As I moved up the ladder of leadership positions in the USPTA in my 30-plus years as a member, I always dreamed of the day when I could serve our organization at its highest level, the USPTA Board of Directors.
Shortly after learning of my appointment, CEO John Embree called to congratulate me and assure me that my leadership would be counted on as we move into a new year with many new challenges. His words brought to mind the Peter Parker principle of the great Stan Lee: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Those are strong words.
The USPTA Board of Directors is a very powerful tennis entity that has tremendous responsibility to the tennis world. It must navigate many issues and make critical decisions regarding the future of the organization. USTA accreditation is a prime example. This is a very complex process with many moving parts and many people involved – more than most would think.
Throughout that process, the Board had to do what was best for all USPTA members. Indeed, the Board must do what is best for all of us in everything it does.
Understanding the magnitude of this appointment, I consulted a few experts on leadership that you may have heard of in my research for this article.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
– Abraham Lincoln
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets people to do the greatest things.”
– Ronald Reagan
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
– John Quincy Adams
Not bad advice from some well-known leaders.
I have always considered myself a club members’ pro that will always work on their behalf, because it is not, and will never be, about me. I’d like to think I’m a USPTA members’ board member, too. I want to know what you want from the USPTA because you are what matters. I get calls all the time from USPTA members from across the country to voice their concerns. It has always been my pleasure to take these calls and address their concerns; now it is my solemn promise.
Serving on the USPTA Board of Directors is a serious responsibility. Our industry is constantly changing, and we must continue to keep pace with and affect how those changes impact our members and our sport. It is up to all of us to do this, but as a board member, I feel a special duty to uphold.
We, as an Association, need to decide what we want to be. There is leadership greatness in all of us. Let’s find that greatness and move forward together as a team, paving the way forward for the USPTA and the tennis industry as we head into a new decade.
Finally, I want you to know you always have ears at the board level that will listen to your thoughts and ideas. We will always support you. As a USPTA Tester, this is one of the main ideas I convey to new applicants at every test. We’re here for you. We’re glad you’re here with us.