learn

About Us

We help students break through, achieve excellence, and go further.

What We Do

Founded in 2013, Empower ME Academy provides a holistic training experience. Student-Athletes develop better basketball skills — and in addition, improve their attitude, commitment, and discipline. Ultimately, our Student-Athletes become well-rounded leaders and adults, successful on the court and in life.

Meet the Team

Our team is our family. Our concept is simple—from purpose to Impact. Our principle of working together is the foundation of how EMA operates to make a positive impact in the life of each Student-Athlete. Together, we share the same vision: to help change the culture of sports in the Bay Area… and beyond.

Each member of Empower ME Academy has a creative and critical role that ensures that we are all able to succeed together. All views are valued and respected which stimulates growth from top to bottom. The principle of working together with our families and communities establishes how we operate and further the growth of the business.

Coach Jerome Gumbs

Coach Jerome Gumbs

Founder

Today, most basketball trainers are trying to develop the next Stephen Curry. Coach Gumbs helps Student Athletes develop from the inside out. In doing so, he hopes to help nurture the next Barack Obama—who just so happens to love basketball.

“A leader should not be measured by the number of followers they have, but by the number of leaders they nurture.”

- Coach GumbsRead Coach Gumbs’ Full Story
Alexandre Iljas

Alexandre Iljas

Assistant Empower ME Coach

Alexandre Iljas is a strong believer in the value of sports as a developmental education tool. Upon graduating with an International Baccalaureate and a high school diploma in 2008, Coach Alex started a career in coaching at the young age of 17. While attending the University of San Francisco as a Sociology major and African-American Studies minor, Coach Alex began coaching, training, and mentoring. Coach Alex has held Assistant and Head Coach positions, ranging from 3rd grade to high school Varsity levels. He is currently the Athletic Director at the Cathedral School for Boys.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

- Confucius
Marcellis Shaw

Marcellis Shaw

Assistant Empower ME Coach

Marcellis Shaw believes that sports & fitness is a powerful tool for expression, character, and leader development. 95% of the Fortune 500 CEOs participated in college sports. Marcellis, a Sacramento native, graduated from the University of San Francisco with a BS in Business Administration. Aside from working as an Assistant coach for EMA since 2016, Marcellis currently works as a Financial Analyst at the University of California Berkeley. Coming from a coaching family, Marcellis has experience in coaching camps, clinics, training sessions, and refereeing.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

- Arthur Ashe
Andrew Rodriguez

Andrew Rodriguez

Assistant Empower ME Coach

Andrew Rodriguez is passionate about sports and believes it can be used to develop a strong foundation for the success of our youth. A transplant from Chicago, Illinois, Andrew graduated from DePaul University with a BA in Communications and Journalism. Coach Andrew has been around the game of basketball most of his life due to his father having played in college. He attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and played in the highly competitive Chicago Public League, which has produced current NBA players such as Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose and Jabari Parker. One of Coach Andrew’s greatest accomplishments as a basketball player was winning the CPL championship his sophomore year. Despite having worked at numerous basketball camps and clinics back in Chicago, Andrew recently began his coaching career as an assistant coach for the 5th and 6th grade level at the Cathedral School for Boys.

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”

- Thomas Edison
Zhane Dikes

Zhane Dikes

Assistant Empower ME Coach

Zhane Dikes values growth in sports not only to become a better athlete but to excel as a leader in the world. Zhane attended the University of San Francisco, where she played on a full scholarship, earned a BA in business finance, entrepreneurship, and innovation. As a Freshman, she earned a spot on the WCC All-Freshman team and clinched a spot on the All-WCC Team during her sophomore, junior, and senior years. During her senior year not only was she named National Jesuit Player of The Week, but she also led her team to win the WCC Tournament Championship. This earned the USF’s Lady Dons a seed in the NCAA tournament which is something that hadn’t been done in over 20 years at USF. She holds the record for free-throws made in history along with the most minutes played by a male or female. After her success as a D-1 collegiate athlete, she then went on to play pro-ball overseas in Germany. Along with coaching the students at the Academy, Coach Zhane is currently selling Luxury Real Estate in San Francisco at The Agency.

“If you want something you’ve never had, You must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

- Thomas Jefferson
Lilly Ngo

Lilly Ngo

Executive Assistant and Bookkeeper

Lilly is currently a student at the University of San Francisco majoring in Finance. She played basketball for four years, which sparked her passion for the sport and values the importance of using sports as a method for cultivating leaders and developing individuals. These ideals are what brought her to the EMA team, and she looks forward to the impact they will have on future generations. Lilly is excited to be a part of the EMA team as the executive assistant and bookkeeper because it brings all her passions together: her major, love for kids, and especially love for basketball.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.”

- Maya Angelou
Rachel Howard

Rachel Howard

Assistant Empower ME Coach

Rachel firmly believes in the power of sport. She’s been adamant about there not being a better platform to teach life lessons the youth. This is why she believes in EMA’s true mission—to use sports as a metaphor for life. Currently, she plays professional basketball in Europe. She has played in Luxembourg and hopes to compete in different countries for more years to come. Previously, she won three Northern California Championships back to back to back at Berkeley High School. After, she went across the Bay Bridge to play for the University of San Francisco where, academically, she earned herself a Bachelor’s of Arts in Kinesiology as well as a Master’s of Arts in Sports Management. Her senior year she led the WCC in scoring and ended her career ranked 10th all-time in scoring at USF. When not involved with basketball, you will likely find her engrossed in a book, smiling, hanging with her big family, or participating with organizations combating social injustice.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.”

- Jim Rohn
Elijah Westall

Elijah Westall

Assistant Empower ME Coach

Elijah appreciates what the game of basketball has taught him about life and hoped to share those lessons with the youth. Upon graduating from Advanced Technologies Academy, the top-ranked high school according to U.S. news in his home state, Elijah accepted a full academic scholarship to the University of San Francisco where he is currently working towards his Masters in Art of teaching degree. The game has surrounded the son of a former college basketball player Elijah for as long as he can remember. As a junior, he helped to bring Arbor View high school to its deepest playoff run in school history. The oldest child of three, Elijah has been coaching his younger siblings basketball teams since he was 13 years old. Elijah is a student of the game and treasures the opportunity to be a part of the EMA team.

“When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’”

- Lao Tzu
Excellence + Commitment + Family = Empower ME

Our Founder’s Story

Coach Jerome Gumbs leads a healthy lifestyle that revolves around making sure each Student-Athlete gets the support they need to succeed on the court and in life. The responsibility he carries in doing so is his greatest privilege.

READ HIS FULL STORY

ARE YOU
ENROLLED?

APPLY TODAY

Ready to join the
Empower ME Academy?

Awesome. We’re about something bigger than basketball. And we want you to be a part of it.

For our son Maddox, Empower ME has been the best and most important academic or athletic after school program.

Stephen Davis
Father of Maddox Davis
(HS Class of 2021)

BEGIN THE APPLICATION