2016 Winners: Community Relations

First Place

Kelley Kronenberg

TriSharks Non-Profit Organization

SummaryYHA | Kelley Kronenberg

Over the last decade, the sport of triathlon has seen explosive growth, including among business executives. The challenges facing a triathlete are much like challenges of executive leadership. Overall, the triathlete community is comprised of senior-level executives and business owners who share common characteristics of heightened competitive spirit, self-driven motivation and the constant pursuit of their personal best.

Since the firm opened its doors in 1980, Kelley Kronenberg has always made charitable giving and community service a priority. Kelley Kronenberg’s Principal Partner and Chief Financial Officer Heath Eskalyo is the head of firm philanthropic efforts and is also a Sprint, Olympic, 70.3 and Ironman triathlete. Strategically, the firm wanted to capitalize on the sport’s growth, develop business relationships with the executives and business owners who embody the average triathlete, and continue to commit to civic and charitable efforts as good corporate citizens—all without appearing self-serving.

The firm’s marketing department thought creating a charitable organization for triathletes was the next logical step in using the sport to develop business for the firm and make positive changes in the community.

In January 2015, TriSharks, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was formed. By giving athletes a purpose beyond their own accomplishment, TriSharks inspired triathletes to fundraise for selected charity partners as a way to add more meaning to their training and racing. It also enabled members to develop business relationships on a unique level with like-minded athletes.

TriSharks’ drive, motivation, competitiveness and commitment to bettering the community align perfectly with the principles embodied by the firm. The TriSharks mission statement is to help members grow professionally through tactical business development strategies and networking opportunities, to make a difference in our communities through consistent philanthropic efforts, and to remain dedicated to the sport through active participation in triathlons.

Each month, members gather to network, share their latest accomplishments and support philanthropic causes. Since its formation, the group has grown from four members to 22. These members consist of successful executives across an array of industries, including lawyers, financial managers, insurance brokers, race managers, restaurant owners, real estate supervisors, construction executives and various business owners and founders.

The formation of TriSharks aligns with the firm’s strategic marketing initiative to capitalize on the deep business resources of triathlete executives and business owners, while benefiting the community. Through TriSharks, the firm has built strategic business relationships with local triathlete-business leaders, which now send the firm business. The firm has also become a go-to business resource for the local triathlete community.

TriSharks has collected race medals for Medals 4 Mettle, a national non-profit organization that collects awarded race medals from athletes, and presented these medals to patients fighting chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Further, TriSharks has raised funds for The Victory School, a local non-profit education center that provides children with autism and similar disorders comprehensive individualized treatment and education, and Schott Communities, a non-profit that designs programs to address the needs of persons who are physically or intellectually challenged in South Florida.

Like the triathletes in TriSharks, members of Kelley Kronenberg strive to keep ahead of their competitors with a relentless focus on emerging trends and tirelessly seeking out new ways to grow and change. Enabling triathletes and executives in this growing sport to transform their journey from personal triumph into successful business endeavors and charitable giving is the ultimate give-back experience.