Ryan Chenault

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Ryan Chenault currently serves as the Team President of the Ohio Machine franchise of Major League Lacrosse. In this role, he is responsible for all business and lacrosse operations for the franchise with a focus on the growth of season and single-game ticket sales, sponsorship generation, boosting brand equity, building community partnerships and enhancing the overall game day experience. He has 15 years of experience in sports management at both collegiate and professional sports organizations, including Northwestern University, Chicago Wolves and Xavier University.

Prior to his time with the Machine, he served as the Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing, where he oversaw that day-to-day management of the athletic department’s marketing efforts for all 19 varsity programs. He also served on the athletic department’s senior administrative team and was a sports administrator for women’s lacrosse as well as the men’s and women’s swimming programs.

He received his Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing and Bachelors of Arts in History from Ohio State University in 2002. In 2005, he earned his Master’s of Education with a specialization in sports administration from Xavier University.

Alex Kerr, Head of Strategy & Operations at Shop Your Way, brings a blend of quantitative, strategy, and marketing expertise to his present role. In his current role at Shop Your Way, Alex oversees four major marketing departments, including Marketing Strategy (product, partner, and program strategy), Growth Marketing (social media, influencer & networks, local activations, digital communities, behavioral science/ gamification), Brand, and Business Intelligence (strategy & research, data analytics & reporting). As Head of Strategy & Operations, Alex launched marketing campaigns for his organization contributing to annual point issuances of over $193M, and over $1B in total sales.

Prior to joining Shop Your Way, Alex helped build both a marketing analytics and business intelligence department at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the largest integrated sports and entertainment company in the country – owns and operates the NHL Capitals, NBA Wizards, WNBA Mystics, AFL Valor, AFL Brigade, eSports Team Liquid, Capital One Arena, EagleBank Arena, Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Alex earned a B.A. in Economics from Kenyon College and an M.B.A. from Duke University’s, The Fuqua School of Business. It was there he discovered the importance of effectively building teams and operational efficiencies.

Kurt Melcher

Kurt Melcher

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Kurt Melcher is the Executive Director of Esports at Intersport and Robert Morris University in Chicago, IL. For nearly two years, Kurt and the Intersport Esports Group have served as the NCAA’s strategic esports advisor, leading the governing body’s research of the collegiate esports community and developing frameworks for how esports could be incorporated into the NCAA model. Additionally, Kurt and the Intersport team work with NCAA member conferences to develop esports programming as well as individual universities to build their competitive esports programs, including areas such as administrative staffing and player recruitment, facility design and co-curricular initiatives.
Melcher’s work for the Intersport Esports Group delivers bold marketing solutions, business strategy, investment intelligence and original production services to brands, publishers, leagues, teams, universities and investors. The Intersport Esports Group is the driving force behind notable work for clients that include the NCAA, Warner Bros., Rocket Mortgage, Samsung, Capcom, Red Bull and Kraft Heinz.
Kurt rose to prominence in 2014, when he made Robert Morris University the first college to recognize esports as part of the athletic department and offer athletic scholarships to gamers, helping legitimize the world of collegiate esports. An athletic administrator and coach for more than 15 years, Melcher recognized the core educational elements involved in traditional sports and believes the same holds true in esports.
Kurt’s visionary program has been highlighted in a number of prominent news outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Time Magazine, ESPN, NPR, HBO Real Sports, and in the documentary film “All Work All Play.” Kurt also became a TED speaker when he presented the TED Talk “Gamers, The Rising Star of Collegiate Athletics” in 2016.

Tanesha Wade

Tanesha Wade

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Currently teaching:
Event Management for Sports

Tanesha Wade joined the Chicago Bears Football Club in June 2013 as director of events and entertainment. Her department oversees the development, coordination and execution of the team’s fan events, game presentation, production and entertainment. Wade sets the vision and creative direction and works closely with all areas to engage fans throughout the year. Wade’s role expands beyond gameday and the touch points overseen by her team appeal to an increasingly diverse and youthful fan base and ultimately grow fan avidity for the club. Under Wade’s leadership, the team successfully launched multiple large-scale events and initiatives resulting in increased sponsorship opportunities and an evolved fan experience. Prior to joining the Bears, Tanesha worked for University of Minnesota Athletics Department as the director of premium seating and events the Chicago Rush Arena Football Team as director of operations. Wade intersects passion with purpose through commitment to advocacy and leadership. In addition to her current role, Wade serves as co-chair of the club’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and holds leadership, advisory and mentorship roles with multiple organizations. Wade holds a bachelor of science degree from Oregon State University where she was a member of the women’s basketball team.

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