DI People: GameStop, Vari, MediaKind and More Make Moves

In this weekly roundup of executive moves in North Texas, you'll also find news from Mohr Partners, Ignite Sales, BBG, Tenet Healthcare, OneDay, Tech Titans, and Kainos Capital, among others.

Across North Texas, companies are promoting and hiring people to take on leadership positions within their organizations.

Dallas Innovates covers prominent personnel moves in Dallas-Fort Worth businesses and nonprofits—from the newest startups to well-established companies. Here are the people moves tied to innovation and technology in the region.

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GameStop refreshes board to accelerate new transformation

Grapevine-based GameStop the video game and consumer electronics giant, has entered into an agreement with stockholder RC Ventures that includes a refresh of its Board of Directors.

Three new directors will be appointed to the Board: Ryan Cohen, who manages RC Ventures, Alan Attal, and Jim Grude.

Each will bring their unique experience in e-commerce, online marketing, finance, and strategic planning. Cohen is the former founder and CEO of Chewy, an online retailer of pet food and pet-related products that sold to PetSmart in 2017. Both Attal and Grube are veterans of Chewy, too: Attal is the former CMO and COO and Grube the former CFO.

GameStop said that this will allow it to optimize operations to create a powerful ecosystem for games and entertainment.

“We are excited to bring our customer-obsessed mindset and technology experience to GameStop and its strategic assets,” Cohen said in a statement. “We believe the company can enhance stockholder value by expanding the ways in which it delights customers and by becoming the ultimate destination for gamers.”

Vari adds to its executive team

Kevin Wierenga

Dallas-based workplace innovator Vari has added Kevin Wierenga to its team of executives as the senior vice president of sales.

In his new role, Wierenga will lead Vari’s overall sales strategy. That includes entering into new U.S. markets. He is an experienced leader in the furniture industry, having previously driven revenue and profit growth to enhance sales performance in high-growth environments.

“Kevin understands what high-growth companies need in order to thrive and be successful,” Vari CEO and Co-Founder Jason McCann said in a statement. “We wanted to find a leader who would inspire our teams as we continue to deliver the flexible and innovative workspace solutions that our clients are looking for. With experience in all aspects of sales, from business development to driving huge revenue growth, I know that he’ll help us continue to raise the bar.”

MediaKind names new CFO

Amy S. Marmolejo

Frisco-based MediaKind, a global provider of media technology and services, has appointed Amy S. Marmolejo as its new chief financial officer.

Marmolejo brings vast experience in advising, developing, and leading world-class financial organizations to the company. She has held numerous corporate finance leadership roles at both public and private companies, including as CFO of Tendril (now Uplight).

“Amy brings a unique skill set to MediaKind, combining a robust, results-driven background in finance, alongside a genuine passion for helping high-growth organizations to aspire, grow, and scale,” CEO Matt McConnell said in a statement. “We welcome her to the leadership team and look forward to benefitting from her extensive experience and strategic thinking as we drive overall productivity and strategic, profitable growth.”

Mohr Partners gets a director of Research and Analytics

Ryan Tharp

Dallas-based commercial real estate advisory firm Mohr Partners is bringing on Ryan Tharp to lead its research and business intelligence strategy.

A veteran economic development research professional, Tharp will be responsible for helping to deliver and maximize data-driven insights to help occupier clients make optimal decisions in managing their real estate portfolios. Previously, he was the director of Research at Transwestern Commercial Services and Cushman & Wakefield.

Tharp will report to Misti Meggs, the new managing partner of Strategy and Growth, who preceded him.

Ignite Sales names new CIO

Dallas-based Ignite Sales, which helps financial institutions increase customer engagement and product sales with technology, has added Bob Pittman to its team as the chief information officer.

In his new role, Pittman will be tasked with providing strategic IT leadership and direction to help deliver technology solutions that continue to drive innovation and digital engagement in the financial industry. He has more than 30 years of IT experience and 20 years of financial services leadership. Most recently, Pittman was the CIO of the Financial and Risk Management Solutions division at Fiserv.

“In a world with rapid adoption of digital technology, Bob’s vast industry knowledge, leadership and vision will be pivotal as we deliver a continuous stream of innovative digital solutions to our clients,” CEO George Noga said in a statement. “Bob and our entire team are focused on the success of our clients in their missions to provide leading digital transformation services for intelligent customer engagement and a competitive advantage to the banks and credit unions we service.”

BBG senior managing director appointed as president of Appraisal Institute

Rodman Schley

Rodman Schley, the senior managing director at Dallas-based BBG, a national due diligence commercial real estate firm, has been named the new national president at the Appraisal Institute.

Schley will hold the position at the Appraisal Institute, the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers, for one year. He has previously served as its president-elect in 2020, vice president in 2019, and in other key roles. This year, the institute plans to focus on advocating on behalf of all appraisers, increasing diversity and inclusion, and expanding its body of knowledge.

“We are extremely proud of Rodman who has selflessly devoted his expertise, time, and energy to help make the Appraisal Institute a successful and growing organization,” BBG CEO Chris Roach said in a statement. “His demonstrated strong leadership will serve to greatly benefit the institute’s membership and the industry as a whole.”        

Tenet adds to its Board of Directors

Cecil Haney

Dallas-based healthcare services company Tenet Healthcare has appointed Cecil D. Haney to its Board of Directors, effective immediately.

Haney is a career U.S. Navy submariner and retired four-star Admiral. During his 38 years of service for the Navy, he served as commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and as a member of the Congressionally-mandated Military Leadership Diversity Commission.

He also serves on the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Board of Managers, the Naval Studies Board, the Aerospace Corporation Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors for General Dynamics Corporation, Systems Planning and Analysis Inc., and the Center for New American Security. He is also chairman of the Board for the Military Child Education Coalition.

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth names new president and CEO

Liz Brailsford

The World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, which works to educate and engage the public on global affairs, has announced Liz Brailsford as its new president and chief executive officer, effective Feb. 15.

Since 2018, Brailsford has served as the chief operating officer of the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) in Washington. In that role, she helped develop new resources of funding and generated strong cohesion among member councils and stakeholders. She replaces Jim Falk, who is retiring.

“We are pleased to have a new president and CEO who so thoroughly understands the important mission of the World Affairs Councils,” Jorge Baldor, chairman of the council’s Board of Directors, said in a statement. Baldor led the search committee with Council Treasurer David C. Meyer.

Addus HomeCare expands its Board Of Directors

Frisco-based Addus HomeCare Corporation, a provider of home care services, has added Veronica Hill-Milbourne and Esteban López to its Board of Directors.

Hill-Milbourne is the president and CEO of Spectrum Health Services and López is the market lead-Americas, Healthcare and Life Sciences for Google Cloud.

Hill-Milbourne had held a number of executive leadership roles at healthcare organizations in Philadelphia, including at Atar Capital as CEO, and Health Transformation Alliance, Health Partners Plans, Independence Blue Cross, the Inglis Foundation, and The Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Philadelphia.

López previously served as chief medical officer for Clinical Strategy and Innovation for Health Care Service Corporation, as well as president of the Southwest Texas Region and chief medical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He is currently an advisor to UNIT Innovations and on the Board of The Texas Lyceum.

OneDay builds its leadership team

Carter Severns, Deena Naccarella, Eric Varin, and Victoria Repice

Dallas-based OneDay, a tech company that provides video storytelling to senior living communities, has named four executive leadership appointments and internal promotions in response to its exponential growth.

Joining the company is Eric Varin, formerly the VP of Sales and Marketing for Allegro Senior Living, as VP of Client Success, and Victoria Repice, who was most recently the VP of Product Management at SiriusXM, as VP of Product. Deena Naccarella, previously OneDay’s VP of Finance, has been named its new chief financial officer and Carter Severns, previously the director of Marketing at OneDay, the new VP of Marketing.

Last year, OneDay increased its customer base by more than 150 percent. That equates to partnering with some 5,000 senior living communities across the country. Following a Series A funding round of $5.2 million in January 2020, OneDay launched its pivotal new product specifically designed for the funeral home industry, Reflect by OneDay.

“We’re in the strongest position we’ve ever been, with the rapid growth of our customer base and growth of our team to match,” Co-Founder and CEO Clint Lee said in a statement. “Heading into this new year, we’re primed for expansion into new markets, and Eric and Victoria, who have been trusted leaders in their industries for many years, will be instrumental in this endeavor. The internal leadership appointments of Deena and Carter reflect the deep pool of talent at OneDay, showcasing the leaders that are ready to step up to take OneDay to the next level.”

Denton Chamber of Commerce names director of membership

Hank Dickenson

The Denton Chamber of Commerce has appointed Hank Dickenson, the former athletic director at the University of North Texas, as its new director of membership.

Dickenson has been involved with the Denton Chamber for more than a decade, previously serving as a board member and board chair. For 25 years, he served at UNT, controlling marketing assets, overseeing corporate fundraising, and chairing the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee.

“Hank’s relationships, credibility, deep community roots, and history of service to a number of area organizations make him the ideal candidate for this role as the chamber seeks to increase in connections and resources for our business community,” Erica Pangburn, president of the Denton Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “I could not be prouder to welcome Hank to the chamber’s roster of professionals.”

JTaylor names a leader of its consulting division

Kyle Kirkpatrick

Fort Worth-based JTaylor Advisory-Assurance-Tax has made Kyle Kirkpatrick a partner and lead of its Consulting Services division, succeeding Herd Midkiff, who will start concentrating on client service, consulting and valuation, and marketing.

Kirkpatrick brings 26 years of consulting and operational experience with healthcare and life sciences companies to JTaylor. He is a former hospital CEO and has previously consulted on strategic planning, M&A, and operational improvements. He also produces a popular podcast called “How to be a Texan.”

JTaylor has also made various other changes to its Consulting Services division: Haley Adams has been named principal, Garrett Grim has been promoted to senior manager, Matt Riesen has been promoted to manager, and Connor Wanhanen and Nick Matheson are now associates.

Tech Titans expands its Board

Mary Elizabeth McNeely

Mary Elizabeth McNeely, the president of McNeely Technology Solutions, has been appointed to the 2021-2022 Board of Tech Titans, the largest technology trade association in Texas.

Tech Titans is a Richardson-based nonprofit that gathers the regional technology community together to collaborate, share, and inspire thinking that fuels future innovations. Members include technology-focused companies and individuals that develop, fund, and support the local tech ecosystem.

“[Tech Titans’] mission—to collaborate to help innovation thrive in North Texas, partner to help each other succeed, drive innovation and the adoption of advanced technology in the region for higher levels of success, seek new avenues to solve real-world problems, promote the innovation and leadership that makes North Texas a leader technology—aligns with my goals,” McNeely said in a statement. “I have headed the Tech Titans Nominating Committee for the last four years, and love seeing the champions of our industry recognized.”

Kainos Capital adds to its Operations team

Alex Stanek

Dallas-based Kainos Capital, a private equity firm that specializes in acquiring and managing food and consumer businesses, has added Alex Stanek to its team as a senior associate of supply chain.

According to Kainos, the move represents that it is further expanding its operations management capabilities. Stanek has previously worked with the firm as an outside consultant, and is said to have been a great resource in driving efficiencies throughout supply chains. She will work directly with Kim Homa, the director of Supply Chain.

“Alex is a trusted partner to management teams and suppliers and will help execute our strategic purchasing initiatives and implementation of supply chain best practices across the portfolio,” Homa said in a statement. “We look forward to her joining the Kainos Operations Team and believe she will be a great addition to the Kainos culture.”

Parks Associates makes key promotions

Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein

Jennifer Kent

Jason Paris






Addison-based Parks Associates, a market research and consulting company that specializes in emerging consumer technology products and services, has promoted three of its key personnel.

Dr. Jennifer Kent has been promoted to VP of Research, Jason Paris to VP of Business Development and Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein to VP of Marketing. According to Parks Associates, the promotions represent its continued growth after 35 years in business.

“Jennifer, Jason, and Mindi Sue are instrumental to Parks Associates’ success, each contributing over a decade to the business with their expertise and dedication to unmatched client service,” Elizabeth Parks, president of Parks Associates, said in a statement. “It is a pleasure to announce these promotions. Each has truly demonstrated leadership skills, ability to adapt, and superior attention to excellence in all they do.”

In her new role, Kent will manage and develop a strategic plan for the company’s annual syndicated roadmap and events. Paris will be responsible for expanding the company across various vertical markets, along with building and maintaining client relationships. Sternblitz-Rubenstein will oversee marketing for the compan’s research, custom services, and executive conferences.

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