5th times a charm: Mid-Atlantic honored with 2021 CARE Award

October 25, 2021

Maintaining a healthy work environment through the adverse time of COVID-19 was nothing short of a challenge, but USTA Mid-Atlantic Section (USTA MAS) made it their mission to put employees' needs first. For this exact reason, USTA MAS will be honored with  the 2021 CARE Award given by the Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS). This is the fifth time USTA Mid-Atlantic is bestowed this recognition by NVFS.


The CARE Award acknowledges outstanding companies proactively nurturing their work culture and using outstanding employee engagement strategies to cultivate the best place to work across the DC Metro region. 


“The reason the CARE Award is so special to us is that it recognizes the importance of empowering individuals to be their best selves and prioritizing them for success,” said Tara Fitzpatrick-Navarro, the CEO of USTA Mid-Atlantic. “A people-first approach has always been our guiding principle and never before has it been more critical a time to make sure this stays in focus as we chart our course into a new normal.”  


This year’s CARE Award focused on how organizations responded during the COVID-19 pandemic and the creative ways they supported employees and the community during the crisis. USTA Mid-Atlantic’s thoughtful and thorough response, as well as results from a survey conducted with employees indicated that the organization was deserving of the CARE Award recognition.


Though the pandemic brought many challenges, USTA Mid-Atlantic leadership focused on transparency and honest dialogue holding a multitude of open discussions with all-staff throughout this unknown journey to best make sure all voices were heard and give people an outlet to express their concerns and input. Some hard decisions ultimately had to be made by leadership but the purpose of these conversations was to keep everyone informed on decisions regarding operations along with steps that were taken to help the broader Mid-Atlantic tennis community. 


“Critical to the last year was leadership's willingness to re-think and re-invent how we operate, and to be flexible and support the staff when tough decisions had to be made,” said Rachel Kros, director of competition & youth play at USTA Mid-Atlantic. 


Through an employee survey that was conducted, flexibility seemed to be the running theme that played an integral role in helping employees succeed throughout the pandemic. Flexibility was integrated into all aspects of the organization from work location and hours to flexibility toward trying new things or creative approaches never done before to engage with the community. Leadership also recognized the critical importance of supporting work-life balance and mental wellness,  investing in resources such as the THRIVE EAP which is a service tool that provides work/life balance assistants, solution focused counseling, and more, and prioritizing to maintain other health and wellness benefits funded by the organization for employees. 


“Flexibility was key. Continuing some benefits such as our health and wellness allotment was great as I personally joined an online community for workouts,” said League Manager Eva Webster. 


“From my view, our leadership consistently shows effort to be inclusive, informative, and invested in the staff. I think we continue to win this award because the staff is dedicated to the mission and the executive department is dedicated to the staff.” Webster said. 


Associate Director of Community Services, Alex Chan said he found resources shared such as informative articles and the EAP to be very helpful to promote a thriving work/life balance especially under the circumstances of being abruptly placed into a fully remote, work-from-home situation.


Not only was the effort immense to help support employees, maintaining the tennis community that had already been built was of the utmost importance. USTA Mid-Atlantic’s mission is to promote and develop the growth of tennis making the sport accessible to every individual no matter what the circumstances are. With this in mind, the organization identified resources to provide a grant program to support the tennis community as they sought to reopen and return people safely to the tennis courts.  


The Mid-Atlantic Section learned resiliency, adaptability, and innovation to instill the sentiment that ‘tennis is there when we all need it the most.’ The core foundation of the CARE Award is to showcase companies who are putting forth their best effort to make a better place for every individual to work, live and play. USTA Mid-Atlantic embodies all of those traits and continues to look for innovative ways to push forward even through uncharted waters. 


This year, USTA Mid-Atlantic will be honored virtually at the CARE Awards on November 16, 2021. You can learn more about us and our award-winning team


USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

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