About Strive: Get To Know Us

What We Do

At Strive we believe that how you lead matters, and we’re dedicated to spreading the power of character-driven leadership. We partner with young people and adults across the United States — in schools, athletic leagues and community organizations — to develop character leaders and build unique, conscious cultures. Our fundraising enables us to bring our leadership-development work to underserved communities.
 
In our programs we apply the rigor and grind of athletics to the development of the individual — digging deep and working hard, laughing often, refining the craft of our games, and uncovering new potential in each participant. We offer a research-based, customizable curriculum that begins with self-knowledge, moves into culture creation and ultimately instills the habit of rigorous leadership practice.
 

The Strive Values

What We Stand For...

Know thyself.
Know thyself is central to Strive’s philosophy; we practice what we preach.
Fill tanks.
Brush it off and grow.
Be fair and honest.
Choose Laughter.
Stick with it.
Find the best in yourself so you can inspire the best in those around you.

Meet Our Team

Andrea Valentine
Executive Director
Andrea Valentine
Strive
Executive Director

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 of Curriculum & Programming
Pam Herath
Strive
Director of Curriculum & Programming

Pam has a long and accomplished career as a high school coach, teacher and administrator. For 16 years, she was the athletic director at the Burke school in Washington, D.C., where she later served as dean of students and as an inaugural lead instructor in Burke’s nationally recognized Leadership Program.

Pam, a three-sport high school athlete, went to Radford University on scholarship, where she was a record-setting volleyball player. She 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.

Jeremy Edwards
Co-founder, Program Associate
Jeremy Edwards
Strive
Co-founder, Program Associate

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 & Equitycourse — 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.

Raven Scott
Program Associate
Raven Scott
Strive
Program Associate

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 now lives in Wilmington, DE with her favorite creature, Ashton Carter - a hyperactive lab/blue heeler puppy.

Linda Schirmeister-Gess
Director of Development
Linda Schirmeister-Gess
Strive
Director of Development

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.

Ainslie Rhoads
Marketing Manager
Ainslie Rhoads
Strive
Marketing Manager

Ainslie joined Strive as the Marketing Manager in May of 2017 after being inspired by the organization’s mission to spread character-driven leadership in emerging young athletes. Prior to Strive, she worked in Marketing for the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Ainslie graduated from Drexel University in 2016 with a degree in Sport Management including minors in Business Administration and Legal Studies. She spent three of her college years working with the Philadelphia Flyers in the Community Relations department, which cultivated her passion for non-profits and leadership development. Ainslie was a goalkeeper for Drexel’s Division I Field Hockey team and played internationally with the USA Women’s National Indoor team. She is currently a goalkeeping coach for the USA "Futures" Olympic Development Program. 

Her objective is to maintain a strategy-first, intentional focus that is centered on a curated audience and built to drive the organization’s mission and marketing objectives.

Ainslie resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania overlooking the historic Museum of Art. In her spare time, you can find her on the hockey pitch coaching with the Main Line "Mayhem" Field Hockey Club or relaxing on the dock of her family’s lake house in the breathtaking Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Tara Tresolini
Communications Coordinator
Tara Tresolini
Strive
Communications Coordinator

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.

Board of Directors

Tom Arenberg
Retired

Accenture

Lisa Danzig
Specialist Leader

Deloitte Consulting

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 & Chief Executive Officer

Liberty Towers LLC

Andrea Valentine
Executive Director

Strive: How You Lead Matters

Board of Advisors

Chris Ballard
Author

Senior Writer- Sports Illustrated

Josh Byrnes
Vice President of Baseball Operations

Los Angeles Dodgers

Amie Creagh
Dean

Deerfield Academy

Breon Dennis
Assistant Vice President
Community Outreach

Texas Rangers Baseball Club

Jeaney Garcia
Athletic Director

Punahou School (Hawaii)

Steve Gross
Founder & Executive Director

Project Joy

Clint Hurdle
Manager

Pittsburgh Pirates

Martin Jacobson 
Athletic Director

Martin Luther King High School (N.Y.)

Belle Koclanes
Women's Head Basketball Coach

Dartmouth College

Bridget Laird
Executive Director

WINGS

Pete Mockaitus
Author & National Speaker on Leadership

Neil Phillips 
Founder & Director

Visible Men

Tad Roach
Headmaster

St. Andrew's School (Del.)

Tina Syer
Associate Director 

Positive Coaching Alliance

Aaron Wright 
Director, MMA Program

Ohio University

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