Our Team

At Navigate, we have recruited the best people in the industry to be a part of our team. Our employees are both experienced and passionate about the job and client relationships. Please get to know us ...

AJ Maestas

AJ, President

Position: President
Current Location: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Fairbanks, AK
Height: 6-0
College: BA University of Washington, MBA Arizona State University
Previous Teams: rEvolution, IEG, Yellow Roadway and Microsoft.
Current Team Contributions: Client service, business development, management of the valuation and analytics practice and frequent happy hours.
Career Highlights: Recruiting the Navigate team, and our client roster, which reads like a who’s who of the top leagues, teams, agencies, media and brands.
Other Accomplishments: Board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, Navigate’s #1 ranked player in table tennis and foosball, frequent speaker at industry events, adjunct and visiting professor at ASU, Columbia, Northwestern, Ohio U and NYU, and Chicago’s leading (and free) employment broker.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: I am a passionate Huskies fan.

Wendy Conway

Wendy, Operations

Position: Executive Assistant to AJ Maestas
Current Location: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Height: 5-4
College: Valparaiso University
Previous Teams: Chicago Steel, Ryan Enterprises Group, Six Degrees, Inc., and Smithfield Properties.
Current Team Contributions: Manage accounting, scheduling, client interaction, office design and all contract creation. Also plans the best networking happy hours in Chicago.
Career Highlights: Most are confidential, so I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.
Other Accomplishments: I have assisted major athletes and celebrities appearing in some of the more recognizable ad campaigns of the past decade; I have visited over 120 cities on a total of four continents; I'm a docent at a famous Chicago landmark.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: I was part of the AV club in high school (but please don't tell anyone).

Beau Stephens

Beau, Senior VP

Position: Senior Vice President of University Business
Current Location: Dallas, TX
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Height: 5-11
College: BS Texas Christian University
Previous Teams: SMU Mustangs, Learfield Sports, Jewish Community Center of Dallas, JATO Athletics
Current Team Contributions: To maximize opportunities while providing best in class service and real value to all clients.
Career Highlights: Rebranding of Learfield Sports, acquisition/rebranding of the Directors' Cup, Ideation/Execution of first ever Digital Media Summit devoted solely to college sports
Other Accomplishments: Team Advisory Council Member for InStadium, Founder of Kicks FC, Volunteer for Operation Kindness, 4 time fantasy football champion.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: I am a 5th generation Texan.

Chris Todd

Chris, Sales

Position: Director, Business Development
Current Location: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Height: 5-10
College: BA Coastal Carolina University
Previous Teams: Director of Sales at Pharmacy OneSource, Baseball Player in San Francisco Giants Organization
Current Team Contributions: To provide best in industry custom market research, sponsorship valuation and ROI to all teams/facilities and brands looking to improve business and increase revenue.
Career Highlights: Pharmacy OneSource Salesperson of the Year (2010).
Other Accomplishments: Division (I) 2nd Team Academic All-American (2005) at Coastal Carolina University, Drafted 33rd Round of 2005 MLB First Year Player Draft by San Francisco Giants.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: I absolutely shred on the guitar!

Ben Levy

Ben, Sales

Position: Coordinator, Business Development
Current Location: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Height: 6-1
College: Arizona State University
Previous Teams: SBA at ASU, The Artigue Agency, Fleishman-Hillard, Octagon, NFL Players Inc., Phoenix Suns
Current Team Contributions: Business development, sales support, marketing and public relations.
Career Highlights: Landing a gig right out of the gate to be on the esteemed team at Navigate!
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: I once hit 7 consecutive ground rule doubles…off of a pitching machine.

Julie Frank

Julie, Marketing

Position: Manager, Marketing and Public Relations
Current Location: Chicago, IL
Hometown: St. Louis. MO
Height: 5-6
College: BA Miami University (Ohio)
Previous Teams: Account Coordinator at Blick&Staff Communications, Public Relations & Special Events at Missouri Botanical Gardens
Current Team Contributions: Responsible for planning, development and implementation of marketing strategies, marketing communications, social media and public relations activities.
Career Highlights: Securing media coverage in over 75 media outlets; including Oprah, USA Today, The New York Times and more.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: Proud Captain of Chicago’s most defeated recreational softball team.

Dr. Mark Friederich

Dr. Mark, Executive Vice President

Position: Executive Vice President, Research
Current Location: Denver, CO
Hometown: Cologne, Germany
Height: 5-10
College: Ph.D. Brown University; MS Brown University; BA Colorado College
Previous Teams: COO & VP The Bonham Group Market Research Company; Research Director INVESCO Funds Group
Current Team Contributions: Heads the Navigate Market Research Department
Career Highlights: Research clients include Best Buy, Miller Brewing, Sony PlayStation, U.S. Cellular, MoneyGram, Nationwide, O2, Regions Bank, PNC Bank, Farmers, State Farm, OfficeMax, Valvoline, Oklahoma State University, Penn State University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Virginia, the LPGA, NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, ESPN, NBC, Madison Square Garden, San Diego Padres, Seattle Seahawks, Toronto FC, Chicago Fire, DC United, Arsenal FC (England), Club de Futbol Monterrey (Mexico) and Chicago Cubs.
Other Accomplishments: Published author in multiple international scientific, peer-reviewed journals. Successful college and semi-professional soccer career; currently coaching high school soccer.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: I am a German-Chinese American citizen with a Brazilian passport.

Stefanie Francis

Stef, Co-Founder & Managing Director

Position: Co-Founder & Managing Director
Current Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Height: 5-13
College: BS George Washington University; MA University of San Diego; MBA Arizona State University
Previous Teams: Research International, Caremark Market Research
Current Team Contributions: Oversee Navigate’s qualitative division and activation research team. Lead the creation of the Sponsorship Snapshot and oversee select custom quantitative research projects.
Career Highlights: Research clients include ESPN, Southwest Airlines, Comcast, LG, AAA, WWE, AEG, Memphis Grizzlies, GMR, Arizona Diamondbacks, The Harlem Globetrotters
Other Accomplishments: Phoenix Business Journal's 40 Under 40 - Class of 2012, Board member of the Positive Coaching Alliance and ASU’s Sports Business Association, Valley Leadership Alumni, volunteer at Florence Crittenton (INSPIRE), Women Unlimited graduate and guest lecturer for several MBA programs.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: I have been down the Olympic luge and bobsled run in Lake Placid and trained for a day with the Olympic Freestyle Ski team in Park City.

Shaelyn McCole

Shaelyn, Research

Position: Director, Research
Current Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Hometown: Gardnerville, NV
Height: 5-2
College: BS W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University
Previous Teams: Research Associate for Research International; Research Manager for Blueocean Market Intelligence.
Current Team Contributions: Involved in all elements of the market research process, specifically research statistics and analysis, project management, and specializing in data visualization; I am deeply passionate about creatively transforming lots of numbers into simple, engaging visuals.
Career Highlights: Market research among season ticket holders for all MLS teams; research analysis of LG exposure from NCAA sponsorship; ROI and sponsorship impact studies for ESPN; global research tracking studies for MoneyGram's ICC World Cricket partnership.
Other Accomplishments: High school graduate in three years; first place all-around in Silver State Gymnastics tournament; local coloring contest champion in Gardnerville, NV.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: When I'm not on my laptop, I'm on my yoga mat. I teach yoga in my free time!

Dr. Melissa Kovacs

Melissa, Research

Position: Data Analyst
Current Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Hometown: Greenwood, IN
Height: 5-3
College: BS Purdue University, MA Duquesne University, PhD University of Maryland College Park
Previous Teams: Research for the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at the University of Maryland and Center for Political Participation at Allegheny College. Assistant Professor, Allegheny College.
Current Team Contributions: Involved in research statistics and analysis within the market research process.
Career Highlights: Faculty Associate and Research Associate at Arizona State University, and founder of FirstEval, LLC.
Other Accomplishments: Former Congressional staffer and former Fulbright professor, Universitat Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Completed numerous triathlons and marathons.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: I am not afraid of open-water swim races in mucky Midwestern lakes...

Allyson Corbin

Allyson, Research

Position: Senior Data Analyst
Current Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Hometown: Morehead City, NC
Height: 5-4.5
College: BA University of North Carolina Wilmington; MA Marquette University
Previous Teams: Teaching staff at Marquette University in Research Methods
Current Team Contributions: Involved in all elements of the market research process, specifically questionnaire construction, research statistics and analysis, project management and report deliverables.
Career Highlights: Research among MLS, ESPN, AAA-NASCAR
Other Accomplishments: My undergraduate career was funded by Warren Buffett’s sister, Doris Buffett & my graduate school paid me to attend their program.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: Although the '90s have passed, I enjoy rollerblading in my spare time.

Robyn Matthews

Robyn Matthews

Position: Data Analyst, Research
Current Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Hometown: Edinburgh, UK
Height: 5-8
College: BS in Kinesiology and minor in Communications at Arizona State University
Previous Teams: Former Student-Athlete at Arizona State University and team member of the Scottish and British National swim teams.
Current Team Contributions: Involved in all elements of the market research process, specifically questionnaire construction, research statistic aggregation and analysis and report deliverables.
Career Highlights: The Social Media Scoreboard (http://www.thesocialmediascoreboard.com)
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: Won silver in both the World Youth Championships in Mexico for the 200m freestyle and in the Commonwealth Youth Games for the 100m breastroke held in India.

Matt Balvanz

Matt, Analytics

Position: Vice President, Analytics
Current Location: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Cedar Rapids, IA
Height: 5-8
College: BBA University of Iowa, MBA San Diego State University Sports
Previous Teams: Financial analyst at GreatAmerica Leasing Company
Current Team Contributions: Sponsorship Navigator™ management and development, sponsorship valuation, secondary research, sponsorship category research, media-rights analysis and sponsorship ROI
Career Highlights: Extensive property and brand client list that includes Arizona State University, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew, Competitor Group, DC United, Denver Broncos, Farmers Insurance, FC Dallas, Indiana University, LA Galaxy, LG Electronics, LifeTime Fitness, Milwaukee Brewers, Navy Pier, NBC Sports, NFL, Ohio State University, Phoenix Suns, Rawlings, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Sharks, Seattle Sounders, Sony, Sporting KC, St. Louis Rams, U.S. Cellular, United Airlines, University of Arkansas, University of Cincinnati, University of Utah, University of Washington, USOC, Western Union and WWE.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: They say that life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon … and I have completed three of them. (Marathons, not lives.)

Jeff Nelson

Jeff, Analytics

Position: Director, Analytics
Current Location: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Height: 5-8
College: BA George Washington University, MSA Northwestern University
Previous Teams: Sports correspondent for The Washington Post.
Current Team Contributions: Conducts research, measurement and analysis on sponsorships, media-rights and ad sales for brands and properties.
Career Highlights: Working with an incredible roster of clients including the NFL, USOC, Navy Pier, City of Seattle, Farmers Insurance, LG, US Cellular, CTCA, Indiana University, Arizona State University, the Division 1A Athletic Directors’ Association, Milwaukee Brewers, Phoenix Suns, Sporting KC, Seattle Sounders, Philadelphia Union, Washington Mystics, and many more.
Other Accomplishments: Playing on two Wisconsin high school state champion tennis teams; writing for The Washington Post sports section; watching someone run a marathon.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: I can wiggle my ears upon request.

Dan Kozlak

Dan, Analyst

Position: Manager, Analytics
Current Location: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Evanston, IL
Height: 5-11
College: BA Boston College, MSA Northwestern University
Previous Teams: (Media Associate) Starcom, (Marketing Coordinator) G & J Marketing, and (Sophomore Football Coach) Loyola Academy.
Current Team Contributions: Conducts research, measurement and analysis on sponsorships for brands and properties.
Career Highlights: Columbus Blue Jackets, Colorado Rapids, St. Louis Rams, Chicago Bears, San Jose Sharks, Milwaukee Brewers, Rawlings, Ohio State University and MLS.
Other Accomplishments: Played two seasons of NCAA football (Tufts University), won an intramural championship in flag football and softball at Boston College, and coached the Loyola Academy Sophomore Football team to a Chicago Catholic League championship.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: I'm undefeated at Soldier Field...1-0 (Loyola Academy, Prep Bowl Champions 2003).

Brandon Korody

Position: Valuation Analyst
Current Location: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Canton, MI
Height: 6-0
College: BS - University of Michigan, MBA - San Diego State University
Previous Teams: Competitor Group, Soccer United Marketing
Current Team Contributions: Conducts research, measurement and analysis on sponsorships for brands and properties.
Career Highlights: Portland Timbers, New York Red Bulls, University of Illinois, Athletico, LG, Los Angeles Lakers, DC United, Big Ten Network
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: I have run out of the tunnel at Michigan Stadium before…just without the “GO BLUE” banner and the band and the 110,000+ screaming fans.

Josh Schayer

Josh, Analyst

Position: Fellow, Analyst
Current Location: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Height: 6-0
College: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Previous Teams: (Game day Operations) Edmonton Prospects, (Researcher) the Sports Corporation
Current Team Contributions: Conducts research, measurement and analysis on sponsorships for brands and properties.
Career Highlights: Research for numerous active NHL player contracts, Responsible for all facets of Game Day Operations for the Edmonton Prospects of the Western Major Baseball League, Everything I have done with Navigate.
One Other Thing You Should Know About Me: I joined a curling team in high school because I liked their track suits and ended up winning a city championship. I never ended up getting the track suit.

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