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Our Board

Meet the PlaySmart Leaders

PlaySmart’s Board of Directors is comprised of a diverse group of professionals committed to making a contribution to the lives of underserved youth in America. We invite you to contact us with ideas regarding how we might make a difference in your local community.

David Wright

Chairman

Dave hails from Orchard Lake, Michigan, where he played football, ice hockey and rowed for Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s Preparatory. Dave attended Princeton, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and a minor in Politics. At Princeton, Dave played linebacker for the Tiger football squad for four years, and was a member of the 1989 Ivy League Championship team. After Princeton, Dave accepted a position with Andersen Consulting (Accenture), where he developed business systems for Fortune 500 clients. He later attended Harvard Business School where he earned his MBA degree and also served as Captain of the Men’s Rowing team. Following Harvard, Dave worked for Parthenon Group, a Boston-based strategy consulting and principal investment firm. Dave is the Founder and Managing Partner of Prospect Avenue Partners, a private equity investment firm specializing in consumer-based investments. Dave and his wife and their four children reside in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Dave is a Co-Founder and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of PlaySmart, Inc. Dave can be reached at dave@playsmart.org.

Kevin Kavanagh

Treasurer/Secretary

Kevin is a native of Staten Island, New York. A three-sport standout at Regis High School in Manhattan, Kevin went on to become a four-year member of the varsity soccer squad at Princeton, while majoring in Civil Engineering and Architecture. After a stint in investment banking, Kevin completed the Masters in Business Administration program at the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College in 1997. After Tuck, Kevin returned to New York City to work as an equity derivatives trader at Lehman Brothers. In May of 2000, Kevin joined Taconic Capital Advisors, a NYC-based hedge fund where he is currently a Principal and Head of Trading. Kevin married his wife, Amanda, in the fall of 2000 and the couple currently resides in Rye, New York, with their four daughters, Julia, Elizabeth, Claire and Kaitlin. Kevin can be reached at kevin@playsmart.org.

Jill Baker

Actively involved with the organization since its inception, Jill joined the Board of Directors in 2005 and served as the organization’s Executive Director from 2009-2011.  Jill was born and raised in the college town of Hamilton, New York. A four sport athlete in high school, she went on to receive a BA in Political Science from Union College in Schenectady, New York. While at Union, Jill played field hockey and softball. A year after graduating from Union, Jill entered Columbia University’s Teachers College and received a Masters in Education. Professionally, Jill earned the certification of Senior Professional in Human Resources and has held the position of Director of Human Resources for Prudential Financial. Additionally, she has worked in the Student Affairs division at Barnard College, the Women’s Center at the University of North Florida and the University of Florida Shands medical center in Jacksonville, FL. Jill was the Collaboration Coordinator for Economic Opportunity at the Skandarlaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in Saint Louis. In this position, Jill worked with emerging entrepreneurs in the university and Saint Louis community. She is an avid skier and cyclist and loves to cook. She is also the #1 fan for her husband’s team and of her two little athletes, Joey and Mia. Jill and her family reside in Dallas, Texas. Jill can be reached at jill@playsmart.org.

Joseph Baker

Originally from Hamilton, New York, Joe graduated from Princeton with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. While at Princeton, Joe played wide receiver on the Princeton football squad. After graduation, Joe began a career coaching collegiate and professional football. He was the Assistant Special Teams Coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995-1998 and helped guide the Jags to the AFC Championship game in only their second season in the NFL (1996). From Jacksonville, Joe joined the University of Wisconsin’s staff as the Outside Linebacker and Special Teams Coach. While at U-W, the Badgers won the Big Ten Championship and the Rose Bowl. Following the 2000 Rose Bowl victory, Joe joined the New Orleans Saints where he spent five years as an Assistant Coach and helped coach the Saints to the first playoff win in franchise history following the 2000 season. After stops with the Green Bay Packers, St Louis Rams, Denver Broncos and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Joe is currently the Assistant Defensive Backs Coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He and his wife, Jill, live with their daughter, Mia and son, Joey, in Dallas, Texas. Joe can be reached at joe@playsmart.org.

Robert English

Originally from Texas, Rob was a standout defensive player at Burleson High School. Rob attended Princeton, where he played linebacker for the Tigers. Rob studied Politics and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs and International Relations. At Princeton, Rob also completed the four-year ROTC program with the U.S. Army. Rob graduated as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He earned his Ranger tab and then served for four years as a platoon leader and company executive officer for the 24th Infantry Division and completed a tour of duty in Somalia. After receiving an honorable discharge from the Army in 1995, Rob joined the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the oldest and largest network of community organizations in the country. Currently, Rob is the Lead Organizer of the IAF affiliate in Baltimore, Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (“BUILD”), one of the most powerful non-partisan political organizations in Maryland. Rob also supervises IAF’s organizing in Dayton, Ohio and serves on the Regional Staff of Metro IAF which consists of 17 IAF affiliates east of the Mississippi River, England, Germany and Australia. Rob is leading a campaign to rebuild blighted neighborhoods and provide youth opportunities as a response to the youth violence in Baltimore. As a result, Baltimore will leverage over a half a billion dollars to rebuild weak housing markets, create recreational centers and dramatically increase youth summer jobs and after-school opportunities. Rob and his wife, Susan, live in Baltimore, Maryland, with their daughter, Mather, and son, Sam. Rob can be reached at rob@playsmart.org.

Frank Ille

Frank is Oklahoma born and raised. After a stellar three-sport high school career at Bishop McGuinness in Oklahoma City and a 2010 inductee of the Bishop McGinness Athletic Hall of Fame, Frank went on to play quarterback, tailback and linebacker for the Princeton Tigers. Frank graduated from Princeton with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. He went on to receive his MBA degree in Marketing from the University of Oklahoma after which he went to work with IMG, the world’s first sports agency and marketing firm, in Cleveland, Ohio. Frank is an Officer and Alumni Executive Committee member of the BMHS Alumni Association (President 2011-2013). Frank volunteers his time coaching youth football and basketball. Frank and his wife, Meg, reside in Oklahoma City where Frank buys and manages real estate for Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Inc. Frank and Meg have three children, Evan, Isabelle & Alexandra. Frank can be reached at frank@playsmart.org.

Richard Kahn

Rick is originally from Mahopac, New York, where he was a football, basketball and baseball standout at Mahopac High School. At Princeton, Rick received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and played defensive back and wide receiver for the Tiger football squad. Rick also graduated from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, where he received his Masters in Business Administration degree. Professionally, Rick has held a variety of positions within the banking and capital market sector having worked for BMO Nesbitt Burns, Merrill Lynch and XL Capital. Rick currently works in portfolio management and corporate development for Syncora Guarantee, Inc., a New York-based monoline insurance and reinsurance company. In addition to his programming and fundraising efforts for PlaySmart, Rick has worked with not-for-profit groups such as the Boys and Girls Club of New York, and the New York Cares program. Rick and his wife, Ryann, reside in Hoboken, New Jersey. Rick can be reached at rick@playsmart.org.

Derek Leathers

Derek is a Texan, raised in the Houston area. Derek earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University. Derek played center for the Tiger football squad. After graduation, Derek went to work for Schneider National, Inc., a trucking and logistics company based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He became Vice President of Schneider’s Mexico operation and was based out of Mexico City for several years. Derek departed Schneider National in January, 1999, to accept a position with Werner Enterprises, another trucking and logistics firm, based in Omaha, Nebraska. Derek launched Werner’s International Operations primarily focusing on NAFTA opportunities with Mexico and Canada. Derek serves as a Corporate Officer of Werner Enterprises in addition to his duties as President of Werner Global Logistics. Derek is married to Nicole Leathers. They have a daughter, Olivia and a son, Creed. They currently reside in Omaha, Nebraska. Derek can be reached at derek@playsmart.org.

Christopher Lutz, M.D.

Chris is from Wayne, NJ, where he starred in football and basketball at Wayne Valley High School. At Princeton, Chris was an All-American football player, performing place-kicking duties for the Tigers, hitting 25 of 28 field goal attempts as a sophomore. Chris earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. After Princeton, Chris went on to study medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. Chris is currently a physician specializing in Spine and Sports Medicine at The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and New Jersey. He is currently a consulting physician for Princeton University Athletics, and has worked with the New York Giants, Knicks and Nets, as well as several PGA tour events. Chris and his wife, Kimi, have two children, Hailey and Braden, and reside in New York and New Jersey. Chris can be reached at chris@playsmart.org.