Leadership Team

Comprised of former athletes and sales professionals, our team understands first hand how to harness the power, passion and performance exhibited by elite athletes and premier organizations.
Bob Berland
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Hire Elite Athletes, LLC

Bob Berland

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Bob Berland has a passion for addressing the challenges elite athletes face when transitioning from sport to business career. As a two-time Olympian and Silver medalist in the sport of Judo at the 1984 Olympic Games, Bob experienced first-hand the challenges of transitioning from high-performing athlete to high-performing business professional. “It is a daunting task with limited resources, and as a result many athletes never achieve their true potential beyond the world of sport.” Bob realized that addressing this issue required radical changes in both actions and culture.

While Bob was training for his 2nd Olympic games he launched a 15-year career as a commodities trader on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. While trading he also founded Olympic Futures, a clearinghouse for independent traders.

Bob served on a Task Force for the US Olympic Committee (USOC) focused on determining the best approach to improving athlete career development, education, and life skills. The task force’s final recommendation was to implement a holistic approach to addressing these needs, and Bob sought a way to help. That led to his partnership with Brian O’Neill and the formation of Hire Elite Athletes, LLC (HEA).

Civic Service
Bob was instrumentally involved with the City of Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid effort. He was named to Chicago 2016′s Board of Directors by bid Chairman and CEO Patrick G. Ryan (Founder of AON Corporation). In addition to being a member of the International Relations team, Bob was also co-chair of the Athletes Committee and served on the Audit Committee for the bid.

Currently, Bob sits on the Board of Directors for World Sport Chicago, the legacy organization of the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid. Bob is the 3rd generation President of his family’s print communications organization, Berland Communications, originally established in Chicago in 1928.

Inspirational Speaker
Bob delivers keynote addresses, combining his Olympic experiences with leadership insights from his highly successful business career as well as his Olympic Coaching career.

 
Brian O'Neil
Co-Founder and President
Hire Elite Athletes, LLC

Brian O'Neil

Co-Founder and President

Brian is deeply passionate, driven and committed to helping elite athletes transition and excel in life after sports. He understands why athletes need mentorship, guidance and resources to plan for the next step in life because he was an athlete himself at Park University, where he played college basketball. Brian explains, “I remember not preparing for my future until it was almost too late. I did not have the guidance or resources to understand the importance of planning for life after sports. Now, I am dedicated to helping others so that they do not have to go through the same challenges I faced.”  Brian is committed to one mission – helping individuals achieve their dreams!

In addition to being the Co-Founder of Hire Elite Athletes, Brian is the owner of Sales Empowerment Group (SEG) and Co-Founder of Sales University Group (SUG). These organizations have helped many of the most innovative, fastest growing businesses and the Fortune 500 with sales consulting, sales recruiting, inside sales, sales training, lead generation and a unique offering called, “The Interim VP of Sales Program.”  The three organizations have built their models around, “helping people change their lives and helping organizations reach their revenue goals.” SEG’s, SUG’s and SAG’s client list consists of many businesses that have appeared in Crain’s Fast 50 and the Inc. 500/5000.

Lastly, Brian is the author of three books: The Legacy Life – How to Connect, Communicate and Collaborate to Increase Sales, The Legacy Life Playbook, and Don’t Forget Your Swimsuit (A Tale of Time Management). His keynote speaking events, workshops and books change the outlook on sales and create renewed excitement among sales professionals.

 
Sarah Dreher
Lead Recruitment Coach
Hire Elite Athletes, LLC

Sarah Dreher

Lead Recruitment Coach

As a Division I Athlete and top-performing sales professional, Sarah Dreher understands the importance of finding the right career fit for the athlete as well as mentoring and helping the athletes with career advancement opportunities.

As the Lead Recruitment Coach at Hire Elite Athletes Sarah has worked with hundreds of athletes assisting them with aligning their personal goals with the goals of the organizations they are to be placed with.

Sarah spent several years in an outside sales role selling complex payroll and HR software to Fortune 1000 companies. She was the #1 producer year after year and consistently overachieved her quotas. She attributes much of her success in sales to her competitive nature and training from her years as a collegiate athlete.

 
Gregg Salkovitch
Vice President of Recruitment
Hire Elite Athletes, LLC

Gregg Salkovitch

Vice President of Recruitment

Gregg,  is the Vice President of Recruitment for Hire Elite Athletes.  He started his career with IMG, one of the world leaders in sports management and media.

 Although Gregg had the potential to run college track, he pursued his baseball, which is his true passion.  Gregg played baseball throughout high school and Joe Charboneau, the 1980 Rookie of the Year was his personal coach.

 Unlike many sales recruiters, Gregg has been in the sales trenches starting several new multi-million dollar divisions and working for both small and large companies ranging from distribution to technology.

In addition to his extensive sales and recruiting background, Gregg also holds an undergraduate degree in Organizational Behavior from Miami University and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University, where he was on scholarship, held a double major in Management and Marketing, and graduated Cum Laude.

 
Linda Mastandrea
Director of Recruitment for Athletes with Disabilities
Hire Elite Athletes, LLC

Linda Mastandrea

Director of Recruitment for Athletes with Disabilities

Linda Mastandrea has first hand knowledge of the challenges elite athletes face transitioning from competition to career. She is a two-time Paralympian (1992, 1996) gold and silver medalist in the sport of wheelchair athletics. Linda has successfully created a post-athletic career as an attorney with a practice in disability rights and advocacy. She is a sought after public speaker, educating and informing audiences worldwide on topics including disability law and advocacy and achieving personal potential.

As the Director of Recruitment for Athletes with Disabilities at Hire Elite Athletes, Linda is focused on building the bridge between elite athletes with disabilities and employers. Studies show that people with disabilities are some of the most dedicated employees, yet employers often overlook this talented candidate pool. Whether an employer needs to meet federal contracting requirements related to disability or simply wants to hire from an incredibly diverse talent base, Linda will oversee both the candidate pipeline as well as collaborating with our corporate partners.

Civic Service

Linda played a key role with Chicago’s 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid. She was named to the Board of Directors by bid Chairman and CEO Patrick G. Ryan, served on the Paralympic Advisory Committee and the Athlete’s Committee. As Director of Paralympic Sport and Accessibility, she integrated Paralympic athletes and games planning into all functional areas. Linda was also part of the team that made the case for Chicago to the International Olympic Committee alongside President and Mrs. Obama and then Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Linda sits on the boards of World Sport Chicago, the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and Variety–the Children’s Charity of Illinois. She chairs the International Paralympic Committee Legal and Ethics Committee, and serves on the City of Chicago’s Building Board of Appeals. Most recently, Linda was named to the Cook County Forest Preserve Conservation and Policy Council.