Leadership

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Lori Bajorek

President & CEO

Lori Bajorek is president and CEO of the National Esports Association (NEA), through which she champions greater support for the wellness and academic success of esports athletes. She has pioneered a governance structure for esports in education, including establishing academic standards and developing curriculum. Bajorek has developed what is considered the first educational programs for esports, guiding programs at colleges across the country while expanding her K-12 focus. 

 

She is building upon her videogaming-centered, non-profit enrichment program that focused on alternative learning for K-12 students for more than 12 years — even before esports was called esports. Bajorek’s pioneer status, advocacy, and expertise has resulted in her being a sought-after speaker at national and international conferences and a source for national media. Her entrepreneurial background includes work with Fortune 500 companies, including Progressive Insurance and Metropolitan. She earned a degree in child psychology from the University of Buffalo. Bajorek and her husband, Ronald, have two grown children, Alia and Trip.

 
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Dresden Engle

Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer

Dresden Engle is a nationally award-winning communications professional with 30 years of experience as a newspaper journalist, PR and digital strategist, and college professor. She aligned with Lori Bajorek in 2017 to help launch the National Esports Association, building upon her passion for education, particularly the equal playing field videogaming provides diverse and inclusive students. 


Engle works extensively with national and international media and has secured lead features in The New York Times, Forbes, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal, with the Associated Press, and on ABC World News, CBS News Sunday Morning, and NPR. She has earned national awards for media relations, writing, PR and social-media campaigns, and videos. Her PR clients have included school districts, publicly traded national companies, and celebrities. Engle wrote the 2020 biography of rock star Eddie Money titled Hold On, and also co-wrote with Money his biographical stage musical Two Tickets to Paradise. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and theater from SUNY Oswego and a master’s degree in communication from SUNY Brockport. Her husband, Paul, is a special-ed teacher and they have two teenage daughters, Aria and Aurora.

 
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Lisa Goldstein

Chief Policy Officer

Lisa Goldstein, M.S., joined the National Esports Association as chief policy officer in early 2017, after 20 years of increasing responsibility at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She has earned national awards for her work in adolescent health and is dedicated to promoting alternative learning for students through the use of esports in education while promoting efforts to further the health and academic success of esports student athletes. Her work includes efforts to combine gaming with an educational structure to help build the essential cognitive skills necessary to succeed in today's digitized world, as well as promote esports as an extracurricular program to offer opportunities to all, regardless of personal characteristics such as gender, weight, height, and athletic ability.

 
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Ava Cavatassi

Public Relations & Social Media Manager

Ava Cavatassi focuses on media relations and social media management for the NEA. She holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Fredonia, where she studied public relations, visual arts, and new media. In college she helped lead the Applied Communication Association and interned with the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation. In Rochester, she also manages social media platforms for her family’s business, Tapas 177, and is a member of the PRSA Rochester Young Professionals Committee.

Gabby Garcy

Digital Communications Coordinator

Gabby Garcy focuses on website design and partner relationships for the NEA. She is a recent graduate from St. John Fisher College, with a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication. She completed her Spanish minor while studying abroad in Spain during summer 2019. At Fisher, she worked closely with the Office of Admissions creating social media content for the St. John Fisher College Instagram story and was the director of finance for The PRIMA Group, their on-campus student-run public relations agency. She was the recipient of of the Fisher for Life 2021 Alumni Award and the 2021 Barbara F. Wheeler Schneider Award from St. John Fisher College. She is also a member of the PRSA Rochester Young Professionals Committee.

Jack Laino

Marketing & Content Coordinator

Jack Laino focuses on website development, media analytics, and content creation for the NEA. He is a recent graduate from St. John Fisher College, with a bachelor's degree in Media Management and a minor in marketing. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in Business Analytics at St. Bonaventure University. While a student at St. John Fisher, he was an executive intern for the Office of Institutional Advancement and was the director of public relations & marketing for The PRIMA Group, the college’s on-campus, student-run public relations agency. Jack was also a programming captain and DJ for Fisher’s 39th Annual Teddi Dance for Love.