The Lay-Up team is grateful to live and work on the traditional territories of the Mississauga and Haudenosaunee nations and acknowledges our role as a treaty person to reconcile and rebuild the relationship between indigenous peoples and settlers on Turtle Island.
Chris Penrose is the Executive Director of Lay-Up and has been a part of the team since November 2019. Having worked in roles in the non-profit sector and creative industries for close to 20 years, Chris brings a unique perspective on the ways that creativity and culture intersect with the lived realities in communities across the GTA, and how basketball can tie all of that together. System-thinking is at the core of his approach to youth programming, having completed a Masters Diploma in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo. Chris understands life through basketball analogies and sees the Culture of Basketball as the unifying force behind all of Lay-Up’s programs and priorities.
John Gerongco first joined Lay-Up as a part time coach in September of 2019. What was originally just a “fun job with a friend”, quickly became a new found passion in blending youth development and sports. John’s experience at the provincial level in tennis, as well as his volleyball background, gives Lay-Up a unique multi-sport coaching perspective that reaches beyond basketball. Being the oldest of an immigrant family with 9 children, John is the perfect example of someone who would not have had the resources to participate in sports had it not been for programs like Lay-Up. Now officially a Head Coach, John hopes to provide comfort, and instil confidence to the youth through sports, the way it did for him.
Manager of Outreach and Engagement
Marion Mendoza started with Lay-Up as a volunteer coordinator in the summer of 2017. She joined full-time in February 2018 to lead outreach strategies, community engagement and registration-focused initiatives at Lay-Up. Her favourite part of Lay-Up is watching participants challenge coaches to one-on-one games – the confidence they have built to challenge a coach and their reactions whenever they make a shot, or better yet, win a game. Marion previously worked in the hospitality & event industries and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from St. Scholastica’s College, Manila and a Post Graduate Certificate in Event Management from Centennial College.
Director of Basketball Operations
Micaella joined Lay-Up as Basketball Operations Manager in February 2020 and has been promoted to Director of Basketball Operations in November 2021. She brings playing experience at the provincial and national level, as well as in the NCAA at the University of Minnesota where she completed her Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology. She went on to Kansas State University to complete her Master's in Counseling and Student Development while coaching and assisting in recruiting operations with the Wildcats. Since then, she played professionally overseas and has worked as a National Scout identifying elite talent across Canada.
Hanna Hall joined the Lay-Up team in the summer of 2022, and was promoted to a Program Manager role in September 2022. Hanna recently graduated after playing in the NCAA at the University at Buffalo, where she completed a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, while also studying Nutrition and Nonprofit Leadership. With experience representing the Canadian National team, playing overseas, and competing in a high-level basketball environment, Hanna’s unique perspective around the game led her to a new found passion within the Lay-Up organization. Her goal is to continue to break down barriers in sport, while providing the incredible opportunities, life lessons, and transferable skills the game gave her to everyone.
Vanessa Lodge started with the Lay-Up team in April 2023 as the Development Manger. Vanessa has a range of experiences in the sport sector from the local to the provincial level and has worked in various roles in community sport and the non-profit sectors. She is passionate about providing access to sport to youth from equity-deserving groups. Vanessa completed her undergrad in Kinesiology at McMaster University and her M.A at the University of Ottawa. For her M.A., she looked at the experiences of Indigenous peoples in sport in Canada through the Tom Longboat Awards. Her thesis has informed much of her work in providing equitable access in sport.