Section CEO Excels in Leadership
"Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work."
This quote attributed to thought leader, entrepreneur and author Seth Godin speaks to the leadership style that exudes from Tara Fitzpatrick-Navarro, CEO of USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. Since 2014, Tara has led the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, fearlessly through a number of significant transformations, always putting people first so individuals can flourish while achieving on the mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis in the Mid-Atlantic region.
USTA Mid-Atlantic is pleased to announce that Tara’s accomplishments as an exceptional nonprofit leader are being recognized by The Center for Nonprofit Advancement, a prestigious association for nonprofit organizations in the Washington metropolitan area, and it was recently announced she is a finalist and honorable mention in the 2020 Excellence in Chief Executive Leadership Award (EXCEL) Competition which honors nonprofit leaders in the Washington, D.C. region.
According to the Center, the EXCEL Award “recognizes achievements in the areas of innovation, motivation, community building, ethical integrity, and strategic leadership.” Tara’s nomination into the competition was a collaboration between members of the USTA Mid-Atlantic Board of Directors and section staff.
Tara’s selection as a finalist comes as no surprise to anyone that has had the opportunity to work with her. Under Tara’s leadership, the section has had notable achievements including becoming a 501(c)3 organization and establishing mission-based philanthropic programs such as low-cost tennis after-school programs that have reached more than 15,000 youth with the sport.
Not only that, the USTA Mid-Atlantic continues to see strong tennis participation under Tara’s leadership having the highest percentage of tennis players per population of the region when compared to other areas of the country. The Mid-Atlantic Section has also earned recognition as a Best Nonprofit to Work For and earned consecutive CARE Award recognitions for workplace excellence.
Tara’s people-first leadership style has cultivated a workplace where employees feel supported and nurtured in their day-to-day work, and also in their professional interests and personal growth. Her leadership has cultivated an organization that embraces individuality and rewards staff for challenging themselves to be innovating and results-driven.
“All employees have a voice and are encouraged to speak up, and this is due to the guidance and leadership of Tara,” says Megan Driscoll, digital marketing specialist for USTA Mid-Atlantic. “She is committed to creating a great environment that fosters creativity, transparency, and an enjoyable work environment.”
The EXCEL Award is a special recognition because it provides finalists with financial awards for professional development for the staff of the organization and if selected as the winner, for the leader as well. The prioritization of professional development through this award is particularly exciting for Fitzpatrick-Navarro and USTA Mid-Atlantic.
“My top priority is ensuring that my team - the staff of USTA Mid-Atlantic - is able to advance, grow and be fulfilled through their role and in the work that they do,” says Tara. “I have always supported a robust professional development program that helps people sharpen their skills while also allowing them to explore their aspirations beyond their day-to-day. I am humbled to be honored as a finalist for the EXCEL Award and even more so, honored to know that through this recognition I am able to provide more opportunities to staff to help them develop, especially in this challenging time of the pandemic. For that I am grateful.”
The Center for Nonprofit Advancement recently published an interview profile on Tara that offers more insight to her leadership style and achievements that earned her a finalist recognition, which you can read here.
The EXCEL competition is rigorous and includes a three-part judging process that involves written nomination, interviews, and site visits for finalists. The Center for Nonprofit Advancement recently announced that Tara was awarded an honorable mention as a finalist. Tara's leadership is inspiring and she truly puts people first. We are proud of her accomplishments and her recognition among such influential non-profit leaders.
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