USTA Florida 2021-2022 President Dana Andrews has introduced a new volunteer committee structure for the upcoming term, focusing on solid financial management and grassroots growth. The new structure features two new committees and a new task force, all aimed at continuing the organization’s efforts to reach new and diverse participants in the years ahead.
“It was very important for me to leverage the vast experience of our existing volunteers and bring in new voices and perspectives to address some critical areas of focus for USTA Florida moving forward. Public Park support is vital to our ability to reach new participants, and we know that we must do more to reach diverse people, especially the Black community. I’m excited to see our volunteers and staff working together to drive USTA Florida forward in these critical areas,” said Andrews about the new committees.
First, a new Investment and Audit Committee will be added to oversee the financial reserves of the organization and assist with oversight of the annual financial audit. As of October, USTA Florida maintained more than $7 million in reserves, which have helped to fund various new growth initiatives over the years, such as the Tennis Management Division, which was created in 2017 and has grown to include partnerships with three municipalities. This committee will be led by 2019-2020 USTA Florida President Clark Higgs, who has extensive experience in the financial industry and has played a pivotal role in overseeing the organization’s budget and finances during the last decade. Rounding out the committee will be four additional volunteers with significant accounting and financial management experience. USTA Florida Controller Jeff Lato will serve as staff liaison to the committee.
Second, President Andrews has added a new Public Parks Committee to develop strategic approaches to expanding play in the public park sector throughout the state. This committee will be chaired by Wendy Tatum, Director of Tennis and Pickleball at the Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center. Tatum has overseen tremendous growth at PBGTC in recent years, which was named USTA Florida Organization Member of the Year in 2018 and USTA Organization Member of the Year in 2019. Joining Tatum on the committee will be several public park veterans, who will help develop strategies to assist parks with expanding play opportunities and reaching new participants. USTA Florida Director of Community Tennis Danielle Gooding will serve as staff liaison to this committee.
Third, USTA Florida will launch a new Diversity Task Force, aimed at working with our partners in Florida to make programs and play more inclusive for ALL. The task force will be led by industry veteran Trish Faulkner, who was the catalyst for Pro-Women’s initiatives at both USPTA Florida and USTA Florida, and who also serves as chair of the Diversity group at USPTA. Joining Faulkner will be a number of volunteers who have been vocal about the need for USTA Florida to do better, especially in terms of outreach and support of the Black community. Ronald Lyons, USTA Florida Diversity & Outreach Coordinator, will serve as the staff liaison to the task force.
Other active USTA Florida committees and teams will be returning this term to help support the organization’s goal of expanding play in the post-COVID-19 environment. Below is a list of returning committees and advisory groups, including the 2021-2022 chair and staff liaisons for those groups:
Jo-Ann Zirpoli, Chair; Laura Bowen, Staff Liaison
Budget & Finance
Marcelo Gouts, Chair; Laura Bowen, Staff Liaison
Adam Ross, Chair; Jason Gilbert, Staff Liaison
Phil Girardi, Chair; Laura Bowen, Staff Liaison
Jo-Ann Zirpoli, Chair; Lynne Salus, Staff Liaison
Kevin Johnson, Chair; Christine Ducey, Staff Liaison
Tracy Morgan, Chair; Jason Gilbert, Staff Liaison
Tennis Management Advisory Team
Chuck Gill, Chair; Frank Swope, Staff Lead
Mary Conaway, Chair; Jasmine Baptiste-Apena, Staff Lead
Graduates of the organization’s inaugural Leadership Academy played a critical role in rounding out the committee appointments. Many have been placed on various committees, ensuring new voices and ideas will be integrated throughout the organization moving forward. The next USTA Florida Leadership Academy Class will begin in late 2021.
“I felt it was important that anyone who completed the Leadership Academy have an opportunity to get involved,” said Andrews. “Committees are just one way for new volunteers and leaders to emerge. I expect many of our Leadership Academy participants to take on additional work in their communities and assist us with numerous projects in the year ahead.”
For more information on how you can get involved as a volunteer, visit www.USTAFlorida.com/Volunteer.