dinner guests


On February 26, 2019 the Winning Edge and the Charlotte Hornets will host a Dinner of Influence to provide insight to the next generation of leaders in sports business. Listed below are the bios of all dinner guests to ensure attendees are prepared and confident when engaging in conversation.

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Joe Pierce

Hornets Sports & Entertainment
Vice President & General Counsel

I oversee all legal affairs for the Charlotte Hornets, Spectrum Center arena and Greensboro Swarm.  


Cedric Roberts

Charlotte Hornets
Director of Premium & Membership Services

Oversees the retention of Hornets Season Ticket Holders.  This is done by providing customer service and by building and creating everlasting memories by relationship through conversational touch points. Why - It's exciting building a relationships using sports.


Reshad Brown

Charlotte Hornets
Sr. Designer

As Senior Designer with the Charlotte Hornets, I work with departments internally to bring their ideas to life. I work on a facet of projects, from designing marketing campaigns and large-scale graphics to logo development, photography and much more in-between. I also work closely with external vendors to ensure the timely delivery and installation of certain deliverables as well. Most things creatively involving the Hornets brand come through my department.


Marlene hendricks

Hornets Sports & Entertainment
VP Guest Experience & Staffing

I have been in the industry for over 20 years. Formerly working with the Miami Dolphins/Florida Marlins, the Miami Heat and now withe the Charlotte Hornets. I am responsible for the service experience for all guests attending events at the Spectrum Center. Additionally, I am responsible for the staffing of over 300 part-time team members and 4 full-time team members.


tiara brown

Hornets Sports & Entertainment
Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility

As manager of corporate social responsibility for the Charlotte Hornets, I am responsible for the development and implementation of the organization’s community initiatives and programs in the areas of education, wellness, hunger, and military. Since joining the organization in 2013, I’ve had the opportunity to launch a variety of community initiatives, including the Hornets Players Scholarship Fund, led by the team’s players to provide underserved students a free college education.


ron chase

Hornets Sports & Entertainment
director of marketing projects

Manage major marketing projects and initiatives, examples include ticket sales campaigns and out of market preseason games.


shamaree brown

Director of Student-Athlete Programs and Compliance
Atlantic Coast Conference

In my current role I support ACC institutions in their process of providing a positive experience for their student-athletes. I oversee the areas of health and safety, academic support, student-athlete development, and career transition. I am blessed to work in my strength and passion of helping individuals discover their purpose and use it to improve society


Raleigh Gray

Must Love Sports

Growing up, I was coached there were two topics for safe and casual social interactions: the weather and sports.  Today, sports has become both a uniter and a divider. Regardless of where you fall on related debates - cord cutting, concussion protocol, gambling in and on the game, youth involvement, responses to the US national anthem, salary caps, diversity on and off the field/court/studio, disruptive technologies, stadium enhancements - one thing remains: our love of the game.  Change is inevitable; but it is paramount we welcome it with candor, creativity and an open mind. Must Love Sports was founded to create a community for sports industry and industry-adjacent leaders, supporting the game through connection and collaboration at an exclusive annual event, as well as additional meet-ups across the sports calendar, in order to empower leaders of tomorrow to make a difference today. No matter your team, your role, your title, on this we can all agree: We must love sports. #ForTheLoveOfTheGame


jeff longo

johnson & wales university - charlotte
Associate Professor

Love to teach and to coach students and create professional opportunities for them


Jamal Mitchell

Associate Sports Director

I currently work in the Sports department at a local YMCA in Charlotte, NC, where I help with daily activities within the gym area as well as practices, programs and games for the youth and adult members. I am also the head JV basketball coach Cannon School (a private school in Concord, NC) and assistant for varsity. Every once in a while, I will also volunteer for local foundations dealing with community service.


Ese Ighedosa

Carolina Panthers
Associate Counsel

Ese is an attorney and leader in diversity and activism. She joined the Carolina Panthers as their Associate Counsel at the beginning of the 2018 season. At the Panthers, Ese primarily oversees commercial transactions for the media, sponsorship, ticketing and stadium operations groups. Ese has also become an integral member of the Player Impact Committee, seeking to tackle social injustices and inequities in the Carolinas. Before coming to Charlotte, Ese spent almost four years at the New York NFL League Office where she founded the Black Engagement Network employee resource group in 2016. Ese seeks to continue growing the Panthers' diversity and inclusion efforts, as well as enhancing the Panthers community engagement around social justice. Ese played volleyball at Hampton University, where she graduated with honors with a degree in political science. She then received her juris doctorate from Florida A&M University College of Law. 

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Colin Cerniglia

Talent 409

I am a former student-athlete (baseball) that spent the last 4 + years in HR/Recruiting before founding my firm, Talent 409, in 2018. Talent 409 is a coaching, training and consulting firm. We help athletes, coaches and business professionals increase their opportunities for success on and off the field while discovering their talent altitude. My background in athletics combined with my professional experience has allowed me to have a unique perspective on building sustainable winning teams, programs and organizations. As part of the Talent 409 network, I also created and am the host of the Dynamic Leaders Podcast. 


Cassidy MacQuarrie

Charlotte Knights 
Director, Community Relations

In my role as the Director of Community Relations for the Charlotte Knights, I am responsible for creating feel good moments for fans, sponsors, season ticket members, media and the general public on behalf of the club. This means fostering relationships with local nonprofits, civic organizations and influencers in our city to encourage collaboration in the community through the game of baseball. Key functions of my position include player and staff volunteer opportunities, management of our 501c3 charitable foundation, not-for-profit programming, theme nights and event planning and sponsorship activations. I also work very closely with the Minor League Baseball office to implement and document all national initiatives, which includes the compilation of our year-end community impact report. The ultimate goal is to positively impact the Charlotte community as a “thank you” for housing our team, cheering us on and helping land us the distinction of the highest attended MiLB park in the country in 2018. 


patrick stack

Johnson & Wales University & Sports Biz Camps
Assistant Professor & Co-Founder

To be honest; I like to share!  Ever since I started playing sports I've enjoyed making the assist more than the shot.  As a Business Development Executive for 10+ years, I was sharing solutions for my clients and building relationships.  As an educator, I share what I know and learn with my students to set them for success in life upon graduation.


dr. karla jones

Grand Canyon University, JCSU, CPCC, and Queens University
Professor in Sport Management

I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Sports Science (Health and Fitness Specialist) and Master of Arts in Athletic Administration from East Carolina University. I hold Doctorate Degree in Sport Management with a concertation in Sport Marketing from United States Sports Academy. At CPCC, I served as the Discipline Chair which oversees the Health & Physical Education Dept. I am a professor of Sport Management at JCSU, Queens University, and Grand Canyon University online. In addition, I serve as an online academic coach for Instructional Connects, LLC in Sport Management. A few of my current affiliations include: Elected officer for the Charlotte Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Appointed Board Member of the American Heart Association of Greater Charlotte, Elected Board Member of the ECU Alumni Association Board of Directors, Advisory Board Member for Gaston College, and previous Advisory Board Member for the Winning Edge Leadership Academy. I have a true passion for education and sports. Although I do not work full time within the sports industry, I am driven to make sure that students and young professionals have the opportunity to grow and become successful with the field. I stay engaged through part-time jobs, volunteering, attending conferences, teaching, facilitating workshops, and networking events. 


steve morrison

Talent Producer

Accomplished and results-driven professional with over 10 combined years of extensive hands-on experience in the Sport, Entertainment and Telecom industry where I collaborate and support senior level management in completing special projects, launching programs and closing deals with external talent (athletes, entertainers & public figures) to develop compelling sports content and unique partnerships


Jarrod Barnes

Founder & CEO
Prime U

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Jarrod Barnes has always looked to challenge the status quo. Following his collegiate athletic and coaching career at Ohio State University, Jarrod stepped away from the game to pursue his Ph.D. in Sports Management and find answers to the root of problems that exist regarding the student-athlete experience. Shortly afterward, Jarrod and his team launched Prime U, a performance improvement and leadership training company that works with collegiate and professional athletes along with millennials in the workplace to develop more self-aware, effective, purposeful leaders. Jarrod is also a contributing writer for Front Office Sports and on the Board of Directors for the Sports Business and Leadership Association. Jarrod currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Students and Young Professionals


diamond smith - dinner co-host

hornets fan shop
Fan Shop Supervisor
2015 WE Game changer

I enjoy being a positive influence for my younger peers by being able to set an example for them. For many, this is their first job and my responsibility is to help teach them so that they will move forward and apply these skills in their professional lives.  


Jessica Patterson 

cracker barrell

I am a server at Cracker Barrel in Concord Mills. However, as much as I like the money, I am interested in expanding my potential and experiences elsewhere, such as what I went to school for. This job, in particular, was a safety blanket to pay my bills while received my degree. Therefore, now that I'm done I am eager to network and meet people that have the same interest in sports that I do. 


Zaria Davis

johnson-wales university - charlotte
Marketing & Promotions- Student Assistant  

I am the marketing & promotions student assistant for JWU’s Athletics Department. My job includes but not limited to maintain all department social media accounts, plan promotional events, ordering promotional items, and scheduling  halftime performances. I am interested in entering the sports marketing field after graduating college. My goal is to become the marketing director for a professional sports team. 

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Angela Randle

Content associate

As a young professional I have had a lot of opportunities to curate content and produce on huge networks (NBA, CBS Sports and ESPN). Currently a Content Associate at ESPN and founder of my own Digital Based Media Show “Off The Bench” I’ve seen Content that I curated take off in ways that I could never have imagined especially as a young female. I would love to take all my talents that I’ve learned behind the scenes and bring it to the BIG SCREEN as a Sports Journalist in my next Big Career Jump. I would someday like to give young men and women coming out of college huge advice and Help starting at a young age just like the WE Leadership Program and this opportunity today. 


lawrence bell

Account Executive
2015 WE Game Changer

Octagon is a sports/entertainment marketing agency that does consulting for many corporate clients. The account I work on services a financial client where our team create and operate client engagement events.


Marckenson Luctama

Johnson & Wales university

I am a senior at Johnson & Wales University. I am majoring in Sports, Entertainment, and Event Management. I seek for moments of uncomfortability as well as mental challenge. My favorite quotes are by Lucille Clifton and Confucius.  


mister simmons jr.

Johnson C. Smith University

I am a graduating senior at Johnson C Smith University majoring in Sports Management. I work two jobs, do freelance photography, and maintain an internship with M3 sports entertainment. My current employment is simply to pay my current tuition. Since coming to JCSU I've had to work to get the education that I am receiving, but it has made me even more excited to actually get involved in work that I want to do. I aspire to be a football coach, and not just make better athletes but make them better men.


Georgina Diaz

Johnson C. Smith University

My name is Georgina Diaz. I am a graduating senior who majors in Community Health and minors in Entrepreneurial Studies. I am a proud player on the JCSU volleyball team, which made it to the CIAA championship tournaments two years in a row. I am also a McNair Scholar and active member of the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization on campus. I have interned for Communities in Schools at West Charlotte High School as well at the JCSU Counseling Center.

Last spring, I was grateful to be able to present my research proposal for the McNair Scholars program research conference in Niagara Falls. As well as, present my Senior research project to my professors and colleagues. The names of my research proposals are 'Economic Mobility: Perceptions of minorities in the Northwest Corridor' and 'Financial Literacy: Perceptions of College Students'. 

I am the CEO of my start-up, Don Jorge Foods. Sazon Don Jorge is my product line of All-Natural Dominican liquid seasoning. I have had the opportunity to pitch my product marketing plan for one of my entrepreneurial studies courses as well as at a casting call for the hit show Shark Tank. I partner with my schools sustainability village to vend my healthy food product. 

 Through my all-natural product, I hope to connect health and business to create beneficial change in society. I would like to create various conscious businesses that will enhance the human experience and provide valuable health benefits for humanities use. As a community health major, I realize the importance of health wellness and how health status can influence the quality of life in populations. My future business ventures will be a positive addition to public health and preventative health measures on the quality of human life. 


Delicia hicks

Johnson & wales University
Sports Information Student Assistant

I am senior at Johnson & Wales University majoring in Sports, Entertainment, Event Management. I would say my why for doing what I do is to motivate and make people happy. I like to create memorable moments for people no matter how big or small the impact and see the reactions on their face. I'm also very passionate about sports and the entertainment industry and I love how big of a impact it has on people as well. Graduating from a performing arts high school and playing sports my whole life I feel has given me the drive to pursue a career in the sports and entertainment industry. Its also pushes me to keep going everyday and it is the foundation for the reasons I do what I do.


scott Burgess

Johnson & wales University

I am a graduating senior at Johnson C Smith University majoring in Sports Management. I work two jobs, do freelance photography, and maintain an internship with M3 sports entertainment. My current employment is simply to pay my current tuition. Since coming to JCSU I've had to work to get the education that I am receiving, but it has made me even more excited to actually get involved in work that I want to do. I aspire to be a football coach, and not just make better athletes but make them better men.


christina Hryshko

Johnson & wales University

I would like to end up in the music industry. I am currently working towards a job at The Fillmore in Charlotte as a VIP host. My goal is to gain as much experience and knowledge as I can.


jillian charland

capital ford

I want to work in the sports world so that I can help create memories for kids and families surrounding these events.


Jaylin clark

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

I am a Senior at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, double majoring in Political Science and Sociology with minors in Africana Studies and American Studies. I am currently a Human Resources intern at Hornets Sports and Entertainment.


khadijah segura

Mallard Creek Recreation Center
Recreation Specialist

I am currently in the profession where I service the community through programming. The recreation center allows me to develop a versatile approach to able to be reach a board range of people. It has also allows me to network with a lot of people. The recreation center brings in a vast major of different individuals together and recreate in their own way.


Amber williams

Johnson & wales University

I am currently a Junior pursuing a bachelor degree in Sports, Entertainment, and Event Management at Johnson & Wales University. My core focus is corporate event management. Last summer I was involved in a study abroad program in Austrailia where I was able to directly see the events operation on a global level. Because of the language barrier, I was able to strengthen my communication skills and come to realize that I aspire to travel aboard with my work some day. With 10 years of customer service experience and five years of management experience am seeking a summer internship to enhance my skills. Serving as the President of Johnson & Wales National Association for Catering and Events Student Chapter gives me the opportunity to fulfill my passion for inspiring others. As the Community Service Chair of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, I am able to work on my purpose to aspire excellence in my community.


madison Albury

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

As the CSR intern with the Charlotte Hornets, I strive to make a lasting impression and impact on the community around this awesome organization. Whether it's organizing player appearances, building a jungle-gym in a local neighborhood park, or lending our help when responding to disasters; the Hornets community is dedicated to helping those in need.