Making an Impact
Women’s History Month is a fitting time to think about Ellen Williams. After all, there are very few people with a volunteer history so memorable.
But just one month? Doesn’t seem like enough for someone so impactful.
Williams, from New Jersey, has been heavily involved with USTA tennis since the mid-1970s. She’s become known as a Tournament Director and avid player, especially making an impact as a coordinator for Willingboro Parks & Recreation Department and President of South Jersey Tennis Club Community Tennis Association.
In 2013, Williams earned the prestigious Mangan Award — Middle States’ highest recognition of achievement and service. Until recently, the award had been presented throughout the past four decades to local tennis leaders who inspire, lead, and grow tennis each and every day. In a group of past honorees that includes Judy Levering, Merv Heller and so many more, Ellen Williams fits right in.
“It was the biggest deal in my volunteer life,” Williams said of the award. “The Mangan is the most coveted award for any volunteer in Middle States. I was overwhelmed. It was just so wonderful.”
Along with her time as the New Jersey District President, Williams has been an integral part of the Middle States community. A member of the USTA Middle States board for a number of years in multiple capacities, she received the USTA MS Presidential Service Award in 2006.
"I've volunteered at all levels: district, Middle States and national. All the relationships I've developed have really meant a lot to me. You are never without some to talk to at USTA,” she said.
Most recently, Williams has worked with Willingboro Parks and Recreation to bring tennis to people of all ages. She helps run programming and events, including instructional programs, Play Days, tournaments and more. Also involved with the American Tennis Association, Williams is an advocate for equality in tennis with hopes of providing opportunity within the sport to all who have interest.
"Tennis has been my life,” she said. “I've always been an athlete and when I found tennis, I found a true love. You never get too old to play."