay has led FightSMA with great passion, intelligence, and dedication; the SMA community owes her a great deal of gratitude for her accomplishments,” said FightSMA Chair Mike Calise.   “She has been a great inspiration to us all personally and professionally.”

Martha and her husband, Joe Slay, will continue to be actively involved as Board members for FightSMA.

Ron Imbach has worked in non-profit organizations in fundraising and leadership roles for the past twelve years, including:  the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Volunteers of America, and the Wesley Theological Seminary.  Through Ron’s leadership, expertise, and diligence, the charities he has served have benefitted greatly with major, planned, and corporate gifts totaling well over $100 million.  He is also an accomplished speaker and trainer, speaking to audiences of 5000 or more and training hundreds of staff and other groups.  According to Dan Hayden, Board member and head of the transition committee,

Ron’s experience and track record of results have helped Ron become a visionary leader as well as a strong manager and motivator. “

Prior to working with charities, Ron was a financial advisor with a major brokerage firm, focusing on retirement and estate planning while raising and managing several million dollars in assets.  He was also a business development executive and worked in management positions in accounting and consulting in the private sector.  He has also owned and operated his own business.  Chairman of the Board, Michael Calise continued,

“We are also extremely excited to have Ron Imbach joining FightSMA as Executive Director. His vast experience in the nonprofit and business sectors will benefit FightSMA greatly and make him a great leader of our organization.  Ron is very passionate about FightSMA and will challenge each of us to have our legacy be finding a treatment or cure for SMA.” 

Ron was very active and excelled academically while completing his MBA at George Washington University with a concentration in marketing and public policy and his undergraduate studies at Shepherd University, majoring in accounting and economics.

FightSMA is also in the process of moving its national headquarters from Richmond, Virginia to the Washington, DC Metropolitan area in early 2012.  Founded in 1991, FightSMA (also known as “Andrew’s Buddies”) has awarded research grants at more than 40 universities and research institutions in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy.  For more information, please visit:

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