Our Team

 

Our BlazeSports multi-disciplinary team is comprised of passionate, motivated and experienced professionals dedicated to providing the highest quality adaptive sports programs. 

 

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Cynthia Frisina | Executive Director

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Cynthia is responsible for the strategic direction, growth and overall operations of BlazeSports. As a successful marketing, fund development and nonprofit professional, Cynthia has committed her professional career and personal life to improving the lives of others through advocacy, education and strategic outreach. Cynthia spent more than 25 years as an award-winning marketing professional for Fortune 500 companies, biotech companies, global healthcare and technology startups.

After Cynthia’s youngest daughter was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, she launched the nonprofit foundation Reaching for the Stars: A Foundation of Hope for Children with Cerebral Palsy in 2005 in order to change the future of the most common motor disability in children. In a few short years Reaching for the Stars rapidly grew into the largest pediatric nonprofit cerebral palsy foundation in the world with presence in the U.S., Canada, Asia and Australia helping to create meaningful change in the way Cerebral Palsy is researched, diagnosed and treated. Cynthia was also the CEO and founder of two high growth marketing consulting companies focusing in the healthcare, technology and digital marketing sectors. She served on the BlazeSports Board of Directors before assuming the position of Executive Director because of her passion for the BlazeSports mission and belief in how lives can be changed through the power of sport for people of all physical abilities.

Cynthia is known as a worldwide expert on disability advocacy and family education on a U.S. and international level. She is recognized for excellence in brand building, marketing strategy, fund development and strategic alliances. Cynthia was awarded the international Cathleen Lyle Murray Award by the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine for her tireless work on behalf of people with disabilities. She has co-authored numerous articles, publications and curriculum content, and has presented many instructional courses, educational conferences and workshops for families impacted by physical disabilities and clinicians on several different continents. Cynthia was the first to establish a U.S. National Awareness Day for Cerebral Palsy through bi-partisan Congressional agreement and has been a champion of bringing the power of sport to children with physical challenges on a global basis.Read more»

Mara New

Mara Galic, MHSc, RD |Director, Operations & Evaluation

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As the Director of Evaluation and Operations and member of the leadership and management team, Mara oversees BlazeSports’ evaluation and monitoring systems across all programs and product lines, provides program and strategic planning, design and implementation direction and support, serves as lead grant writer and grants manageer, and oversees day-to-day operations.

Before coming to BlazeSports Mara worked at Georgia’s state public health department where she successfully built and managed a five-year, $2.5 million cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) focusing on nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention across the state and then as a Health Scientist with the CDC specializing in nutrition and obesity prevention among youth focusing on the school environment. Prior to that, Mara has worked in government, community and private sectors in the City of Toronto developing, implementing and evaluating public health programs and policies.

Mara is a registered dietitian and holds a master’s degree in community/public health from the University of Toronto, and Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences from the same.  In her spare time, Mara enjoys gardening, trying new recipes, knitting, and signing up for weekly 5Ks to run (and running it!), but most of all she enjoys playing with her son William.

 

Todd Liscomb

Todd Liscomb |Director, Youth Programs & Events

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Originally from Manchester, Connecticut, Todd moved to Atlanta in 1995. He comes to BlazeSports America with extensive experience in managing youth programs, event management, fundraising, marketing and building valuable partnerships.

For nine years from 1997-2005, Todd served on the organizing committee and management team that put on a Mardi Gras Ball/Black Tie dinner and silent auction. The event attracted 600 attendees annually and benefited the Atlanta College of Art/ Woodruff Arts Center.

Todd later served as the Director of Events & Marketing for six and a half years at Big Peach Running Co. While there, he founded the Events & Marketing Business Division for what is now one of the most successful retail running store chains in the nation, (currently with seven operating retail stores throughout metro Atlanta). Also while at Big Peach, Todd founded and Directed the Big Peach 5K, Fall 5 Miler and Big Peach Sizzler which attracted a combined total of 4,000 participants annually.

Todd also brings a broad range of partnering and working with non-profit organizations, including Muscular Dystrophy Association, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Chron’s & Colitis and American Lung Association.

Most recently, Todd has worked at Atlanta Track Club as Manager of Youth Running and Kilometer Kids. He has worked diligently to grow the programs over 150% in the past three years, now impacting 150 schools/sites and over 8,000 children in a school year.

Todd earned a Bachelor of Arts in English/Journalism in 1994 from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA where he competed in Cross Country and Track at a Division I level. It was at ODU that he witnessed the power of sport − he “walked on” as a transfer his first year, later earning scholarship his final two years and finishing as a Varsity letter athlete.

Todd is happily married to his wife of three and a half years and has two beautiful step-daughters, Haylie, age 8 and Lindsey, age 11. Todd and Trish recently added another addition to their family as baby Blake arrived in last August!

 

Bill Cudmore

Bill Cudmore | Director, Veteran Initiatives & Events

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Bill Cudmore brings more than 17 years of military and outdoor education experience to our veterans programs and events. He is a former Army Drill Sergeant who did one tour in Iraq and is currently a Sergeant First Class in the Army Reserves.

In 2012, Bill utilized the GI bill to go back to school and earn his Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Education from the University of New Hampshire followed by a recreation therapy internship with the military nonprofit foundation, Higher Ground Sun Valley, located in Ketchum, Idaho.

Bill is an outdoor recreation enthusiast with a passion for rock climbing, paddle sports, canoeing, mountain biking, hiking and camping. 

Sara Thomas

Ashley Fallaize, CDSS, AAI, CIFT | Manager, Training & Education

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Ashley Fallaize is a native Georgian who joins the BlazeSports Team as the Training and Education Manager. In this role, Ashley will oversee the BlazeSports Institute for Adaptive Sports and Recreation which includes our national certification program among other training initiatives. Ashley has extensive experience teaching and coaching adaptive aquatics and has experience with Wheelchair Basketball, Handball and Football. At UGA, she taught classes focusing on wellness for individuals with disabilities including: Introduction to Wellness for Individuals with Disabilities and Basic Adapted Physical Education. She additionally has coordinated the Pediatric Exercise and Motor Development Clinic in Athens for the past 3 years. She is a Certified Disability Sport Specialist II, Certified Adapted Aquatics Instructor, and Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer.

Ashley graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Georgia State University and her Master of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Georgia. She is currently completing her PhD in Kinesiology (coaching education and movement studies) at UGA. She is passionate about improving coach education and building the capacity of service providers to provide the best experience for all athletes. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys SUP boarding, swimming, and spending time with family.

Sara Thomas

Sara Thomas, MS, CDSS |Manager, Adaptive Sports Programs & Events

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Originally from Arlington, Texas, Sara comes to BlazeSports America with practical experience and a lot of passion. She graduated from Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science and then went on to achieve her Master of Science degree in Adapted Physical Activity from Slipper Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.

Sara has been actively involved in adaptive sports since she was in high school, starting with cycling and then moving on to hiking, swimming and a variety of other sports and recreation.

She looks forward to sharing her passion for sports and recreation with everyone!

 

Mary Norman

Mary Norman | Director, National Partnerships

Mary has spent almost twenty years in executive leadership roles guiding fundraising teams for highly respected nonprofit brands. Among those roles, she served as the Group Vice President of Strategic Marketing Alliances for the national Arthritis Foundation in Atlanta and Senior Vice President of Development and Communications with the Jane Goodall Institute in Arlington, Virginia.

She began her career in radio as a morning show personality in Memphis and later joined the NBC affiliate (WMC-TV) as both a producer and co-host. Rounding out her experience, Mary served as the Director of Public Relations for a Memphis-based advertising agency working with clients such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Hancock Fabrics. While in that role, she worked on the development and sale of the successful Quilt of Dreams program which was a partnership between St. Jude and Hancock Fabrics.

During her nonprofit years, Mary developed a new sponsorship model that was nationally recognized as innovative in the field. The approach generated seven figure annual sponsorship fees for the nonprofit while addressing the business goals of the corporate partner.

 

Terri Jacobsen

Terri Jacobsen |Director, Marketing & Communication

Terri is a global marketing and social media expert who has been connecting people and products through evolving marketing channels for over 25 years. Terri has an intimate knowledge of what works (and what doesn’t) in the new marketing landscape from traditional broadcast media and direct mail to digital, social and CRM channels.  She strives to exceed expectations and has a proven track record in getting results with smart, measurable campaigns/programs.

Her marketing philosophy is simple – – it should be used to connect brands, services, organizations to people who are looking for them. She also believes strongly in “focused, meaningful marketing” and that it’s the choices we make based on our focus that determine our success. . .in marketing and in life.

Her father was a Merchant Marine in WWII and often quoted a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “One ship sails East, And another West, By the self-same winds that blow. ‘Tis the set of the sails, And not the gales, That tells the way we go.” A mantra in her childhood home, Terri believes in the power of our choices and most recently used this philosophy with targeted multi-channel marketing to grow the Home Decorators Collection, a private brand in The Home Depot, to over $1.45B in retail sales. She looks forward to using that same tenacity and skill set to help grow awareness and support for BlazeSports!

 

errol

Errol McKnight |Veterans Outreach

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Errol, born in Trinidad and raised on the island of Saint Croix, first got involved with BlazeSports as an athlete at a veteran archery clinic. Since then he started competing in re-curve archery and has also gotten involved in other BlazeSports programs. He joined our team as our veteran programs intern and is now responsible for outreach, program administration and assisting at programs.

Errol has proudly served in the Army National Guard, U.S. Army, Air National Guard, and U.S. Air Force for over 20 years. He enjoys working with veterans and has dedicated his life to servitude. He wants to help other veterans find their purpose and passion like archery has done for him.

In Errol’s spare time he flies large scale remote control aircrafts, rides his motorcycle and of course shoots archery. His favorite quote is “Some people make it. Some people make it happen!”

Ellie Moore

Ellie Moore |Intern

Ellie was born and raised in Marietta, Georgia. While completing a BS in Fitness and Health Promotion at Samford University, in Birmingham, Alabama, she interned with Lakeshore Foundation. In that role, she worked with research collaboration, running research and creating exercise protocols for individuals with disabilities. Now a graduate student at Kennesaw State University (KSU), she is working on a MS in Applied Exercise and Health Sciences, with a concentration in Exercise Physiology. Ellie also works as a graduate assistant in the KSU Exercise Physiology Lab where she conducts research and teaches Introduction to Exercise Physiology Lab Techniques to undergraduate students.

Ellie’s fiance, Robert, is currently serving in the Army as an Army Ranger. In her free time she like to be outdoors and loves playing and watching soccer.

 

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Fred Lamback |Head Swim Coach 

Fred Lamback began coaching to support his son Lantz, who has cerebral palsy. Lantz took up swimming (after deciding that baseball was not for him) and entered into swim meets against able-bodied swimmers. Every step of the way he was encouraged by his dad. His dad heard about an opportunity for swimmers with a disability and decided to drive his son to a disability swim clinic taking place in Warm Springs, Georgia. Lantz was immediately targeted as having a natural talent. Fred drove his son across the country to compete in disability swim meets and when Lantz won all seven events at the National Championships, he was immediately targeted for bigger things. Lantz, coached by has dad, went on to compete in three separate Paralympic games winning a bronze and two gold medals.

From his introduction to adapted swimming through his son, Fred became involved with BlazeSports.  For the past 12 years Fred has coached swimmers of all abilities and served on the 2004 Paralympic Staff. The results of Fred’s swimmers speak for themselves. He has coached countless swimmers to national level and multiple Paralympians including Bradley Snyder, who achieved Paralympic Gold one year after being blinded by an IED in active duty.

 

 

 

Eric Johnson |Head Wheelchair Basketball Coach

Coach Eric Johnson comes to BlazeSports with over 30 years of coaching experience in football, track and field, and basketball. In addition to his coaching knowledge, Eric brings to the table a background in strength and conditioning training for both beginner and elite athletes. Eric runs his own Strength and Conditioning training company providing expertise to a range of athletes from high school and college players looking to elevate their game to professional athletes needing to stay in top shape during the off season. 

Eric is also currently the Running Backs Coach at Holy Innocents Episcopal School for their varsity team. His passion is helping children achieve personal life success using sport as a platform. He believes that all children should have the opportunity to experience what it means to be a part of a team and learn the life lesson that comes with participating in sport.

 Pat Bowen

 

 

Pat Bowen |Head Youth Archery Coach

Pat Bowen joined the team in August 2015 as the Girls With Bows archery instructor. Pat is a long time supporter of BlazeSports and adaptive athlete herself. Pat grew up playing wheelchair basketball and participating in track and field. She then went on to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a member of their collegiate track program. Being a distance athlete, Coach Pat has participated in marathons around the country.

Post graduation, Pat moved back to Marietta and now works for Cobb County Schools. She has taken to archery and is now a USA Archery Certified Level I instructor and coaches and competes with Kennesaw Archery. Pat was also a recent Triumph of the Human Spirit Awards nominee.

 Chris Tackett

 

 

Chris Tackett |Head Veteran Archery Coach

Chris has been a supporter of BlazeSports for years, volunteering with the Dixie Games archery division. When the veteran archery coach position became available we knew just who to call. Coach Tackett is a USA Archery Level III Instructor and currently coaches and competes with Kennesaw Archery. He brings extensive knowledge in adaptive archery to the program and a passion for working with veterans.