Leading Sports Forward

By King, Francine | The Florida Times Union, August 5, 2007 | Go to article overview

Leading Sports Forward


King, Francine, The Florida Times Union


Byline: FRANCINE KING

As more women take leadership roles in the male-dominated sports world, their influence can be felt across the country. The Times-Union selected seven women from the First Coast who wield such influence - locally and nationally - and asked them about the demands, struggles and rewards of being women leaders in sports.

THEIR PICKS FOR OUR LIST

Dolores Barr Weaver, chair and CEO of the Jaguars Foundation

Donna Fiedorowicz, senior vice president of tournament business affairs for the PGA Tour

Donna Hicken, First Coast News anchor, created the 26.2 with Donna: The National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer

Mary Andrew, FCCJ volleyball coach and chief operating officer of the Jacksonville Junior Volleyball Association

Dottie Dorion, Ironman competitor, triathlete and community volunteer

Becky Purser, director of the University of North Florida's recreation department

Helen Atter, vice president of legal and business for the World Golf Foundation

NFL players' and coaches' wives

T-YOU

Who else belongs on this list? Let us know by e-mailing us at tusports@jacksonville.com.

DONNA ORENDER

Family: Husband, M.G.; twin sons, Jacob and Zachary (10); two stepchildren, Colleen (27) and Morgan (29).

Background: Graduated in 1978 from New York's Queens College, where she played on the women's basketball team. Played three seasons in the Women's Professional Basketball League, where she was an All-Star. Spent 17 years working for the PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach, most recently as the senior vice president of strategic development in the office of the commissioner. Named one of the 10 most powerful women in sports in 2005 by FOXSports.com.

Current occupation: President of the Women's National Basketball Association.

Her impact: As president, Orender, 50, oversees all business and league operations for the WNBA. She also is responsible for ensuring the league's growth and continued viability by increasing marketing partnerships to connect with fans and elevating media coverage. So if a major product could benefit from reaching the WNBA's target audience, Orender and her team will seek to create that partnership. Or if a little girl with a basketball and a backyard hoop dreams of playing professionally one day, it's Orender's job to make sure the WNBA will still be around as an option for her.

Orender on the perception of women in sports: "If you look at the new television deal that the WNBA was able to sign, a new eight-year deal with rights fees, it begins to validate what women have been working so hard for. I fundamentally believe that it comes down to a single word, and that's respect. Women have a great deal of value. They're great role models, and they're looking for the kind of market respect that's worthy of who they are. But the great thing about women is that, while they like it, they don't demand it in a way that they withdraw who they are. They're always there. They're always caring. They're involved in the communities. They provide the highest level of values and the highest level of value to fans and companies."

NANCY HOGSHEAD-MAKAR

Family: Husband, Scott Makar; son, Aaron (6); twin daughters, Helen Clare and Millicent (1).

Background: Ranked as the world's No. 1 swimmer at age 14. Won three gold medals and one silver medal in the 1984 Olympics. Inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1994. Earned a law degree from Georgetown University. Was president of the Women's Sports Foundation from 1993 to 1994. Has testified before Congress more than 10 times as an advocate for Title IX. Was named one of the 13 most influential people in Title IX history by SI.com.

Current occupation: Professor of Law at Florida Coastal School of Law.

Her impact: As a vocal proponent of Title IX, Hogshead-Makar, 45, provides legal advice for cases related to gender equity in athletics, as well as serving as an expert witness.

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