The American Athlete Foundation (AAF), is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded to educate, protect, and advocate on behalf of the American Athlete before, during, and after their time participating and entertaining us in organized athletics.
Mike Cline is one of the founders and managing partners of ViCOMM Networks, an internet content and communications company. Walt Disney, Hyatt, Marriott and Starbucks are just some of the companies that benefited from Mr. Cline’s pioneering work. He later founded FSE Fantasy Sports Entertainment that developed an exclusive statistical data algorithm to revolutionize the Fantasy Sports gaming market.
His global executive experience includes Managing Partner of MCA Consulting, an International Business Development Firm and General Manager at fortune companies like BellSouth and XO Communications. Mr. Cline has also held Senior roles in the Clinical Research Industry such as Compliance Officer with UM Medical Research and Senior Clinical Research Lead and Director with International Pharma Companies and his Company has provided Leadership, Consultancy and Study Support Services to International CRO, CMO and SMOs around the world.
Mr. Cline has a degree in Finance from Arkansas State University and an MBA in International Business from Nova Southeastern University. A former Military Officer, Mr. Cline is also a former high school and college football All-American, a NFL Draft choice of the Green Bay Packers, he then played a number of years in the CFL with Ottawa Rough Riders, where he was selected to the CFL’s All-Pro Team before coming back to the NFL to sign with the Indianapolis Colts before retiring from Professional Football and moving to Boca Raton, FL where still calls home today.
Mr. Cline has found success on and off the field. But the project he’s most proud of is his work with charities to help Children and Familiesthrough his annual Mike Cline Celebrity Invitational. For over 24 years, Mr. Cline has served as Board Member and Volunteer for local and national charity and advocacy organizations like America’s Promise, Boca Raton MLK Foundation, YMCA, NFL Alumni Charities, Boca Helping Hands and now the American Athlete Foundation.
At AAF I am proud to work with top athletes, researchers, medical professionals, and officials in the private and public sectors to address inequities faced by athletes of all ages. We seek to ensure that the full potential of each athlete is realized during their competitive years and beyond. Our focus for 2021 remains on developing connections between organizations in south Florida to share best practices in the area of concussion prevention and treatment with coaches, parents and students. We are upgrading our online presence and outreach to advocate for policies that advance and support the fair and just treatment of athletes and all people in our country.” - Josephine (Josie) Hart, President, American Athlete Foundation, Inc.
Josie is a seasoned business executive with over 35 years of experience. In 2014, she joined with David Fegley in founding Storage Development Partners, LLC. Since that time, the Company has completed consulting studies for over one Million Square Feet of self-storage space and seen the successful construction and development of 250 KSF of new self-storage space. Josie’s primary area of focus is on site selection, building design and feasibility - including business case development (unit mix, rental rates and concessions, occupancy, operating expenses, ROI analysis and exit strategies), selection of professional skills including the architect, the engineer, and the store management company, and ultimately ensuring the success of the project. Her primary areas of responsibility are projects and clients based in the south east and north east sections of the United States. Recognized as being an emerging industry leader, Josie was recently selected to present at the International Self-Storage Exposition in Las Vegas, NV in April, 2020.
Josie started Storage Development Partners, LLC and her own real estate and business
development company, JH FL Holdings, LLC from National Land Partners, LLC, one of the country’s oldest buyers and sellers of recreational land in the United States, and its affiliate Inland Management where she served as Chief Executive Officer from 2005-2014. Annual revenue during her leadership period exceeded $350 Million and at its peak the company employed over 250 people across thirteen states. In addition to her day-to-day executive management responsibilities, she led the creation of the company’s finance company which purchased over $350 Million in assets from the FDIC. She also served as the Internal Relations manager for the Company’s $110 Million timber investment management organization fund. Prior to joining National Land Partners, Josie enjoyed a distinguished career with International Business Machines where she held numerous finance and executive positions in the United States and Europe. She started her IBM career as a financial analyst in the Real Estate and Construction Division and rose to Director of Software Pricing. In that capacity, she was responsible for world-wide software product pricing and strategies. Josie also served as Director of Global Customer Offerings, IBM (Paris, France) and oversaw the company’s special bid organization for its top 100 global accounts, directing and securing over $6 Billion in transactions each year. She was recognized by the line organization with her selection to the Golden Circle, IBM’s top sales recognition award and event. Josie has served as an advisor to several startups and made early-stage investments in real estate, manufacturing, healthcare, technology, and hospitality. Josie served as a Vice Chair and Trustee of Northfield Mount Hermon School, Gill, MA for ten years and returned to the Board in 2020. She also currently serves on the Board of Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Zencey, LLC, Lanham, MD and BearWaters Brewing Company, Canton, NC and is the President of the American Athlete Foundation, Boca Raton, FL. Josie was recently named one of “100 Outstanding Women of Broward County”, 2016 and is the 2019 recipient of “The Lamplighter Award”, the highest award given for extraordinary service to Northfield Mount Hermon School. Josie holds an MBA from New York City’s Columbia University Graduate School of Business, a Masters of Architecture from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and a BA from Rice University, Houston, Texas.
Melanie Milo is a nonprofit professional passionate about people, charity, and public good. As Vice President for the American Athlete Foundation, Melanie works with its staff, Board, as well as individual and institutional donors to mobilize financial resources for the organization to fulfill its mission.
Melanie has over 10 years of corporate experience in all areas of communications. Melanie’s high-level organizational experience stretches the project management spectrum, from customer relationship management and market research, to event coordination, marketing/branding assistance, content writing, and grant proposal design. Enthusiastic, committed, flexible, and efficient, Melanie’s learning curves are short, and she is always excited to branch out for new challenges.
Melanie earned both her Bachelors of Science and Masters of Health Science from Nova Southeastern University in South Florida where she is originally from. Melanie brings with her a deep commitment to the nonprofit sector, strong interpersonal skills, and a warmth and generosity of spirit that adds just the right element of joy to every client engagement.
Byars was a tailback at Ohio State University from 1982 to 1985. In 1984, he was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy (to Doug Flutie) after a season where he rushed for a then-school record 1,764 yards and 22 touchdowns, and was selected first team All-America and the Big Ten Conference Most Valuable Player.
As a professional, he played fullback for the Philadelphia Eagles (1986-1992), Miami Dolphins (1993-1996), New England Patriots (1996-1997), and the New York Jets (1998). Byars was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1993.
A superb rusher, blocker, and pass receiver, Byars was a vital contributor for every team he played on. In 1988 he rushed for 517 yards, recorded 71 receptions (ranking him 9th in the NFL), and scored 10 touchdowns. In 1990, he recorded 81 receptions for 819 yards, the third most receptions in the NFL, rushed for 141 yards, and even completed 4 of 4 passes for 53 yards and 4 touchdowns. In the 1996 season, Byars made his first and only championship appearance, playing with the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. His team lost the game 35-21, but the 33-year old Byars had a good performance in it, catching 4 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown.
In his 13 seasons, Byars rushed for 3,109 yards, caught 610 passes for 5,661 yards, returned 5 kickoffs for 94 yards, and completed 6 of 13 passes for 119 yards and 6 touchdowns, with 1 interception. He also scored 54 touchdowns(23 rushing and 31 receiving)
He has worked as a pre and post-game radio analyst for Ohio State University football games. He has also worked as a television analyst for "New York Football Weekly" and This Week in Football on the YES Netwo
Desiree Chouinard is studying Business Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship at Florida Atlantic University and is expected to graduate early in Fall 2021. She has experience in graphic design, marketing, social media work, and website design. She is apart of Theta Phi Alpha, AMA, and the Scuba Diving Club at FAU.
Desiree has personal experience with having a concussion back in her junior year of high school. She was badly injured and given whiplash from a cheerleading pyramid. She was not able to compete for months and had to see a concussion recovery specalist frequently during this time. She had realized she had a concussion when she had lost the ability to spell the morning after the injury and was confused and frustrated the rest of the day. After getting tested properly for a concussion she was diagnosed and began extensive treatment and mandatory rest at home. She has recovered phenomenally since then and continues to live a fufilled and competitive life that includes lots of activites like longboarding, surfing, ice skating, and scuba diving.
She knows how terrible having a concussion is first hand, and fully supports AAF with thier initiatives to fund deeper research, so that better treatment options will be available in the future.