Seymour Rifkind (rif) is the President and Founder of International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA). He also serves as President of the Pickleball Hall of Fame. Prior to his involvement in pickleball, he served as President of the Interface Group, a marketing communication firm with offices in Illinois and California. He’s a best selling author, and after retiring in 2005 spent a number of years on the speaking tour doing workshops on peak performance worldwide. Rif is a 5.0 rated player with multiple medals at the US Open, as well as other regional & national tournaments.
Current President and co-founder of the ASK charitable foundation. Prior to his involvement in his many charitable foundations, Steve was a Partner and Portfolio Manager at Pine River Capital, where he focused on seeking new opportunities for the firm. Steve served on both the Executive Committee and on the Charitable Initiatives Committee. Prior to joining Pine River in 2008, Steve was a Portfolio Manager at Goldman Sachs. Based in New York and Beijing from 2002 to 2007, he was part of the mortgage portfolio management team. From 1999 to 2002, Steve was a Japanese convertible bond trader at Citadel Investment Group in Chicago. Prior to that, he was head of mortgage backed securities trading at Cargill. Steve received an AB cum laude in Economics from Harvard University in 1991. In addition to his business experience, Steve is a 5.0 pickleball player and recently hosted two charitable pickleball events where Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick played against our top pickleball pro’s.
John P. Costas is the Managing Member of Costas Holdings, LLC, a private equity firm, since July 2012. Mr. Costas was Chairman of PrinceRidge LLC, a financial services firm, from 2009 to July 2012. Mr. Costas was with UBS, a financial services firm, from 1996 to 2007. During his tenure at UBS, Mr. Costas held various positions, including Deputy CEO of UBS A.G., Chairman and CEO of the UBS Investment Bank and Chairman and CEO of Dillon Read Capital Management LLC. Mr. Costas was a member of the UBS Group Executive Management Committee from 2001 to 2005. Prior to joining UBS, Mr. Costas was with CS First Boston Corporation from 1981 to 1996. While at CS First Boston Corporation, Mr. Costas held several positions, including Co-Global Head of the Fixed Income Division. Mr. Costas also previously served as a member of the NYSE advisory board. Mr. Costas has a B.A. from the University of Delaware and an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College In addition to his vast business experience, John is an avid 4.0 pickleball player who is addicted to the game.
Qingmin is a very popular and well known fine artist in China. He is an academician and art consultant of the Chinese federation of culture and art and has been since June of 2014. Qingmin brought pickleball to China in 2010 after first being introduced to the game on a visit to the pacific northwest. In May of 2012, he organized a 46 day tour in more than a dozen cities with the assistance of some of his pickleball friends from Oregon. He’s been a trailblazer and leader in developing the game in China as is evidenced by his many positions. He’s been the executive chairman, global Chinese pickleball federation since March of 2016. He’s president of global Chinese pickleball China federation and president of the Guangzhou branch. In addition, this past year, he served as chairman, international pickleball academy (Asia Pacific)
Karen retired early in 2014 following a successful 35 year career with American Express. Her background is in Marketing & Communications, New Product Development and Business Development. She was part of the Senior Management Committee for her business organization and has led large global teams. Karen took up pickleball in 2015 and introduced her husband Chris to the game later that year. Karen & Chris started Pickleball in Eastbourne in 2016 which now has 6 sessions a week. Karen & Chris are both regular attendees at European Tournaments and look forward to playing in the USA and Asia in the future. Karen and Frank Arico established a new federation, pickleball England in 2018 which now has over 2800 members and more than 220 places to play. Pickleball England hosts two major tournaments the English OPEN and English Nationals as well as smaller tournaments and pickleball festivals. Karen joined the WPF Board in 2019 and has led many WPF initiatives including World Pickleball Day, the organisation of WPF Summits and the WPF website.
Antonio is an economist who graduated from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil and the Institute of Social Science, The Hague, The Netherlands. He worked in the three spheres of the Brazilian government, having served as Secretary of Education and Sport and Economic Development for the municipality of Governador Valadares in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He also served as deputy mayor of Governador Valadares. Other posts include economist at the Minas Gerais Development Bank in Belo Horizonte, and head of the economic advisory board of the Ministry of Education in Brasilia. He also served as director of the Brazilian Coffee Institute in Rio de Janeiro. Currently, Antonio is retired from public service, but he runs his own telecommunications company in the city of Governador Valadares. In addition, he is Founding President of the Brazilian Pickleball Association and, since early 2019, owns and manages the Valadares Pickleball Club.
Jim Cohen (known as “Jimbo”) is the Founder & President of Spirit of the Hummingbird, a multifaceted, Minnesota-based corporation dedicated to building the sport of Pickleball through various consulting, management, promotion, player development, coaching and facility design efforts. Prior to his retirement in 2014, Jim pursued a legal career in both the private and public sectors—first as a litigator with the international law firm of Covington and Burling; and, thereafter, for more than four decades, primarily as a public interest advocate & certified mediator focused upon providing quality and affordable legal assistance to low- and moderate-income working families of limited means. Among other major positions, he has served as: a Deputy Assistant Director of the Federal Trade Commission; the Founder & Executive Director of the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (Wash. D.C. Office); and as the Founder & Executive Director of Access Justice PSC, a non-profit law firm and public charity. He has served on several other nonprofit and corporate boards of directors.
Jim was an Honors graduate of both Cornell University and Michigan Law School, thereafter serving a stint as a Ford Foundation fellow in Germany. Upon his retirement, he took up Pickleball with a passion and in three years has become a 4.0-4.5 USAPA rated player and frequent medalist in local, state, regional and national tournaments; an IPTPA Certified Coach, Referee (USAPA Certification Evaluation Pending) & Entrepreneur.Jimbo currently runs a respected coaching clinic in accordance with IPTPA guidelines for both adults and youths, highlighting his knowledge and love for the sport.
Josephine Neale is the Treasurer and a founding member of the Gold Coast Pickleball Association (GCPA) which was established in 2017. She is a qualified accountant and internal auditor.
In 1980, Josephine opened Empire Office Furniture and Shape Furniture Imports. This importing/retail operation, based in Brisbane, trades Australia-wide and continues to grow. In 2017, Josephine opened “Advanced Furniture Testing’, an internationally accredited NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) Laboratory which tests commercial furniture to the international standard – ISO/IEC 17025. Each of these businesses operate under a Quality Management System AS/NZS ISO 9001 and Environmental Management System ISO 14001.
Jose retired in 2018 after 40 years of running these businesses and now concentrates her efforts on establishing and promoting Pickleball in Australia.
Chairman of the Global Development Committee
A visionary leader and investor, Mr. Zeng has achieved remarkable success in both the United States and China. He skillfully integrated Western business acumen with traditional Chinese management principles, thereby fostering a robust cultural symbiosis between China and the West.
Mr. Zeng’s professional career includes decades of experience in the metallurgy industry and real estate development and operations. His expertise spans research, direct investment and fund management. Currently serving as the CEO of UHS Holding Group, Mr. Zeng has led the organization through a transformative era, turning it into a highly efficient investment management platform. In addition to managing his business ventures, Mr. Zeng dedicates much of his time and resources towards non-profit health and well-being initiatives that have broad reach and deep impact in modern society.