Jim Hamm
Jim HammExecutive Director
Business Employed as Special Pops Tennis Executive Director.

Special Pops (SPT) Founding member; elected to the SPT Board of Directors in 2005. Current Chairman of the USTA – Southern section Special Populations/Adaptive committee; Current member of the Special Olympics North America Tennis Development Committee. Tournament Director – Special Populations Unified Doubles tournament held in Belton, SC. Tennis Coach of Team USA – Southeast Region at the 2003 Special Olympics Summer World Games in Dublin, Ireland. Head Coach of Team USA – 2011 Special Olympics World Games in Athens, Greece. Tennis Coach for Team USA – 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, Dubai; Affiliate Member of Professional Tennis Registry (PTR). Management Team member for tennis venue at Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, WA. Management Team member for tennis venue at Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, CA in 2015. Management Team member for tennis competition at Special Olympics North America Championships held annually in Hilton Head Island, SC.Recipient of the USTA Southern Section Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award; 2017 recipient of the Harris-Gude Foundation Honor of Distinction; Tommy Nobis Foundation Philanthropy Award.

Patrick Lynch
Patrick LynchBoard Chair
Business Patrick is the Vice President of Global Operations for Careerminds, a global outplacement consulting firm. Patrick has also had senior marketing and sales positions with leading consumer product companies such as Georgia Pacific, Kao Brands, Kraft/General Foods, and The HON Company. Patrick has a B.A. from The University of Michigan and an MBA from Michigan State University.

Special Pops Tennis  Patrick became involved with Special Pops Tennis in 2010 after visiting the Summer Games to see the son of a friend compete. It was at that event that Patrick knew he had found a new home serving and connecting with the adaptive needs community. Since that event, he has since become the Site Coordinator for The Special Pops Tennis East Roswell Park Academy, a Special Pops Tennis board member and a Basketball Coach for Special Olympics (it gives him something to contribute to during the cold weather months).

Marcy Hirshberg
Marcy Hirshberg Nominations/Community Relations
Business MBA in Marketing from Emory University. Founder and President of NetKnacks Tennis for over 25 years. Following the sale of NetKnacks to Pinnacle Promotions, Marcy has become a member of the Board of Directors of CCOS Charity Guild, USTA Southern, USTA Georgia, and Georgia Professional Tennis Association. She is also the Chair of the USTA National Adaptive Tennis committee. 

Special Pops Elected to SPT Board of Directors in October 2017. Marcy began volunteering with Special Pops Tennis programs in the 1990s through the ALTA Foundation and her family currently volunteers for Special Pops Tennis at the East Roswell Park and Lifetime Tennis and Athletic locations.

Pete Callahan
Pete CallahanRisk Management/Legal/Major Donors/Giving Campaigns
Business  Pete’s 40-year business career includes sales, sales and marketing management, and business unit management in the specialty chemical industry. Most recently, he has been President of Atlanta Storage Concepts, Inc., a warehouse equipment company. Pete has also been a volunteer and member of the board of directors of an Atlanta area charity focused on serving the needs of homeless children.

Special Pops Pete has been a SPT volunteer since 2009, certified Special Olympics Georgia coach and Unified partner. Member of ALTA and USTA. Elected to Special Pops Tennis Board of Directors in 2015.

Sissy Luciani
Sissy Luciani Sponsors
Business Retired in 2016 as the Advertising Director in The New York Times Advertising Office in Atlanta. In addition to managing a sales team, Sissy also sold advertising for the newspaper, The New York Times Magazine and all things digital, relative to The Times. In her career prior to The New York Times, she managed the Southeast territory for advertising at Tennis Magazine.

Past board experience includes the ALTA Foundation as well as the Country Club of the South Charity Guild. Currently involved with overseeing a 14-person volunteer group for Meals on Wheels through Senior Services of North Fulton. And in the planning stages of working with 20 friends on a Thanksgiving and holiday program for a group home through Children’s Restoration Network.

Special Pops experience includes being a parent to a Special Pops Tennis athlete, Tyler Luciani. His experience has been wonderfully positive for himself and our family.

Nancie Nolton
Nancie NoltonWebsite / Technology
Business Nancie is a web developer for OptML Inc. and does work for several non-profits. Keeps busy raising 3 daughters and is an active member in P.E.O and other charities. Nancie has an MFA in Design from Iowa State University, an MBA in Computer Programming and Graphic Design from Pratt Institute of Technology.

Special Pops Elected to Special Pops Tennis Board of Directors in October 2015, Nancie serves as the current website developer / photographer. She began volunteering with Special Pops Tennis programs in 2010 with her three daughters who have enjoyed helping out with SPUD and the Fall Classic for many years. She is active in ALTA and USTA and is overseeing the Medlock Bridge and Standard Club training sites.

Tammy Koch
Tammy KochTreasurer/Regulatory Compliance
Business Tammy’s personal motto is “A little progress each day adds up to big results.” One life lesson Tammy learned is the only thing constant is change. She’s also learned kindness and empathy go a long way when working with clients. (And people in general!)

For over 31 years, Tammy worked for ADP. She started as a Client Service Specialist and then took on more responsibilities as a Customer Service Manager. Most of her career she was a Technical Support Specialist providing payroll solutions for clients.

Her past volunteer experience includes PTA Co-President at Abbott’s Hill Elementary School and the Athletic Booster Club Treasurer at Chattahoochee High School. Besides serving as SPT Board Member and Treasurer, she also volunteers at The Atlanta Humane Society 2-3 days a week.

Special Pops Tammy was introduced to Special Pops Tennis by a friend. Her husband then volunteered for SPT. Once she learned more, she joined the Special Tennis Pops Board in February 2020. Her husband’s uncle had Down’s syndrome and their nephew is on the autism spectrum. Giving back to special population causes is important and personal to them.

Tammy has played tennis for 30 years and absolutely loves it. She is regularly on both ALTA and USTA Teams as well as playing on T2Tennis and Ultimate Leagues.

She is an alumna of The University of Georgia earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree majoring in Finance.

Jane (Reid) Sylvester
Jane (Reid) SylvesterMarketing/Branding
Business Jane is an executive level business leader with 20+ years of experience managing large sales opportunities, improving customer experiences and scaling companies to operationally meet revenue and profitability goals.
Jane has long been inspired by Zig Ziglar who said, “Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.” Other words of encouragement which guide her daily life are from Vince Dooley, former head football coach and athletic director at the University of Georgia, “Be prepared for luck. You can’t control the results, but you can control the process.”

Special Pops Tennis Jane joined the SPT Board in March of 2018 to help others and continue her lifelong love of tennis. She believes there is nothing like seeing the joy on the faces of SPT Athletes when they feel included, important and when they feel like a champion through tennis.
The annual Fall Classic especially fills her heart as SPT Athletes put their hard work and determination into the friendly competition. Jane believes in the SPT mission as a wonderful organization for both SPT Athletes and volunteers of all ages. Her young sons were Fall Classic ball boys who experienced helping others shine which changed their lives for the better. Jane is forever grateful to Patrick Lynch for introducing her to SPT.
Jane also serves as a Love Serving Autism Board Member since 2019. She is also a Golf for Kids Board Member and serves on the annual golf tournament committee benefitting CHOA. Jane has been a long time Roswell Friends of CHOA volunteer.
While earning her Bachelor of Science in Education and Public Health at the University of Georgia, Jane played on the UGA Women’s Tennis Team for four years. She earned numerous awards and honors as a collegiate athlete.

Chelsea Marelle
Chelsea MarelleCommunications
Business After 5 memorable years in the classroom as a special education teacher, I resigned to focus my attention on being a new mom and earning my PhD from Georgia State in Education of Children with Exceptionalities. I have a master’s degree in Special Education from Vanderbilt University and bachelor’s degree from Valdosta State University in Early Childhood Education. I was a cheerleader at both schools, so I specialize in bringing a lot of energy and excitement to everything I do. While teaching, I created a teacher Instagram account, @mrs_specialeducation, to connect with other special education teachers around the world, share my passion and inspiration for teaching students with varying ability levels, and provided a platform to communicate effectively with my community in order to foster support for my students. After 4 years, @mrs_specialeducation has gained about 11,000 followers and received many classroom donations that were only made possible through effective communication and willing community members.

Special Pops Tennis I became involved with Special Pops Tennis while living in Arkansas, where Jim trained a handful of volunteers who were encouraged to start tennis in the Special Olympics for Arkansas. After moving back to Atlanta, I took the first opportunity I could to get involved in Special Pops by captaining a SPUD league team. I have volunteered at multiple events as a unified partner, “mic woman”, hype man, or anything that is asked of me.

Courtney Hendrix
Courtney Hendrix Special Events
Business The majority of Courtney’s professional life has been in event marketing. She started her career at Universal Studios Florida. She also worked for the Atlanta Knights, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and Zoo Atlanta.

Courtney enjoys bringing the vision of a special event to life for people. She has learned that passion is the key to successful events. Using her passion and evoking passion in others are her goals for every event.

Remaining active and involved in her community, Courtney also serves in several capacities at Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Pius X High School. She hosts a tennis round robin as an athletics fundraiser, acts as a Parent Ambassador and is the chair of school blood drives. She also volunteers at LifeLine Animal Project and Skyland United Food Bank. Courtney has previously served on school boards and her local swim/tennis club board.

Special Pops Tennis Serving as a Special Pops board member is a perfect fit for both Courtney’s passion and experience. As a board member, she embraces the mission of Special Pops and is grateful for the opportunity to support the Athletes and their families. For her, it is pure joy to combine her love of tennis (a self-professed addict) while making new friends.
One of Courtney’s favorite mottos is “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.” While she has a strong competitive nature, experiencing team camaraderie is very fulfilling for her, too. She knows we all have something to learn from each other and welcomes the chance to create lasting relationships with our Athletes and volunteers alike.

Susan Sullivan
Susan SullivanGrant Coordinator
Business Susan retired from UPS where she was a contracts manager who drafted and negotiated customer contracts with total revenue in excess of $2 billion. In addition to serving as a board member for Special Pops Tennis, she is also a volunteer for Hospice Atlanta and WellStar Hospice where she provides emotional support to terminally ill patients and/or their family members.

She earned both a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in Health Care Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.

Susan believes we should be kind and respect everyone with whom we interact regardless of one’s business position or social standing. Her personal motto is “never give up.”

Special Pops Tennis Susan has been a Special Pops Tennis Unified Partner, umpire, and was captain of Spud League Team from 2020 to 2015. Jeanne Hamm introduced her to teaching intellectually challenged individuals before there was even an official Special Pops Tennis organization. Jeanne and Jim recruited members of Jeanne’s ALTA team to help them during the early years of their work.

Susan is now serving as a board member because she wants to contribute to an organization she believes provides a valuable resource for special athletes and their families. Her nephew is on the autism spectrum. He recently graduated from high school where he played on the varsity tennis team. Susan is proud of how he has overcome many challenges in his life to become a very confident, loving young man.

Susan has been playing tennis since I was 12 years old. She played on her high school team and went on to play collegiately for Murray State University. She currently plays USTA 55 and Over; 40 and Over; and 18 and Over Thursday and BW. She also plays ALTA Weekday Women, BW, 55 and Over; and 45 and Over. She previously participated in the USTA Singles Ladder, T2, Ultimate and League Tennis.

Susan has served or is serving in the following USTA positions:

  • League Atlanta Grievance Committee, member, Jan. 2017 to Dec. 2020
  • League Atlanta Grievance Committee, chairperson, Jan. 2019 to Dec. 2020
  • League Atlanta Rules Committee, chairperson, Jan. 2016 to present
  • League Atlanta Juniors Grievance Committee, member, Jan. 2021 to present
  • Georgia Adult Competition Committee, member, Jan. 2019 to present
  • Georgia Grievance Committee, member, Jan. 2019 to present
  • Georgia Constitution and Rules Committee, member, Jan. 2021 to present
  • Southern Constitution and Rules Committee, member, Jan. 2019 to present
Viola Madej
Viola MadejVolunteer Training Coordinator
Business After she moved to the United States in 1997, Viola has been in the tennis business and community. She started as a teaching pro and moved up to a vice president of an Alpharetta-based tennis management company. In 2014, Viola started working in cyber security where she could utilize her degree in Science in Computer Information System Management and Internet Programming.

Viola believes the skills she has learned on the tennis court help her to deal with everyday challenges. Her personal credo is by Buddha: “If we fail to look after others when they need help, who will look after us?”

Special Pops Tennis
Viola met Jim Hamm after one of her GPTA presentations of Cardio Tennis 4 Kids. He approached her and asked if she would be willing to sit down and talk about programs for Special Pops Tennis. She believes tennis is more than just a fun game. Tennis teaches life skills like integrity, hard work and teamwork. She also believes movement is a privilege. A person blessed when they are healthy enough to be able to move.

Viola has been playing tennis since she was 8 years old. She was a member of the Polish National Team and was ranked #2 in the 15 & under Division at the National level.

Until 2014, Viola was a USPTA and USPTR certified pro and a member of Tennis Industry Association’s Technology Panel. She enjoyed working with some of the best people in the industry on creating and developing national tennis programs.

In 2008, Viola won the Southern Division Seminar Contest presenting topic “Cardio4Kids – fighting childhood obesity on the tennis court” and this kickstarted her quest of spreading the love of tennis and addressing the rising health crisis in young children.