Missouri Valley / Iowa

Female Leaders Provide Strong Leadership in Iowa Community Tennis Associations

Andrea Gallagher | March 06, 2023

March is Women’s History Month and we asked some of the Iowa Community Tennis Association leaders what they enjoy about their roles as, well as what tennis means to them. 


Bunny Bruning/Central Iowa Tennis Alliance

“I love developing and creating new programs for people who don't necessarily belong to facilities. Connecting with those people and helping them through tennis is pure joy,” Bruning said. 


“Tennis is important because it's not just tennis, it's about improving, learning, moving, attitude and effort,” she added. “Character-building comes into this through examples of the instructors and character lessons we teach: confidence, resilience, honesty, etc. Connecting with people we would normally not come in contact with is special - diversity of thought - for both sides. We all learn about each other and can share caring and support and tolerance.”

Mackenzie Nissen/Audubon Tennis Association

“Tennis has been a huge part of my life since the age of five,” she said. “I have met so many people and built strong friendships through tennis tournaments and coaching. I have seen how tennis is a test of mental and physical toughness. Individual sports are tough, but I think they are a huge character builder.”


“I want to give the students in this community the same opportunities to grow with the sport of tennis that I was given. I want to see them share the sport with others and build relationships due to their participation in tennis. I want to continue to teach and provide that lifelong opportunity to the youth in the community.”


Cindy Rasche/River Cities Tennis Association

“We have a great group of people that are on our Community Tennis Association Board,” Rasche said. “We meet at least once a month and more if needed. It's not easy to find a working board these days, but all of them love tennis and pickleball, which our facility has both to generate enough revenue to be successful in these tough times.”


“We all have shared values that make us an effective team. There is respect and commitment by each person on the board, creating a trustworthy team of people you can count on. Our President gets others involved in helping with things at the facility, so they feel some ownership for programs and the success of our building, whether that is helping to recruit people for a  tournament, running a festive holiday spectacular for members, or helping to clean and organize at the facility.”


Paula Richter/Okoboji Tennis Association

“I know there are some great women in Iowa who have done a great job promoting and growing the sport, and many of them help set up leagues and help run our tournaments.”



Carol Ward/Great River Tennis Association 

“Our Great River Tennis Association's goal is to furnish opportunities to ‘GET IN THE GAME.’     Therefore we get the ball bouncing each spring by encouraging and organizing opportunities for lessons, activities, mixers, league play and tournaments,” Ward said. 


Great River Tennis' future dream is an indoor facility.  By working with the Muscatine Community School and USTA we project this dream can be accomplished in 2024.


One of the biggest things I've gotten from Brad Gilbert is how to stay in the match (or life). Five percent of the time things aren't my way, five percent of the time things are in my zone and I can't lose, but the other 90 percent is up for grabs; there is a way to win. You've got to stay positive and believe! The game of tennis aligns with this philosophy.  Joy from tennis produces strong positive lives.”



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