Board of Advisors
Owner, Aspen Valley Polo Club and Grand Champions Polo Club
Melissa Ganzi is passionate about polo and horses. She grew up riding horses and competing in equestrian events where she was an accomplished horsewoman in dressage, show jumping and cross country. In 2000, she began taking polo lessons and found her true passion. Now one of the nation’s top woman polo players, she plays professionally with and against men and is team captain of Flexjet, based at Wellington, Florida’s Grand Champions Polo Club, which she and her husband, Marc, also a top amateur player, own and maintain year-round. Melissa and her husband also own and run Aspen Valley Polo Club hosting both summer polo July through August and the World Snow Polo Championship in December. Ganzi is the first woman to compete in the prestigious St. Moritz Polo World Cup Tournament and first woman to win the Aspen World Snow Polo Championship for Flexjet. Ganzi is all about diversity in polo. When not competing, she is promoting the sport of polo among the masses including kids, juniors and women. A member of the USPA Board of Directors, Ganzi was elected the sport’s national governing body’s Florida Circuit Governor, the first woman to be named to the prestigious position in the southeast United States. Ganzi is president and top fund raiser for the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, Board of Directors and secretary-treasurer of the Polo Training Foundation.
Founder, Chairman + Creative Director, Bespoke Collection, Blackbird Vineyards, Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, Ærena Galleries
Michael Polenske began his career in banking as Managing Principal of the San Francisco region for American Express Financial Advisors and was co-founder of both the San Mateo and San Francisco offices. He then served as the head of J.P. Morgan’s private banking group’s west coast/north region. Following J.P. Morgan, he was CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank & Trust Co., N.A., heading up the private banking business in the Western U.S. He became managing director at Mezzacappa Management, LLC, an investment management firm. Polenske then served as a managing director of Quellos, focusing on financial and investment activities for private clients. Philanthropically active, he is a founding board member of Festival Del Sole Napa Valley, which celebrates the art of life with components of music, art, food and wine. Prior to refocusing his time to Napa Valley, Polenske was active on various boards benefiting the San Francisco Ballet, Opera and Zoo. He was also a council member of the Woodrow Wilson Center, a nonpartisan think-tank in Washington, D.C. and is a current board member of the Russian National Orchestra.
Kindra has spent her career analyzing, investing in and growing businesses that focus on the consumer. With former experience at RetailNext, Nielsons, Golden Seeds and Forerunner Ventures, she has in depth experience analyzing consumer behavior and advising companies on positioning and financial strategy. Having built her career in research and investing, Kindra works with entrepreneurs, investors and enterprise companies on strategies for growth. Her approach is grounded by a deep understanding of today’s consumer, recognizing that the technology-empowered consumer demands experiential engagement. By leveraging the wealth of global innovation and technological tools, new and revitalized brands have the opportunity to build customer loyalty and accelerate the pace of growth through new and emerging channels. Increasingly, Kindra is interested in working with companies that understand the importance of authenticity and connection, and ones that aren’t afraid to push the boundaries of traditional norm to drive engagement and growth.
Managing Partner, Inspirato
Christian leads the Inspirato sales team and is responsible for all acquisition revenue for the company worldwide. He developed the sales strategy for new Inspirato Memberships, upgrades and in-territory member outreach and programming. He specializes in leading high performance sales organizations and in founding the strategic vision for new brands. Prior to his role as the Global Head of Sales, Christian launched the Inspirato brand in Latin America and was responsible for all sales, marketing, human resources and business development initiatives. Christian has over 12 years of experience in the destination club industry domestically and internationally, including Exclusive Resorts in the United States and Palazzo Tornabuoni, managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, in Italy. Christian is an angel investor in Inspirato. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Columbia Business School. Christian is an avid international polo player, competing in tournaments in Mexico, the United States, Argentina, and India.
VP Head of Marketing at Full Circle Insights
Living in the heart of Silicon Valley, Christine is a long standing technology marketing executive and an avid player of polo. As former Director of Marketing at Intel, in 2013, Christine married her passion for polo with her profession and became the first Chairman of the Board for the United States Polo Association’s Marketing LLC, where she created from scratch the first-ever professional marketing organization for equestrian polo in the US. Currently, she is back in Silicon Valley as VP Head of Marketing at Full Circle Insights. Appearances perhaps to the contrary, Christine much prefers the fresh air of the field to the rarefied air of technology, regularly competing with men and pros in polo tournaments on both coasts and keeping her eyes open for opportunities to play overseas. Her exploits have been profiled by The Wall Street Journal, Barron's and The San Francisco Chronicle. Off the polo field, you find her in more rustic fields with her beloved Vizsla bird dog, Zigi.