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ABOUT STRIVE

Strive is a non-profit organization dedicated to character-driven leadership development. With a focus on high school and collegiate athletes and their coaches, Strive sharpens teams’ power and impact through teaching winning leadership and culture-building strategies that extend into life.

Strive offers a research-based, customizable curriculum that begins with self-knowledge, moves into culture creation, and ultimately instills the habit of rigorous leadership practice in its program participants. Through a robust scholarship program, Strive leads the way in developing character leaders in underserved communities. Strive is based in Wilmington, DE, and serves schools and communities across the U.S.

Strive: How You Lead Matters™.


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Andrea Valentine Executive Director

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Andrea Valentine joined SportsChallenge after serving as President and Chief Operating Officer at Teaching Strategies. Andrea joined Teaching Strategies, the leading curriculum and assessment provider in the birth through Kindergarten market, in 2006 and was pivotal in guiding the long-term strategic plans and building the infrastructure and team needed to support the Company’s recent product investments and growth initiatives. In her role, Andrea oversaw product development, research, professional development, technology, marketing customer service, finance, accounting and human resources.

Prior to joining Teaching Strategies, Andrea held increasingly senior positions at MBNA America for 13 years. Managing large, complex budgets and responsible for the development and training of over 1,000 employees, Andrea played a leadership role across key operating areas of the company. Specifically, Andrea’s MBNA experience includes expense management, budgeting, forecasting, staffing model analysis, call center management, marketing, and audit and control. Andrea earned her B.A. from Haverford College in 1993 where she was a stalwart goalkeeper on her varsity field hockey team. Andrea now lives in Hockessin, Delaware with her husband and two children.  

Andrea@Striveleadership.org

Pam Herath Director, Curriculum and Programming

Pam Herath Director, Curriculum and Programming

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Pam joined the full time SportsChallenge staff as the Lead Worksop Facilitator and Director of Programming in 2012 and became the Director of Curriculum and Programming in 2015. She is one of the founders of SC's National Coaches Leadership Institute which launched in 2009.

She has been formally trained as a SEED (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) facilitator and is an esteemed trainer for the Positive Coaching Alliance out of California. In total, Pam has facilitated over 250 workshops, events and conferences, including co-facilitating at the 2013 Healthy Masculinity Summit with author and motivational speaker, Joe Erhman. Pam is skilled at facilitating a variety of topics in the sports and academic arenas including: Sexuality, Gender, Diversity, Health/Wellness, Mindfulness & Effecting Change.

Pam has a long and accomplished career as a high school coach, teacher and administrator. She has taught Health, coached volleyball, basketball and track & field. Her varsity boys’ volleyball team won several championships under her guidance during these years. For 16 years, Pam served as the Athletic Director at Burke in Washington, DC. She followed this position by serving four years as the school’s Dean of Students. During her tenure at Burke, Pam was also one of the inaugural Lead Instructors in their nationally recognized Leadership Program.

Pam, a 3-sport high school athlete, grew up in Southern Maryland. She went to Radford University where she was a scholarship, record-setting volleyball player. She later earned her M.S. from James Madison University while serving as the Graduate Assistant to the Athletic Director.

Pam has been trained to teach Yoga for Athletes and is a certified instructor in both Kripalu and Vinyasa Flow. While Pam's club rugby days are behind her, she still possesses a love of all sports, prefers no more than three people on a volleyball court and continues to grow and compete as a triathlete, her newest passion.

Pam also brings a variety of somewhat amazing life experiences to her work, including serving New Years Eve beverages to Robert De Niro and Will Smith. When not traveling about the country delivering workshops, Pam splits her time between Maryland and Florida.

Sara duPont Director, Operations and Admissions

Sara duPontDirector, Operations and Admissions

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Sara joined SportsChallenge Leadership Academy in September 2014 after being inspired by the organization's unique approach to youth development as a coach and teacher in their keystone program, the Summer Leadership Academy. Sara is passionate about SCLA's focus on team sports and the depth and breadth of their leadership curriculum. She sees the combination of the two creating a transformative educational experience for student-athletes and coaches alike, one that leads to broadened perspectives and more clear academic, athletic and professional paths.

She is proud to be a part of this process and proud that it is made accessible through SCLA's relentless efforts to fund scholarships.Sara has spent her career in positions from Admissions, to Development and Communications in dynamic education environments, including time in a boarding school and overseas. Sara graduated from Williams College with a BA in Art History and International Studies. She was a member of the varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams, captaining the lacrosse team in her senior year. As a native of Easton, MD and a lover of the Chesapeake Bay, in addition to nearly all team sports, Sara is an avid sailor.

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Raven ScottProgram Associate

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Raven first became involved with Strive in 2012 as a Leadership Development Fellow and since has spent 3 years as an administrator and culture creator at our flagship program, Sports Challenge.

Raven started her career in education as part of the Mississippi Teacher Corps in Jackson, Mississippi where she taught Government, Psychology, and Sociology, and coached varsity volleyball at a local high school. As part of the Mississippi Teacher Corps, she earned her Masters Degree from the University of Mississippi in Curriculum and Instruction. Raven continued her career in the classroom after becoming certified in teaching English as a second language and moving to Madrid, Spain. After returning from Spain, Raven served for a season as the assistant volleyball coach at Millsaps College, her alma mater. Originally from Louisiana, but a lover of Mississippi, Raven was a 4 year letter winner with Millsaps College Volleyball with honors as Freshman of the Year, 1st Team All Conference, and 1st Team All-Academic. She graduated from Millsaps in 2013 with a degree in Anthroplogy. Raven currently lives in Alexandria, VA with her favorite creature, Ashton Carter - a hyperactive lab/blue heeler puppy.

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Jeremy EdwardsCo-Founder, Program Associate

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Jeremy has built his career in leadership development, he has facilitated over 250 Strive Leadership Workshops for coaches, faculty, students and executives. He has presented at more than a dozen conferences throughout the United States.

Jeremy began his career as a collegiate basketball coach before returning to the hardwood to play for two years professionally in Europe. He then launched his career as a high school educator starting at the Edmund Burke School (DC) where he taught, coached, served as the Dean of Students, and directed the School’s Leadership Program. Jeremy co-founded SportsChallenge Leadership Academy (now Strive) in 1996 and took his career into nonprofit management when he became the Executive Director for six years.

In 2014 Jeremy returned to school-life by serving as the Assistant Headmaster for Student Life & Leadership at St. Andrew’s School, an independent boarding school in Middletown, DE. While at St. Andrew’s, Jeremy coached, taught, and ran both boys and girls dorms. Most importantly, he was able to build a new Leadership & Equity course — a class required of all new students.

A native of Washington, DC, Jeremy Edwards attended St. Albans School (DC) where he served as a Senior Prefect and captained the varsity baseball and basketball teams. Jeremy attended Haverford College (PA) where he played varsity baseball, captained the basketball team, and later served as the College’s Sports Information Director.

Jeremy earned a Master’s degree in Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies from Stanford University (CA). Aside from his daily challenge of parenting three boys under eight — Marcus, Austin, and Owen — Jeremy’s greatest passion lies in coaching. He has coached high school and college athletes in over 1,000 contests. Jeremy currently resides in Middletown, DE and he makes a mean Shrimp & Chicken Stir-Fry.

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Linda Schirmeister-GessDirector of Development

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Linda joined the Strive team full-time in December 2016. Her affiliation with the organization runs deep; as a student-athlete she attended the summer academy in the summer of 2005, and returned in a coaching capacity in 2010. She then went on to Co-Direct the girls soccer program for six years. Linda was also one of the inaugural National Coach Institute attendees, as well as a participant in many Strive leadership workshops. Schirmiester-Gess comes to Strive after an eight year college coaching career, most recently at Emory & Henry College (E&H), in Emory, VA.

During her time as a college soccer coach, Schirmiester-Gess also taught multiple leadership classes and and facilitated workshops within the institutions for whom she worked. These include semester long servant leadership based study abroad programs to South Africa, Guatemala, El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago. Additionally Schirmiester-Gess has been the keynote speaker, focusing on leadership development, at numerous events such as the Virginia Association of College Housing Conference (VACUHO), the E&H Honors Retreat, Wasp Welcome Orientation and the Emory & Henry Bridge Program. In the Spring of 2016 Linda spoke and addressed the leadership crises we are currently facing in society on the TedX stage at E&H.

Linda was a four year scholarship athlete at Slippery Rock University, where she earned a BS in Psychology in 2010. Inspired by her college coach and her Sports Challenge mentors, Linda developed a true passion for coaching, character development, and leadership education. This fueled her to pursure her Masters in Recreation & Sport SCiences with a concentration in Soccer Coaching through Ohio University in 2016. Linda resides in Wilmington, DE with her husband Michael, daughter Addison-Oakleigh, and their dog Zola.

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Tara TresoliniCommunications Coordinator

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Tara Tresolini joined Strive in the Fall of 2016 as the Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Strive, Tara was an intern at the Delaware River and Bay Authority where she was responsible for various communications projects. Tara graduated from the University of Delaware in 2016 with a degree in English. While at UD, Tara was a member of the DRFC and Secondary Educators of Tomorrow. An avid sports fan, Tara has long known that she would be involved with sports in her profession. Tara believes strongly in Strive’s premise that sports is an optimal venue for teaching leadership. Tara’s passion for writing, love of sports, and belief in leadership education perfectly coalesce in this role as she works to share Strive’s stories with wider and wider audiences.

When she isn’t working for Strive, Tara can be found at her home in Newark, DE or traveling the country and watching baseball. An avid baseball fan and traveler, she wants to see every major league baseball stadium in the country.

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Brandon CaplanPublic Allies Delaware

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Brandon Caplan is dedicated to leadership and service in the nonprofit sector in more ways than one. He is placed with Strive as a member of the Americorps program Public Allies Delaware. The mission of Public Allies is to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it. That is exactly what Brandon is doing with Strive.

Brandon is graduate of University of Delaware class of 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. There he proudly served for two years as the vice president of Mysteries at UD Club.

He has had experience in the for-profit sector, working as a marketing intern with the New South Wales Waratahs, the largest professional rugby union team in Sydney Australia. He got his start in the nonprofit sector, working with Chester County Pennsylvania tourism. He has brought a passion for sports and serving the community to every role he has had.

Currently as a Public Ally and a Strive team member, Brandon spends his days kicking around his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. On weekends you’ll find him participating in various service projects, and during the week you’ll see him flying the Strive banner.

STRIVE

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Tom Arenberg - Accenture (retired)
Caitlin Barrett - Assistant Director of Coach Development & Excellence, Up2Us Center, Up2Us
Jeannette Cooper - Director of Athletics and Health Education, Westtown School (retired)
Lisa Danzig - Former Associate Director for Performance Management and Personnel, Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President
Jon Fetterolf - Partner, Zuckerman Spaeder LLP
Jordan Forney - Vice President, Bernstein Private Wealth Management
Ian Goldberg - Chief Financial Officer, Flagpole Swim                                                 David Joseph - Co-Founder, America Scores, LA
Emma Klingenstein - MBA Candidate, Georgetown University
Kevin Morgan - Chair Founder, Strive & President, The Lon Foundation
Eric Sivertsen - Vice-Chair Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Liberty Towers, LLC
Andrea Valentine - Executive Director, Strive

BOARD OF ADVISORS

Chris Ballard - Author and Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated (CA)
Josh Byrnes - Vice President of Baseball Operations, Los Angeles Dodgers (CA)
Amie Creagh - Dean, Deerfield Academy (MA)
Breon Dennis - Assistant Vice President, Community Outreach, Texas Rangers Baseball Club (TX)
Jeaney Garcia - Athletic Director, Punahou School (HI)
Steve Gross - Founder & Executive Director, Project Joy (MA)
Clint Hurdle - Manager, Pittsburgh Pirates (PA)
Martin Jacobson - Athletic Director, Martin Luther King H.S. (NY)
Belle Koclanes - Women's Head Basketball Coach, Dartmouth University (NH)
Bridget Laird - Executive Director, WINGS (SC)
Pete Mockaitus - Author and National Speaker on Leadership (IL)
Neil Phillips - Founder & Director, Visible Men (MD)
Tad Roach - Headmaster, St. Andrew's School (DE)
Tina Syer - Associate Director, Positive Coaching Alliance (CA)
Aaron Wright - Director, MAA Program

If you're interested in getting involved, just email admin@striveleadership.org and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.