Hand-picked with great intentionality, the Strive Team is made up of incredibly passionate and forward-thinking leaders who boast extensive experience in their respective industries.
Driven by their dedication, each member of our team strives to further the organization's mission and live out Strive's core values.
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.
Say hello! Andrea@striveleadership.org
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 pursue 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.
Say hello! Linda@striveleadership.org
Krista joined Strive, full-time in June 2018, shortly after graduating with her Masters of Social Work from the School of Social Policy and Practice at University of Pennsylvania. She originally joined the Strive team in 2016 and stayed involved with the organization throughout her time in graduate school.
She spent the first year of her social work program interning at Walter Biddle Saul High School and her second year at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania’s Homeless Health Initiative. As a social worker, it is fitting that her favorite “Strive competency” is empathy, and that she often reminds her Strive team, as well as friends and family, to practice self-care.
Krista grew up in the Wilmington area and was a “lifer” at Sanford School, where she played Varsity tennis. At the age of four she started dancing at American Dance Academy, and at age twelve she became an original member of the studio’s competition team. She continued dancing at Muhlenberg College, graduating with a BA in Dance and English. As a member of the Muhlenberg Dance Association, she served as secretary of the board, danced in and choreographed for multiple concerts, performed in a community outreach improvisation group, and was selected by Muhlenberg staff to show her choreography at the American College Dance Festival.
After college she worked at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, starting as a dance specialist. During her three years there, she gained experience both in direct service and administrative work. It was through her time at the clubs that she found her passion in serving marginalized populations and advocating for social justice and equity.
Krista currently resides in Philadelphia. If she’s not home, you can likely find her at a Sixers game, Rehoboth Beach, or her brother’s home cuddling with his dog.
Say hello! Krista@striveleadership.org
Cierra joined Strive in June 2019 as our Outreach Coordinator. Cierra focuses on cultivating relationships with all of our customers while also developing relationships with new organizations. You will often find Cierra hanging out in the Strive office at The Mill or out and about facilitating workshops throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
Cierra has spent her past three summers working with Strive at Tyler’s Camp and joins us after most recently serving as Director of Student Affairs at Serviam Girls Academy and prior to that, as Manager of the Northeast Region at Humanim.
Say hello! firstname.lastname@example.org
Born and raised in Wilmington, DE Mariana graduated from St. Andrew's School. She earned a BA in English from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, where she participated in two varsity sports. She holds an MSW in Social Change and Innovation from the University of Southern California and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver. Prior to her role at Strive and Dual School, she served as a program director in the residential camp world and taught elementary and middle school in a variety of school settings.
Say hello! Mariana@striveleadership.org
Chief of Staff, Better Lesson
Director, Municipal Capital Markets Barclays Capital
Assoc. Director, Member Services, EAB
Partner, Zuckerman Spaeder LLP
MBA Candidate, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Co-founder- America Scores LA
Director, Mental Conditioning Los Angeles Angels
Olympic Gold Medalist
Chair, Founder- Strive
President- The Lon Foundation
Matthew Mc Menamy
Financial Advisor, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
Vice-chair, Founder & Chief Executive Officer Liberty Towers LLC
Executive Director Strive: How You Lead Matters
Flagship Client Service Specialist, Vanguard
Senior Writer- Sports Illustrated
Vice President of Baseball Operations
Los Angeles Dodgers
Assistant Vice President
Texas Rangers Baseball Club
Punahou School (Hawaii)
Founder & Executive Director
Martin Luther King High School (N.Y.)
Women's Head Basketball Coach
Author & National Speaker on Leadership
Founder & Director
Positive Coaching Alliance
Director, MMA Program