KERRI JILESEN, BA, MSc Ed.
Teaching Leadership, Resource, Health, and Physical education at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, Kerri is our Chief Executive Officer.
She played high school basketball at Midland Secondary School, a member of OBA teams in both Midland and Orillia, attended Nike All Canada Camps, and was a silver medalist with Team Ontario.
She attended Wilfrid Laurier University playing in 2 USports national tournaments. After University she played professionally in Munich, Germany; Katwijk, Netherlands; and Sion, Switzerland. She has played in two World Masters Tournaments in Italy and New Zealand winning gold medals at both competitions.
Kerri has been coaching high school basketball since 2009, as an assistant coach with various OBA teams in Kitchener-Waterloo, the University of Guelph, and at Wilfrid Laurier University. Kerri has also held the position of head coach with 2 OBA teams and the WCI girl's basketball program.
Kerri's background in basketball, education, and leadership will develop our staff in leadership skills, and a solid foundation representing our mission and values.
MEL KOBE, BA, BSM (Hons. '21)
A Brock University Sport Management student, Mel has graduated with first class honors in December '21. She has recently been hired at the VP of Basketball Operations & General Manager of the KW Titans.
She played high school basketball at Northwestern Secondary School, winning multiple Huron-Perth Championships and participating in tournaments in Florida. Mel was a member of Stratford's first OBA team, the Stratford Sonnets (now Revolution).
Mel earned a full scholarship to USC-Upstate, and transferred to the University of Waterloo after her freshman year, earning multiple OUA playoff births. She continues to play basketball in the Grand River Senior Women's league, and Ontario Masters tournaments.
Mel has held multiple positions as a assistant coach, including Senior Boys at St. Michael's Catholic Secondary School in Stratford, U19 boys Waterloo Wildhawks, and McMaster University in Hamilton, winning an OUA championship and attending USports National tournament in New Brunswick. She continues to coach today as a head coach of the U19 Kitchener Vipers' Women's team as a Train to Compete coach.
Mel's business background started in recreation working for the City of Waterloo at the Waterloo Recreation Complex as a customer service associate and the Township of Wellesley as a recreation facilities co-ordinator.
Moving to the Investment and Insurance industry, Mel brings to the table 15 years of service and finance knowledge to the role of Chief Operating Officer, along with experience in professional development, project management onboarding new software, and rewards and recognition.
Co-founders Kerri Jilesen and Mel Kobe first met as university basketball players competing against each other in the OUA. Ten years later in a local women's basketball league, the two became teammates and friends.
Both women have been coaching in the area with local youth clubs for many years and have seen the rise of popularity in the sport. Fueled by the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA championship in 2019, and local athletes like Jamal Murray, Imad Qahwash, Natalie Achonwa, and Kia Nurse succeeding in professional leagues globally, the emergence of the CEBL and the NBLC launching local minor-professional leagues, more kids than ever want to play basketball and be the best.
Recent events have impacted the availability of public and private facilities limiting opportunities for youth. There is a need for a year-round basketball facility for house leagues, rep teams, and elite teams in the Waterloo Region.
It is our vision to support the growth and development of basketball in the Kitchener-Waterloo region and South-Western Ontario at all levels of play.
Our facility will provide accessible, safe, and increased opportunities for all local youth and elite athletes to gain access to sport specific training, development, and competition while freeing up gym space shared with other organizations.
The region is home to Conestoga College, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfred Laurier University, multiple city leagues, and has hosted provincial championships and Masters tournaments.