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OUR MISSION

The Diversify Ice Fellowship and Foundation (DIFF) was founded in 2017 by the D.C. based figure skating coach and author, Joel Savary. As a figure skater of color, Joel recognized the racial disparities in the sport and the systemic barriers for minorities to be successful at an elite  competitive level early on. 

The Diversify Ice Foundation is the first foundation of its kind to support competitive minorities in figure skating by a black owned organization, before the focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion became very mainstream. Since it’s inception, the Diversify Ice Foundation has provided sponsorship award packages in value of over $30,000 to competitive minority skaters, worked with underrepresented schools to introduce the sport to more Black and Brown kids, provided performance opportunities to minority skaters, and supported skaters of color all across America with financial support, mentorship, networks, and opportunities

In partnerhsip with key skating businesses, such as Jackson Ultima, and Aurora Tights, as well as your continuous support, we hope to continue to expand these opportunities to more minorities in figure skating, so that the next Nationals, Worlds, and Olympic Championships will be more reflective of the colorful world we live in. 

We have made a lot of progress, and we believe we can even do so much more together to make a (DIFF)erence! 

Meet the board

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Joel Savary

FOUNDER

Joel Savary is the Executive Director and founder of Diversify Ice Fellowship and Foundation (DIFF) and Savary Movement LLC. He is an International and U.S. National figure skating coach in the DMV area. He has worked with a number of skating shows and coached skaters of all ages and ability.

Mr. Savary is most noted for his work with his younger brother, Emmanuel Savary, who has won the U.S. Jr. National Championships. Along with Emmanuel’s head coaches, he has helped to cultivate his brother to be a competitive Team USA athlete who has now reached the Senior Mens Championship level.

In addition, Joel worked at the Executive Office of the President as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF), which is a renowned program for leaders in the federal government. Under President Barack Obama’s leadership, Joel has lead several policy initiatives from IT to procurement in an effort to help save taxpayer dollars. Mr. Savary has completed a Masters degree in International Relations with a focus on National Security and Economic Policy. He is a proud alumni of the University of Delaware.

Joel started this foundation to aid talented minority skaters that may be experiencing hardships in this sport. Many of these barriers are financial and racial in nature.
In addition, he hopes to make figure skating more accessible recreationally to kids in low income families by working with schools in low income neighborhoods. He hopes to use skating as a tool to keep low income kids off the street and away from drugs and violence. Joel hopes that these initiatives through the foundation will help change the stigma of figure skating among minority groups and revitalize the sport as a whole.

Tai Babilonia

Board Memeber

Tai Babilonia, along with her one and only partner Randy Gardner, is five-time US National Champion, World Champion and two-time Olympian in Pairs figure skating. Tai and Randy rose through the ranks of pair skating, earning a coveted spot on their first Olympic Team in 1976, and later won the World Championship title in 1979. (Tai and Randy still remain the last pair World Champions from the US.)

Heading into the 1980 Olympics, Tai and Randy were heavy favorites to medal, but unfortunately were forced to withdraw due to injury. Because of their tremendous popularity around the world, Tai and Randy’s post-Olympic professional career took them to every corner of the globe, headlining shows, tours and competitions. Away from the ice, Tai’s story has been one that has intrigued the American public for decades, and her life was chronicled in the NBC’S Movie of the Week, “On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story” and has authored one book with Randy Gardner, entitled “Forever Two As One.” She has appeared in various television specials, such as “Skating With Celebrities” for the Fox Network. And most recently Tai has entered the world of motivational speaking & is writing her very personal memoirs ~

While forever known as one of America’s great pair skating teams, Tai and Randy’s 50-year partnership has endured the status of true icons both on and off the ice. Perhaps her most proud achievement is Tai’s role as Mom to her son, Scout.

She hopes that any child, regardless of race or income can use Diversify Ice Fellowship and Foundation (DIFF) as an avenue to reach their athletic goals or as a means to enjoy skating.

Eliot Halverson

BOARD MEMBER

Eliot Halverson describes her identities as “confusing and messy.” 

A three-time U.S. Figure Skating champion at the intermediate, novice and junior levels, Halverson is Colombian-born, was adopted and raised by a white Minnesotan family and is transgender non-binary. 

“As young as 3, I was able to articulate that I knew I wasn’t a boy,” Halverson said. “I knew it was something that made me different. But, I wanted people to know about it right away.” 

Gifted with natural talent on the ice, Halverson qualified for her first junior national competition only a couple of years after being mesmerized by the 1998 World Championships in Minneapolis. During this time, though, the rink was not always a safe place for Halverson. She was frequently met with questions from the skating community about her identities. 

She is currently a figure skating coach and choreographer in NYC.

Nathan Truesdell

BOARD MEMBER

Nathan Truesdell is a Board member on Diversify Ice Foundation. He is also the founding director of Ice Dance Academy of North Carolina. His vision is to bring more authenticity and appreciation to competitive figure skating through education.

Nathan brings 25+ years of experience in elite competitive figure skating. He specializes in ice dance, choreography, moves in the field, and power/edges, with a strong emphasis on skating skills, musicality, and movement quality. His students have competed at the US Figure Skating Championships, US Adult Figure Skating Championships, US National Solo Dance Series, international competitions representing Team USA, and earned US National medals. He facilitates engaged training by augmenting on-ice work with off-ice strengthening and conditioning, various dance classes, and education on the rhythms and dances used in figure skating. Nathan also incorporates his lifelong passion for music—He has been editing music for 10+ years for skaters and dancers of various disciplines.

Nathan was born in Ann Arbor, MI, where he began skating at the age of 8. From his first private lesson, he has trained under World and Olympic coaches. Throughout his time in the sport, he has earned a US National medal, competed internationally, and became the highest placing African-American ice dancer at US Nationals. Nathan is also the first African-American figure skating coach/choreographer to produce US National Champions and Team USA athletes in ice dancing. Off the ice, Nathan strives to make the global figure skating community a welcoming and healthy environment for all—he serves as the following:

  • Member of the US Figure Skating Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Working Group
  • Member of the US Center for Coaching Excellence Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee
  • Chair of the Professional Skaters Association Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee
  • Board member of Diversify Ice Foundation

In addition to his passion for figure skating, he also performs and instructs Afro-Latin dance.

USFS, PSA, CER Certified

“Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard”

Megan Williams-Stewart

BOARD MEMBER

Megan began skating at the age of 3. She trained with many Olympic and World level coaches. Through her career, she was a 5 time National Competitor, 4 time Team USA Athlete, 2008 South Atlantic Regional Champion, International Gold and Silver Medalist. She retired from competitive skating in 2011 and dove into coaching full time. When she ended her competitive skating career, began coaching. She currently lives in Wilmington, DE and coaches at Iceworks Skating Complex in Aston, PA, while pursuing her bachelors in Business Management.

I am excited to make a difference in the lives of underrepresented figure skaters as a board member on the Diversify Ice team.

“As a former elite athlete, I know the hard work it takes to achieve your goals and dreams. As a coach, I strive to pass on my knowledge and experience to my students with good lesson structure and discipline.”

 

Alsean Bryant

BOARD MEMBER

Dr. Alsean Bryant is a pharmacist at a nonprofit HIV clinic in Washington, DC, where he works alongside a team of healthcare providers to deliver optimal health services to patients “regardless of their ability to pay.” In his role, Dr. Bryant helps clients navigate drug therapy through medication therapy management, while assessing prescription drug costs and exploring ways to minimize any financial barriers that may exist.

Upon graduating from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Dr. Bryant completed his general practice residency at DC’s VA Medical Center. After which, he became the Executive Director of CMS Health Initiatives – a nonprofit that utilized clinical pharmacists to address health disparities in the DC Metro Area. During the summer of 2008, he was a Minority Health International Research Training fellow with the Food and Drug Board of Ghana where he conducted research on anti-malarial medications, and developed and overwhelming appreciation of his heritage.

Serving underserved and underrepresented people has been woven into the fabric of Dr. Bryant’s professional career. Thus, he is eager to put his years of experience to use with Team DIFF to help forward the mission and vision of this unique organization.

Marvin Carr

BOARD MEMBER

Dr. Carr previously served as Policy Advisor for STEM Education, Innovation, and Diversity in the White House Office of Science and Technology.

He is working on a number of initiatives to provide access to underrepresented figure skaters.

Marcello Morgan

BOARD MEMBER

Marcello Morgan, MD, MPH has been a fan of figure skating for over 30 years and is excited to be a part of the Diversify Ice Team that provides volunteer opportunities to promote figure skating among minorities, to mentor current skaters, and to learn more about the technical aspects of skating. Marcello has worked in the continuing medical education (CME) environment as a Medical Writer and Medical Director since 2006. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Harvard University, a Masters in Public Health degree focusing in Health Promotion-Disease Prevention from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, and a Doctor of Medicine degree from Duke University School of Medicine. He was recently accepted as a member of the Omega Chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health.

Sherri Redmond

BOARD MEMBER

National Vice Chair, DORM Recruitment Subcommittee Gold Singles/Pairs & Moves in the Field Judge Silver Dance Judge Junior Sectional Synchro Judge Regional Data/Video Operator National Synchro Data/Video Operator

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Kelly Scavela

BOARD MEMBER

Kelly Scavella acts as a Diversity Outreach Board Member of Diversify Ice Fellowship and Foundation (DIFF).

Kelly is a Management Analyst for the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC.

After earning a B.A. in International Agriculture, Kelly spent time in Egypt working on an economic development that promoted trade between Egypt and European partners. In addition, she worked with refugees in the region.

Upon returning to the United States, Kelly gained experience with the White House’s Office on Drug Control and domestic partners such as the African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation.

Today, Kelly holds a M.S. in Peace Operations from George Mason University with research focused on governance in the Sub-Sharan region of Africa and its symbiotic relationship with U.S. foreign policy.


Kelly also enjoys skating in her spare time.

Kelly stated “The reason why I support the Diversify Ice Fellowship and Foundation is because it supports and introduces students to an activity outside of the traditional realm of sports.”

Angelica Temoche

BOARD MEMBER

Angelica Temoche is an experienced Project Manager in the DMV area. She is working on a number of initiatives to provide access to underrepresented figure skaters through fundraising and program planning initiatives.