2019-2020 Board of Directors University of Kansas Sport Management

It is our pleasure to announce the incoming KU Sport Management Board of Directors. Our original group of 11 alumni provided invaluable insight to the program over the last 24 months. We could not be more excited to welcome twelve new Board members this fall. As our programs continue to grow at a steady pace, the thoughts and ideas of our alumni become even more important as we adapt in an ever-changing marketplace.

We have hundreds of incredible alumni and it was extremely difficult to pick just twelve for this new Board. Each of the members below are proud Jayhawks and have graciously agreed to serve a two-year term. Please take a few minutes to scroll down and learn more about the members of the second KU Sport Management Program Board of Directors.

Rock Chalk!

A scene from the most recent KU Sport Management Board of Directors meeting

Robel Melesse, Sports in Action

Robel Melesse is the Vice President of Operations at Sports in Action in Dallas, a company he has been with for seven years. He helps lead operations and sales at the company's subsidiary, Dave Campbell's Texas Football (DCTF), and as the marketing rights holder for the University Interscholastic League (UIL), helping authentically connect brands with passionate Texas high school communities across the state. In 2012, Robel graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Sports Management and minor in Business. As part of the Sports Management curriculum at KU, he served as an intern for TCU IMG and IMG Dallas, where he helped run one of the most historic rivalry games in college sports – the Red River Showdown.

Allie Wielansky, SIUE Athletics

Allie Wielansky is currently the Director of External Affairs at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) Athletics. As the Director of External Affairs, she is responsible for the planning and oversight of all department special events and fundraising initiatives. In addition, Wielansky manages all incoming hotel requests and acts as the University Adidas Representative. Prior to her Directors role, Wielansky was a Graduate Assistant for SIUE where she earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration while working for the Athletic Department. Wielansky graduated from the University of Kansas in the spring of 2016 with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Management, and a Minor in Business. While at the University of Kansas, Wielansky was involved with the Marketing and Fan Experience Department for KU Athletics. She was a Senior Leadership Award Recipient at the School of Education Graduation; an award highlighted her leadership to the school, university, and community, coupled with her academic record.

Steve Fanelli, San Francisco Giants

Steve enters his second season with the San Francisco Giants after spending the previous 20 years with the Oakland Athletics in various business operations and development roles, most recently, Vice President of Sales and Service. In his current position, Steve leads Giants organizational efforts to advance ticketing technology and implement customer friendly ticketing offerings designed to enhance fan satisfaction and reimagine the ballpark experience. Focused on strategic planning and new customer acquisition, Steve and his team are dedicated to discovering ways to introduce MLB and, one of MLB’s jewel Ballparks, Oracle Park, to additional fan segments. Throughout his career, Steve has also led Ticket Sales and Operations, Premium Seating Sales and Services, Data Analytics and Strategy, and Customer Retention teams. As a member of Major League Baseball’s Ticketing Steering Committee, Steve currently has a strong focus on growing the game on both the local and league level, through product development, staffing optimization, digital strategy, and mobile adoption. Steve is a 1995 graduate of the University of Kansas

Zennon Black, Harvard University

Zennon Black is currently a Ph.D. student at Harvard University, researching the various mechanisms that influence queer (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer+) identified students-of-colors’ educational outcomes within higher education and the role higher education institutions play in the identity development of queer students-of-color. From 2016-2019, Zennon served as the inaugural Senior Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Manager at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In this role, Zennon was charged with developing, implementing, and managing transformative and capacity-building programs for students, faculty, and staff. Zennon’s work and research stretches broadly across the domains of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This included: programs and policies; access, recruitment, and retention; and community engagement. Zennon also works as an independent consultant specializing in developing diversity and inclusion trainings for faculty, students, and staff and program implementation and analysis for higher education and secondary institutions. Zennon proudly hails from the state of Kansas (Kansas City, KS) and earned his Ed.M. in Higher Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and holds dual Bachelors’ of Science in Education and in Exercise Science from the University of Kansas.

Stephanie Silver, Paragon Marketing Group

Stephanie Silver currently creates, plans and manages youth sports programs for Gatorade's marketing agency. From Elite High School championship games, to NCAA sports camps and AAU tournaments, Stephanie is able to make an impact on the performance level of athletes and enhance the overall brand image for the client. Prior to Paragon, Stephanie worked for KemperLesnik, as a marketing and ticket sales representative for the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, CBS Sports Classic and McDonald's All American games among other events. Stephanie graduated from the KU Sport Management program in 2016 and recently competed KU's online MBA program. While attending KU, Stephanie was a member of the Spirit Squad as well as the Sport Management Club.

Holdyn Halperin, University of Miami Athletics

A native of Olathe, KS., Holdyn Halperin graduated with highest distinction from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management in the Fall of 2016. In 2017, after holding temporary roles in the Ticket Office at Michigan State University and the University of Kansas, Halperin accepted his first full-time job as the Associate Director of Athletic Ticketing at the University of Alabama. While with the Crimson Tide, Halperin was the primary ticket oversight for Baseball, Gymnastics, Women’s Basketball, as well as secondary responsibility for Football. This includes a major role in the distribution of tickets for the 2018 College Football Playoff, which included the first ever mobile-ticketed national championship game. Halperin then joined the University of Miami Hurricanes Athletic Department in September of 2018. In February of 2019, he was promoted to Assistant Athletic Director of Ticket Operations. Halperin oversees daily operations of the Hurricane Ticket Office, as well as managing ticket operations for Hurricanes Football and Men’s Basketball.

Abbey Shea, University of Colorado Athletics

Abbey Shea is the Assistant Director of Compliance for the University of Colorado Athletics Department. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado School of Law and earned admission to the Colorado Bar Association in 2016. Abbey received her bachelor’s degree in Sports Management with a minor in Business in 2011, interning with the Cape Cod Baseball League and Cincinnati Reds Fall of Fame & Museum to finish her degree. She also serves as a network leader for the KU Alumni Association Denver Network and participates in the KU Admissions HAWKs Program.

Matt Gardner, St. Louis Blues

Matt Gardner is Vice President, Digital Media & Emerging Technology for the 2019 Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues, Enterprise Center and Stifel Theatre. He is a 2001 graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Matt has spent 18 years working in professional sports and is in his 9th season with the Blues, overseeing initiatives related to digital communications and marketing, content development, revenue generation, innovation and technology. Prior to arriving in St. Louis in 2012, Matt was part of the digital teams at the ATP World Tour and the Orlando Magic, along with working on the digital agency side where his sports and entertainment clients included SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, International Speedway Corporation and Planet Hollywood. In addition to his current work for the Blues, Matt serves as an advisor for several sports tech companies and as a mentor for Stadia Ventures.

Kayla Shirey, UCLA Athletics

Kayla Shirey started at UCLA Athletics in May of 2017 and currently serves as the Associate Director of Operations for UCLA Athletics. A native of San Diego, California, Kayla earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications and minor in Political Science from San Diego State University in 2009, and earned her Master’s degree in Sport Management from the University of Kansas in 2014. She began her career in collegiate athletics as a development coordinator at SDSU before becoming a full time graduate assistant at KU in student-athlete support services and working on game days for the operations department. Upon graduating from the University of Kansas, she accepted a position in operations for Arizona State Athletics. At ASU, she oversaw event management for Women’s Soccer, Softball, and their guest relations program. Currently at UCLA, she oversees all operations for Men’s & Women’s Water Polo, Softball, Track & Field, Men’s & Women’s Tennis, Beach Volleyball, Swimming & Diving, and the event staffing aspect of Football and Men’s Basketball game days.

Jason Booker, Kansas City Royals

Jason Booker serves as the Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships and Broadcast Sales for the Royals and has worked in Sports Marketing for the past 22 years. In his role he oversees the day to day functions of the corporate partnership sales and activation teams as well as the Royals Radio Network media sales and affiliate sales. Jason has been in his role since August 2014. Prior to joining the Royals Jason served as the Executive Director and General Manager for Jayhawk IMG Sports Marketing for 7 years. In his role with Jayhawk IMG Sports Marketing, Jason oversaw the day to day corporate partnership program and operation functions with the University of Kansas including the Jayhawk Radio and TV Networks, in venue, digital, print sponsorships and endorsement rights for Kansas Athletics head coaches. Jason received his undergraduate degree in Sports Management from the University of Kansas in 99’ and his Master's in Sports Administration from Wichita State University in 01’.

Brandon Ramos, Kansas City Chiefs

Brandon Ramos is an Activation Manager in the Corporate Partnership Department for the Kansas City Chiefs. A native of Junction City, KS, Brandon earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management with a minor in Business in 2016. In his role, Brandon oversees the partnership strategy, service, and activation and to engage the creation, measurement, and communication of value to over 15 current corporate partners with the Kansas City Chiefs. In addition, he is also responsible for the renewal, extension, and up sell strategy for his corporate partners. Brandon broke into the sports industry after landing a summer internship in corporate partnerships with Sporting Kansas City while he was attending KU. Prior to attending the University of Kansas, Brandon spent six years an Air Force Firefighter.

Kelli Elmore, Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference

Kelli Elmore has been the Assistant Commissioner for the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference since 2015, serving as the conference sports information director, supervising all associated activities, and managing the various awards programs in the KCAC. She also functions as the event manager for 22 conference championships, handles all social media outlets, and oversees sports information directors at the conference's 13 member schools. Elmore received a Bachelor of Science in Education with an emphasis in Sport Management and a Business minor from the University of Kansas in 2012 before earning her master's degree in Sport Management from Wichita State in 2014. Prior to her job with the KCAC, Elmore worked in the media relations department at KU Athletics from 2010-12, the Wichita State media relations department from 2012-14, and has worked with the Wichita Open since 2010.

Rob Ramseyer, Friends University

Dr. Rob Ramseyer owns more than a decade of intercollegiate athletics experience as a coach and administrator. The Wichita native has served as Athletic Director at Friends University since July of 2018. In his first year, he helped lead the Falcons to the KCAC Commissioners Cup, given to the conference’s highest-performing member across 17 championship sports. Ramseyer served successfully as a baseball coach at the high school and college levels early in his career. He finished his coaching career as the head coach at Hesston College where his team set the record for school wins. In 2015, he transitioned into full time administration and served four years as Vice President of Student Development and Athletic Director at Hesston College. He has also served in several other capacities working as Dean of Students, Title IX Coordinator and Instructor. A fourth-generation Jayhawk, Dr. Ramseyer completed his Master’s in Sports Studies from the University of Kansas in 2010.

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