JOHN PARK // Founder
I founded this program in gratitude to the sport that has shaped my life ever since my older brother Peter brought home wrestling mats in grade nine. Peter needed someone to practice on and he naturally turned to his younger brother.
Despite being beaten up all summer, I was hooked. Since then I have benefited from wrestling equally by winning medals and from being pinned, from competing for my country to coaching another generation.
Wrestling has given me the confidence to believe in myself and to stand up for what I believe in. It has provided lifelong friendships, a full ride through university as a national team member, a tenacious work ethic, and travel. Wrestling has taught me life and people skills to start, operate and sell a successful business, and the social conscience to realize that I didn’t do it on my own.
Both a team and an individual sport, wrestling demands and builds strong character. I tell parents that if their children can handle the rigors of our wonderful sport, they will successfully transfer the skills of discipline, determination, hard work, and patience to academic life and any post- wrestling careers and opportunities they wish to pursue.
SCOTT PROKOSCH // board member
Why BTS – As a kid by far number 1 on my agenda was sports- pretty well any sport. At 11 years old I was introduced to Wrestling and although I continued with the other sports, Wrestling was the most rewarding. I went on to win 2 National medals. There is nowhere to hide in the sport. The only way to success is hard work, discipline and perseverance- valuable life lessons! My kids have been introduced to Wrestling and I want to help other kids gain the same positive experiences.
Scott is Chairman and CEO of Hammersmith Corp. He has set the strategy and managed Hammersmith’s progression towards its current state as an “Integrated Building Solutions” business that services the commercial real estate industry. The firm has completed construction projects totalling over a half Billion dollars in the past 10 years while the investment and development component has bought and sold over a quarter of a Billion dollars of assets over the same period.
Scott holds a B.A. in Economics from York University, Toronto and an MBA (University of Bradford) from his studies at the NIMBAS Graduate School of Management in The Netherlands. He is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).
Richard Pilosof // Board Member
Richard Pilosof is a founding partner, Chief Executive Officer and Head of Risk for RP Investment Advisors (RPIA). Richard started RPIA in 2009 to offer Canadian investors “absolute return” style investment products within Fixed Income, an area that has been traditionally underserved. Under his strategic leadership, RPIA has grown to become one of the largest alternative asset managers in Canada, with over $2 billion in assets under management, over 30 employees and award-winning alternative strategies specialized in fixed-Income securities. The firm’s main areas of expertise includes Corporate Credit and High Yield, globally, with Richard responsible for providing risk oversight of all investment mandates.
Prior to founding RPIA, Richard worked from 1983 at RBC Capital Markets (RBCCM) where he held increasingly senior positions including Managing Director and Head of Global Debt Markets where he was responsible for managing and trading on a discretionary basis, foreign exchange, fixed income and credit portfolios. Richard also held responsibility for developing and building RBC’s international capital markets platform, now with significant operations in London, Hong Kong, Sydney and New York helping grow RBC Capital Markets into a leading global investment banking franchise.
Richard holds a BA in Finance from Coastal Carolina University where he played varsity tennis. Richard is also heavily involved with several charitable organizations serving as the Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee at Mt. Sinai Hospital Foundation, Chair of Greenwood College School Character Building Campaign and an Advisory Committee board member of Beat the Streets Toronto.
Michael Quinn, MBA // Board Member
Mike co-founded RP Investment Advisors with Richard Pilosof in 2009 and as Chief Investment Officer is responsible for formulating and implementing the firm’s investment strategy across the Funds.
Mike is a former Managing Director at RBC Capital Markets and during his 15 years at the Bank he held increasingly senior roles including managing the global credit trading business and the global structured credit business. Mike brings to RP Investment Advisors an expert knowledge of the global credit markets coupled with extensive experience of managing credit risk exposures across multi-billion dollar portfolios. Prior to joining RBC Capital Markets, Mike worked for a leading Toronto-based real estate developer as a Leasing Manager.
Mike holds a BComm from Queen’s University and a MBA from the University of British Columbia. He is involved with several charitable organisations most notably sitting on the Advisory Council for Evergreen City Works and as a Board Member for Beat the Streets Toronto.
John Ewing // Advisory board member
John founded Ewing Morris & Co. Investment Partners in June 2011. John is responsible for portfolio management and investment research, and also contributes to investors relationships and general operations.
Prior to co-founding Ewing Morris & Co. Investment Partners, John was Vice President and Director of Research at Burgundy Asset Management. As Director of Research, John led a team of thirteen analysts and was a member of Burgundy’s management committee. John was also the lead analyst for Burgundy’s Canadian Small Cap Fund.
John graduated with distinction from the University of Guelph in 2005 with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree and a Minor in Business Administration. He won the President’s Trophy as Guelph’s top student-athlete in 2005 and has completed the Investment Management Workshop at Harvard Business School.
Remi Adeleke // Advisory Board Member
As a part of America’s most elite fighting unit, Remi Adeleke has had the opportunity to see and do things men and women have only dreamt about. Remi will be the first to admit that he has an exciting job, but what is even more remarkable is his story which begins in a small country in Western Africa.
The son of a well-known Nigerian engineer and a homemaker, Remi lived the life of opulence; but in 1987 that all changed when his father suddenly died. With his father’s death also came the death of their luxurious lifestyle, and the beginning of a life filled with constant adversity and struggles.
Stripped of everything by the Nigerian government, Remi and His mother permanently relocate to one of the toughest inner cities in America- Bronx, N.Y. Though austere, the Bronx proved to be the perfect environment to prepare Remi for his future as a Navy SEAL, and also to instill a key lesson that he teaches to this day- perseverance.
After years of running the streets, fighting, and participating in nefarious activities, Remi decided to make a change in his life. In the early summer of 2002 he enlisted in the U.S Navy, and embarked on a journey that reads like a Hollywood Script.
After 10 1/2 years of active duty, he started Remi Consulting, a consulting firm which facilitates mental toughness, leadership, and team building events for collegiate athletes, pro athletes and corporations.
Remi has been featured in Men's Health Magazine, as well as Special Operations Magazine. His image can still be found on the official Navy SEAL website (sealswcc.com) and throughout their national recruiting campaign.
Remi is also an Actor, and will be making his Feature film debut in the upcoming Transformers Movie, released June 21st, 2017. Remi will also be featured in the upcoming 2017 Summer Jockey Campaign. Remi has his Bachelors of Science in Organizational Leadership from University of Charleston West Virginia (UCWV), and a Masters of Science in Strategic Leadership with a Specialization in Strategy As Practice, also from UCWV.
ERICA WIEBE // Advisory Board Member // Olympic gold medallist, Rio 2016
Erica grew up in the town of Stittsville, Ontario dreaming of becoming a soccer super-star. Her passion for the sport continued on throughout elementary and onto high school. As a naturally competitive individual, she was involved in a variety of the standard "Canadian" sports until that one fateful day in Grade 9 when the sign for Co-Ed Wrestling practice went up...The attraction to wrestling was immediate but it took a couple of years to transition and for the dream to evolve into the determined conquest it is today.
That dream required moving across the country as a young, optimistic athlete and setting up base in Calgary, AB to pursue a degree in Kinesiology, represent the U of C Dinos, and continue striving towards excellence as a member of Team Canada.
Erica Wiebe won Canada’s third ever Olympic gold medal in wrestling when she finished on top of the 75kg weight class in her Olympic debut at Rio 2016, defeating Kazakhstan’s Guzel Manyurova in the final. She joined Tonya Verbeek and Carol Huynh as Canada’s only female Olympic wrestling medallists.
Nick Xiang // Advisory Board
Nick Xiang is an Investment Banker at Barclays, advising clients across the world on multiple industry sectors and transaction structures. He began his banking career covering the Natural Resources industry in Calgary in 2015 before returning to Toronto to cover a diversified range of industries.
Outside of his professional career, he is heavily involved with philanthropic efforts. In addition to Beat The Streets, he serves on the committee at CAMH Engage (mental health and addition) and is a volunteer at The Covenant House for at-risk homeless youth. He is passionate about improving the vibrant Toronto community that he has called home for most of his life, with an emphasis on struggling youth and children.
Nick holds a HBA with Distinction from Western University (Ivey Business School). He was awarded the '94 McClearly Memorial Award as Ivey's most well-rounded student in 2014 and was named to the Dean's List each year. During his undergraduate career, Nick was a varsity wrestler who competed in multiple weight classes for the Western Mustangs over a four year period. He was named an Academic All-Canadian in each year.
Mark Kelley // Advisory Board
Mark Kelley loves a good story. His passion for giving a voice to those stories has taken him from Cape Spear, Newfoundland to Old Crow, Yukon. From Dhaka, Bangladesh to Defiance, Ohio. He is an International Emmy award winning journalist, and a six time Gemini/ Canadian Screen award winner. His 25 year journalistic journey started at CBC radio, and led to anchoring the National, hosting CBC News Morning, CBC News: Disclosure and Connect with Mark Kelley. His greatest teachers are his wife and 4 boys. He has built a solid reputation within the fifth estate team for listening to music louder than anyone else in the office.
Nayu Akbar // Advisory Board Member
Nayu Akbar is a former York University and Twist n' Shout wrestler with an honours BA from York University and Masters from the University of Toronto. With over 20 years experience as an owner/operator in the private career and childcare industry, Nayu enjoys the sales, marketing and operations side of business management.
Nayu is a family man, happily married with four children, one in high school and three in university. He loves travelling, coaching and spending time with his family, especially in the great outdoors. His fondness for coaching is a testament to his passion and dedication to sports, especially hockey and soccer. Nayu spent 15 years coaching in the Aurora Youth Soccer Club and is currently an Academy Trainer.
Nayu believes in the spirit of contributing to community service and taking action to live the creed "giving back".
Neal Ewers // EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Why BTS – For years I’ve been searching for an inspirational cause for which to serve my fellow humans. BTS provides me with the means to inspire and serve. Everyday I’m inspired by the work we do, motivating, inspiring, and teaching youth the fundamental principles of the art of Amateur Wrestling and how it all applies to life. This inspirational journey began when I was 9 years old with my participation in the City of York Parks and Recreational Program that kept me out of trouble for the next 4 years. After that I found the love of my life for the next 15 years, the sport of Wrestling.
I have many people to thank for support in my process of beating the inner city streets of Toronto and going on to attain a degree at Simon Fraser University and having a successful Wrestling Career on the national team… I can think of no better way than to replicate this process for other youth on similar paths with our BTS Toronto Programs.
Here at BTS I facilitate programs to build up the quality of wrestling in the GTA. Thus giving our youth the means to become better wrestlers and increasing their chances of pursuing post secondary education and receiving athletic scholarships. At BTS Toronto we provide not only the encouragement we also provide the programs for our youth to be successful as well.
GEN MORRISON // COACH
Gen was first introduced to the sport of wrestling as a grade 9 student, eager to make friends and discover a new sport. Hungry to reach the highest levels, sport gave her the motivation and direction to earn a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Calgary, where she competed as a varsity athlete and became the first Canadian woman to win five university national championships and two university world titles.
Through wrestling, Gen met her closest friends and experienced the privilege of wearing the maple leaf at many international events, including stepping onto the podium as a bronze medalist at the 2015 Senior World Championship. But above all the accolades wrestling has allowed her to experience, Gen feels that the sport of wrestling has helped shape her in a positive way by giving her confidence and teaching her how to apply discipline, passion and perseverance to every area of her life. The reward was truly in the daily pursuit to become a better version of herself, both on and off the mat. Humbled by the overwhelming support she’s received over the years from her family, friends, teammates and coaches, Gen is excited to work with the Beat the Streets and share with the next generation all that the sport has offered her.
SHAWN GERIS // TORONTO PD LIAISON & COACH
Shawn Geris brings with him significant experience both locally and internationally. Prior to coming to BTST he was the head wrestling coach at Elite Training Centre, and he previously served as the head wrestling coach at Westview Centennial Secondary School (2006-09) and Kombat Arts Training Academy (2003-05).
A Level B NCCP certified coach, he was also chosen by Canada Wrestling to coach the Canadian national grappling team at the world championships in both 2009 and 2010. Geris has also coached athletes at the Extreme Fighting Championship, King of the Cage and at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC 129 in Toronto).
As a varsity wrestler himself, Geris began at junior college with the Fresno City College Rams, where he won the California state freestyle championship. He continued his career at Eastern Michigan University, Yipsilanti. While an Eagle, he helped his team win its first Mid-American Conference championship under coach of the year Willie Gadson.
Geris has also built an impressive list of accomplishments at the senior level of competition, including a fourth-place finish at the 2007 Commonwealth Games and the bronze medal at the 2007 Canada Cup. He went on to win the national title in 2008 and medalled at the 2008 Canadian Olympic trials.
Author of Buried in the Maple Leaves: The Untold Story of North American Wrestling Legend Harry Geris.
Krasimir Zhekov // COACH
Krasimir (Kris) joined BTST in 2015 as a Coach of freestyle wrestling. Kris brings to the BTST a wealth of experience, both national and international, and a unique perspective on wrestling, having studied and practiced wrestling in his native Bulgaria. Kris attended the National Sports Academy “Vasil Levski” where he became a wrestling coach and a physical education teacher. He is also an international referee of wrestling, thanks to his time at the International Federation of Wrestling (FILA), now known as United World Wrestling. We are lucky to have Kris on board and as he brings his passion and love of his favourite sport to our BTST students.
Bernard Sanchez // Mentorship Coordinator
Hello my name is Bernard Sanchez and I am currently the MentorshipCoordinator for Beat the Streets Toronto. My background in wrestling is a short but sweet story. I started out with the sport in 2001 at West Humber C.I. There I wrestled for 4 years winning several local tournaments. After high school I took a break and focused my time getting my Degree in Justice Studies and Law and got certificates in mediation and police studies. When I finished my schooling I knew I needed to return to the mat, so I decided to coach youth and give back. I coached at several schools and clubs until somehow I got hired to work at the same place I started wrestling, West Humber C.I. Now along with Beat the Streets we have made a impact in the Rexdale community with our education program and our regional practice. We are breaking barriers and giving new outlets to kids that need to belong. Thanks BTST, for making a change!
If you are a coach or volunteer and want to know how you can become part of the Beat the Streets Toronto Team, please fill in the contact form and we'll get in touch!