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Board of Directors

Byron Shewman, Co-Founder and Board Member

Byron Shewman

Formerly a contributing editor of Volleyball Magazine, Shewman has written extensively about the sport. A former USA Men’s Volleyball team member (1971-75), Shewman later played and coached professionally in Europe. After founding Starlings Volleyball Clubs, USA in 1996, Shewman now serves as its Co-founder and Board Member.

Kim Oden, Co- Founder and Board Member

Captain of both the 1988 and 1992 USA Olympic Teams, Kim Oden is one of volleyball’s all-time greatest players.  Before joining the National Team, Kim was a two time NCAA Player-of-the Year at Stanford.  Kim coached the first Starlings team in 1996, and she is currently the Associate Director of College Counseling at Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles.

"I am involved with Starlings because I gained so much from playing volleyball that I wanted to give back. I also wanted to partner with Byron in his vision to bring the great game of volleyball to kids of diverse backgrounds."

Todd Buchner, Board Member- Chairman

Todd Buchner

Inspired by his daughter's experience with club volleyball, Todd joined the Starlings board of directors in 2015. He currently focuses on strategy, board development and fundraising. Todd brings over 26 years of experience in financial services to the position. He has also served as a trustee for the Rancho Santa Fe School District and volunteered for a number of youth-related organizations.

"Starlings gives me an opportunity to give back to a sport that has given so much to me and my family and therefore, we see it as a platform to help kids of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences to learn life lessons by joining the Starlings family."

Ken Rutan, Board Member- Treasurer

Ken Rutan
Following a professional baseball experience, Ken earned a law degree at the University of San Diego
and is now a litigation attorney.  As director of the Navajo-San Diego Starlings club, Ken coaches and oversees
the largest Starlings club in the nation with over 100 participants.  
 
"When I was young, playing on athletic teams with amazing coaches made a huge impact on my personal development. I grew up in the same small low income beach town as Byron Shewman, and he gave me the opportunity to assist others just as my coaches and mentors had assisted me."

carolyn flaming, board member

Carolyn Flaing

With a daughter having played both high school and club volleyball, Carolyn appreciates Starlings commitment for all girls to have meaningful experiences with volleyball.  Carolyn played volleyball at San Diego State University from 1988-1991.  After completing her teaching credential, she taught high school math and coached boys and girls volleyball. 

"By devoting time to practicing and playing, volleyball gives girls numerous opportunities for learning about teamwork, effort, sacrifice, self esteem, and friendship.  All of these attributes will help prepare girls for whatever life challenges they may encounter. Volleyball is fun, and everyone should have an opportunity to play it!"

Jack Henn, Board Member

Jack Henn

A member of the 1968 Olympic Team, Jack has a long and esteemed history in the sport of volleyball as both player and coach. Between 1966-1974 he headed up the Municipal Athletics Division for the City of San Diego Recreation Department. He coached the men’s team at San Diego State University from 1966-1974 and subsequently between 1985-2001.

"The main reason I became involved with Starlings is because of Byron Shewman. He is such a unique personality, very dedicated to his beliefs, an outstanding athlete,  and a seeker of something greater than himself and his own frailties. He is highly intelligent, well read, and humanistic almost to a fault. I watched as he grew from a young volleyball player back in the early 70s playing recreationally at open gyms around San Diego to a member of the USA National team, to a professional player in France and Spain, and finally the founder of Starlings. The monumental battles he fought over the years to keep Starlings running is a testament to his desire and drive to pass along his vision to those 'special people' he enlisted to make Starlings what it has become. His tireless efforts and his disciples of Starlings have given tremendous opportunities to girls to grow and flourish into brave and mature women since 1996. Byron has endeavored to reach beyond the bounds of the volleyball arena and has contributed much to the human condition by positive contributions to education and the general welfare of those less fortunate whether it be in Haiti or the inner cities of the United States. Byron has taught me, by his example, to become a more compassionate and understanding person. I'm indebted to him."

Laurie Howard, Board Member

Laurie’s love of volleyball dates back to her days playing for her high school team and continues today with children playing high school and club volleyball.  Laurie is a practicing attorney who joined the board in 2018 to support Starlings' mission and commitment to bring a positive sports experience to disadvantaged girls across the country.

"I am involved with Starlings to give young girls who love volleyball the same opportunities to play that I had and that my children have had. Sharing my love for the sport is my way of giving back."

John L. Kessel, Board Member

For the past 30 years, John has been a fixture at USA Volleyball (USAV), now as Director of Sport Development.   He is also World ParaVolley Director of Sport Development, a FIVB Level IV Instructor, and a USAV CAP Level V Cadre member.  Coaching since 1971, John is a popular international lecturer, blogger, tweeter, and podcaster.  Volleyball Magazine  named John one of the 50 most important people in the sport, and the American Volleyball Coaches Association also inducted him in the AVCA Coaches Hall of Fame.

Terry Liskevych, board member

Terry Liskevych

Terry was the head coach of the U.S. women’s national volleyball team at three Olympics, including 1992, when they won a bronze medal in Barcelona. He has been a collegiate head coach at Ohio State, the University of Pacific and Oregon State. Terry is also one of founders of The Art of Coaching Volleyball, an education company for coaches that puts on annual clinics and provides extensive teaching resources through its website. 

Nohl Martin, Board Member

Nohl Martin often credits her volleyball experience for her success.  As a setter and leader, she developed a nuanced skill set that has served her well in both the non-profit sector and the business community.  Ms. Martin is the Founder of IgniteBiz, an international consulting venture, and is currently the Executive Vice President of Kestral Aviation Management.  Having traveled the globe, she currently resides between Seattle and Santa Barbara with her husband Stephen Vella and daughter Sofia. 

“Setting our communities up for success – literally!  I give credit to Coach Tod Mattox for teaching me, through volleyball, teamwork, confidence, a good work ethic, positive motivation, and consistency. These skills are now key elements driving my success in global business and home life, and I can say confidently, my passion in helping companies and individuals succeed was ignited during my volleyball years. Giving girls a chance to grow in athletically and developmentally will make for happier healthier women and communities. Starlings girls are the future leaders who know who to be team players!"

Shari Miller, Board Member

Born and raised in Kansas, Shari’s love for beach volleyball made San Diego the ideal place to settle down. Passionate about volleyball, Shari and her husband Chris founded West Coast Beach Volleyball, Inc in 1991 and became the first amateur tournament directors to offer prize money in California. Shari still plays volleyball, and it has become a family affair with her daughter Kyana who played at the collegiate D1 level for Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. Shari currently serves on the board of the San Diego Women’s Foundation, a non-profit promoting collective philanthropy that has granted over $3 million to underserved community programs in San Diego. Additionally, Shari is co-founder and owner of Symbio Financial Partners, a wealth management firm that focuses on assisting clients in developing customized strategies to pursue their financial planning and wealth management needs.  

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"My passion for volleyball is due to the amazing friends and memories that I’ve made over the years through the sport. I want others to have the opportunity to learn to play so that they can also develop the love I have for the game that can last throughout their lifetime. As a parent of a volleyball athlete who played from ages 9 to 21, I know that the cost is prohibitive for so many children. My wish is that I can give-back to the sport I love and make a positive impact on those who can’t afford to play, regardless of their skill level, and I feel the Starlings Organization is a perfect fit for accomplishing this goal!"

Danny Patterson, Board Member

 A member of the USA Mens National Volleyball Team from 1965-1975, Danny competed in the 1968 Olympics and was captain of the 1972 Olympic Squad.  In 1976, he co-founded the restaurant concept Paradise Bakery & Café, and as CEO he built it into a highly respected national chain that was sold to Panera Bread to 2008. Truly a part of the Starlings family, his company has sponsored numerous  of Starlings teams, and both of his daughters have been Starlings coaches. He now uses his volleyball experience and business knowledge to help the executive team implement the Starlings' vision. 

"I am involved with Starlings because I believe it is a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people, that due to financial or physical constraints, might not have the chance to be a part of a team that can open doors for them in the future. As a former Olympian, my volleyball experiences changed my life, and I see this as a chance to give back." 

Don Patterson, Board Member

Don Patterson

As editor of DiG magazine and editor of VolleyballUSA, Don has a close relationship with volleyball and its players and has reported on the sport for close to three decades. Don has also worked as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Times and as an editor at CBS sports.

"With volleyball as its vehicle, Starlings changes girls' lives, providing them with an enjoyable way to learn the benefits of teamwork, hard work, fitness, education, striving to better yourself, embracing new challenges, and welcoming diversity. Being a part of that process is both rewarding and enlightening."

Steve Salmons, board member

Steve Salmons

As a key member of USA Men’s National Volleyball team from 1978-1986, Steve helped the team win a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. Prior to that he was VB Magazine’s 1979 NCAA “Player of the Year,” leading his UCLA Bruins to two National Championships in '79 and '81.  Steve owns Commercial Properties Services (R.E. Brokerage Co.) and has coached numerous club volleyball teams, including a  Starlings team.

"I got involved with Starlings USA for the following reasons: 

  1) I love the sport of volleyball, and the benefits and wonderful memories that it has provided to my children and I over the years. I saw this as a great opportunity to give back to my sport and the community by teaming up with some quality individuals to help sustain and grow the Starlings' organization, and to provide the opportunity to deserving kids to learn, enjoy, and excel at volleyball while being taught life enhancing skills.  

2) There is a very real need for organizations like Starlings! With the growth of club volleyball and the emphasis put on business and profit,  it's driven up the cost of participation to an extremely high level. While this may be affordable to upper and upper middle class families, a huge sector is left out and/or severely burdened by club dues. Often families miss out on the benefits of playing a team sport because they have been priced out of participation.

    3) I am at a point in my life, family life, and work life where I can squeeze out a little extra time to do something good."

Mark Sottosanti, board member

Mark Sottosanti

With three children playing club volleyball, Mark joined the board in 2016 to help further the Starlings mission and bring that positive experience to girls across the country. Mark played for the University of Pennsylvania from 1990-1993 and currently works in the video game industry.