Our Board

Our Board


John Conners

My name is John Connors. I am 53 years old and I grew up in Roslindale. I attended and graduated from The Roxbury Latin School in 1981 and went on to earn my Bachelor’s Degree from Harvard University. I currently reside in Dover.

I started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in January of 1999. I received my Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in October of 2006 from Roberto Maia at Boston Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I have owned and operated my own Jiu Jitsu academy since July of 2005. Connors Martial Arts is now located at 180 Kerry Place in Norwood, MA.

Although I won a Gold Medal at the Pans as a Blue Belt back in 2000, I have dedicated myself to coaching for the last ten years. I coach kids and adults in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts. In 2012, our MMA team won nearly 95% of their matches and I was named MMA Trainer of The Year 2012 by Cage FX HEX Awards and my gym was named Gym of The Year 2012 by Cage FX HEX Awards.


Bryan Medina

Hi, my name is Bryan Medina and I am Boston born native first generation college graduate who originated from Medellin, Colombia. I am currently working within the tech-finance space as a global platform consultant for an asset management firm domiciled in Edinburgh, Scotland. I am an incredibly passionate individual who enjoys challenges and persevering through them as a means of growth. As of 2015, I joined the Level Ground Board after being an assistant instructor for a year. I have trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for approximately 5 years and really enjoy ‘the gentle art’ and the perspectives I have gained on and mat which have carried off the mat as well. When I am not training or attending meetings with fellow board members, I am often exploring new and developing concepts for self-awareness and improvement either through reading or physically involving myself in scenarios in which I am outside my comfort zone. Aside, from my explorations, I am heavily invested in traveling to new places and learning new cultures. My future goals are to attend an MBA program for entrepreneurship and leadership development so I can apply my knowledge and ideas within an organization that will ignite positive change within the private sector.

Growing up in Boston, I never had the opportunity to join a program such as Level Ground . At first site, I found the program to be extraordinary with a potential to make a real positive impact and change the lives of Boston’s youth. Our members are an incredibly talented pool of thoughtful, intelligent, and respectful young adults with grit and an insurmountable fight to succeed in life. Don’t be shy, stop by and visit us or simply send an e-mail to say hello!


Hal Charnley

Mr. Charnley is a veteran business leader and advisor to early stage businesses.  For the last 20 years Hal has been the CEO of a number of 6 different companies in variety of different industries.   He is currently the CEO of Mobee, a leading Boston mobile-tech business, is on the Board of Cambridge Sound Management and is a CEO mentor at Venture Cafe.
He holds BS, MS and MBA degrees and is an avid fan, participant, and former promoter of mixed martial arts.

Chris Titus

Chris Titus is currently the Youth Development and Social Enterprise Specialist at Future Chefs. Chris attended Salem State University focusing on Business Management and Economics. Prior to accepting a full-time position at Future Chefs, Chris volunteered and worked part-time for Future Chefs as a Culinary Skills Educator. He has years of experience at every level in the restaurant industry, most recently as the General Manager of Taranta. Chris learned about the relationship between sustainability and the food industry after working on farms in Massachusetts and Hawaii. Chris has studied martial arts for years and is currently practicing Muay Thai.

Sajeev Popat

Sajeev Popat – Director of Development

Sajeev has worked in a variety of positions within financial services including wealth management, commercial banking, and investment banking. Most recently, he has been working as an analyst for Progress Partners, a Cambridge based boutique investment banking firm providing M&A and private placement advisory services to early stage technology companies. Before that, Sajeev worked for Silicon Valley Bank as an Associate in the Specialty Finance Division. Sajeev is a graduate of Tufts University with a B.S. in Quantitative Economics and a minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies. In addition, he has passed all three levels of the CFA exam. At Level Ground, Sajeev serves as the Director of Business Development. He is responsible for engaging individual donors and corporate sponsors to advance the mission of the organization.

Outside of the office, Sajeev actively trains in various martial arts disciplines having earned a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a blue Mongkol in Muay Thai.


Tamsin Elias

For more than 15 years, Tamsin has worked in various positions in the nonprofit sector. She currently works as a consultant to nonprofits and small businesses in the areas of organizational design & development, project management, capital budgeting & financial modeling, and communications. She is deeply committed to fostering organizational effectiveness and capacity building for nonprofits and small businesses, and specializes in working with new founders, organizations with unique business models, and those in transition. Current and recent work includes projects and staff positions with Third Sector New England, the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors, BSG Social Learning, and Yoga by Numbers. Tamsin earned her MBA at the Simmons School of Management and her BA from Hampshire College.

Tamsin was immediately drawn to the passion, dedication, and skill of the Level Ground staff and students, and to the unique ability of this program to have a true impact. She’s honored to have the opportunity to join this brilliant team to help make a level ground for Boston.

Gil Gomes

Gil Gomes

Born and raised in Brazil, Gil moved to US in 2001 and in 2004 found a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school where he started and is still practicing today, earning a black belt under Daniel Gazoni and João Amaral in December 2013. Heavily involved in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community, Gil created Jiu Jitsu Pictures and started to cover tournaments as a photographer, being published in several magazines. In 2013, he started the project/online forum “Jiu Jitsu Changed My Life” (JJCML) which aims to connect the community of over 154,000 Jiu Jitsu practitioners, including ones with disabilities, as well as elevate the work with non-profits such as Level Ground.

Jeremy Thompson

Jeremy Thompson

I am currently the Manager of the Transitional Employment Program (TEP) at Haley House I am also the Manager of Haley House Bakery/Café. I also do outreach and awareness to bring more understanding and knowledge to the work we do here. This is how I come to know the organization Level Ground MMA. My duties include but not limited to marketing and development for programming with disadvantaged and advantaged people of the community. I also oversee day to day operations of the Bakery/Café, catering, wholesale, and special events. I have come to know the organization Level Ground through Alexandra Fuller. Her passion to see them succeed complete blended with my model of the TEP program. I love her work because she takes proactive measures to help the people of our community rather than reactive. I am elated and ecstatic to be able to assist Level Ground MMA moving forward as an integral organization in the community.