We spoke with Mia Wright, President of the National Basketball Wives Association, Wale Forrester, Co-Founder of ShowerPill, ran down top plays in sports philanthropy, as well as brought you new MVPs in this month's edition.
beyond the ball
Josh McCann is determined to maximize sports’ potential for social good.
He believes in the power of sports because they changed his life, transforming a shy, quiet kid into a self-assured, socially engaged leader and dedicated professional. He has led community engagement initiatives for pro, college and nonprofit sports organizations, and he is especially passionate about helping pro sports organizations create innovative ways to leverage their platforms, support their communities and build their brands.
He currently works as a writer for Beyond the Ball, an internationally renowned nonprofit that uses the power of sports to change lives, give hope, reclaim space and develop a culture of opportunities for youth and families in Chicago. There, he is co-authoring a handbook about how communities can use physical activity and other programs to activate public spaces and reduce violence, work funded by many of Chicago’s largest foundations. He also assists with grant writing and sports-based youth and community development programs. Outside of work, he volunteers for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League.
Previously, he worked in community engagement and student-athlete development for The University of Illinois athletic department. There, he engaged student-athletes in community service, managed social media and assisted with events. He also co-founded Play for Change, a student organization that uses the power of play for social change, and created an Olympic-themed youth and community development program by working with on- and off-campus partners.
Before embarking on a career in sports philanthropy, he worked as a multimedia journalist for daily newspapers and websites in the Carolinas, covering topics including the philanthropic efforts of NASCAR organizations and a PGA Tour event.
He earned master’s degrees in sport management and community development as well as a certificate in leadership from The University of Illinois. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ithaca College, where he minored in sport studies and competed in track and field and cross-country.
lost boyz inc.
LaVont’e earned his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Chicago State University, and continued there to pursue a Master’s degree in Computer Science until illness struck his family. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree LaVont’e started working closely with troubled youth through baseball, and founded Lost Boyz Inc., an award winning youth serving not for profit organization. While working on his Master’s degree LaVont’e worked for the Black United Fund of Illinois, specializing in gang intervention and violence prevention; during his tenure he authored the Safe Passage program utilized currently by Chicago Public Schools. LaVont’e left BUFI to pursue a career in government and worked six years for the Illinois General Assembly, six months in the House and the rest of the duration in the Senate. LaVont’e served as Chief of Staff to 26th District State Representative Kim DuBuclet, and as District Liaison, Special Projects Manager, and Associate District Director to 13th District State Senator Kwame Raoul. He recently earned his Master’s in Public Administration at DePaul University and served as Vice President of Pi Alpha Alpha, a national honors society for public administrators. LaVont’e currently resides in his childhood community of South Shore with his wife and three children.
Born and raised in Westchester, New York, Jessica grew up knowing the importance of giving back to her community. Her parents met volunteering for the Special Olympics, so she grew up knowing that sport can help people and serve as a vehicle for positive change. Jessica is only a few weeks away from her graduation from the University of Maryland, where she studied Family Science and Public Leadership in Maryland’s School of Public Health and School of Public Policy.
During her four years at Maryland, Jessica served as the Vice President of Community Relations for Maryland’s Sports Business Society (SBS), and spent countless hours fundraising and raising awareness for Children’s National Health System, the local children’s hospital in D.C. In her role with the SBS, she established an ongoing volunteer experience for members with the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. The Academy helps 3rd-8th-grade scholar-athletes learn hustle and motivation through baseball, so they can apply it to other parts of their life. Jessica has also fundraised $10,000 for Children’s National Health System and takes immense pride in being able to leave college knowing she helped children and their families when they need it most.
Jessica had her first internship at age sixteen and has been growing professionally ever since. She knew she wanted to work in the sports industry after a summer job as a development assistant for a caddie scholarship fund. During her junior year, she had a full-year development internship with Maryland Athletics, where she got to learn from development professionals who fundraise for 500 student-athlete scholarships and special projects on campus. Most recently, she was a corporate social responsibility intern at NBCUniversal, Cable Entertainment (Bravo, USA Network, Syfy, Oxygen, E!, Universal Kids) and contributed to the creation of a national cause-marketing campaign. She is incredibly grateful for all of the people she has gotten to meet and learn from thus far.
Jessica is a young professional who is hard-working, personable, and brings energy and passion to what she does. She is currently looking for her first job and is excited about what the next chapter of her life has in store for her.
girls' athletic director
elk grove high school
Jackie Randall is in her third year as the Girls’ Athletic Director at Elk Grove High School. For the first eight years of her career, she was an English Teacher and Head Girls’ Track Coach at Grant Community High School. Currently, she teaches three sophomore English classes while balancing the Athletic Director Role. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and is slated to present this fall at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference about student voice in the classroom. She works hard to provide opportunities for the student-athletes at Elk Grove as it is a minority-majority school where many of the students have not had access to park districts or club sports prior. She is an active member of National Interscholastic Athletic Administration Association and Illinois Athletic Director Association. She sits on the Membership Committee, works as an Ambassador, and leads a High School Athletic Director Circle Call for Women Leaders of College Sports, an organization that develops, connects, and advances women working in college sports and beyond.
Outside of work, Jackie is on the Auxiliary Board for Girls in the Game, an organization that provides athletic opportunities to underprivileged youth in Chicago. She has a Bachelors of Arts in English from the University of Iowa, Masters of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University, and Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University. She enjoys coaching her son in Little League, hanging with her family-husband, two kids, and German Shepherd- working in the garden, and staying active outdoors.