Five-Time Paralympian Alana Nichols takes over Presidency role; new Trustees include Olympic champion and professional and collegiate sports executives
New York, NY (January 7, 2020) — The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) announced today a new President and five new members joining the Board of Trustees. Five-time Paralympian and six-time Paralympic medalist Alana Nichols takes over as Foundation President and is joined by newly elected Board members Catherine Aker, Katrice Albert, Meghan Duggan, Darcie Glazer Kassewitz and Gloria Nevarez. Nichols and the new Trustees join an elite group of cross-sector experts that help guide the Women’s Sports Foundation’s operations as well as its mission, to unlock the possibilities in every girl and woman through the power of sport.
“We are thrilled to welcome our new President and Board members, such a remarkably talented and accomplished group of professionals that share our passion for advancing gender equity in sport,” said WSF CEO Deborah Antoine. “All have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to our shared cause and bring a diverse breadth of experience and leadership to WSF. We are so excited to partner with them as we carry forward our Foundation’s mission into 2020 and beyond.”
Nichols, who has competed in the Paralympic Games in wheelchair basketball, alpine skiing and canoeing, replaces outgoing President Elana Meyers Taylor, a three-time Olympic medalist in bobsled. She will serve a one-year term, providing her unique perspective and expertise, as well as visibility to WSF’s mission.
“Once I became an athlete I came into my own and discovered my true self; that’s the power of sports – it can teach you, inspire you, and challenge you to do and be your best no matter who you are, no matter what your capability is,” Nichols said. “That’s why I’m so passionate about the Women’s Sports Foundation. All girls, all women, all sports, is such an incredibly powerful message. So many past WSF presidents helped pave the way for me; as president I hope to extend that legacy, especially for minority groups who haven’t been lifted up as much. I’m honored to have been elected and I’m excited for the year ahead.”
Nichols is a lifelong athlete who competed in a multitude of sports while growing up. During a Colorado ski trip in 2000, she suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury while snowboarding which left her paralyzed from the waist down. Initially fearing her athletic career was over, that changed when she was introduced to wheelchair basketball her freshman year of college. Her passion reignited, she soon after accepted a scholarship from the University of Arizona to participate in their intercollegiate program for disabled sports, and later earned her master’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Alabama. Nichols is the first woman Paralympian to win gold medals at both Summer and Winter Games, having competed in wheelchair basketball, para alpine skiing and canoeing. Though now retired from her Paralympic career, her sports drive continues via her passion for competitive surfing. Already an experienced WSF advocate, she previously served on the Foundation’s Athlete Advisory Panel.
Nichols will be joined by incoming Board members who hail from a wide range of backgrounds in professional and collegiate sports and will provide crucial expertise as the Foundation progresses into 2020. Effective January 1, 2020, the new members of WSF’s Board of Trustees will join Nichols in positions within WSF’s leadership:
Catherine Aker is in her fifth season with the Oakland A’s and her fourth as vice president of communications and community. In her current role she oversees both baseball and strategic communications, community engagement departments, and the club’s charity arm Oakland A’s Community Fund. She is the club’s second female vice president and its first in nearly 30 years. Aker formed the ‘Women of the A’s’ which provides networking opportunities along with professional and leadership development for the team’s female staff. Among her many accolades, she was awarded the 2017 Oakland Digital’s Community Leader, the 2018 Emerging Leader for Easy Bay Women in Business and was named one of the 2019 Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business by the San Francisco Times.
Katrice Albert is the NCAA’s executive vice president of inclusion and human resources. In this role, she leads efforts to enhance diversity, inclusion, leadership development, external engagement and strategic partnerships, in addition to human resource and performance management duties. Albert frequently writes, speaks and consults on issues of intercultural competence, educational and workforce inclusion, gender and dynamics of power, the complexities of diverse populations, educational access and more. Her work has been published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology and the Journal of Counseling & Development. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. Named the 2017 Xavier University of Louisiana Leo Sam, Jr. ’52 Distinguished Alumna of the Year, Albert is actively engaged in servant leadership serving in many capacities including as a member the board of directors of the Institute for Sport and Social Justice.
Meghan Duggan is a three-time ice hockey Olympic medalist who most recently captained the 2018 Olympic team to Team USA’s first women’s ice hockey gold in 20 years. A member of the U.S. Women’s National Team since 2007, she has won seven IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships which is tied for third-most won all-time. The U.S. Olympic Women’s Team was nominated for three 2018 ESPY Awards and won the award for “Best Game.” Duggan is a member of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA), whose mission is to promote, advance and support a single, viable professional women’s ice hockey league in North America that showcases the greatest product of women’s professional ice hockey in the world. She also frequently lends her voice to anti-bullying causes around the nation and is a keynote speaker about gender equality, leadership, teamwork and confidence from the board room to the playing field.
Darcie Glazer Kassewitz co-owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and president of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation and Glazer Family Foundation. She has been the driving force behind many of the Buccaneers’ innovative fan engagement and community outreach initiatives, retail activation and facility design. She is focused on ensuring that the Buccaneers and the Glazer Family Foundation create a lasting positive impact on the Tampa Bay community. Under her leadership, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation partnered with the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation department to launch the first city-wide, all-girls flag football league in Tampa in 2018. That same year she also helped establish the Social Justice Initiative, a community-strengthening program focused on youth empowerment, police relations, criminal justice reform, racial equality and workforce development. Further, Kassewitz has implemented several initiatives designed to strengthen the organization’s connection with all segments of its fan base, including introducing ‘Women of Red’, a pioneering program focused on enhancing and improving female fans’ experience.
Gloria Nevarez was selected as the fourth full-time commissioner in the 67-year history of the West Coast Conference (WCC) in April 2018. Nevarez is one of only 10 female conference commissioners serving in Division I athletics and is the first Latin American to ascend to the commissioner’s chair. Prior to the WCC Nevarez served as the Pac-12’s Senior Associate Commissioner, Senior Woman Administrator, where she oversaw all sports and championships except football. She simultaneously served as the Conference liaison for men’s basketball and the tournament director for the men’s basketball tournament during her tenure. Throughout her career Nevarez has been active with NCAA governance groups including the NCAA Management Council, the highest level within the collegiate organization’s governing structure. She currently serves on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and the NIT selection committee.
For a complete list of the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Board of Trustees, please visit: www.WomensSportsFoundation.org/who-we-are/our-team/board-of-trustees/.
About the Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. We are an ally, an advocate and a catalyst. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we strengthen and expand participation and leadership opportunities through research, advocacy, community programming and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. The Women’s Sports Foundation has positively shaped the lives of millions of youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes, elite athletes and coaches. We’re building a future where every girl and woman can #KeepPlaying and unlock the lifelong benefits of sport participation. All Girls. All Women. All Sports. To learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org.
Women’s Sports Foundation