Our Collective Purpose
A driven and innovative leadership group that influences change, promotes equity, and drive results forward for girls in sports and fitness, and in life.
Nicole Shaia, Founder & Chief Creator of Awesome As the Founder & Chief Creator of Awesome at Tharros, I drive our mission forward through innovation, exceptional nonprofit management, strategic planning, fundraising, and program development. I am a soccer & fitness enthusiast and an innovator at heart. Before starting my own venture, I worked in the nonprofit sector for 13+ years in program and community development, outreach, and fundraising primarily in the greater New York City area. I've had the opportunity to mobilize over $20M in financial resources, partnerships,and programs that have impacted millions of lives across the globe. In addition to my professional experiences, I also developed my leadership and management skills by earning a Master in Public Administration degree at NYU Wagner where I specialized in Social Innovation & Impact Investing and learned how to tackle complex social issues in an effective way. I am also trained in Confidence Coaching, Transformational Psychology, Cognitive Behavior, and Youth Engagement. Learn more about my story and inspiration behind Tharros in our "About" section!
Dr. Brianna Newland Board Member Dr. Brianna Newland is a Clinical Associate Professor and Academic Director of Undergraduate Programs for the Tisch Institute for Global Sport. She completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Doctorate in Sport Management from the USSA, a Master of Physical Education and a BS in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research explores enduring sport participation through the examination of sport delivery pathways and policy. She also examines what drives sport event participation and destination choices. Dr. Newland is published in several academic journals, is the editor for Sport Marketing Quarterly and is a co-editor for three textbooks entitled, 1) Sport Facility and Event Management, 2) Sport Event Management Handbook, and 3) Foundations of Sport Management. She is also the current President of the North American Society for Sport Management and serves in an advisory role for the Aspen Institute's Reimagining School Sport campaign. Before joining the team at NYU, Dr. Newland taught at the University of Delaware, Victoria University (VU) in Melbourne, Australia and the University of Texas in Austin.
Emma Louise Clark Board Member Emma Louise Clark is a Commercial Manager and Brand Broker. Emma is striving to change and impact the future of young female athlete’s within sport. She is focused on creating a NEW WAVE through commercial value, brand building and mentoring young women to feel empowered.
Ruchir Shah Board Member After spending the better part of the last two decades in different roles across multiple industries, Ruchir Shah decided to follow his entrepreneurial ambitions and is currently working on launching a new venture with the mission of enriching people's lives through sport. As a lifelong fan and sportsbiz professional, Ruchir is a passionate believer in the role of sports as a powerful instrument of change and has witnessed first-hand the positive impact of sports on individuals and communities. Previously, Ruchir led the Analytics and Business Intelligence team at 4FRONT, a Chicago-based boutique sports marketing firm that was acquired by Legends. His team worked closely with some of the biggest properties in the American and global sports and entertainment landscape, leveraging market research and deep data insights to help them better understand, monetize their fan base and maximize sponsorship opportunities. Prior to pursuing a career in sports marketing, Ruchir had a successful career as a commodities trader and led high performing teams at proprietary trading firms in New York and Chicago. Throughout his career, Ruchir has demonstrated the ability for identify, define and solve complex business challenges using a data driven approach and an innovation mindset. While having switched away from a career as a professional trader, Ruchir retains his passion for the financial markets and also is an active investor in early-stage startups. Ruchir is a Sports Strategy Advisor at Round, an early stage blockchain startup with a mission to onboard mainstream users to public blockchain networks. Ruchir is also on the Advisory Board of Ladderworks, a NYC-based publishing startup of children's picture books, with the mission to inspire 1 million+ kids to become social entrepreneurs. Ruchir has graduate degrees from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Northwestern University. His sporting affinities lie with the Indian cricket team, Michigan Wolverines, New York Giants, Real Madrid Football Club and the Chicago Bulls. In his free time, apart from writing about himself in third person, Ruchir can be found complaining about the performance of his fantasy teams, binge-watching nature documentaries and spending time with his family. Ruchir currently lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with his wife, two young children and a yellow Lab puppy. "In my sports business journey, I have come across some amazing leaders that are working tirelessly to raise the profile of women's sports. Working with them has made me realize not only the less than deserved attention women sports have gotten this far but also the potential for its growth. While organizations like Angel City FC and several others are striving for more representation and exposure for women in sport at the highest level, Tharros is tackling the issue from the ground up. Tharros's mission to empower girls to stay engaged with sports and fitness for a longer time and to help young women reap the benefits of sports on their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is something that is very close to my heart. As a passionate sports marketer but more importantly, as a father of a young girl, I am honored to be part of this initiative!"
Anushree Nande Advisory Council Member Hope is Anushree “Anu” Nande’s superpower. Arsenal Football Club, perhaps irrationally, dominates many of her waking (and sleeping) hours; the rest she spends reading, writing, editing, hoarding books, working through creative demons with sport and art, and asking herself what Coach Taylor would do. She is a Mumbai-born writer who has studied and worked in the United Kingdom, Spain and the United States. Currently, Anushree is a senior team member at Football Paradise, an award-winning website for longform articles about football, where she has worked for a decade; the Executive Editor, Blogs at Ladderworks Publishing; a team member with Unusual Efforts, where all content is by marginalised creators (women, trans or cis, and non-binary people) in an effort to redefine the commonly held image of the “football expert”; and a freelance writer, editor, and publishing professional in various areas of publishing and football. Her microfiction collection, 55 Words, was published by Underground Voices in 2015 and her other work (fiction, essays, football pieces, poetry) can be found in a range of online and print platforms. Summer Melody (published November 2021, Alien Buddha Press) is her debut novelette. Anushree’s writing, in whatever form, tends to explore how we navigate the emotional landscape of our lives, and is always hopeful. Sports have always been a safe space for her---she played badminton for her school, college, and, later, University teams, is a runner, and these days loves to keep fit through TRX, lifting, yoga, and animal flow.
Arielle Erillo Advisory Council Member Arielle is a public policy specialist, athlete, and public service leader. She currently works with Cherokee Nation, serving as an Office Management Specialist & Public Diplomacy Officer for Mongolia at the State Department in DC. Arielle is a South Florida native and began her career in public service at the State Department. She also worked for national nonprofit organizations and even founded her own nonprofit to get more people involved in the sport of pickleball, one of the fastest growing sports. It’s a fun combination of ping pong, tennis and badminton. Arielle is very passionate about expanding opportunities for young girls to continue playing sports in college. As a former student-athlete, she is very familiar with the mental health struggles many female athletes face in college. Arielle graduated from Eckerd College, where she was an NCAA Division II dual sport athlete (volleyball and beach volleyball), and has a master's degree from Florida Atlantic University in Political Science.
Carole Oglesby, PhD Advisory Council Member Carole Oglesby is an Emeritus Board member for WomenSport International (WSI), a Professor Emeritus in sport psychology (2001) from Temple University and was Chairperson in Kinesiology at California State University Northridge from 2003-2009. Her scholarship focused on re-imagining gender identity through publications such as Women and sport: from myth to reality (1978 and Encyclopedia of American women in sport (1998). Carole served as the first president of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), as the first president of Women Sport International and IWG CoChair 2014-2018. She served as president of the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS), and as Trustee for the Women's Sports Foundation (WSF). She organized WSF's "The New Agenda" conference, which set the research agenda for women in sport in the early 1980s, including homophobia in sport. Carole has received numerous awards including not limited to Women's Sports Foundation Billie Jean King Contribution Award, AAHPERD R. Tait McKinzie Award, ICSSPE Phillip Noel Baker Research Award, AASP 2021 Distinguished Professional Practice Award, Purdue University Title IX Distinguished Service Award, IOC Women and Sport Award for the Americas 2018.
Denise Kamyuka Council Collab Lead Denise, originally from Botswana, is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sports Management and Leadership (with a collaboration in Global Health) at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Her research focus is on social entrepreneurship in sport, postcolonial-feminist methodologies, health promotion and disability sport. She currently works as a community outreach coordinator at Athletes for Hope, where she helps connect professional, Olympic and Paralympic athletes to causes they are passionate about. Denise also the former Racial Equity and Inclusivity Commissioner for Western’s student government, and currently serves on various anti-racism committees at Western University. Denise served on the junior board of Kids in the Game (a sports youth development organization in New York) and helped establish St. John’s University’s Institute of Interdisciplinary Sport Research.
Denise Olsen Advisory Council Member Denise is a E-200 hour yoga instructor since 2011. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and has been licensed for over 25 years. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing honor society and the American Holistic Nurses Association. Through nursing, Denise has acquired trauma experience and an extensive knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. After suffering the loss of her husband on 9/11, Denise used her yoga practice to heal. She believes we are all multidimensional, energetic bodies that heal by connecting the breath, the body, and the spirit through movement, mindfulness, and different breathing techniques. Her work focuses on using our pain as a portal to our highest selves. Denise has lectured at various Veterans' Outreach programs, Adelphi University Graduate School of Social Work Program and has been featured in interviews on NPR radio and several podcasts and she has authored numerous blogs. Denise is a Reiki II practitioner as well as a Master healer under the guidance of shaman/medicine woman, and LAc Tiffany Carole. Denise believes that in order for us to fully experience life we must all live with our soul on the outside. She is the creator of Strong and Soulful Yoga, https://denise-olsen.com/, and previously owned Strong and Soulful Holistic Health Community located in Sea Girt, NJ. She is a proud mother of 3 grown children, 1 grandchild, and 2 pups. In her downtime she enjoys reading, writing, higing, rucking, paddling, snowboarding- anything that gets her outside and moving!
Elizabeth O'Brien Advisory Council Member Elizabeth O’Brien is an accomplished, high-energy leader known for increasing productivity, driving and maintaining operational results, and building national partnerships. As the Chief of Staff at TFX Capital, Liz works across both TFX, and its platform investments, to provide operational support and skill development that enables strong investments and robust performance. She is a vital extension of TFX investment operations, and a force multiplier for the firm’s portfolio company founders to help solve problems and navigate uncharted territories. Before joining TFX Capital, Liz served as CEO of Freedom Learning Group (FLG), a content services provider, backed by Achieve partners, that is powered by a global remote network of military spouses and veterans. Prior to that experience, Liz served in significant leadership roles as a Senior Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes and as Chairwoman for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs, the first Military Spouse named to the role. Liz also spent over a decade professionally coaching college women’s basketball at the United States Military Academy at West Point, the University of Hawaii, and Hofstra University, her own alma mater. As a Military Spouse, Liz chairs the state of Virginia Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, sits on the Blue Star Families Advisory Council, and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network Advisory Council. In addition, she is actively involved with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council, the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour Advisory Council and TharrosAdvisory Council. Liz is a graduate of Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business and lives outside of Washington D.C. with her active-duty Army spouse and daughters. "As a two sport D1 college athlete, former college basketball coach and mother to three female athletes, I am honored to lend my time and energy in support of the Tharros mission. Nicole is a driven leader, working to ensure our aspiring female athletes have the opportunities they so richly deserve, I’m honored to support her vision."
Dr. Erin McNary Advisory Council Member Prof McNary joined the University of Miami (UM) faculty in August 2017 and is an Associate Professor of Sport Administration. Prior to joining the Sport Administration faculty, she was at Indiana University-Bloomington (IUB) where she taught in the Sport Marketing and Management program. After receiving her doctorate degree at IUB, she worked at two different universities in St. Louis, MO (USA) where she had the opportunity to teach a variety of courses and work with numerous sports organizations. She also has several years of experience in campus recreation at Arizona State University and University of Texas-San Antonio as well as five years of experience working for a national physical activity and fitness awards program. At UM, Prof McNary teaches sport facility and event management and globalization of sport courses. She serves as the undergraduate program coordinator and also co-advises the student run organization, USPORT. Additionally, she is the Global Sport Industry Conference Director (miamisportconference.com). Her focus of research is to explore sport management pedagogy. Prof McNary also examines the promotion of and ethics in youth sport communication as well as marketing, advertising, and promotion of youth and marginalized athletes. In the past, she has also researched media portrayals and historic media coverage of youth, women, and minorities in sport. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, visiting family and friends, watching movies, and trying new restaurants. She is also a certified yoga instructor and enjoys working out, biking, and playing tennis and golf.
Jacquelyn Jamason Advisory Council Member Jacquelyn Jamason is a Mental Health Specialist, Author, Mom, and Athlete. Throughout her journey with sports and fitness, Jacquelyn has overcome significant barriers in life. From overcoming grief and trauma to paving a new path through recovery, today, she is an incredible tri athlete and set to complete her first Ironman in September! "Turn your pain into power."
Malorie Polster Advisory Council Member Malorie Polster (she/hers) is a Prevention Science Fellow at the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As part of her work, she supports the implementation of the National Youth Sports Strategy and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, and she serves as a subject matter expert for the Move Your Way® campaign. Prior to her current role, she has engaged with physical activity at both the community and national level. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education with a Social Determinants of Health certificate from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the College of William and Mary. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outside, running, and playing soccer. "Playing soccer has always been my go-to activity for having fun, getting active, and building social connections. I feel lucky to have found the sport during my youth and to have had the encouragement and opportunity to continue playing into adulthood. I know not all girls have the same access or positive experience with sports, which is why I’m so excited about the mission and work of Tharros!"
Maria Blaszczyk Advisory Council Member Maria is the Deputy Director at Kensington Soccer Club, a Philadelphia community empowerment organization with a mission to unite the broader Kensington community with soccer and youth development programs for all, regardless of ability to pay. Maria recently moved into this role after being the Volunteer & Member Engagement Coordinator at KSC. In her time at KSC, she has led the development and implementation of a Girls Empowerment Initiative designed to unite female players across teams and ultimately keep girls playing the sport they love. Prior to KSC, Maria served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in the School District of Philadelphia and supported adults with intellectual disabilities and autism at Open Systems Healthcare. She is also a Master of Social Work candidate at Temple University. "Growing up as a female athlete, my athletic identity was intrinsically linked with my overall identity, self-esteem, and values; however, this connection was not usually discussed. I am excited that Tharros is on a mission to help girls find their athletic identity and stay engaged in sports and fitness, because I know from personal experience that if girls stay in sports, they have the ability to overcome any challenge that stands in their way."
Maria Lelie Advisory Council Member Maria is deeply passionate about raising awareness around eating disorders, reducing mental health stigma, and helping people find access to quality, affordable healthcare. She brings 4 years of experience as a program coordinator for national volunteer service initiatives and community engagement for multiple nonprofit organizations. "As someone with lived experience with eating disorder challenges, I know firsthand how important it is for individuals to have access to both community and resources that support their mental and physical health, and how it is equally important to equip our medical personnel, schools, and caregivers with the necessary knowledge, resources, and empowerment to support individuals in their lives. I am excited to join the Tharros Advisory Council to bring hope to women and young girls who might be experiencing challenges with their mental or physical health, and to inspire a healthy relationship with food and exercise, so girls can build confidence and stay engaged in sport."
Michelle Caira Advisory Council Member Michelle Caira is a certified master personal trainer (European Health & Fitness Association), a Nordic Walking Instructor, Pilates Instructor, and founder of Fit Mama Fitness Inc and Vivi Rocks. Originally spending her early career within the banking industry, Michelle trained as a fitness professional in late 2009. Since 2010, she has run her successful fitness company in a number of countries and with clients located globally. Her keen interest in female health stems from her own experiences in her very early twenty's, and since 2010 Michelle has worked extensively with women through the "mom" chapter in life and now the "menopause" chapter. A Station F Femtech alumni (with Vivi Rocks) and noted as a Femtech Global Personality (2021) for her work on Fit Mama and The Menopause App, Michelle has also been nominated as an entrepreneur through RBC x Women of Influence three years running. Passionate about bringing science-backed content to a wider audience, Michelle created and launched Vivi Rocks in early 2022 to address the gap in the market for fitness, nutrition, mental wellness, and community for women at all stages in life. Initially launching Vivi Rocks with a mom zone and a menopause zone, she is creating a global first of hosting small group personal training and coaching at an affordable rate with high retention and success levels. The early puberty chapter will be added soon, ensuring that young girls and teens have access to healthy fitness and wellness content. Michelle is Scottish and currently lives in Evian-les-Bains, France, with her son.
Rachel Ankomah Advisory Council Member Rachel Ankomah is the Founder and owner of Accra Majestics Rugby League Club which is based in Accra, Ghana. She is a rugby league enthusiast, content creator and an advocate for women in sports. Rachel was previously the team manager for Ghana Skolars Rugby League Club where she helped the team take second place in the Ghana Rugby League Championship that same year. She was the women's coordinator for Rugby League Federation Ghana in 2020 where she was in charge of the development of the women's division where she launched a campaign called Pretty Girls Play Rugby League. the aim was to challenge the stereotyping of women in sports, especially those in rugby league. In 2021, she started her own project called Rachel Ankomah Rugby League where she interviews Rugby League personalities, creates content and also educates and promotes the sport in her own way. That same year, she launched her own club, Accra Majestics Rugby League Club. Among her many achievements and awards, Rachel has been recognized as: Winner of the Youth Sports Personality of the Year 21 Award, First women's rugby league coordinator in Ghana, A rugby league hero by the International Rugby League in 2020, A member and representative of the Middle East Africa Women’s Working Group and selected to represent the group at the International Rugby League Women and Girls Advisory group, A previous rugby league partner of the Athens Raiders Rugby League Club in Greece, Best team manager in 2020, First team Manager for Ghana Skolars Rugby League Club, A member of the match review panel for the Rugby League Federation Ghana.
Salma Zaitoun Advisory Council Member Bio coming soon!
Dr. Tina Atherall Advisory Council Member Dr. Tina Atherall is currently the CEO of PsychArmor a nonprofit organization that provides education and training to improve the health and life outcomes of military-connected individuals. Tina has embedded her career in the field of social work innovation and leadership.Tina obtained her Doctor of Social Work (DSW) from the University of Southern California. Her passion within social work focuses on the public health crisis of social isolation, specifically the challenges of military families. Tina also has advanced certificates in nonprofit leadership, military family readiness, military social work, and is a Certified Daring Way Facilitator. She is an Associate Adjunct Professor at Columbia University School of Social Work, Simmons University, and the University of Kentucky and was selected as one of only 49 scholars in the Bush Institute 2021 Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program. She has received the: California Baptiste School of Social Work Fulfilling The Dream Award in 2020, University of Southern California School of Social Work Student Alumni Award in 2018, National Association of Social Work NYC Emerging Leader Social Work Leadership Award in 2016 and Merit Service Award in 2014. Tina is also a board member for at least 3 nonprofit organizations and mentors countless social entrepreneurs providing advisement and expertise. She is a proud mom of competitive athletes and a sports/fitness enthusiast.
Tobruk Blaine Advisory Council Member Tobruk Blaine is the Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development at San Jose State University. Hired in 2017, Blaine was tasked with creating the first of its kind player development program for the football team, referred to as Beyond Football; under the direction of the newly hired head football coach Brent Brennan. After four years the Beyond Football program grew and became Beyond Sparta - a department wide student-athlete development program centered around campus engagement, community outreach, and career development. This transformative and innovative program creates a diverse and inclusive cutting-edge experience that encourages a forward thinking mindset as collegiate-athletes discover themselves beyond their sport and create a championship life. With a Masters Degree in Health Education from Oregon State University, and a second Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from University of Idaho; Blaine has over 17 years of coaching and teaching experience between secondary and higher education. Originally from Boise, Idaho, Blaine resides in San Jose, CA with her husband, Ben Thienes, and two daughters, Landyn (3) and Colby (1). "I am energetic and enthusiastic about the mission of Tharros! As a mother of two young girls, a former athlete, and a current collegiate athletics professional I am passionate about using my life experiences to inspire the next generation of fierce, confident, and influential woman. "