Champions for our Cause

The board of directors for the U.S. Center for SafeSport plays a critical part in achieving our mission. As the Center is the first and only organization of its kind, the board provides a depth and breadth of relevant experience to advise our team in a unique and dynamic landscape. 

Our board is comprised of 12 independent board members, including experts in abuse prevention and investigation, nonprofit and business leadership, ethics compliance, sports executives, and elite athletes. Together, these experts provide governance and key perspectives for growth as the Center evaluates opportunities to better serve athletes and all those involved in amateur sports organizations.


Board Chair

Vice President, Policy & Philanthropy, Americas, Twitter

Jessica Herrera-Flanigan is the Vice President, Policy & Philanthropy, Americas at Twitter. Previously she oversaw the UCI Washington, D.C., office, where she lead the company’s federal and state government relations efforts, developed strategies for addressing the key public policy issues impacting the organization and the U.S. Hispanic Community. Herrera-Flanigan served as a partner at Monument Policy Group, where she advised clients on media, technology, crisis communications and management. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Yale University and a law degree from the Harvard School of Law.

Reuben Jones

Executive Director, Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Funding Commission

Reuben Jones currently serves as the executive director of the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Funding Commission. Jones previously served as a major general in the U.S. Army where he commanded the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command and oversaw a $3.5 billion non‐appropriated funds program.

Megan Ryther

Secretary & Athlete Director
Partner, Ice Miller

Megan Ryther earned a gold medal as part of the USA Open Water Swimming World Championship Team and served on USA Swimming’s board of directors from 2010-14. Ryther is a partner at Ice Miller in Indianapolis having previously worked for the NCAA where she oversaw student-athlete eligibility cases.

Autumn Ascano

Licensed Counselor and Owner
Intermodal Interventions

Autumn Ascano (JD, MS Clinical Psychology, PhD Developmental Psychology [in progress]) is a licensed counselor and owner at Intermodal Interventions.  Intermodal Interventions provides mental health services with an emphasis on trauma intervention and court related services.  Ms. Ascano specializes in developmental psychology and working with young children with trauma history, as well as those who are exceptional.  She also consults on legal matters which have a child development component.   Prior to being a counselor, Ms. Ascano practiced law as a guardian ad litem and custody investigator.  In both career paths she investigated recent and historic child abuse allegations.  She continues to provide teaching on topics such as juridogenic harm, the developmental considerations of children in legal matters, and developmental considerations of trauma for exceptional children. 

Regis Becker

Senior Consultant, Becker & Company

Regis Becker is a Senior Consultant and Becker & Company, a Pittsburgh-based national investigations firm. His 40 year career includes senior leadership positions in ethics and compliance, investigations and crisis management. Becker recently retired as the inaugural Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at Penn State University, and previously served as Chief Compliance Officer for PPG Industries and as a Director of Corporate Security for Praxair, Inc. He began his career in law enforcement as a white collar crime detective and later as an FBI Special Agent.

Kimberly Fields

Senior Vice President of Partnership Development and Operations, National Football League

Kimberly Fields is Senior Vice President of Partnership Development and Operations for the National Football League and one of few women to have achieved such a high ranking in the NFL. Prior to her current position, Fields served in other NFL leadership roles, including Senior Vice President for the Office of the Commissioner; Vice President of Football Strategy, Business Development, and Analytics; and Vice President for Player Engagement. She was an accomplished NCAA Division I track-and-field athlete while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia and went on to earn a graduate degree from UVA and her J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law.

Angelo Giardino

Department Chair of Pediatrics, University of Utah
Chief Medical Officer, Primary Children’s Hospital

Beyond his role with the Texas Children’s Hospital, Angelo Giardino serves as a professor of pediatrics and section chief of academic general pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Giardino is a distinguished fellow of the American College of Medical Quality and is sub-boarded in child abuse pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics. Giardino has published several textbooks on child abuse and neglect and frequently presents on these and other pediatric topics at conferences around the country.

Pat Harned

Chief Executive Officer, Ethics & Compliance Initiative

Patricia Harned is chief executive officer of the Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI).  The mission of the ECI is to empower members across the globe to operate with the highest levels of integrity. As CEO, Dr. Harned oversees all of ECI’s strategy and operations.  She also directs outreach efforts to policymakers and federal enforcement agencies in Washington, DC and she speaks and writes frequently as an expert on ethical leadership, ethics in the workplace, corporate governance, and global integrity.

April Holmes

Athlete Director
Speaker/Executive Coach and Chief Executive Officer, HeroHangout

April Holmes is a speaker and executive coach whose perspectives on overcoming adversity to achieve athletic success have her in high demand. After losing part of her left leg in an accident in 2001, she rebounded to become one of the century’s most accomplished athletes with four Paralympic Games appearances, three Paralympic medals (one gold, two bronze), six World Championship medals, and more than a dozen world and U.S. record performances in the 100-meter, 200-meter, and long-jump events. She is the cofounder and CEO of HeroHangout, a celebrity-driven learning community mentoring, engaging, and empowering youth through life experiences.

Julie Novak

Vice President of Child Safety, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Prior to her current role, Julie Novak held the positions of associate vice president and national director for child safety for BBBSA and served as chief executive officer of the organization’s northwestern Wisconsin branch. She is BBBSA’s leading national expert and spokesperson on child safety and youth protection matters. During her time with the organization, Novak has developed nationwide child abuse, violence prevention and crisis management training.

Connie Smotek

Athlete Director
Office Manager, Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension

Connie Smotek is a two-time Olympian in the sport of shooting and served on USA Shooting’s board of directors from 1995-2001. She also served two terms on the Athletes’ Advisory Council. Smotek currently serves as office manager of the Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension, where she oversees continuing education activities, risk management and contract administration.

Pamela Wheeler

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, NFP

Pamela Wheeler is senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer at insurance firm NFP, and a lecturer in Columbia University’s Master of Science in Sports Management program. Among numerous firsts, Wheeler was the founding director of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, the first woman to lead a professional sports union, and the negotiators of the first collective bargaining agreement in women’s professional sports. She also recently consulted with NFL Operations on their diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts, as well as executive leadership development. She was named one of the 101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports by Sports Illustrated and one of the 50 Most Powerful Blacks in Sports by Black Enterprise. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and her J.D. from Boston University.

The board meets four times a year.