Adventure | Leadership | Teamwork
Robyn Benincasa was born in Long Island, NY, but spent most of her youth in Tempe, AZ, where she competed at the state and national level in gymnastics, diving, and cross country. After graduating from Arizona State University with a B.S. in Marketing, Robyn Benincasa accepted a pharmaceutical sales job in the San Diego Territory and earned honors as "Rookie of the Year" in 1990.
Robyn Benincasa was shortly thereafter caught by the triathlon bug, and ultimately went on to complete six Ironman races, with two podium finishes in her age group in Kona, Hawaii. By 1995, however, she was really really tired of triathlon and wearing panty hose to work, so she embarked on a mission to live her dreams of becoming an adventure racer and firefighter.
In the past ten years, she has completed over 13 "expedition length" adventure races (seven-ten days, non stop), and has earned World Champion honors in both the Eco-Challenge Borneo in 2000 and the Raid Gauloises in 1998. Ever in search of a way to "spread the luuuuuuv", Robyn Benincasa launched World Class Teams in 2000, with the hopes of bringing her unique and inspiring perspective on teamwork to the corporate world.
In the past five years, Starbucks, Tony Robbins, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Aramark, Honda/Acura, Timberland, Earthlink, and Fast Company Magazine have embraced her "8 Essential Elements of Human Synergy" keynotes, training seminars, and outdoor AdventureTeambuilding challenges.
She also accepts full blame for inspiring some of her corporate clients to do insane things like climb mount Kilimanjaro, run their first triathlon, or (gasp!) starts their own adventure racing teams. "It's a tough job", Robyn Benincasa says, "But someone's gotta do it."
Jeff Akens is World Class Team''s "Jack of all trades" as well as, a full-time firefighter for the city of San Diego; and his experience as Robyn Benincasa's "ground crew" in both adventure racing and life makes him a perfect logistics coordinator/director of world class teams toys/builder of crazy contraptions and go-to-guy. His love of close knit teams and far-reaching adventure has literally taken him to the ends of the earth, having spent 3˝ years as a fire department lieutenant at McMurdo Station in Antarctica and four years as an infantry scout, paratrooper, and master fitness trainer in the US Army. When he is not out crewing for Robyn Benincasa and Team Earthlink, he can usually be found running, biking, or lifting weights near World Class Teams Headquarters in Cardiff, California or in the garage trying to organize Ms. Benincasa''s gear.
Jamie Monroe (a.k.a. "alien boy" or "hairboy") may still get carded at every bar in town, but at 29 years old, this "kid" has accomplished a lot. After graduating from high school, where he was a standout cross country-runner, Jamie Monroe joined the Navy with the goal of becoming a US Navy Seal. After the 6 month long arduous training program known as BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal Training), Jamie Monroe realized his goal, graduating from Seal training as one of only 19 originals in a class that began with 140. Jamie Monroe has since finished his active duty service obligation, but still remains an active reserve at Seal Team One in Coronado. As if being a Seal isn't quite enough of a challenge, Jamie Monroe also finished the 2000 Eco-Challenge adventure race, captaining the top rookie team to a 15th place finish. He plans to continue racing in the 2002 season, with a team sponsored by Oxydol Detergent. Jamie Monroe is a graduate of University of San Diego who went on a full tuition academic/athletic scholarship for cross country running, and graduated with honors in 2002 with a bachelor in Business Administration.
After a misspent youth of cow tipping and corn shucking, Kris Verdeck earned a BA in English from the University of Iowa and headed west until she ran out of road at the Pacific Ocean. Once in San Diego, she began a career in sports PR, which led her to specialization in meeting and event planning. She has now established her own company, No Limits Consulting, which takes her on adventures all over the world. Kris is also a new author, having published the first of a series of "exchange journals" entitled Between Sisters, which will be available in bookstores soon. When she is not out globetrotting with Fortune 500 companies, Kris is an avid outdoorswoman who has completed multiple triathlons, century rides, and most recently, her first 24-hour adventure race.
Kas McSurfer, World Class Teams "water baby," was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and spent her youth competing in both figure skating and tennis. She completed her undergraduate studies in Spain, and has since received an MA in Secondary Education and a Masters in Sports Psychology. Kas is currently a full-time faculty member at Miramar College, teaching health, aquatics, and exercise science, as well as an ER Tech at UCSD Trauma Center. Lifelong pursuits include anything wet or sweaty, from surfing, swimming, and kayak polo, to triathlons, marathons, and adventure racing. In her next life, Kas hopes to be a dolphin or a mermaid, but in this one, she will have to settle for being the super-cool, incredibly hip water goddess/medicine woman of World Class Teams.