USTA Florida Welcomes New Board Expands Strategy For 2023-2024 Term

Jaret Kappelman | November 13, 2022

The USTA Florida Board of Directors welcomed two new members in November, bringing new talent and experiences to the table.  President Phil Girardi will lead the board into the new term, a wealth of experience as a volunteer and coach to the role.


Girardi, who is Director of Tennis at Treasure Bay and head coach for St. Petersburg College, will serve as 2023-2024 President.  Girardi most recently served as USTA Florida President-Elect and has been volunteering at the section for 20 years.  He is certified by the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) and the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and has a passion for Junior Team Tennis and collegiate programs and play.

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Dana Andrews, who served as 2021-2022 USTA Florida President becomes Past President and Delegate.  Andrews is an attorney at Sponsler, Hammer & Johnson in Tampa.  She is a passionate advocate for growing women in tennis and has been a leader in expanding the organization’s focus on DEI outreach and public parks.  Prior to joining the Section Board, she served on the USTA Florida Section Foundation for two terms.  


Clark Higgs, who served as 2019-2020 President, will leave the board.  Higgs, from Clearwater, is a former banker and current tennis official.  He has been volunteering at the section for more than 15 years.  He will serve as Chair of both the Investment & Audit Committee and the Officials Committee in 2023-2024.


Chuck Gill steps into the role of President-Elect in 2023-2024.  Gill is currently the Director of Tennis at Wellington Tennis Center.  He is a past president of USPTA Florida, USPTA (national) and also has served as a member of the USTA Board of Directors.  Gill will continue to serve as Chair of USTA Florida’s Tennis Management Advisory Team.


Adam Ross, who first joined the Board as a Director at Large in 2019 and served as Secretary in 2021-2022 will serve as Treasurer in the new term.  Ross is an attorney based in Parkland, an avid tennis fan and player, and has served for a number of years on various section committees.


Mary Conaway, who joined the USTA Florida Board in 2021 will serve as Secretary in the new term.  She previously served on the USTA Florida Foundation Board of Directors and Foundation Nominating Committee.  Mary is based in Naples and has a background in leadership development.  She helped to bring the USTA Florida Leadership Academy to life in 2019.   


Rounding out the slate are two returning Directors at Large and two new Directors.


Marcelo Gouts, who has been managing public tennis parks in Orange County and volunteering in Florida for 30 years,will serve as a Director at Large in 2023-2024.  Gouts previously served as Treasurer and as Secretary.  He was instrumental in the organization’s Hispanic Outreach Initiative (Tenis Para Todos).  He is a vocal advocate for growing tennis in public parks.


Rita Dotson is returning for a third term on the USTA Florida Board of Directors.  She is Director of Junior Tennis at Roger Scott Tennis Center in Pensacola and the Founder and President of Tennis-4-Everyone, Inc.  She has been involved in Special Olympics and Junior Team Tennis for a number of years.  


Kainoa Rosa joins the Board as a new Director at Large.  Rosa is the Director of Racquets at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach.  He is a USPTA Elite Professional and Certified Director of Racquet Sports.  He graduated from the USTA Florida Leadership Academy in 2022.  


Daniel York joins the Board as a new Director at Large.  York is the Founder of DANKO Holdings, Inc., a private-equity investment firm, focusing on Bio-Med, Green Energy, Blockchain, Banking and Consumer Tech companies.  He is an avid USTA Florida League player in Ocala.  


For the upcoming term, the Board of Directors expanded the organization’s strategic priorities, focusing heavily on meeting the growing demand for tennis in the Sunshine State.  


The first priority is to identify and pursue innovative growth opportunities that can help reach new and diverse participants.  USTA Florida already has demonstrated how innovative programs, like Love To… Learn/Play, can drive growth.  Going forward, the organization will place a particular emphasis on the health and wellness aspects of the sport, as well as a need to expand all schools' programs – with a key focus on more high school and middle school team play opportunities.   


The second priority is to develop a new system and structure for volunteer engagement that will focus on key areas: advocacy, coaching and fundraising.  USTA Florida spent the last several years building its Volunteer Aces program to connect local volunteers to event and program opportunities.  In the new term, the association will leverage that program more broadly to build a more robust network of volunteers who are engaged in their communities.


The third strategic focus area is to work with industry partners to implement a training and education program aimed at developing new and diverse coaches.  USTA Florida launched a formal Community Coach program in 2022, which has to date recruited roughly 100 new coaches to help deliver community-based programs.  The organization currently has agreements with USPTA Florida and PTR to support this program and will seek out additional partners to expand its reach in 2023-2024.


The fourth priority is to provide comprehensive support services to public parks throughout the state.  This includes leveraging key learnings from USTA Florida’s own facility management team, as well as expanded facility grants, assessments, and other services that public tennis centers need to grow and thrive.  This priority is directly connected to the growing need for more public tennis courts to accommodate play.


For more information on USTA Florida’s strategic priorities and to contact our board members and staff, visit www.USTAFlorida.com today.



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