We are Sportable—a TEAM that is small but mighty! We are the TEAM that is always finding ways to create accessible opportunities for our athletes to engage in the abundance of sports opportunities available in our community—it may require some creative solutions but we are ready for the challenge!
Our main goal is to free our athletes to see beyond their disabilities. We feel strongly that sports are just the catalyst needed for individuals with physical disabilities to create that support system that is needed to reduce social isolation.
Each member of our team, which includes our athletes, parents, volunteers, board, and partners believes that Sportable exists to facilitate a change needed in our community—looking beyond one’s physical limitation and empowering them to focus on their abilities!
The great thing about the work we do is the inspirational stories we have to tell about our athletes—whether it be sinking their 1st basket in wheelchair basketball, the smiles on their face when they score a goal in power soccer, their amazement as they refine that serve or kayaking roll, even simply the sense of accomplishment they feel in hand cycling 26.2 miles. We come to work each day to see our athletes transform both on and off the courts!
Doing his best to share the Sportable story with everyone in RVA and beyond, Hunter Leemon is the Executive Director of Sportable. Hunter was introduced to Sportable when he volunteered to lead the Power Soccer team in 2009 – that began a love affair with the organization that carried him to his current position.
Hunter has a passion for sports & the city of Richmond, and he strongly believes that both communities are enhanced by the Sportable team, including athletes, volunteers, staff, board & supporters. He leads the entire organization on a mission to tell the story of Sportable and create a greater impact in Richmond & beyond.
When not busy telling the story of Sportable you can find Hunter chasing his son Oscar around the back yard playing soccer, baseball, kickball or Calvinball. The games always provide good entertainment for wife Dee Dee & cat Bonds.
Cat is from the great city of RVA and is excited to share her passion and experience with Sportable! Cat first learned about the inspirational programming of Sportable when she volunteered at a wheelchair rock climbing event while she was in college. She instantly fell in love with the organization and its mission.
Years later, while exploring and hiking in Nepal, she heard Sportable was hiring and applied as fast as the Nepalese internet could transmit. Cat has over 10 years of programming and recreation experience and has worked in nonprofits throughout the US (including a tiny island in Alaska)! She is psyched to join the Sportable team as the Operations Director.
When she is not at the office or programming, you can find her on the James kayaking rapids, eating at foodie restaurants, daydreaming of traveling to an exotic country, brewing a tasty treat, or spending time with her amazing friends and family.
Director of Programs and Public Relations
Marielle grew up in a small town called Cumberland, Rhode Island. From a young age, Marielle loved spending time outside and playing all different kinds of sports with all the kids in her neighborhood.
Marielle began her sport career at age four when she started on her first soccer team. In middle school she began playing lacrosse, though it always took second place to her first love, soccer. During middle school Marielle and her family moved to Virginia and eventually settled in Powhatan, VA. She continued playing lacrosse and soccer throughout high school, though she eventually retired from lacrosse to pursue playing soccer at Randolph College. Marielle graduated from Randolph College with a B.A in Sports and Exercise with minors in Biology and Spanish. During her time there, Marielle was Student Government President, studied abroad in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, gave campus tours, announced lacrosse games, and worked with the athletic training staff as a student assistant.
After Randolph, Marielle took her talents to the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU. While at VCU Marielle was the graduate assistant for athletic operations and joined the Sportable staff in the fall as a power wheelchair soccer coach. She fell in love with the organization and decided to help out in the spring as a development associate.
In the summer of 2015 Hunter convinced Marielle to travel for the first time to the west coast to take an internship with the Seattle Seafair in Seattle, WA. During this summer she helped produce events such as parades, triathlons, runs, hydroplane races and airshows.
Marielle now lives in RVA. She coaches u11 girls for the Richmond Strikers and enjoys playing soccer, running, and spending time with friends in her free time.
-Marielle can say all 50 states in under 25 seconds
-favorite food: sushi
-named after her grandma
-loves goodwill shopping and pinterest!
Forrest grew up in Chesterfield, Va and attended Matoaca High School. Throughout his childhood, his parents gave him the opportunity to play as many sports as he could. This allowed him to expand his experiences through sport whether it be building new relationships with teammates or learning new skills.
For his undergraduate degree, Forrest attended James Madison University and majored in Sports & Recreation Management with a minor in General Business. During the summer after his sophomore year, Forrest completed an internship with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, which consisted of assisting with game-day tasks that were crucial to the operation of the Minor League Baseball team. That next summer, Forrest completed another internship in Jacksonville, FL with the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour, who put on golf tournaments for the sports’ youth players all throughout the Southeast U.S.
In order to further his education and attain more practical experience in the sports industry, Forrest decided to pursue his master’s degree at the Center for Sport Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University (with Marielle!). Throughout the one-year program at VCU, Forrest was the graduate assistant for the Facilities and Events department of VCU Athletics. This allowed Forrest to gain ample amounts of experience learning the behind the scenes aspect of what it takes to run collegiate athletics from a facilities and operations standpoint. After graduating from the Center for Sport Leadership, Forrest accepted an internship in the operations department at Richmond International Raceway for the summer to complete his master’s degree. Throughout the summer, Forrest assisted the operations office in preparation for their September NASCAR race that hosts over 50,000 people on the property of RIR, as well as the other events that fill up the 365-day calendar.
Forrest was first introduced to Sportable through volunteering with the power soccer program during his spring semester at VCU, and is extremely excited to officially be a part of the organization now!
Part-Time Director of Finance
Bill has a few decades of experience in accounting and finance, which is why we have him around although not physically that much. You see Bill hails from the Hill City (Lynchburg) and works his trade over the internet. He came to us a few years ago as a program participant and grew his involvement. His belief in Sportable comes from his personal experience in adaptive sports. Competitive by nature but not having participated in sports since a teenager, the barrier to adaptive sports were many for this wannabe athlete. It really came down to equipment and coaching for which a solution was difficult to find until happening upon Sportable. Here he says, he had the opportunity to try many sports until finally settling in on his favorite of handcycling. Now you can find Bill on many weekends for 9 months of the year racing somewhere on the East Coast. Along with training, he enjoys time with his wife and two labs and visiting their 3 grown children.
Part-Time Administrative Assistant
Wendy was born and raised in the beautiful state of Maine and moved to Richmond just over a year ago with her husband Mark and two sons, Cody and Elijah. Elijah had been playing wheelchair basketball for 5 years. Wendy’s family decided to move where he could continue to play. After a search online, they found Sportable. After seeing all that Sportable had to offer her kids, they knew they wanted to be in Richmond. One week after moving, they signed Elijah up and he started playing the next day. Wendy began to be amazed with what Sportable was offering the community. It was an organization that she became passionate about…not just as a parent, but as a member of the community. She is excited to be on staff with Sportable!
Co-Founder of Sportable
Kristen Lessig, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, is the co-founder of Sportable. Her belief that every individual posses an innate drive to compete and therefore equal opportunity to do so was the driving force behind her decision to launch Sportable in 2005 with her friend Jennifer Yocco. Sports and recreation always played a leading role in Kristen’s life, and was the primary reason she pursued her advanced degree in Physical Therapy. Once introduced to the world of adaptive sports-she quickly found her true passion-one that joined her love of helping others and being physically active. It was from there that Sportable was born- a means to target a previously underserved population in the community- providing them with the experiences that are proven to have resounding effects on their overall physical, social, and psychological well-being.
Kristen’s leadership, determination and vision for this organization provided a foundation that is still strong and thriving today. We are forever indebted to Kristen – thank you!