Cheers to the Chair! Honoring PANDA 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 Chairs

Posted By on March 25, 2021
PANDA 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 Chairs: Colleen Chester, Sarah Frey, Courtney Gaintner and Kelly Vasbinder, along with PANDA president, Tammy Ryan

Cheers to the Chair! PANDA 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 Chairs: Colleen Chester, Sarah Frey, Courtney Gaintner and Kelly Vasbinder, along with PANDA president, Tammy Ryan

How did you get involved with PANDA, People Acting Now Discover Answers?

Colleen: My sister-in-law invited me to the fashion show for the first time in 2012. I instantly fell in love with Dr. Ghishan and knew I wanted to help him raise awareness for pediatric medical research.

Kelly: I went to my first PANDA Fashion Show shortly after having a serious medical scare with my oldest daughter. Their work struck very close to home, and I knew I wanted to help.

Why do you support PANDA?

Sarah: I give my time to PANDA because I can see direct results in the researchers, projects and facilities we fund. Also, I see the results in families in our community who learned about the Steele Children’s Research Center through PANDA and, once connected with Dr. Ghishan, finally found answers for their children.

Courtney: I support PANDA because I am a mother and a teacher. The health and happiness of children are so important to me. I am honored to be part of The Phoenix Women’s Board to support the discovery processes that lead to important treatments and cures to devastating childhood diseases. With all the work that the researchers and physicians at Steel Children’s Resource Center do, I know that children all over the world are benefiting.

Surprising fact about you:

Colleen: I am absolutely terrified of sinkholes.

Sarah: Despite my height, I hated playing basketball in high school and loved cheerleading!

Proudest accomplishment:

Colleen: I am very proud that we have completely reimagined and pivoted PANDA’s “Children Helping Children Fashion Show” from being held in a ballroom to taking place at Chase Field. This is going to be a safe and socially distanced event that will bring hope and happiness to many.

Sarah: I am so proud of PANDA for honoring Dr. Ghishan’s 25th anniversary as director of the Steele Children’s Research Center by creating a $5 million Endowed Directorship in his name — the Fayez K. Ghishan MD, PANDA Endowed Directorship. In the middle of a pandemic, PANDAs came together to fund and announce this special gift in August 2020. It was such a special moment and a huge surprise for him!

Favorite quote:

Courtney: “Have courage and be kind.”

Kelly: “Look at the view, you’ll never be disappointed.”

Favorite journey:

Kelly: Motherhood … I love how I’ve evolved, and how being a mom has impacted all my relationships. My three kids are the best part of every day, even when it’s not an easy day.

Secret talent:

Colleen: I’m really good at hula hooping. I know, it’s weird.

Courtney: Multitasking.

Kelly: I truly never forget a face, and can “place” where/how I’ve seen people before. But I’m definitely not great with names. Shoot!

To learn more about PANDA, go to

To nominate your Board Chair or Event Chair(s) to be featured in Cheers to the Chairs!, please click here!

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