“The science is clear. Physical education and youth sports benefit kids in multiple ways. But budget cuts for schools at all levels — district, state and federal — are making it increasingly difficult for many students to have a gym class.”
P.E. is a social justice issue, but the 2017 LA84 Foundation Summit was featured on ThePostGame for offering solutions to this issue. Olympians and youth sports advocates alike united at the Summit, and ThePostGame caught up with four-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Janet Evans and three-time Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings to hear their thoughts on the #PlayForAll movement and keeping kids active in 2017.
How can we fix youth sports right now? GOOD Sports covered the 2017 LA84 Foundation Summit, and discovered four ways to tackle the issues that face youth sports. Check out what Olympians, student-athletes, youth sports advocates, and other experts in the field had to say during a day of thought-provoking and forward-thinking content focused on youth sports advancement.
The 2017 LA84 Foundation Summit featured 2017 Rhodes Scholar Caylin Moore and an all-star lineup of panels and speakers all making a difference in youth sports. KNBC’s Lolita Lopez attended the conference, which saw Moore, a former NCAA football athlete and LA84 Foundation grantee youth, share his inspirational journey.
Speaker: Kerri Walsh Jennings, Three-time Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist
Interviewer: Julie Foudy, Two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup Champion, ESPN Analyst and Reporter
Foudy kicked off the Summit’s final keynote by asking about Walsh Jennings’ introduction to youth sports and the coaches, teammates, and people who went with it. For Walsh Jennings, the emphasis was that she was introduced to the sport naturally, and played a variety of other sports recreationally, including badminton and basketball, before diving fully into volleyball. For her, the fun nature of sport that she enjoyed whilst growing up fueled her passion and love. “Sport in my family is the war cry,” she added.
This family support, something echoed with equally successful Olympian and Summit speaker Allyson Felix, has kept Walsh Jennings going through adversity on the court. Walsh Jennings’ family has traveled with her to each of her five Olympic appearances. When she took bronze in Rio in 2016 after winning gold in the previous three Games’, this support combined with a certain attitude helped Walsh Jennings power through:
“Winning is beautiful, but the growth is the pain from the losses. The joy is in the process even if it’s ugly. I’m better for it.”
Walsh Jennings is a mother of four, and she believes her true love for sport has rubbed off during her parenting. “I look at my kids play, and it’s not about the end result,” she adds. “It’s not always about making the goal or being perfect. It’s about the joy of playing.”
For her, simply giving all kids access is a major step on the road to changing lives through sport. “It’s all about access,” she said. “If we plant these seeds to let these kids try these sports, as they grow up through life there is a good chance they will pick something up. They learn, appreciate it. The socialization that comes through sport and P.E… keep increasing access for the kids to play, and improve the maintain policy work to make sure P.E. is mandated in school.”
But once kids are involved, how do we communicate the right message to keep them engaged and active? For Walsh Jennings, a bulk of the responsibility lies with the adults: coaches, administrators and parents. “It’s about play and the process, and not the end results,” she said. While she won gold in Beijing in 2008, Walsh Jennings described it as a negative sports experience due to the intensity and the pressure involved. “It’s not all about winning. It’s about playing and the joy of sport.”
Panelists Jake Olson, Long Snapper from the University of Southern California Sarah Robinson, Brotherhood Crusade Youth Member Sophey Carbajal, High School Senior, LB Poly SaraJoy Salib, LA84 SAMbassador, Water Polo & Diving Athlete at Occidental College Kendall Stier, Amabassador, Angel City Sports
Moderator: Baron Davis, Two-time NBA All-Star; CEO – Baron Davis Enterprises
The panel surveyed the five panelists on youth sports’ impact on their lives, both on and off the field.
On the opportunity sports plays in our lives
Carbajal opened up the panel by stating how sports has allowed her to drive her personal traits into successful achievement. “I’ve always been an action person. I’d call myself ‘fidgety,'” she said. “Sports has provided me with an outlet to be able to be active and enabled me to show other I’m stronger than they may think I am.”
Stier added that sports has shaped how she views herself and how other people think of her, and said that sports provides an opportunity to forget their problems and play together.
On what ‘team’ means to them
For Salib, being on a team means “an opportunity to connect with someone on a different level and that you really have to look past yourself and put your best interests aside and put your energy into the other people on the team with you.”
For Olson, who played football and joined the USC Football team despite being unable to see, being a part of the team presents him with a chance to show off his talent, earn the respect of his peers, and be seen as just another player. “In those moments, I really feel there is no difference between me and any other player out there,” he said. “Having the chance to do your job gives you a sense of purpose.”
The responsibility and accountability of being part of a team also comes into play. Robinson explained how basketball helped her keep her grades up by giving her a specific goal to work toward. It also helped teach her how to communicate more effectively with others. “You have to know how to adjust to work [with your teammates],” Robinson said. “Maybe it was their first time having people that were there for them and uplifting them. Just being able to understand where they’re coming from.”
On the LA84 Foundation’s impact on your time as an athlete
For Carbajal, an LA84 grant to the YMCA of Long Beach Youth Institute opened doors for her and fellow youth in her community to play sports they otherwise never would have had a chance to play.
“The only time I had ever seen archery [before] was watching the Hunger Games,” she said.
“I said ‘I’m never going to do one of those’, but then I found out we’re going to go do archery and was like ‘I’m going to be Katniss Everdeen!’ When someone would get a bullseye, you would see their face light up.
The LA84 Foundation’s Learn To Swim programs in Los Angeles City pools have also opened doors. Among the youth that benefited from these programs was Salib, who receives a scholarship and later became a city lifeguard. Now, Salib is a freshman at Occidental College and is on the school’s varsity diving and water polo teams. ‘Had they [LA84] not sponsored the program, I probably wouldn’t be here at this moment.”
On what changes we want to see ahead of the LA 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games
Robinson: More social places for youth to go and spend time at, with an emphasis on affordability.
Carbajal: More diversity and acceptance in sport. “Some people see a star athlete and say ‘oh, it’s that kind of person.’ But people are more than just star athletes [or any label].”
Salib: More promotion about the Games to ensure youth know they are coming. “They [youth] should have the authentic sports that are accessible to them, and should get an opportunity to see where it is they fit and find their sport.”
Stier: “I would like to see these simply three words for people to being saying: That the Olympics AND THE PARALYMPICS are coming to LA.”
Olson: The way people view disabled athletes. “We need to start… seeing these athletes as what they are: athletes.”
Weggemann feels strongly that every child deserves to hear that phrase over and over again. Whether from a parent, a coach, a mentor — no matter who delivers the message — she was emphatic children deserve the opportunity to hear it said to them.
Swimming and sport became Weggemann’s safe haven at a time when she needed it most after her injury. “Swimming saved me in every way imaginable after I was injured,” she emotionally recalled, giving a nod to a line from Kate Winslet’s Rose in Titanic. “The power of sport is something we should never underestimate.”
Weggemann became a world-class swimmer after her accident, winning Paralympic Games medals, and uses the opportunities competition and success afford her to promote her idea of inclusion. “Disabilities only disable us if we allow them to,” she said in an inspirational video shown on the stage. “My wheelchair has taken me more places than my legs ever did.”
Weggemann’s central goal, and motivation, is to see inclusion on the field of play. For her, inclusion in sport will carry over to inclusion in other parts of life. “The power of sport is something you can never underestimate,” she said.
“I dream of the day when we no longer have adaptive sport and non-adaptive sport. We just have sport.”
Panelists Lawrence Cann, Founder and CEO, Street Soccer USA Sarah Cooper, Executive Director, Yalla San Diego BrendanTuohey, Co-founder and Executive Director, PeacePlayers International Moderator: Kenneth Shropshire, CEO, Global Sport Institute
To appreciate the transformative power of sport, it’s important to understand that partnerships and communities play a major role in making play a reality for youth. This panel spoke candidly about funding and networking, as well as the need to be strategic and creative in their approach to making programs sustainable and equitable for their constituents.
“These programs have to be year-round,” said Touhey, kicking off the panel. “They can’t be one-off events. They need to be owned and led by people in the communities, and there needs to be a leadership pipeline.”
For Cann and Street Soccer USA, which works with homeless youth, “we really surrounded folks with teammates… We started building community clubs in low-income neighborhoods that are front-end [for] sports, and back-end social service coordination.”
What About Funding?
For Cooper and Yalla San Diego, a major focus is on building a community structure that can reduce the need for large-scale funding resources. “We work with volunteers, with many of our employees having started as volunteers. We work with universities to get interns. We train up kids so they move into coaching and referee roles.” Added Cooper:
“Building those connections with actual people is the glue that keeps us together.”
For Tuohey, the onus too is on staying local. “For us, our four year-round programs internationally are funded from local sources,” he said. “It’s not easy, but the fact that in these places, people show the value it [programs] brings them.”
Brendan Tuohey noted the programs have to be, “owned and led by people in the communities.” At PeacePlayers International, Tuohey has created a leadership pipeline, where players become coaches and peer mentors.
Cann added a relatively unusual source of income to Street Soccer USA: Earned income. Street Soccer USA also runs adult soccer leagues, which include tournaments, that allow them to re-invest profit back into their after-school and youth programs. Another key piece? Getting local elected officials engaged. “It’s super-critical, because it ties you into the community,” Cann said. “It’s their house.”
Getting Programs Off The Ground
PeacePlayers International, which focuses on basketball programs and positive relationships between law enforcement and community members, was brought into Kansas City in 2015 in the wake of the Ferguson unrest in Missouri. “We were very fortunate to bring discussions with Nike, and we were part of their equality campaign last January,” Tuohey said.
“This has led to us starting programs in Baltimore, Brooklyn, and Detroit this past June, as well as LA, Chicago and Memphis soon. What they saw is that you can’t rush this. You can’t show up and say ‘we’re here and know what we’re doing.'” The program focuses on building capacity, which also asked communities to take a risk in investing time and resources in the local programs. “If you’re not in it for the long term, don’t even start.”
“We’re trying to approach the process in a very analytical way and collect all the data we can to make sure we know what the model is before thinking about scale or spreading out or sharing,” Cooper said. “In order to know how we do what we do. Getting down to the details.”
Work In Action
Tuohey gave one anecdote on how nonprofits can show their funders the impact of their work, referring to his program in Jerusalem and the West Bank. “In 2015, we had a Under-18 girls team that was five Israelis and five Palestinians. Before PeacePlayers started, Arab and Palestinian kids had never been in a league before. It took five or six years to get it off, but we had this great video from a championship game. Our team is playing an all-Israeli team, and one of our girls makes the basket as the buzzer sounds. You can’t design this better. You see all of the bench, the Palestinian and Israeli parents, going nuts. You see these girls gather at half court and celebrating the championship, but, more importantly, what it means… You can’t do that in any other platform than sport. You wouldn’t see that experience, those friendships, that joy and what people are witnessing anywhere else but sports.”
So, What Works?
Cooper: “Making real connections to actual people.”
Tuohey: “The power of collaboration and partnership… the only way we’re going to move the needle.”
Cann: “If you aren’t responsive and you aren’t flexible, the programs aren’t going to work. That has to be the perspective. It’s from the bottom up.”
Speaker Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, CEO, Laureus Sport For Good Foundation USA, 1984 Olympic gold medalist, 100-meter hurdles
1984 Olympic gold medalist and Laureus Sport For Good Foundation CEO Benita Fitzgerald Mosley inspired with her talk on the power of sports to change lives. She humbly acknowledged that we don’t have to be Olympic champions to reap the benefits of sport, and that they help prepare us for life and to be better individuals. “I’m a better person, mother, leader and CEO all because I played sports. Every child deserves that opportunity,” Fitzgerald Mosley said.
Fitzgerald Mosley shared data from a 2017 study conducted by Laureus, which found that the use of sport for social change is rapidly growing. However, organizations often lack adequate funding, which leads them to be understaffed and to have to turn kids away. Half of the organizations that responded said they have a waiting list, while 100 of the organizations that completed the survey admitted that they could serve an astounding 38,000 more kids if they had adequate resources.
Fortunately, organizations like Laureus and the LA84 Foundation are still able to use sport as tool for social change. In her role as CEO, Fitzgerald Mosley works to “help more kids in underserved communities gain access to sports program that improve their health, education, employment ability, and social condition.” Through sports, Laureus pursues youth development to help youth gain useful life skills.
“Problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity were three skills that kids need to thrive,” she said. “What better place to learn those skills than on the playing field?”
Laureus also works to build cross-sector partnership within communities by supporting organizations and helping them to create a shared agenda for change. This collaborative approach ensures an impact so much greater than if organizations were doing this work alone.
Reminiscing on her life-changing Olympic win, Fitzgerald Mosley urges us all to join the effort to use sport for social change.
“I think back to that hot August day in 1984. It was honestly the most impactful 12.84 seconds of my life. I call that gold medal the gift that keeps on giving. And so I really want all of use to join this #PlayforAll movement so that we can give that gift to more and more kids around the country.”
Learn more about the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation USA here.
Panelists Jon Joaquin, Director of Youth Baseball Development, Philadelphia Phillies Kimberley Layton, Vice President – External Affairs, Los Angeles Chargers Joanne Pasternack, Vice President, Community Relations & Executive Director, Warriors Community Foundation – Golden State Warriors Diane Terrell, Executive Director, The Grizzlies Foundation
Interviewer: Martha Saucedo, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, AEG
Over the last decade, the sports nonprofit world has seen a shift towards outcomes-based philanthropy. Sports organizations are moving beyond merely funding community organizations and are becoming more involved in working with these organizations to maximize community impact. In this breakout session, four panelists discussed their organization’s shift towards outcome-based philanthropy, challenges with partnering with community organizations, and suggestions for organizations seeking their support.
A common outcome for all panelists was to minimize the ‘pay-to-play’ equity gap and ensure that all youth have access to play sports no matter where they live.
For Layton, the focus is ensuring that all kids, regardless of what neighborhood they live in, have the same kind of equipment that they could use for health and fitness, while Joaquin acknowledged Philadelphia’s struggle with obesity and lack of nutrition while hammering home the importance of enabling kids to have access to expensive sports, like baseball by, buying them gloves as an example.
In Oakland, Pasternack focuses on education inequities and lack of resources, and seeks organizations the Warriors Community Foundation can align with to reach the largest numbers of small groups.
Building Organizational Capacity
While the philanthropic landscape has shifted towards an outcomes-based model, the reality is that community partners don’t always have enough resources, such as funding and personnel, to respond to this new model. Terrell admitted that the Grizzlies Foundation must “do an awful lot of rolling up our sleeves and working alongside community partners” to get their Memphis community from where they are to where they to where they need to be. Recognizing that it is a work in progress, Terrell expressed a sincere commitment to make sure that their funded partners succeed.
Pasternack expressed the need to enhance support of community based organizations without making them dependent on funds that may not always be available. “Be purposeful in the approach,” Pasternack added. “What does the local market need and what are the greatest areas of opportunity? Which organizations can be vetted out and which could we align with to reach the largest number of small organizations?”
Philanthropy is Not a Checkbook
All panelists expressed a desire to partner with organizations that go beyond solely requesting monetary support, and that recognize a corporation’s ability to provide numerous other kinds of support. Layton hopes that organizations can understand, for example, the power of the professional sports team brand to bring awareness to and help expand a program. Said Layton:
“I have so much more ability to partner with you significantly and raise the level of something that works for the both of us together than I ever have the ability to write a check.”
Added Saucedo: “If we’re not a good fit, don’t force it. I might be able to form a connection with another organization. Find people that will be natural partners… and move your mission forward.”
Suggestions for Nonprofit Organizations
The panelists offered great advice for community organizations seeking support from philanthropic organizations.
Know the organizational WHY: Do your research and know what the organization is all about
Ensure that your organization’s passion points align with the organization
Think about what an organization has to offer beyond funds
Know what you have to offer. Think about how your organization can be a good partner to the brand that supports you
Brand your social media: Let organizations know what is going on
Follow up with your partners with handwritten notes and pictures
Be honest. Be yourself
Most importantly, remember that these organizations want you to succeed
“When you succeed, we succeed and it’s the best thing possible for the community” – Layton.
Panelists Kathleen Tullie, Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Reebok International Ryan Eckel, Vice President – Brand, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Co-Executive Director, Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation Caitlin Morris, GM, Global Community Impact, Nike Heather Lazarus, Executive Director, Mattel Children’s Foundation; Director, Corporate Affairs and Philanthropy Mattel Inc.
Moderator: Eric Reed, Vice President – Entertainment & Tech Policy, Verizon
The panelists represented well-known brands and companies in the sports industry, and agreed that opportunities for children’s participation in youth sports are becoming increasing difficult due to a multitude of socio-economic issues. Each panelist described how their company aligns itself with youth sports, and shared their initiatives that engage people in youth sports issues and needs. Additionally, each panelist added their insight on the problems that prevent children from participating and offered ongoing and potential solutions.
Eckel:Dick’s Sporting Goods began the Sports Matter program in 2014 after a study reported the dramatic reverse in funding of youth sports. “Dick’s became aware that $3.5 billion has been cut from youth sports funding in the previous three years,” Eckel said. By communicating and educating, Dick’s attempts to engage customers in the fact that youth sports funding is declining or out of reach for many. “We are driven by the fact that we believe sports is the best youth development tool that exist,” Eckel said. “If you have [dollars] to invest and you are interested in positive outcomes for kids, the best place to invest is sports. We believe that statistics would bear that out.”
Lazarus: Mattel’s Children’s Foundation is to mobilize the company’s employee base to volunteer with the Special Olympics. The foundation’s overall role is to encourage worldwide access to play, while emphasizing the link between sports and cognitive, physical and socio-economical development. “We believe in the responsibility at Mattel to create today’s children into tomorrow’s future leaders,” Lazarus said.
Tullie: For Reebok, there is a raised importance in creating a “culture of participants” rather than supporting an audience of spectators and fans. BOKS, or Build Our Kids Success, gives youth a starting point for activity, such as before school. BOKS helps instill exercise as part of the daily routine before class begins, and focuses on both ‘free play’ and structured physical activities. “Reebok feels they are a part of the [inactivity] problem, and now need to be part of the solution by providing access to kids and women,” Tullie said.
Morris: At Nike, a focus is on the importance of ‘play’ versus sport. “For children, Nike believes that all kids love to move, but not all are given the opportunity to learn the basics of movement,” Morris said.
“If you don’t really learn how to play, at some point, the language of the playground switches from play to sport and you simply stop playing.”
Morris also noted the Nike Community Ambassador Program, which, similar to Mattel, engages company employees to volunteer in their community. Nike trains participating employees on the fundamentals of youth sports coaching.
The Haves and Have-Nots
Morris added a valuable insight into why youth sports participation has dropped in recent years. “It’s not just one thing,” she said. “Locked out means they don’t get the skills to move forward. Dropped out, they had a bad experience with a coach, or Priced out. We’ve stripped opportunities for movement in the school and also stripped out opportunity to play in our communities.”
Coupled with technology, we’ve moved ourselves out of movement
The problem is multi-faceted
The play or sport experience may be a negative one that turns kids off
Reduction of sports or PE in school increases the play equity gap
Specialization and elite sports also accelerates this play equity gap
Solutions in Youth Sports
Schools are a solution to closing the gap, as programs like LAUSD’s Beyond The Bell take care of one-half of the problem of transporting your kid to the school for practice
Get kids introduced to play early. They can move from play to organized “play” or sport
Despite hurdles, kids do respond to technology in sports. Technology can tap into the best tools for sharing and remembering positive sport experiences
If we can make the argument the right way, we can give principals and superintendents the tools to advocate for dollars and equipment for sports. Sports has to compete with other disciplines such as arts and ‘traditional’ subjects such as math and literature by being able to show the benefits it provides
Thomas is a 24-year-old local to Baldwin Village. An accomplished skateboarder with passion for his community, Thomas’ interest lies in expressing the stories of his hometown surroundings. Connecting with Commonwealth Projects in 2013, “TJ,” brings the benefits of his creative instincts and neighborhood knowledge.
Daniel Desure is the principal of Commonwealth Projects. After studying at the California Institute of the Arts and independently producing a number of pioneering artworks, including Doug Aitken’s Sleepwalkers at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Desure founded Commonwealth Projects in 2007. His work with forward thinking artists, museums and galleries informed the trajectory of the studio and positioned Commonwealth Projects as a leading creative studio in Los Angeles. Desure’s leadership and direction guide the practice and cultivate long-standing, personal relationships with clients and the creative community. Not just a service based studio, Commonwealth Projects also champions projects it would like to see within the landscape of culture.
Sophey Carbajal was born and raised in Long Beach, CA. She got involved with the LA84 Foundation through the YMCA Youth Institute of Greater Long Beach. She’s been a part of the program for 3 years now and she feels lucky to have been given a grant that gives inner city youth the opportunity to be exposed to so many different types of sports that they wouldn’t have been able to do given their socioeconomic status.
Sophey plays volleyball, basketball, track, cross country, yoga (if that counts) and has started to get into a few new sports recently due to the grant. She plans to go straight into college and major in business marketing and advertising. Sophey would like to continue what she’s learned with the Youth Institute and school by going into the advertising and marketing industry.
Something else that Sophey is extremely passionate about is equal-opportunities for all. And with this grant, she is able to explore some things that are classified as “upper-class activities.” This is a start to even the playing field and she like to thank the LA84 Foundation for choosing the Youth Institute and giving her and her peers these incredible opportunities.
Janet Evans is widely considered to be the greatest female distance swimmer in history. Despite her small size and unorthodox windmill stroke, she was a natural-born swimmer, completing laps by the age of two. In 1987, when she was 15 years old, Janet burst onto the international swimming scene, breaking world records in the 400m, 800m and the 1500m freestyle.
A year later at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Janet won gold medals in all three of her races: the 400 meter freestyle, 800 meter freestyle, and 400 meter individual medley. In 1992 in Barcelona, Janet defended her gold in the 800 freestyle and added a silver medal in the 400 freestyle. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Janet swam in both the 400 meter and 800 meter freestyle but failed to medal. The highlight of those Games came at the Opening Ceremonies, where she passed the Olympic Flame to Muhammad Ali. Through that once in a lifetime opportunity, she saw another side of the Olympic experience which changed her forever. She retired from competitive swimming at the end of the Atlanta Games.
During her career, Janet broke a total of seven world records in three events (400 meter, 800 meter, and 1500 meter freestyle). Her 1500 meter world record stood for 20 years, her 800 world record stood for 21 years, and her 400 world record stood for 19 years, making them some of the longest standing records on the swimming books. Janet was inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004 and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2001. In 1989, she was awarded the prestigious Sullivan Award as the United States’ top amateur athlete.
In 2010, Janet mounted a comeback in the sport with the goal of competing at the Olympic Trials in 2012 in the 400 meter and 800 meter freestyle. She successfully qualified for the Trials, and, at the age 40, had the recent honor of trying out for the Olympic Team in both events in July of 2012.
More recently, in September of 2015, Janet was selected to be the primary athlete voice of the Los Angeles 2024 Olympic Bid. As the Vice Chair of the Bid Committee and Head of the Athletes’ Commission, she worked closely with Paralympians and Olympians to ensure they were effectively represented in the city’s bid for the Games. She will continue her role with the newly formed LA2028 Organizing Committee, as her team works to ensure that the athletes of the world have the best possible athlete experience at the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Out of the pool, Janet has also made a name for herself as a commercial spokesperson, author, reality television personality, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. Her first book, “Janet Evans’ Total Swimming,” was published in 2007 and offers fitness programs, workouts, and proper swim techniques to readers.
Janet executes speeches for top companies in varying fields including: Technology, Healthcare, Real Estate, Telecommunications, Apparel, Banking, Insurance, non-profits and many others. She lives in Southern California with her husband Billy and their two young children, Sydney and Jake.
Lolita Lopez joined NBC4 Southern California as a general assignment reporter in 2011. She can be seen weekly reporting for NBC4 news at 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Her most recent news stories can be viewed here. Follow her on Facebook here.
Fluent in Spanish, Lopez is widely recognized in Latino communities throughout Southern California. She has covered a range of significant national stories from the Christopher Dorner manhunt to the Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup win in 2012. Earlier in her career, she was stationed at Ground Zero for nearly two weeks while covering the World Trade Center tragedy.
Lopez believes her job is complete when her news stories make a difference, as in the case of a piece she did on a sixth grade class that created a Facebook page to sell their homemade art to raise money for a classmate whose family couldn’t afford a proper funeral for his father. Just one day after Lopez’s story aired, the site raised more than $3000.
A journalist for more than 15 years, Lopez feels privileged to tell peoples’ stories and honored to meet many inspiring people along the way. As a breast cancer survivor, she has shared her own challenges during treatment and recovery with a series of stories on her courageous fight against the disease as a working mother and wife.
Prior to joining NBC4, Lopez had a successful, decade-long career at WPIX-TV in New York, where she served as a general assignment reporter and, later, a sports anchor. Earlier in her career, she was one of only two reporters on Court TV’s issue-oriented legal program “Pros and Cons” with Nancy Grace. While working on the show, Lopez covered many controversial cases, including the parole hearing of John Lennon’s murderer.
Over the course of her career, Lopez has been recognized with several industry awards, including two New York area Emmy Awards for ‘Best Sports Feature’ and ‘Best Live Sports Coverage.’ She also was praised by New York’s largest Spanish language daily newspaper, El Diario La Prensa, as one of the most outstanding women in the community.
While not working, Lopez cherishes spending quality time with family and friends sharing stories with lots of good food and laughter. She also enjoys participating at charitable events that support important causes impacting Southern Californians, such as the local American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s MS Walk and the Network for a Healthy California, which promotes healthy eating and physical activity within lower income communities.
Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Lopez moved to Houston at age four when her father became the women’s track coach at Rice University. A lifelong sports fan, Lopez graduated from Harvard University in 1998, where she had been on the University’s volleyball and track teams for four years. She resides in the Pasadena area with her husband and daughter.
Heather Lazarus has served as Executive Director of the Mattel Children’s Foundation and Director of Corporate Affairs & Philanthropy since May 2017. As the head of the Foundation, Lazarus spearheaded a new strategic focus for corporate giving, as well as engagement and advocacy, to ensure alignment with the newly established values of the company. Lazarus has been instrumental in evolving the mission of the Foundation, establishing it as a leader in delivering play experiences to children in need.
Lazarus has been a member of the Mattel family since 2004. Directly prior to her current role, Lazarus served as Vice President of Global Brand Marketing and Creative for Monster High, Ever After High and DC Super Hero Girls. Lazarus led teams on a global scale in creating and driving global marketing strategies for the brands, as well as identifying new and innovative brands to add to Mattel’s teen girl portfolio. In this position, Lazarus was a creative force behind these brands, successfully translating their business and marketing objectives into creative strategies that resonated with target audiences in meaningful ways.
During her tenure in Marketing, Lazarus brought a wealth of business marketing experience, and played an integral role in redefining brand strategies for core Mattel businesses. Additionally, in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, she launched the first ever girl-targeted Super Hero brand, which promoted girl empowerment. Additionally, Lazarus was responsible for the Monster High partnership with the Born this Way Foundation. She also led the creation and execution of marketing strategies for milestone brand campaigns during the Barbie brand’s relaunch, such as Barbie’s 50th anniversary, I Can Be and See What Happens When You Play with Barbie.
Prior to joining Mattel, Lazarus worked in advertising at top agencies, including TBWAChiatDay Advertising and Grey Advertising, where overseeing accounts like Mars Inc., Uncle Ben’s and PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats.
Lazarus graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
Jake Olson is 20 years old, a resident of Huntington Beach, California and is attending USC as a junior. When Jake was 8 months old, he was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer, retinoblastoma. The disease claimed his left eye before the tender age of one and in November 2009 Jake lost his right eye after battling the cancer for 12 years. Jake confronted many challenges during his battle and has used his experience to better himself as a person and develop a strong faith in God. Jake wrote a book when he was 8 years old to uplift and encourage other children who were battling cancer and other diseases. Jake has shared his book and faith with countless others, including both adults and children that have been touched by his story. Jake has also just published his second book, “Open Your Eyes”, which was released January 2014. He has a wholesomeness to his heart and spirit for life beyond his years.
Jake is also a life-long University of Southern California football fan. He had the opportunity to meet the entire coaching staff and team as well as spend precious moments with the team leading up to his surgery and the weeks that followed. Meeting Coach Carroll and the team was a special experience for both Jake and the Trojans. These relationships assisted Jake beyond measure during some of his most trying times and some of these relationships have grown into special friendships – especially with Coach Carroll. Jake attended the Super Bowl last year and spent some precious moments with Coach Carroll leading up to the big game. During the Trojan season in 2009 and leading up to Jake’s surgery, ESPN’s Shelly Smith captured his story alongside the Trojans, his battle with cancer and his courage in a short documentary. This piece has been aired on ESPN, Good Morning America; ABC’s Evening News and won an ESPY award. Jake was also a guest commentator on ESPN’s College Game Day show for the January 1, 2010 New Years’ Day show. In October 2011, Jake and his emerging golf game were featured on Fox’s “Live Life & Win.” Jake was also featured on The Katie Couric Show called “Miracles”, the Home and Family show on Hallmark, Fox and Friends and CBS nightly news.
With Jake’s recent fame, he had the opportunity to share his book and speak about his experiences and faith in front of corporations, schools, service organizations and congregations. In January 2010 and 2014, Jake was a showcased speaker, alongside legendary coach Bobby Bowden, for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes National Event held in Irvine, California. Jake was also a keynote speaker at Dick Vitale’s 5th Annual V Foundation for Cancer Research Event held in Sarasota, Florida and has had several opportunities to speak for the benefit of The American Cancer Society. Jake has been in front of corporations and service organizations with audience sizes in excess of 10,000 guests.
Jake recognizes he has received much, and wants to give back more. In this spirit, Jake setup his own foundation – Out-of-Sight Faith – in order to raise needed funds to purchase technology for other blind children. This equipment and technology enable visually impaired children to perform better in school and achieve academic excellence. The foundation also supports cancer research and has raised over $100,000 dollars. Jake is also an honorary member of two other non-profit boards: 1) Tee off for Dogs which sponsors guide dogs for the visually impaired, and 2) Cancer Research & Know-the-Glow campaign in connection with the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Jake played football and golf in high school and is currently on the USC football team as one of the long snappers. During USC’s game against Western Michigan on September 2, 2017, Jake made history as the first one hundred percent blind player to snap in a college football game. It was a dream come true for Jake, and his story inspired millions of people all across the county.
On top of football, he also enjoys skiing, surfing and playing the guitar. Jake has set a personal goal to become the first blind golfer to join the PGA golf tour. Jake’s love for and dedication to the game of golf caught the attention of TravisMathew golf clothing company. Jake and TravisMathew have teamed up to develop a first of its kind “Braille” golf shirt, with messages scripted in Braille on shirts that offer golfers a smart, progressive look with a sizeable portion of the proceeds from every shirt sold going to Jake’s favorite charities.
Jake loves to help and serve others. Jake is not afraid to challenge himself or challenge others and has personally raised his expectations for his own life. Jake’s faith and attitude have been an inspiration to others and his belief in making the most out of life continues to motivate those around him. Jake can be followed at Open Your Eyes. Org
Books Jake has Authored
“My Life with Cancer Holding Jesus’ Hand”, 2005
“Open Your Eyes”, 2013
Out of Sight Faith – Founder and Board Member 2010
Cancer Research & Know-the-Glow (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles) – Honorary Board Member
Tee Off For Dogs – Honorary Board Member
Fellowship Christian Athletes Leadership Team
2014 Distinguished Athlete Award for Orange County
“Apple of Our Eye” February 2011 – Dale McIntosh Center
Caylin L. Moore is a recent graduate of Texas Christian University, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics, Minored in Mathematics and Sociology. He comes from Compton/Carson, California where he overcame poverty, gang violence and his father’s incarceration who is, serving a life sentence, to become a campus leader and Division One football player at Marist College and then TCU.
Caylin was selected to the Fulbright Summer Institute to study the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade at the University of Bristol in 2014, where he studied abroad in England. The next year he was chosen to attend the PPIA Junior Summer Institute at Princeton University, before beginning school at TCU in the fall of 2015. After working as a Janitor during his time at Marist College, Caylin Moore played strong safety at TCU in 2015 and 2016. He immediately found a way to impact the football team and the community upon arrival, and he never looked back.
He is the founder and president of “S.P.A.R.K.,” a youth outreach organization of student-athletes who encourage opportunity for youth to attend college, as well as a past volunteer Middle School teacher for the Children’s Defense Fund, Freedom School. As a result of earning the 2017 Rhodes Scholarship, Caylin will go on to Oxford University in the UK to earn an MSC in Sociology and then a Masters of Public Policy/MBA beginning in October of 2017. He is currently in the process of writing a book that will detail his journey, “It Won’t Make Sense On Paper.”
Baron Davis is a two-time NBA All-Star and record-holder. Over a thirteen-year career, he played for the Charlotte Hornets, the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the New York Knicks. Known for his electrifying style on the court, Davis was a powerful point guard, who won national acclaim for executing in crucial, high-pressure moments, when his team needed him the most.
An entrepreneur, investor, and businessman, Baron was one of the original investors for Vitaminwater and helped with the launch of Thrive Market. Baron is also the founder of several companies, including Sports and Lifestyle in Culture (SLIC), The Black Santa Company, and No Label—each with the objective of combining creative talent with original publication and production to develop and provide educational and heartwarming stories that appeal to global audiences of all ages.
Baron also served as producer of the lauded documentaries, Crips and Bloods: Made In America, 30 for 30: Sole Man, and The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce, among others. Davis is a mentor and coach for young, upcoming basketball players and a longtime supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of Venice.
An established high-profile international leader in the sports industry, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA. She is charged with advancing the Laureus mission to change the lives of youth and strengthen communities through the power of sport. As a catalyst investor, Laureus supports the growth of organizations using sport to help youth reach their full potential. The Laureus research team then measures and proves the impact these programs are having on the health, education, employment and social cohesion of those youth. Named a 2015 Game Changer by the Sports Business Journal, Benita also serves on the International Olympic Committee Women in Sport Commission.
Benita joined Laureus USA following her senior executive role with the United States Olympic Committee as Chief of Organizational Excellence. Benita oversaw a plethora of operations functions, including Olympic Training Centers, athlete programs, business analytics, human resources, sport operations and strategic planning.
In her previous role as USA Track & Field’s Chief of Sport Performance, she led Team USA to win 29 medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the most of any U.S. track and field team in 20 years. Under her aegis were USATF’s high performance and athlete development programs, Team USA management, elite athlete services, sport science and medicine, anti-doping, coaching education and certification and national championship meet management.
She was named “Cable TV Executive of the Year” by Television Week Magazine for her leadership role as President and CEO of Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT), the oldest and largest organization serving women professionals in the cable industry. During her eight year tenure, Benita oversaw of all WICT operations, programs and member services; tripled revenue and annual conference attendance; and doubled membership.
A world-class athlete, Benita won a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, making her the second American woman and the first African-American woman to accomplish this feat. She was a member of the 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic Teams, an alternate on the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team, a gold medalist in the 1983 Pan American Games, an eight-time national champion and a 14-time NCAA All-American.
She was named “Sportswoman of the Century” by The Potomac News, and “Top Female Sports Figure of the Century from Virginia” by Sports Illustrated. She is an inductee into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, Virginia High School Hall of Fame, Penn Relays Hall of Fame and a charter member of the University of Tennessee Vols Hall of Fame.
One of eight U.S. Olympians to carry the Olympic Flag during the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics, she was named “Hurdler of the Decade” of the 1980s by Track and Field News.
Benita is a graduate of the University of Tennessee (UT) with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. She resides in Haymarket, VA, with her husband, Ron, and their two children.
A 12-year employee of the World Surf League (WSL), Dave Prodan was recently appointed the League’s SVP of Global Brand Identity where he will oversee an international team dedicated to the further development and celebration of the company’s brand and identity, as well as contribute to strategic planning and relationships.
Hired as the then-ASP North America Media Manager in 2006, Mr. Prodan went on to hold positions as International Media Manager, International Media Director and most recently VP of Communications with the organization. His decade-plus experience in the surfing world has covered everything from press management to athlete liaising to digital product development, crisis communications, event planning, PR campaigns, partner relations and management of a global team of employees, contractors and agencies.
Dave’s diverse set of responsibilities and extensive domestic and international touring experience with the world’s best surfers have uniquely positioned him to apply a special perspective to his new role for the World Surf League.
In his Olympic career, Rusty Smith represented the United States of America in three Olympic Winter Games (1998, 2002 and 2006) and won two Bronze Medals in Short Track Speed Skating. During his career in the athletic world, Smith was a spokesperson to corporations, schools, charities and the President of the United States.
Nichol Whiteman is Executive Director of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) where she oversees the team’s official charity. With over ten years of nonprofit leadership experience, Whiteman oversees operations, programs, charitable giving and fundraising. Upon joining LADF in 2013, Whiteman led efforts to rebrand and restructure LADF, an organization that today operates significant programs that serve thousands of underserved youth in Los Angeles, grants over $1million annually to local nonprofits and raises significant funds to support its efforts. Under Whiteman’s leadership LADF has launched Dodgers RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) a youth baseball and softball program serving 6,000 youth, held its Inaugural Blue Diamond Gala, increased its budget by 81%, grown its strategic partnerships and become significantly visible to the Dodger fans.
Prior to joining LADF, Whiteman served as Executive Director of College Summit’s California region. Additionally, her previous positions include Vice President, Development and Communications for LA’s Promise, VP/Western Region Officer for the Jackie Robinson Foundation , Director of Group Sales and Sponsorship for the Earl Graves Publishing Company/Black Enterprise Magazine as, Manager of Sales Promotions and Merchandising for Essence Magazine and Investment Management Analyst at J.P. Morgan Chase.
Whiteman earned a degree in Economics from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1998. She has since been named Spelman Class of 1998 Businesswoman of the Year, earned the 2005 LEAD Program in Business Leaders of Tomorrow Award, in 2010 was honored as Woman of Inspiration Honoree by The Wave and in 2015 was honored by the National Urban League Young Professionals of Los Angeles. Whiteman is a proud alumna of programs to include the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the LEAD Program in Business, and the United Negro College Fund.
Education is a top priority for Whiteman and she is very active in the community. She has served in numerous capacities to include the Executive Leadership Team of the 2012 American Heart Association Go Red Campaign; the advisory board of the Black Enterprise Woman of Power Conference; the advisory board of College Summit Southern California and the Board of Directors for the IDefine Foundation. She currently serves on the advisory boards of Covington Capital, A Better Chance, Inc., New Teacher Center, and The Positive Results Corporation. Additionally she sits on the board of Positive Coaching Alliance and is a member of the Women’s Leadership Council.
Whiteman’s family immigrated to New York City from Jamaica. She earned a scholarship to attend a boarding high school in Connecticut where she excelled in soccer and caught the attention of acclaimed scholarship organizations. She currently resides in Inglewood with her husband Timothy and their two young sons Timothy Jr. and Nicholas.
Dr. Julie Shaw, formerly the head women’s basketball coach at the University of La Verne, has over 15 years of coaching experience, leadership development, team building, and diversity and inclusion advocacy.
A California native, Dr. Shaw led the women’s basketball program from 2013-2017 at the University of La Verne. She spent two seasons at Gonzaga University where she served as an assistant women’s basketball coach. In both seasons, the Bulldogs won the West Coast Conference regular season title and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament. In 2012-2013, Gonzaga captured its ninth consecutive WCC crown and finished with a 27-6 overall record. The Bulldogs reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen in 2011-2012. While at Gonzaga, Dr. Shaw completed her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from UC Santa Barbara, served as an adjunct professor, and taught Diversity in Sports Organizations.
Prior to Gonzaga, Shaw served as an assistant at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she was an assistant coach for six years. At Cal Poly SLO, she worked mainly with the post players and served as the travel coordinator, assisted in the organization of the program’s community outreach endeavors and acted as a link between the Mustang players and the academic services department. During Shaw’s six years she was a part of Cal Poly Women’s basketball first Big West Conference Championship in school history.
Dr. Shaw has a passion for service in her communities; she assisted in the Special Olympic Regional Summer Games and Los Angeles World Games as the Field of Play Supervisor for basketball, earning the most outstanding volunteer award. She has served in the non-profit sector participating internationally with Jumpball Basketball Programme, helping provide free basketball camps and clinics to communities in Jamaica and Haiti. Recently, Dr. Shaw has used her camp experience working with the Atlanta Hawks 2017 summer camp program. Dr. Shaw has strived to contribute to the advancement of athletics, she was selected to sit on the UC Riverside Athletics Alumni Board, UC Riverside Title IX Committee, Coaches Council for the Alliance of Women Coaches, WBCA Diversity and Inclusion Committee, WBCA So You Want to Be a Coach Committee, and NCAA DIII LGBT Working Group. Shaw is active in the NCAA Women’s Coaches Academy and has served as a faculty presenter. She has also presented at the WBCA Final Four, various universities, and professional development conferences on various topics covering LGBT safe spaces, teambuilding, networking, transitioning from assistant to head coach, and team culture. Dr. Shaw currently serves as the Director of Education for the Women’s Sports Foundation established by Billie Jean King.
In addition, to these accomplishments Dr. Shaw is a certified event planner and owner of Champion Photobooths, a photobooth rental company, based in California.
Dr. Shaw graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from UC Riverside, a M.A. in Educational Leadership and Administration from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Ed. D. Educational Leadership and Administration from UC Santa Barbara.
Caitlin Morris is the General Manager of Global Community Impact at Nike, Inc. In this role, Caitlin leads the development and execution of a diverse portfolio of global, national, and locally-based programs, with a focus on getting kids active and reversing the physical inactivity epidemic. These efforts are driven through innovative and collaborative partnerships, leveraging Nike’s greatest assets – its employees and brand.
Caitlin joined Nike, Inc. in 2003 and has served in various business leadership positions in Corporate Communications and Sustainable Business and Innovation. Prior to joining Nike, Caitlin spent seven years at Mattel, Inc. working in Government Affairs and Corporate Responsibility.
She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and resides in Portland, OR with her husband and son.
Kerri Walsh Jennings is the most decorated beach volleyball Olympian of all-time, with three gold medals and one bronze medal. The California native grew up in Saratoga and played high school volleyball at Archbishop Mitty in San Jose. She then went on to Stanford University, where she won a National Championship, National Player of the Year award, First-Team All American honors, and earned a degree in American Studies. Her first Olympic appearance came in 2000 when she helped the U.S. Team to a strong 4th place finish. She would go on to win gold in Athens in 2004, gold in Beijing in 2008, gold in London in 2012, and bronze in Rio in 2016. She remains the winningest female beach volleyball player in history with 133 wins. Currently, Walsh Jennings resides in Manhattan Beach with her husband and three children.
2012 Paralympian Mallory Weggemann had her life changed on January 21, 2008. On that date, Mallory Weggemann received an epidural injection to help treat back pain; however, by the time it was finished, she was forever changed. Complications with the procedure left the college freshman paralyzed from the belly-button down.
Weggemann has been a competitive swimmer since the age of seven. After her injury at the age of 18, Weggemann chose to return to the pool. In April 2008, her older sister found an article in the local newspaper highlighting the Paralympic Swimming Trials for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. The meet was being held at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Still coping with her new disability, Weggemann found one thing unchanged, her love for swimming.
While attending the meet as a spectator with her sister, she met several of the US National Team coaches. The following Monday, Weggemann returned to the pool and has been swimming ever since. She touts her Paralympic trials experience as life changing. “I have always loved the sport, but when this happened I thought my days of swimming were over and when I realized I could still do it, well I will never forget that moment.” Weggemann broke her first set of world records in Edmonton, Alberta Canada in July 2009. At the 2009 Short Course IPC Swimming World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November 2009, Weggemann broke six more world records and took home five gold medals. In August 2010, at the Long Course IPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands, Weggemann proved herself again in the pool by taking home eight gold medals and one silver. Weggemann finished the meet with nine World Records. In July of 2011, Mallory was recognized for her outstanding performance at the 2010 World Championships by ESPN, when she was awarded the ESPN ESPY for Best Female Athlete with a Disability.
In August 2012, just days after being reclassified at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, Mallory showcased her amazing abilities by winning gold and setting a Paralympic Record in the 50m freestyle. Mallory also anchored the bronze medal winning 4x100m medley relay team, bringing USA back from fifth place to almost capturing gold! It has been deemed one of the most memorable moments of the London Games, and it inspired many across the world.
Just under four months after becoming paralyzed Mallory was back in the pool, with her eyes on Gold at the 2012 Paralympic Games. Having achieved that goal, she decided it was time to chase her ultimate dream, to walk again. For years, this was something that was deemed impossible, but a new possibility arose and in order to achieve her goal, Mallory reached out to the public to ask for their support through a crowd funding Indiegogo campaign. On November 16, 2013 Mallory’s dream came true, and she was able to “walk” again for the first time in nearly six years with her loved ones by her side. In order to accomplish this dream Mallory worked very closely with Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to learn how to use her customized leg braces with the assistance of forearm crutches. Although, Mallory’s wheelchair will never be replaced by her customized leg braces and forearm crutches, they have allowed her to have short moments of upright mobility and the freedom of standing at her 5’ 9” stature again.
Currently, Weggemann just returned home from the the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and competed in an unprecedented seven individual events, while representing Team USA in her second Paralympic Games this past September. In addition, Mallory is actively building upon her career outside of the pool as a highly sought-after motivational speaker, writing and other public appearances around the world. Mallory is currently publishing her work monthly for the Huffington Post on various motivational, inspirational and leadership topics and heavily involved in disability advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill, as well as serving as a board member on Delta Airlines Disability Advisory Board. Mallory is also being featured in The Current, a documentary produced by Make A Hero, a non-profit organization focused on inspiring individuals with disabilities to enjoy the freedom of adaptive sports.
Vinicius “Vina” Tinoco was born in Sᾶo Paulo, Brazil in 1981. He began skateboarding at 12 years old and by 23 was volunteering as a mentor to troubled youth in a juvenile detention center teaching life lessons through skateboarding. These same lessons combined with near life-long support from his community helped Vina formulate a vision for his own life’s mission. In 2006 he traveled to California intent upon infiltrating the “ground zero” of skateboarding, and the concept for Next Up Foundation was born. It is Vina’s dream to instill in the world the kinds of qualities that skateboarding taught him…resilience, dedication, balance, passion, humility, camaraderie, the list goes on. Next Up empowers underprivileged youth by connecting them to education through skateboarding and creating opportunity for success never before imagined. Today the organization has served over 15,000 participants and is growing. We are excited to include Vina’s unique perspective on the sport of skateboarding in today’s panel.
Dr. Tiffany Berry received her PhD in Developmental Psychology & Evaluation, specializing in the development of intrinsic motivation among youth who participate in afterschool programs. This research led to her working as an Internal Evaluation Consultant for one of the nation’s largest after-school programs, Los Angeles’s Better Educated Students for Tomorrow (LA’s BEST) where she initiated an evaluation infrastructure to facilitate continuous quality improvement. Since 2004, Dr. Berry has been dually appointed as a Research Associate Professor in the Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences at Claremont Graduate University (CGU) and Associate Director of the Claremont Evaluation Center. She regularly teaches graduate courses in program evaluation and positive developmental science, trains graduate students in evaluation science, and evaluates youth development programs trying to make a meaningful difference in the lives of young people.
Over the past 15 years, Dr. Berry has directed more than 75 program evaluations across a range of content areas (e.g., college readiness, youth sports, social-emotional learning, afterschool programs) and diverse agencies such as Beyond the Bell at the Los Angeles Unified School District, After School All-Stars, Los Angeles, Montebello Unified School District, Project GRAD Los Angeles, Youth Empowerment Seminar, Los Angeles County Office of Education, First Five Los Angeles, National Endowment for Financial Education, The Gabriella Foundation, and Pearson Education. These evaluations have been designed to drive organizational improvement, identify critical conditions for success, and track optimal youth outcomes over time. More recently, she has partnered with LAUSD and the LA84 Foundation to evaluate the middle school sports program in LAUSD to understand the impact of high-quality school-based youth sports programs as well as how and why youth outcomes emerge during sports participation.
Since 2004, Dr. Berry and her colleagues have disseminated their evaluations broadly. She has published over 75 technical evaluation reports, published peer-reviewed articles in leading evaluation journals (American Journal of Evaluation and New Directions for Evaluation) and youth development journals (Journal of Early Adolescence), and presented her findings annually at scientific and practitioner conferences. In 2014, Dr. Berry was appointed to the Evaluation and Research Advisory Committee (ERAC) with the Afterschool Division of the California Department of Education. In this capacity, Dr. Berry worked to ensure that evaluations across the state were useful, feasible, and promote continuous quality improvement. More recently, Dr. Berry was appointed to the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) workgroup at the California Afterschool Network.
Sarah Robinson, a Los Angeles native, is a rising junior at Washington Preparatory High School. At Washington Prep, Sarah participates in the Brotherhood Crusade Lady Generals Leadership Program, Washington Prep Wellness Committee as a Youth Wellness Ambassador, a Youth Community Organizer, and participant on the Varsity Track Team. Sarah’s favorite subjects in school are health and history. In her spare time Sarah likes to play basketball, attend sporting events, hang out with her friends, shop for the latest sneakers, and volunteer in her community. Sarah has a knack for putting the needs of others in front of her own desires, which guides her in wanting to have a career in Public Service. Her favorite US Olympian and roll model is 1984 Gold Medalist, Florence Griffith. Sarah’s favorite quote is, “For every breakdown in life, there is an opportunity for a breakthrough”.
Sarah Tuakli Cooper is the Executive Director for the non-profit charity YALLA, San Diego which is on a mission to remove the social and economic barriers that confront refugee and immigrant youth. YALLA combines the promise of education and the passion of soccer to inspire refugee and immigrant youth to achieve a college education.
Originally from London, Sarah is an experienced and proven leader in the nonprofit sector, specializing in working for Community Arts Programs in urban areas. She brings more than 20 years of experience in technology, philanthropy and higher education, most recently setting up and running her own brand marketing business. She is also an active voice in the nonprofit sector in San Diego as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and CASA trainer with Voices for Children.
Sam Polk is the co-founder and CEO of Everytable, a social enterprise that sells fresh, healthy grab-and-go meals affordable for all, and founder of Groceryships, a Los Angeles non-profit working at the intersection of poverty and obesity. Prior to becoming a social entrepreneur, Sam was a hedge fund trader on Wall Street. Sam’s memoir, For The Love of Money, was published in July 2016 by Scribner. He has penned two OpEds in The New York Times, and his writing has also been published in The Los Angeles Times, CNBC.com, and The Huffington Post. He is a graduate of Columbia University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
Selema “Sal” Masekela is a beloved commentator, journalist, musician, and producer best known for his work presenting NBC’s Red Bull Signature Series; ESPN’s Summer and Winter X Games, which he hosted for 13 years; his cultural reporting in South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup; and hosting E!’s Daily 10.
Selema is currently executive producing and appearing as host in VICELAND’s highly-anticipated docu-series, VICE World of Sports, which premiered April 27th, 2016. The series takes viewers all over the world to explore each location’s people, politics, and culture through the lens of the one thing that connects them all: sports. The series premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 22nd, and according to Deadline.com “Always much harder to make than they look, sports documentaries and sports investigations score when they take the viewer beyond the stats and even the athletes and into the context that creates the competitor and the game – and that’s what VWOS has nicely done.”
Selema’s creativity and mastery of storytelling extends behind the camera to his production company, UX Entertainment. Based in Los Angeles, UXE specializes in film, commercials, music videos, and animation work. The award-winning work of UXE puts it in elite company amongst the boutique production firms in entertainment and sports. Their latest project, Let It Play: Hard Lovin’ Woman, a heavy-hitting documentary featuring the never been told story of Oscar-nominated actress Juliette Lewis, will premiere at Tribeca in the Short Film program on April 15th. Launching globally on Red Bull TV on April 23rd, the short film, developed in association with Red Bull and directed by actor and director Michael Rapaport, explores the sacrifices Lewis makes to pursue her first love, music—from putting her acting career on hold and self-financing a music career to assembling her very own rock band, The Licks.
On the sports front, in 2015, Selema joined the Emmy-award winning investigative series VICE on HBO as a correspondent and executive producer. That year, he also appeared in the remake of the cult classic Point Break. In February 2014, he made his Olympic broadcasting debut from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, reporting features for NBC’s nationally syndicated Olympic Zone. In 2012, Selema helped launch the one-of-a-kind action sports programming block Red Bull Signature Series (RBSS) for NBC Sports and its action sports brand Alli. As the face of RBSS he navigates viewers through extreme competitions in motorsports, bike, surf, and snow. In addition to RBSS, Selema also produces and develops original content for the multi-platform media company Red Bull Media House.
When he was a teenager, Selema’s unique upbringing brought him to Southern California, where he was first exposed to surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding. His love for sports, extraordinary athletes, and the culture surrounding them gave Selema the unparalleled perspective he used to become today’s media authority on action sports. His ability to relate to athletes and tell their stories in a humanizing, personal way that resonates with viewers has made him a favorite not only within the action sports community, but with everyone on the receiving end of his remarkable insights.
A native of New York, Selema’s flair for entertainment emerged at an early age as he toured the world with his father, South African jazz icon Hugh Masekela. Selema’s own band, Alekesam, shares the name of his first film which chronicles his relationship with his father and their connection through music, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012. Alekesam’s music has been featured on Entourage and House of Lies, with their newest single, All Is Forgiven, featured on the season four premiere of the Showtime hit.
His creative aesthetics also extend into fashion through his clothing company, Art of Craft, which donates a percentage of every sale to charity. Selema is often called upon to apply his encompassing and captivating style of hosting to live events, including YouTube’s Brandcast in New York and Paris, YouTube Live on Stage from the Kennedy Center, and Google’s Zeitgeist.
In addition to his hosting, producing, acting, writing, fashion and voiceover work, Selema offers his name and time to the charity he co-founded, Stoked Mentoring, a nonprofit action sports organization for at-risk youth whose mission is “developing successful teens with opportunity, knowledge, experience, and determination through the use of action sports, mentoring, and coaching.” He also serves on the board of the Tony Hawk Foundation.
Ryan Eckel, Vice President, Brand at Dick’s Sporting Goods and co-Executive Director of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation, is responsible for brand strategy and identity, content and campaign development, consumer insights, media strategy, integrated marketing, digital marketing, PR and private brand development. He is also an Executive Producer of the Emmy Award-winning documentary “We Could Be King”, the Emmy-nominated film “Keepers of the Game”, and has developed campaigns that have received Grand CLIO, Cannes Gold Lion and Gold Halo awards. As co-Executive Director of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation, Eckel also oversees the Foundation’s flagship Sports Matter initiative, which raises awareness and funding to enable youth sports participation nationwide.
Prior to Dick’s Sporting Goods, Eckel spent nearly 10 years at PUMA SE, most recently as Head of Marketing for Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and India, where he was responsible for leading all aspects of PUMA’s brand growth and localization in those markets. Previously at PUMA, as Global Head of Marketing Strategy and Operations, Eckel led the development of PUMA’s brand strategy and positioning, global category marketing and consumer research. He started at PUMA as a Global Strategic Planner, based in Herzogenaurach, Germany.
Eckel holds a B.S. from Yale University and lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and three children.
Pablo Garcia is the Director of Planning & Special Projects for the United States Soccer Federation; he brings extensive experience in finance & business operations, including stints with the Los Angeles Clippers and Dodgers, as well as boutique sports marketing firm, Premier Partnerships. Outside of sports, Pablo most recently led business change for Anthem where he implemented a Voice of the Customer platform for their 40 million members. Pablo has a degree in Engineering from Stanford and received his MBA from The Marshall School at the University of Southern California, with a focus on finance and strategy. He is a Southern California native and recently moved to Chicago for his role with the Federation.
Neftalie Williams lectures and conducts research at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism and as a PhD Candidate at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Williams is the first skateboarding and educational envoy for the US State Department. He is the 2017 LA84 Foundation Research Fellow and researcher for USC AISMS. His work involves the analysis and documentation of the effects of globalization on issues of diversity, identity and youth empowerment, using the lens of skateboarding and emerging sport culture. Neftalie Williams’ also teaches USC Annenberg’s ASCJ 420: Skateboarding and Action Sports in Business, Media and Culture. Neftalie is the Co-Chairman of the College Skateboarding Educational Foundation (CSEF), former Chairman of Cuba Skate and the recipient of the 2016 USC Black Alumnus Award. His work in skateboarding culture and skateboarding diplomacy has been featured on NBC, The AM show in New Zealand, PBS News Hour, The Atlantic, Epóca Magazine and the Washington Post, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington
Natalie Vie is a Team USA athlete competing on the FIE World Fencing Circuit since 2011. Vie only began fencing at the age of 18 after reading the Catcher in the Rye for her High School English class. With a background in dance, she walked on to her University’s club fencing team at Arizona State University where she went on to win the US National Collegiate Championship title four consecutive times. Vie fenced on the US Developmental Circuit throughout college and then joined the FIE World Circuit competing for Team USA. She currently holds 3 US National Championship titles.
Vie was the fourth alternate to the United States Olympic Fencing Team at both the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where the US Women’s Epee Team captured the Bronze medal. Vie has written about her athletic experiences for CNN, Huffington Post, People en Español, and in her blog SuperSonicNava.com. Vie worked with the US Olympic Committee Community Development Program, 2012-2017, where she coached and mentored youth throughout New York City. Vie has been involved with the Women’s Sports Foundation since 2011. Natalie also studies yoga, herbalism, and traditional Chinese medicine as a complement to her physical training and is currently completing a sustainability residency at the CalEarth Institute where she is studying adobe architecture and permaculture. Natalie is working towards becoming sustainable and zero waste by 2028 and hopes to influence others to do the same.”
A former collegiate athlete, NCAA Division I assistant basketball coach and athletic administrator, Megan Kahn brings a vast perspective to the Alliance of Women Coaches. She assumed the role of Executive Director on August 1, 2016. In her first year, she has already spearheaded the first-ever annual giving campaign, secured several sponsors and strategic partnerships, including adidas, ARMS Software, LA84, Positive Coaching Alliance, and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Prior to assuming the executive director position, she served in several capacities for the Alliance, focusing on coordinating event and educational program operations and building connections and engagement through social media and communication strategies.
In 2013, Megan founded her own collegiate consulting company, KAHNSULTING, in which she collaborated with administrators and coaches across the country in various championship and event management roles. She served as the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Final Four tournament manager, overseeing game operations in Tampa.
Kahn spent four years at the Atlantic 10 Conference office, most recently as associate commissioner from 2010-12, where she served in many capacities, including men’s and women’s basketball oversight, strategic planning, and social media efforts. She was the director of the 2010 and 2011 A-10 Men’s Basketball Championship before overseeing all facets of the Conference’s women’s basketball operations during the 2011-12 season. Prior to the Atlantic 10, Megan worked at the Atlantic Coast Conference office, where she was as an administrative assistant for women’s basketball.
Kahn got her start in the collegiate ranks as an assistant women’s basketball coach at the NCAA Division I level before deciding to pursue administration. After leaving the coaching profession, she was an intern for the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) in 2005 (now known as Women Leaders in College Sports).
Megan is dedicated to personal and professional development, having graduated from the NCAA Women Coaches Academy (2004), NACWAA/HERS (2006), and the Sports Management Institute (2011-12). She holds a master’s degree in sports management and is also a certified Health Coach and aromatherapist. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, long walks on the beach, hiking in the mountains, and spending time with family and friends.
Martha Saucedo, Executive Vice President of External Affairs for AEG, is a highly-experienced public affairs and government relations professional with experience in both the public and private sectors developing and implementing political, communications and community engagement strategies.
Having joined AEG in 2001, Ms. Saucedo is responsible for leading AEG’s external affairs team which is the primary contact for all issues that relate to public and community affairs, charitable involvement, corporate communications and issues that involve public interest in the organization’s outreach and development programs. She is responsible for developing the organization’s priorities with respect to local communities and public affairs. In addition, she oversees AEG’s philanthropic initiatives as well as the charitable foundations established to provide funding to non-profit organizations that work to improve educational and recreational opportunities for children.
Martha is responsible for implementing the landmark L.A. LIVE “Community Benefits Agreement”, including over $6M in funding for affordable housing and $1M in funding for parks and recreation developments. In addition, she has been responsible for development and implementation of community engagement strategies around large private-public developments such as the StubHub Center on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills. She manages company-wide philanthropic initiatives such as AEG’s Season of Giving and also serves as co-chair of AEG’s Women’s Leadership Council.
Prior to joining AEG, Ms. Saucedo worked on behalf of Mattel, Inc managing relationships with local, state and federal elected officials. She was responsible for advising senior management on pending legislation with potential impact to the company as well as maintaining key relationships with both business and community-based organizations.
Ms. Saucedo also has significant experience working in the public sector, having worked for former U.S. House of Representative Member, Xavier Becerra. In this position, Martha was responsible for monitoring and analyzing policy changes affecting local transportation, housing and healthcare issues in the district office.
Martha currently serves as the Chair of the Board of the Central City Association and serves on the Board of Directors for Friends of the Expo Center, the California Hospital Medical Center Community Advisory Board and the Board of Trustees for the California Science Center. She is a former elected representative on the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council and was honored as a “Mover and Shaker” by the Central City Association of Los Angeles, a non-profit business advocacy organization dedicated to the revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles. Coro Southern California awarded her with the “Community Builder” award at the 2012 Crystal Eagle Awards. She was also selected by the Sports Business Journal as a “40 Under 40” award recipient, presented to the most promising young executives in the sports industry. Most recently, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored her with the Deborah Award, presented to women whose professional leadership and civic contributions exemplify the ideals of the ADL. A native of Southern California, Martha received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Maricela Rosales is a Los Angeles native. She found her passion of climbing and the outdoors while attending UC Riverside where she graduated with a BA degree in Sociology/Law & Society. Through her exposure to the outdoors, Maricela pushed through disability barriers and found her calling. She began working for Mad Rock Climbing as a product rep and brand ambassador which paved the way to further educating and immersing herself in the outdoor industry and the community. Maricela splits her time between coordinating outdoor programs for Latino Outdoors and coalition-building through the Access Fund. At Latino Outdoors, she organizes monthly hikes, climbing events, and expanding accessibility to different types of outings. At the Access Fund, Maricela works to build a relationship with the Los Angeles climbing community, local climbing organizations, public land managers, and the San Gabriel National Monument partners and rangers. Fostering excitement, advocacy, and stewardship. She hopes that her influence will inspire other communities to explore the outdoors and join the climbing community.
Liz Wolfson, the fourth child in a family of competitive athletes, was reared on a backyard basketball court where she learned how to use both hands for lay-ups and to never let her brothers knock her down. Always the quiet rebel, Liz hated being told what to do by anybody and decided not to settle on the career path in organizational management set before her. At age 40 with a newborn in her arms, she thought it the perfect time to start up her dream project that would model for her children what it would mean to vision, create, struggle, and succeed. Feeling that the educational opportunities for girls in America were insufficient to match the reality of growing up in today’s world, Liz became the Chief Visionary Officer of the Girls Athletic Leadership Schools Inc., a game-changing educational model focused on positive gender identity and integrated movement.
Lawrence Cann, is the Founder and CEO of Street Soccer USA, a leading organization in the use of sport for social change.
Award and Recognition: In 2017 New York University awarded Lawrence the Lauren Beam Philanthropy in Sports Award. In 2012, Lawrence was selected as one of 15 AMEX Ashoka Emerging Leaders in Social Entrepreneurship. He has also been honored by People Magazine, being named a Hero Among Us in 2009 and as the 2010 winner of the Kuykendall Award for Community Service, his alma mater, Davidson College where he was a scholarship soccer player, 4-year starter, and named the team’s most valuable player. Lawrence is a recent MBA graduate of Columbia University where he has planned the growth and development of the SSUSA social enterprise.
Background: Lawrence is the oldest of five boys in a large family from Richmond, Virginia. The family house burned down when Lawrence was only in only in elementary school. Though difficult, the experience taught him what it means to have a community of support, which he experience through his family and through his soccer teammates. Lawrence went on to play Division I college soccer, but it was after school, volunteering at the Urban Ministry Center in Charlotte, NC that he began creating an network of support for youth and adults through community based soccer teams, which has grown from that one team into a national community of 15,000 players across 14 cities dedicated to supporting one another in achieving their goals in life.
LaVal has spent over 25 years in nonprofit management, and is an experience executive, with a love for organizational development, fundraising and volunteerism.
Currently, LaVal is the Executive Director for Playworks leading the Southern California region. Playworks is a national nonprofit working with elementary schools to create safe and healthy play for thousands of children throughout the region. LaVal leads a team of 56 team members who are passionate about children’s well-being and physical activity
Kimberley Layton joined the Chargers in June of 2000. Initially recruited to create and direct the new Chargers Corporate and Community Relations Department, over the years her responsibilities have grown to include expanding the Chargers business, governmental, educational and charitable relationships as well as directing activities of the Chargers Community Foundation.
The Foundation’s premiere and highly acclaimed granting program, Chargers Champions, has been providing grants to schools for physical fitness, nutrition and athletic improvements since 2001. In that time, more than $5.5 million dollars have been awarded to assist schools, teachers and students.
Kimberley’s efforts in supporting and promoting youth sports, especially youth football and cheer – helped the Chargers be selected as the NFL Team of the Year by National Pop Warner in 2007 and again in 2015, the only NFL team to receive this prestigious honor twice. Kimberley was also recognized for Outstanding Contributions to Amateur Football by the National Football Foundation in 2011.
Prior to joining the Chargers, Kimberley served as the City of San Diego’s Director of Intergovernmental Relations, running programs in Sacramento and Washington D.C. and then as Chief of Staff to Mayor Susan Golding, responsible for overseeing and advising on all major policies and proposals affecting the City of San Diego.
Kimberley received her degree from the University of California at Irvine. She is past President of San Diego Bowl Game Association which produces the annual Holiday Bowl – pitting a Pac12 team against a Big10 rival; is a member of Rotary’s Club 33 and serves on numerous boards and organizations throughout the region.
Kimberley was selected in 2012 as one of the Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business and has twice been named one of the “50 to Watch” by San Diego Magazine. Kimberley has also received numerous community awards including the annual High School Sports Association’s Community Service Award for her service to the region’s children.
Professor Shropshire is CEO of the Global Sport Institute and the Adidas distinguished Professor of Global Sport at Arizona State University. He recently closed out a thirty-year career as an endowed full professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was also Director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative, Professor of Africana Studies, and Academic Director of Wharton’s sports-focused executive education programs. He now holds the title of Wharton Endowed Professor Emeritus.
His career has been highlighted by leading the launch of several noteworthy ventures in a variety of sectors including: leading the boxing competition during the last profitable Olympic Games, which was also the most televised event of the Games in 1984; founding and leading the Wharton Sports Business Initiative, one of the world’s most respected sports business think tanks in 2004; serving as a founder and board member of the Valley Green Bank, which was sold to Univest Corp. for $76 million in 2014; and guiding the launch of the non-profit Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) in 2016 and serving on its board. As a sports-industry leader he is former President of the Sports Lawyers Association, the largest such organization in the world, and also former Program Chair of the ABA Forum Committee, Sports Law Section. His views and insights on the sports industry can be heard weekly on SiriusXM’s Wharton Sports Business Show, which he cohosts.
As an author, his most recent books are Sport Matters: Leadership, Power, and the Quest for Respect in Sports; Negotiate Like the Pros: A Top Sports Negotiator’s Lessons for Making Deals, Building Relationships and Getting What You Want; and Being Sugar Ray: The Life of America’s Greatest Boxer and First Celebrity Athlete. Additional works include the foundational books In Black and White: Race and Sports in America; The Business of Sports; and The Business of Sports Agents. His twelfth and current book project is The Mis-Education of the Student Athlete: A Manifesto to Fix College Sports, which will be published in September 2017.
Shropshire’s consulting roles have featured a wide variety of projects including work for the NCAA, Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Football League Players Association, the United States Olympic Committee and PGA golfer Rory McIlroy. In addition to RISE, he serves on the board of directors of Moelis & Company, a global independent investment bank, on the non-profit board of USA Volleyball, and as an advisor to the Sixers Innovation Lab.
Shropshire earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University and a law degree from Columbia University, and is a member of the California bar. He joined the law firm of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg and Tunney in Los Angeles prior to working with the 1984 Olympic Games and beginning his lengthy career at Wharton.
Keith Ramirez has been working for Beyond the Bell for almost 7 years. Keith started off as a sports coach and recently got promoted to a site coordinator. With this program, he teaches students how to work for something important and how overcome obstacles that they will come across in high school.
Keith is a native of Los Angeles, California. Keith was born, raised, and educated in South Central Los Angeles. Keith studied at the University of California at Los Angeles and Biola University. During the time Keith was in college, he began to work with young people in his church and with several community based programs. Keith’s ability to relate to young people and identify with their issues has helped him reach many youth that others had given up on. Part of his ability to understand youth, especially those in the foster care system, is his personal background; Keith spent six years in the foster care system.
Keith’s desire to make more of an impact in the lives of youth led him to work with National Family Life and Education Center, “Rites of Passage Program”. In the fall of 2007, we transitioned into Falcons Youth and Family Service (FYFS) a community based organization; FYFS assist young people in the process of becoming positive, productive members of society. Young people are taught the importance of support system, how to network and fully utilize supportive services to become self sufficient. Many young people need to free themselves from the power of past pain and disappointment in life. Keith’s mission is to help young people discover the tools to reshape and redirect anti-social behavior. Young people are taught the importance of support system and how to network and fully utilize supportive services to improve the status of their lives.
Keith’s work has been highlighted by Rachel Ray Show, HBO Real Sports, KNBC News, and KTTV Good Day LA. Keith has been the recipient of numerous awards for his work with youth and families such as the University of Notre Dame O’Leary Award, “Best of the Best” Community Service Award, the Watkins Award for Community Service and Bounty Celebrating Those of Give Award.
Keith has a passion to share his foster care experience and his successful transition into adulthood; his mission is to empower parents, relative caregivers and foster parents with the tools needed to successfully move abused, neglected and wounded children from a point of pain to power. Keith experience, passion, and mission have put him in great demand as a teacher and speaker for youth empowerment workshops for many community colleges and community based organizations.
Keith’s motto “It’s Time to Teach New School Kids, Old School Values.”
BOKS (Build Our Kids’ Success), which began as a small idea presented to a few moms in Natick, MA, has since grown to more than 2,500 enrolled schools! Parents, teachers, and communities across the US and beyond have adopted BOKS, affecting the lives of thousands of children on a day-to-day basis.
Kathleen Tullie, Director of Social Responsibility at Reebok International and the Founder and Executive Director of BOKS, began BOKS in 2009. Prior to founding the BOKS program, Kathleen accomplished an 18-year career in real estate finance. After coming across Dr. John Ratey’s book Spark, which talks about the positive difference that physical activity has on all of us, she had her ‘aha’ moment. Dr. Ratey’s book coupled with her determination drove Kathleen to empower parents to provide an opportunity for kids to be physical active before school. BOKS was born.
Kathleen continues to make strides nationwide. Some of her major accomplishments include partnering with the Partnership for Healthier America, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, American Council on Exercise, the Aspen Institute and Let’s Move Active Schools where she was honored by First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative in 2013 and 2014. She was presented the Community Leadership Award in 2013 by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. A member of the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Obesity Solutions, she serves on the Physical Activity Innovation Collaborative, sits on the steering committee for Let’s Move Active Schools and is Vice Chair of Physical Activity at World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry. She has also partnered with The Reebok Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Toyota, Blue Cross Blue Shield, CVS Health and The Boston Bruins Foundation to fiscally support BOKS’ growth. Kathleen has also been featured in numerous media outlets, including CBS, Huffington Post, NESN and NPR. Most recently Family Circle listed her as one of the 20 Most Influential Moms.
A graduate of Western Michigan University (BA) and The University of Edinburgh, Scotland (MBA), Kathleen has spent her career in Japan, Scotland and the US and currently lives outside of Boston, MA with her husband, two kids and their newest addition, Tuxi, the family’s golden retriever puppy.
Julie had a sensational soccer career while playing on the USA National Team for 17 years. She is the former Captain of the US Women’s National Team. She was a captain on the National Team for 13 of her 17 years with the team. Julie participated in 4 Women’s World Cups and 3 Olympics for the USA Team. She is a two-time World Cup Champion and she is also a 1996 Olympic Gold medalist, 2000 Olympic Silver medalist and 2004 Olympic Gold medalist.
Julie finished her National Team career with 45 goals, 59 assists and 273 international appearances (caps) for the USA. Her 272 caps rank fourth in the world all-time, male or female. Julie played all 3 years as Captain with the WUSA’s San Diego Spirit. She was a 4 time All-American at Stanford University and was inducted into the Stanford Hall of Fame. While at Mission Viejo High School, Julie won three CIF Championships and three CIF Player of the Year awards. Julie was voted Los Angeles Times’ High School Player of the Decade for the 80’s.
Most important to Julie, she has made a difference off the field as well. She was accepted into Stanford University’s Medical School but decided not to pursue a career in medicine. Julie was the President of the Women’s Sports Foundation from 2000-2002. She served on the Women’s Sports Foundation Board of Directors for 7 years and was a WSF advocacy consultant for two years, with a focus on Title IX, childhood obesity, and athletes’ rights issues. Julie also served on the Board of Directors for the WUSA (the professional women’s soccer league) as the Player Representative. Julie currently sits on the board of Athletes for Hope (AFH), a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization created by successful athletes who have a deep commitment to charitable and community causes. Julie is an espnW advisory Board Member, a Positive Coaching Alliance advisory Board Member, a Steel Sports Inc advisory Board Member, and served as a global spokeswoman for Global Girl Media, a non-profit helping young women around the world find their voice through journalism. Julie also has been instrumental in a number of women’s rights and child labor issues around the world. The world governing body of soccer, FIFA, awarded her the FIFA Fair Play Award, the first woman and American to receive the award, for her work against child labor in the stitching of soccer balls.
Julie served as a member for the Commission on Title IX, appointed by President Bush and Secretary Paige. She has been honored numerous times for her work on behalf of Title IX. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Smith College in 2005 and was honored by the National Women’s Law Center.
Julie was named as one of the “100 Most Influential NCAA Student-Athletes.” The NCAA defines the 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes as those who have made a significant impact or major contributions to society.
Julie was inducted in the US National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007, alongside longtime teammate and friend, Mia Hamm. Julie and Mia were only the 6th and 7th women ever to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and the first and only ALL FEMALE induction class.
Julie founded the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy (JFSLA) in 2006, along with her husband Ian Sawyers. The JFSLA is a unique residential camp experience that uses sports as a vehicle to teach leadership skills for life. In 2006, Julie also founded the Julie Foudy Leadership Foundation (JFLF), a non-profit, 510(c)3 public charity. The mission of the Julie Foudy Leadership Foundation is: Building on a foundation of sports and fitness, we empower young women from all socioeconomic backgrounds to become leaders who positively impact their communities.
In 2013, Julie produced and narrated a documentary for ESPN Films called ‘The 99ers’. Using footage shot by Foudy during the US team’s journey to win the Women’s World Cup in 1999, ‘The 99ers’ is a behind the scenes glimpse at that historical event. Most recently, Julie wrote a book for teenage girls and young women on leadership, titled Choose to Matter: Being Courageously and Fabulously YOU. The book is being published by Disney and espnW and was released in May of 2017.
Julie is currently a reporter and analyst for ABC/ESPN, contributor and writer for espnW, director of her Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academies, motivational speaker, proud mother of two children, Isabel and Declan, and the best chocolate-chip pancake maker in the entire universe (source: Izzy and Dec).
A member of the Philadelphia Phillies organization since 2001, Jon Joaquin has held the position as Director, Youth Baseball Development since February 2015. Prior to his current position, he was Manager of the Fan Development program and helped execute the Phillies’ youth baseball initiatives which included youth baseball/softball, educational programs and kids’ fan clubs. In his current role, Jon continues to oversee youth baseball related programs and administers the Phillies RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program, organizes the Phillies sponsored college and high school baseball tournaments, as well as oversees the field operations and programing of the new Phillies Urban Youth Academy.
Jon serves on the executive board of the Carpenter Cup Classic which showcases the top high school baseball players in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. He also directs the evaluation day for Major League Baseball RBI World Series.
Born in Bloomfield, NJ, Jon earned a BS in Business Administration for Marketing in 2000 from Villanova University. Jon currently resides in Robbinsville, NJ with his wife Jackie and their three kids, Jasmine, Jayden and Jenalyn.
John J. Ratey, MD, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an internationally recognized expert in Neuropsychiatry. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles, and 11 books published in 15 languages, including the groundbreaking ADHD “Driven to Distraction” series with Ned Hallowell, MD. With the publication of “Spark-The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” Dr. Ratey has established himself as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the brain-fitness connection. His latest book, “Go Wild”, explores how we can achieve optimal physical and mental health by getting in touch with our caveman roots, and how we can “re-wild” our lives.
John grew up in the steel working town of Beaver, Pennsylvania, overcoming the odds to become a ranked tennis player in High School, competing in the US National Juniors before being offered a tennis scholarship to college. He attended Colgate University, where he received his BA in philosophy before moving to Boston. Finding work at Harvard’s Massachusetts Mental Center as an attendant, John was often assigned with caring for some of the most difficult patients, inspiring him to learn more about how to help those with mental health challenges. Seeing a career in Psychiatry as the path, he completed his science requirements at Harvard before returning to his home state to attend the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. Circling back to Harvard for his Psychiatric training, upon graduation John was appointed Harvard’s Assistant Director of Residency and Medical Student Training, a position he held for 9 years. It was during these early years at Harvard Medical School that he began his groundbreaking research on aggression, autism and ADD, leading to a career of speaking and teaching around the world.
Dr. Ratey’s work in Attention Deficit Disorder came after he and his former student, Ned Hallowell, recognized and diagnosed their own ADD, prompting them to write a book to raise awareness and an understanding of the diagnosis to a lay audience. Published in 1994, “Driven to Distraction” became a bestseller, with over 2 million copies in print, and is still considered one of the Bibles of ADD today. Dr. Ratey and Dr. Hallowell went on to write “Delivered to Distraction” and “Answers to Distraction”, and have become recognized around the world as authorities on the subject. They continue to collaborate and are currently working on a new book.
As an author, Dr. Ratey’s other groundbreaking work includes, “A Users’ Guide to the Brain” and “Shadow Syndromes” with Catherine Johnson PhD. With the publication of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain”, Dr. Ratey has embarked on a world-wide mission to re-engineer schools, corporations, and individual lifestyle practices by incorporating exercise to achieve peak performance and optimum mental health. A highly sought after speaker, Dr. Ratey has lectured extensively on the subject throughout the US, Canada, Asia, Australia and Europe. His work is frequently profiled in the media, where he’s been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and NPR, as well as in The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, US News and World Report, Men’s Health, and other national publications.
Dr. Ratey has spread his message as an Adjunct Professor of Sport Science at the National Taiwan Sport University, and as a consultant to the President of Taiwan and the Minister of Education in South Korea. He has served at co-head of the Advisory Board of the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport, a consultant to ANTA Kids in China, and on Reebok’s non-profit before school fitness program, BOKS, where he was named Ambassador for Active Kids. In addition, he has a non-profit, Sparking Life, with a mission to transform America’s sedentary lifestyle for the benefit of all.
While he enjoys writing and lecturing, first and foremost, John is a Psychiatrist who cares deeply about his patients. Recognized by his peers as one of the Best Doctors in America since 1997, he was recently named “Outstanding Psychiatrist of 2016” by the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society. Married, with two children and two grandchildren, Dr. Ratey maintains a private practice in both Cambridge, Massachusetts and Los Angeles, California.
Joanne Pasternack is in her tenth season leading philanthropic efforts for professional sports franchises in the NBA and NFL.
Currently serving as the Vice President of Community Relations and Executive Director of the Warriors Community Foundation, Joanne oversees all philanthropic programming, fundraising events and corporate social responsibility integration for the Golden State Warriors as a member of the Senior Executive Management Team in support of key club objectives.
Previously, Joanne was the Vice President and Executive Director of Community Relations and 49ers Foundation for the San Francisco 49ers. In this role, she created and managed high visibility philanthropic investments, leveraging the power of the Club’s community involvement to create paths for all children to reach their full potential. To further this objective, Joanne worked with team ownership to facilitate signature fundraising events and the donation of funds to non-profits that support the Foundation’s mission of keeping kids “Safe, on Track and in School.” In 2016, the Foundation donated $4 million to Bay Area charities, including a significant grant to support the expansion of the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute to Santa Clara High School, and has donated $40 million since its inception in 1991.
In recognition of their tremendous commitment to philanthropy, the San Francisco 49ers were named ESPN’s Humanitarian Team of the Year in 2017, Beyond Sport’s 2015 Sport Team of the Year for Outstanding Philanthropic Sports Organization and were the 2013 winners of the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Steve Patterson Award for Sports Philanthropy. They also supported former 49ers Wide Receiver Anquan Boldin in his successful 2015 campaign for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. In October 2016, Joanne represented the 49ers at the “Sport in the Service of Humanity” convening at The Vatican.
Prior to joining the 49ers in 2008, Joanne served as a senior analyst for the City of Mountain View. Before working for Mountain View, she was the manager of international corporate relations for Special Olympics, Inc., at their headquarters in Washington, DC.
Joanne holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She also has a law degree from Santa Clara University and completed the Executives in Non-Profit Leadership program at Stanford Graduate School of Business. She serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Sports Management programs at the University of San Francisco and George Washington University and has guest lectured at Stanford University.
Joanne currently resides in Sunnyvale, CA, with her husband, Robert Bardin, who works for the San Jose Earthquakes, and their children, daughter, Kira, and son, Reid. A strong advocate for inclusion and access, Joanne is on the boards of directors for Special Olympics Northern California/Nevada, the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI), and Beyond Sport International.
As President of KCRW, Jennifer Ferro has worked to transform the institution from Southern California’s flagship public radio station to a worldwide digital content distributor that seeks to build community though the discovery of music, news and culture both in person, online and on the air.
Under her leadership, in addition to creating 100 hours of original programming a week, KCRW will finish a $48 million capital campaign and move into its first ever, stand alone, state of-the art facility in 2017. This new home will allow KCRW to become a true community institution.
KCRW’s presence includes podcasts, original content features, live event streams, a vibrant social networking community and successful mobile apps including the latest a virtual reality app that gives a 360° look at KCRW’s legendary music programming. KCRW’s live events programming has grown to over80 produced events throughout Los Angeles and Santa Barbara reaching over 250,000 people each year.
Ms. Ferro joined KCRW in 1994. She has held varied roles during her tenure including Executive Producer of Good Food and Consulting Producer of DnA: Design and Architecture.
Ms. Ferro serves on the boards of NPR Berlin, Zocalo Public Square, an ideas exchange that creates live events and original humanities journalism, and is Vice Chair of the AIR Board, an organization dedicated to supporting and nd promoting independent producers in public media. In 2011, she was chosen as one of Los Angeles’ Game Changing Women Leaders Who Make an Impact in LA by Los Angeles Magazine.
Ms. Ferro earned her Bachelor’s degree from UCLA. She is a former youth soccer coach and co-founder of the Women’s Coach Initiative to get more women youth soccer coaches on the field.
Jai Nanda is the Founder and Executive Director of the Urban Dove, a non-profit organization that provides positive, educational programs to New York City’s at-risk youth. Jai founded Urban Dove in 1998 as a way to reach out to children in need and provide them with the skills they need to become positive, successful citizens. Urban Dove serves hundreds of children each year. Using a unique combination of recreation and education, Urban Dove has Energized, Educated and Empowered thousands of young people, giving them the support and help they need to succeed in school and in life.
Jai is also the founder of Urban Dove Team Charter School, located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Urban Dove Team is an incredibly unique and innovative school for Overage/Under-credited students who are at high-risk of dropping out. UD Team uses a unique Sports-Based Youth Development framework as the foundation for all aspects of the school model, placing each student on a competitive sports team with a positive coach who supports their students on and off the field.
Jai has worked with young people his entire life, and has dedicated his career to improving and enriching the lives of young people, especially those in need. He was a founding Board member of Up2Us Sports, a national coalition of Sports Based Youth Development agencies and previously served on PASE’s Youth Sport Alliance Council. Jai also has served as Chairman of the Youth Committee for Community Board 4 and was honored as a Local Hero by Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative.
Jai was born and raised in New York City. After completing a public school education, he graduated from the University of Michigan. Before founding Urban Dove, Jai worked as a teacher in the New York City school system both at the high school level and at the City University of New York. He was also a basketball coach for more than 15 years.
Diane Terrell is a highly-regarded leader with 20+ years of experience across diverse geographies, sectors and roles. A passionate idea person, she has an accomplished record of success developing innovative global and local strategies that deepen culture, strengthen reputation, and deliver business and social outcomes for stakeholders.
Diane is currently VP, Community Engagement for the Memphis Grizzlies and Executive Director of the Grizzlies Foundation, where she leverages the power of sport to create pathways to success for children in poverty. She leverages her global expertise and experience to solve local problems, advancing public-private partnerships to meet specific community needs: health and wellness, public education reform, youth empowerment through mentoring.
As VP, Strategic Communications for FedEx, she led several enterprise initiatives to align marketing, brand, workplace and community in support of business goals. During her tenure, she developed a multi-year strategy to transition CSR investments to outcome-based programs in designated priority areas. Her team produced the first Citizenship Report for the company, and collaborated with Brand to create the EarthSmart global sustainability platform, which embedded sustainability as a corporate value. FedEx received the prestigious Boston College CSR Top Ten Ranking for its contributions in 2009 and earned a place on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
Prior to joining FedEx, Diane was an executive and journalist with NBC and ABC News. Because of her ability to easily navigate difference, she spent many years on the foreign beat, travelling the world to cover the most important stories of our generation. She continues to rely on storytelling as a powerful tool to create culture and catalyze change.
She is known as a strategic and creative C-suite partner whose quality-based initiatives drive desired outcomes. Her reputation as a Thought Leader invites frequent public discourse on issues of civic responsibility and social engagement.
Eric Fitzgerald Reed, Vice President – Entertainment and Tech Policy for Verizon Communications in San Francisco, CA, is responsible for analyzing entertainment industry trends, managing telecommunications developments and emerging high-tech matters as they relate to public policy. Mr. Reed leads Verizon’s outreach to an array of Silicon Valley and Hollywood-based stakeholders in content and entertainment, digital media, information technology, and major sports leagues with vested interests in telecommunications policy, regulatory and legislative matters. In this role, he advances the company’s positions and analyzes emerging technologies, consumer and industry trends and related telecommunications policy issues.
In addition to his entertainment and digital media responsibilities, Eric manages relations with telecommunications equipment manufacturers and suppliers, business and tech associations, consumer device companies, strategic partners, government agencies and community groups important to the policy process. He also oversees Verizon Foundation activities and engagements for the Pacific & North Central markets.
Eric began his career at Verizon in November 2000 and has worked in various government affairs and legal functions since joining the company. He was promoted to his current position in the State Public Affairs, Policy and Communications organization in June 2012.
In the community, Mr. Reed joined the Museum of African Diaspora Board of Directors in November 2016. He is currently a member of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation and Tumml Boards. Eric previously served as Chairman on the Board of Directors of JUST TRYAN IT, a non-profit organization supporting families fighting childhood cancer, from October 2011 – March 2013.
Eric is a member of the Digital Hollywood Board of Advisors to the OTT-ConnectedTV –Hollywood Alliance and also served as a member of the Consumer Technology Association Board of Industry Leaders from 2013 – 2015.
Mr. Reed received his Masters in Business Administration from University of Maryland University College in May 2005. He also received a Masters of Science in Telecommunications Management from University of Maryland University College in 2001 and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from American University in 1996. Mr. Reed has also completed executive management coursework at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and the University of Virginia-Darden Graduate School of Business.
As a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (The Divine 9), Moore has dedicated herself to service for others. Her core values are Finer Womanhood, Sisterly Love, Community Service, Scholarship, and Christ. All that she does stems from her core values.
As the previous Director of Football and an Assistant Coach at Verbum Dei High School, a private all-boys school located in Watts, CA, she implemented a free hot meal program to feed her players at the end of practice. She provided healthy protein snacks after school and after weight training, for free.
Moore is a public speaker. She meets and greets incoming aspirants and their parents, provides on-campus tours, communicates effectively with donors, benefactors as a Goodwill Ambassador, and mentors Student-Athletes to insure the academic and moral component of character are met.
She has generated more than $45 million to send student-athletes to college, covering tuition, meals, boarding and travel expense as a result of establishing positive relationships with over 300 NCAA programs. To date, she is directly responsible for sending over 250 inner-city student-athletes to college on scholarship. Schools include but are not limited to: USC, TCU, UCLA, Texas, Cal Berkeley, Holy Cross, Marist, Boise State, Utah, Washington, Grambling, Southern, SDSU, USD, USC, Colorado, Washington UTEP, St. Johns, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Syracuse and more.
Moore communicates daily with various NCAA coaching staff to make them aware of the weekly progression of her student athletes. During the spring, as a direct result of her recruiting efforts, on average, 50-60 NCAA coaches set up appointments to meet with her to discuss and meet-and-greet her student-athletes for recruitment purposes.
Moore is is currently an Assistant Football Coach at a local community college in Los Angeles where she is faced with meeting the needs, safety concerns, educational deficits, and daily challenges of those that come from underserved communities that desire a college education but don’t always have the means or resources to level the playing field.
Moore is a divorced single mother of three successful children: Mi-Calynn, a California State Licensed Nurse, Caylin, a 2017 Rhodes Scholar, 2014 Fulbright Scholar, Division 1 student-athlete and recent graduate of Texas Christian University, and last but not least, Chase, a McNair Scholar, Children’s Defense Fund recipient, and a current Division 1 student-athlete at the University of Texas at Austin. He is number 37 on the Longhorns 2017 football roster.
She is directly responsible for producing student-athletes that have gone to become recipients of, including but not limited to the following: Rhodes Scholarship, Charles Rangel Foreign Affair Fellowship, Fulbright Scholar, Truman Finalist, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy Fellow, Children’s Defense Fund, Beat the Odds, Nation Alliance of African American Athletes Watkins Award, Gates Millennium, NCSA Grant, National Consortium for Academics and Sports, Big 12 Male Sports Person of the Year Finalist, National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame and other scholarly endeavors.
Catherine Dávila is a nationally certified USSF “C” license coach with multiple years of experience coaching youth and adult soccer teams all over LA County. She is also a member of the coaching staff for US Soccer’s Inland Empire Girls’ Training Center, focused on identifying and developing elite players ages 11-14 for the national team pool. Catherine has coached at the adult level at Occidental College and as head coach for LA Villa FC’s WPSL squad.
In 2009, she co-founded the women’s soccer club, L.A. Villa F.C. and in 2014 oversaw the club’s entrance into the WPSL. She currently serves as the President of the Board for both Hollywood FC and L.A. Villa F.C.
Prior to her work in soccer, Catherine was an independent film producer.
She holds a BFA from NYU, an MFA from USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program and is a 2019 MBA candidate at USC’s Marshall School of Business. She lives in L.A. with her husband, Matt and their mutt, Anouk.
Cari Champion was named SportsCenter anchor in July, 2015, and in February, 2016, she was named co-anchor for the 11 a.m. ET edition with David Lloyd. The “SportsCenter Coast-to-Coast” program is hosted by Lloyd at ESPN HQ in Connecticut and Champion at ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center.
Previously Champion served host of ESPN2’s First Take, where she shared the debate table with featured commentators Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith and moderated their debate topics while offering her perspective and insight.
Prior to joining ESPN, Champion was an anchor and courtside reporter at the Tennis Channel. Additionally, she served as an entertainment/lifestyle reporter doing features for The Insider, Hollywood 411 and Starz Entertainment.
As a broadcast journalist and host, Champion also worked across the country covering network news, entertainment, and sports stories of national interest for ABC, CBS, NBC and other cable networks. A native of Southern California, Champion graduated from UCLA.
Along with his brother Sean, Brendan, founded PeacePlayers International in 2001. PeacePlayers International uses basketball to unite and educate young people in divided communities. Driven by the idea that children who play together can learn to live together, PeacePlayers International has worked with more than 75,000 young people across the globe, with offices in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Cyprus and the United States.
In 2015, Brendan was named One of 50 Most Inspirational People in Sport by Beyond Sport. In 2008, Brendan received the Laureus Sport for Good Award, which recognizes individuals who make transformational contributions to society through sport, at the Laureus World Sports Awards in St. Petersburg, Russia. At the2007ESPYS, two leaders from PeacePlayers’ program in Northern Ireland were awarded the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
Brendan is a 1996 graduate of Colgate University where he majored in Philosophy and Religion and played basketball. He is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Sport Management. Brendan was an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar and a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Born on November 18, 1985, Allyson Felix grew up in Los Angeles, California. Her father, Paul, is an ordained minister who was an excellent sprinter as a teen. She inherited her long legs from her school teacher mother, Marlean. Allyson followed her older brother, Wes, into the sport, although she did not try out for the track team until her ninth-grade year at Los Angeles Baptist High School in North Hills.
At her first practice Coach Jonathon Patton asked her to run 40-meters and thought he must have mis-measured the distance when he saw Allyson’s time. He re-measured and asked her to run again, and she did, but with the same results. Just ten weeks after that tryout, Allyson was racing at the California State Finals.
Allyson went on to accomplish impressive feats over her high school career. She broke Marion Jones’ high-school 200-meter record by running 22.51 seconds at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays in April of 2003. Just weeks later, Felix turned in an even more impressive performance when she competed in the Banamex Grand Prix in Mexico City’s Olympic Stadium and ran a blazing 22.11 second 200-meter race, which was a new world record in the under-20 category.
Felix emerged as the new American Female sprinter to watch and has never looked back winning three gold medals in the 2012 London Olympic Games and followed that up in 2016 with two more gold medals and another Silver Medal. Under the tutelage of Coach Bob Kersee, she has won a total of six Olympic gold medals and is now the most decorated female track & field Olympian in history.
Steve is the Founder and President of STOKED, an award nonprofit that uses the lifestyle and culture of action sports to empower low-income youth in NYC, LA, and Chicago through leadership and mentorships to pursue the life of their dreams. STOKED gives high school-aged youth the skills, relationships, and experiences to become leaders personally and professionally. Since its inception STOKED has served over 4,000 youth. STOKED is a semi-finalist in the Non Profit Excellence Awards, voted to the NY 100 (100 most innovative businesses in NY), and Steve was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Black MBA Association. Honored as a Hometown Hero, his work has appeared in the New Yorker Magazine, ESPN, Huffington Post, Nylon Magazine, Fuel TV, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, and Transworld Business.
Steve speaks worldwide on the subject of youth empowerment, social entrepreneurship, community building, and closing the opportunity gap at places such as Do Lectures, Creative Mornings, Nike, The United Nations, and various universities. Prior to Stoked, Steve began his career with an independent marketing firm that he founded working with clients such has Sony Music, Reader’s Digest, and Rock the Vote.
Bobbie coached high school volleyball for over 25 years, taking her teams to playoffs 20 of those years. Currently, along with organizing the LA84 Foundation’s coaching education volleyball clinic, she is on the CIF volleyball advisory committee and runs both youth volleyball instructional classes and summer camps for the City of Santa Clarita. She has two daughters who played NCAA D1 volleyball.
Jared Gibson has officiating volleyball and basketball at the collegiate and high school level for close to a decade. He started when he was in college at UCSD back in 2007 and he fell in love with officiating. Jared has worked multiple CIF Section Finals in San Diego as well as one CIF State Final. He has been officiating college volleyball for four years. One officiating mantra he lives by came from a legendary San Diego basketball official who said: “I just strive to be fair.”
Branden Higa has been the head women’s volleyball coach at California Baptist University since 2012.
Over the past three years with Branden, CBU women’s volleyball has finished in the top half of the PacWest’s standings each season.
Prior to coming to California Baptist University, Branden spent three years as an assistant at NCAA Division I Mississippi State. He has been head volleyball coach at West Los Angeles College (2008), an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount University, and spent the 2005 season as an assistant at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.
Branden also has served as an assistant coach with USA Beach Volleyball in Los Angeles and has spent time coaching throughout the Southern California club system
Originally from Lancaster, California, Branden played three seasons at Pepperdine University in Malibu and won the 1994 California Junior College Most Outstanding Player award at Pierce College.
Eileen Hiss has been a Sunshine Volleyball Club Head Coach for 16 years. Her teams have qualified for Junior Nationals in the 13’s, 14’s, 15’s, 16’s and 18’s. Highlights include winning the 2010 Las Vegas Invitational in the 18’s Open Division, and the SCVA 15’s Regional Championship in 2009.
She was an assistant at Marymount High School from 2000 to 2006, participating in numerous CIF championship tournaments and five state championships.
Eileen was the head coach of the men’s and women’s programs at Santa Monica College in 1998-2000, and the head coach at Santa Monica High School from 1994-1997.
While playing at Cal State Northridge in 1984, Eileen was All-American honorable mention.
Nabil is the head women’s coach at Pierce College where, in 2010-2011, he led his team to back to back CCCAA California State Championships. In 2010, Nabil also was named AVCA National College Coach of the Year.
Nabil was the director of Santa Monica Beach Club men’s program from 2001-to present and the girls’ program from 2001 until 2010 when he began LAVA for the girls. His 18-1’s team won the Festival in Phoenix and under his direction (and their coach Mary Keen) the 16-1s from LAVA North won Junior Nationals in Indiana this year.
Nabil is originally from Lebanon where he competed internationally with the Lebanese National Team and professionally with Club Relevement Social Knat. After coming to the US, he earned all-conference and All-State honors at Santa Monica College. He was also named the 1996 Athlete of the Year.
In 1997 he coached his SMBC boys to a gold medal at the Junior National Championships and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from UCLA.
In 2000 he became the owner of SMBC boys club, was named Club Director of SMBC girls and was hired as head women’s coach at Pierce College, which had been consistently in last place in their conference until Nabil took over.
Nabil is well-known over the country, not only for being a talented coach, but also for his ethical and honest dealings.
John Landicho is the head men’s volleyball coach at San Diego Miramar College. He was named the 2017 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference men’s volleyball Coach of the Year after leading the Jets to a PCAC championship,
John started the Jets’ men’s volleyball program from scratch, taking just three months to form Miramar’s first MVB team before competing in the 2015 CCCAA season.
Before arriving at Miramar, John won two consecutive CIF California State Championships in 2012 and 2013, and was CIF-San Diego Section Coach of the Year in 2012, at Francis Parker HS. Parker volleyball teams won 5 CIF state championships and 16 CIF-SDS titles in his 10+ years there as a head or assistant coach.
He also is active in USA Volleyball’s High Performance program as a clinician, evaluator, and tryout coordinator.
Name and Logo usage of LA84 Foundation logo
“Official Partner” designation
Logo acknowledgement and link on LA84.org website Partnership page
Special access to LA84 Foundation campus and meeting facilities
Tax deduction benefits
Ability to conduct cause-marking campaign (e.g. donation with purchase)
Ability to distribute product samples or other pre-approved items at LA84 Foundation events
Access to Olympians for corporate or promotional speaking engagements
Social media collaboration
Event press release recognition
Name and logo on LA84 event signage and banners
Name and logo in LA84’s e-mail blasts to distribution list