Skate Oakland Founders
Erin Coyne, Co-Founder
Erin Coyne first became interested in the nonprofit sector as a Peace Corps volunteer assigned to a specialized library serving the blind and visually impaired residents of a small town in Russia. She has since managed an international training exchange program in Ukraine, a school-based internet connectivity program in Armenia, and a program designed to develop and implement an innovative legal socialization curriculum in Armenian schools. She currently works for a Berkeley-based global health nonprofit organization where she oversees programming in Haiti and the Republic of Georgia. She holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from UC Berkeley and has taught college-level courses in academic writing, foreign language and literature, and cultural history. Erin's daughter has been skating at the Oakland Ice Center for five years. Skate Oakland is the perfect opportunity for Erin to combine her experience in nonprofit program management with her commitment to education and personal connection to the skating world.
David Hicks, Co-Founder
David began his skating career in 1966. He was a competitive figure skater for 10 years, competing at the Sectional and National level and was the 1977 Pacific Coast Junior Pair Champion. David skated professionally with the Ice Capades and has coached skating in the Bay Area for over thirty years. He received his ballet training at the Contra Costa Ballet and Marin Ballet schools and danced professionally with the Oakland Ballet. David has taught at the Marin Ballet School, Contra Costa Ballet Centre, Dance Connection for the Performing Arts, Danville Ballet and California Theater Arts. For six years, David was the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Diablo Ballet Company. He currently serves as the Skating Manager at the Oakland Ice Center Operated by Sharks Ice.
Felicia Simon is an entrepreneur who is the founder of Simon Says salon business established in 1992 in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a 25 year veteran of the fashion and beauty industry. She is a single mother whose daughter's passion for the past 12 years is figure skating. Viewing her own child's commitment to this sport over the years, she has observed the amazing skills her daughter has developed such as confidence, perseverance, time management, and skill mastery.
Felicia recognized the desire for opportunities for girls to participate in this sport. She understands that figure skating can be cost prohibitive for many under served youth.
After discovering a successful program called Figure Skating in Harlem, Felicia recognized the need for a similar program in Oakland, California. She was impressed with the model, vision, and results of the program. Like Oakland, Harlem has similar demographics and issues. Currently, there is no other program of this kind on the West Coast. By initiating this program, Felicia hopes to empower and educate under served girls through mentorship and the sport of figure skating.
Michelle Hong is a Professional Figure Skating Instructor at the Oakland Ice Center with over 16 years of skating experience. She started figure skating at the age of 7 years old after watching her older sister, Melissa Hong, fall in love with the sport. With the help of her sister, she completed her Senior Moves in the Field by the age of 12 years old. Coached by Lynn Smith, at the age of 13, she qualified for the US Jr. National Championships at the Juvenile Level and did so the following year at the Intermediate Level. She was the 2009 Central Pacific Novice Ladies Regional Champion and she qualified for the Pacific Coast Sectional Championships at the Novice, Junior, and Senior Level.
Michelle’s continuous passion for the sport of figure skating shined long after her own competitive figure skating career. While studying at UC Berkeley, where she majored in Business Administration and Media Studies at the Haas School of
Felicia Simon, Co-Founder
Business, she had the honor of being President of the Cal Figure Skating Team. Michelle helped the team grow from 5 members her Freshman year to 30+ members her Senior year. Her love for the sport coupled with her drive to give back to the community leaves her so excited to help co-found Skate Oakland. This organization means so much to Michelle as she has personally struggled with the expenses of this highly exclusive sport. Michelle understands that a large number of youth within our community lack access to half of the valuable life lessons she learned through figure skating thus, Michelle is thrilled to help change the lives of the youth in our community by providing access to social, academic, and skating support through Skate Oakland.