FOUNDERS • CHAIRS
Elladj Balde is an accomplished international competitor and professional show skater, a philanthropist, and entrepreneur. His passion for figure skating pushed Elladj to competitive heights within the sport and gave him the opportunity to showcase his personality and charisma, while connecting to music in the international competition circuit. Performing alongside top figure skating champions, Elladj has traveled and showcased his talent for audiences around the globe.
A passion for music and movement led Elladj to co-found Skate Global, a multi-faceted brand that provides unique training methods, and choreography to figure skaters all around the world. The brand’s goal is to give back to the community by inspiring students of all levels with valuable knowledge and a fresh perspective that can fuel them to succeed both on and off the ice.
Driven to bring more diversity and inclusion to figure skating, Elladj co-founded FSDIA with the vision to create a community for skaters of color to feel safe, supported, and empowered.
Mariyah Gerber is a Southern-California native who started figure skating at the young age of 5. Together with her husband, she is a professional pair-adagio show skater who has performed around the world with entertainment companies such as Feld Entertainment’s Disney on Ice, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Holiday on Ice Productions.
In 2019, Mariyah started her own online business affectionately named “The Princess and Her Frog”. While building her business, Mariyah has devoted her time to spearhead fundraising efforts, to help push for change and call for diversity in the world of Figure Skating.
As a founding member of FSDIA she hopes to change the narrative in figure skating by building a community amongst BIPOC skaters. She is a firm believer that representation is incredibly important for the next generation of skaters and is excited to be a part of the team.
Michelle Hong is a Global Coach and Choreographer located in the Bay Area whose mission is to make figure skating accessible to EVERYONE! After graduating from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, she became the Founder and CEO of Coach Michelle Hong, an athletic brand dedicated to empowering all generations of athletes. She created the first-ever online platform devoted to sharing figure skating content.
Across CoachMichelleHong.com and various social platforms, she has garnered ~100k international students who are eager to discover their best potential.
In addition to being a global coach, Michelle is a Membership Growth Consultant for US Figure Skating as she guides rinks across the nation on how to implement the Aspire Program. The Aspire Program is a newly enhanced bridge program, that provides affordable and accessible classes beyond the Learn to Skate levels for athletes to discover multiple avenues to success.
"FOR A MORE DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE FUTURE IN FIGURE SKATING"