2023 USTA Annual Meeting Awards: Pam Sloan wins Barbara Williams Service Award

March 04, 2023

Eight advocates for the sport of tennis at the grassroots and local levels were honored with seven awards at the 2023 USTA Annual Meeting and Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. 


WATCH: Pam Sloan wins Barbara Williams Service Award

Pam Sloan of Stockton, Calif. has been honored as the recipient of the Barbara Williams Service Award at the 2023 USTA Annual Meeting and Conference for her three-plus decades of service to the sport in a pair of USTA sections.


Sloan has spent more than 30 years as a strong advocate for grassroots tennis and has assisted countless organizations in growing and promoting the game, living her life deeply engaged with volunteering, a passion for tennis, and a personal and professional dedication to getting people involved with our sport. Tennis legend Billie Jean King even says that Sloan “fully embodies” these qualities in a long and decorated tenure as a tennis volunteer. When a friend encouraged her to attend a tennis workshop in Dallas, little did she know it would lead to a professional and volunteer career in growing the game of tennis.  


“I’m grateful for what tennis has brought to my life, and I’m thrilled to be able to give back to this great sport,” Sloan said. “I love being a volunteer for the USTA and other tennis organizations. Grassroots tennis is where it starts. One of my primary goals is to bring the park system to the forefront in the growth of tennis. USTA, in recent years, has made it a focal point and I am thrilled. With over 70% of tennis being played on public courts, it is a no brainer. I see the strong connection between USTA and public courts, so I am committed to growing tennis as a volunteer for USTA.”

Sloan’s journey began in Missouri where she fought to restore tennis within the Kansas City parks and recreation department, and the results of her work drew in thousands of players, several NJTL programs, and many junior and adult tournaments. A standout accomplishment during this period was her successful formation of an NJTL program that saw 1,200 children enter the game, many of which went on to play tennis in high school, college, and even professionally. In addition, she had oversight of the Ashe-Bollettieri “Cities” tennis program that grew to more than 1,000 registered players. Sloan was also a founding member of the Women’s Intersport Network for Kansas City, established in 1994, which empowers the lives of girls and women through advocating and promoting the lifetime value of sports (including tennis) and fitness, while providing opportunities for participation and leadership development. She was a two-time recipient of the WIN for KC “WOW” Award, once in recognition for her part in founding the organization, and a second time for her leadership as president.

Photo by Cameraworks USA/USTA.

Her contributions and respect of her peers saw her serving in committee membership, vice chairmanship and chairmanship roles, including as chair of the Missouri Valley Education and Recreation Foundation. Sloan also served in various leadership roles on the Missouri Valley Board, and was the first two-term president in the section’s history. During her time with USTA Missouri Valley, Sloane earned nine service-based awards at the local, section and national levels, some of which include the USTA’s Outstanding Service Award for her NJTL work, the USTA Missouri Valley Distinguished Service Award, and the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Exceptional Service Award. Perhaps the depth and breadth of Sloan’s service is best exemplified by her 2018 induction into the Heart of America Hall of Fame, and in the following year, into the Missouri Valley Hall of Fame.


In 2004, Sloan moved to California, taking on the professional role as director of parks and recreation for her new hometown of Stockton. Similarly to her experience in MoValley, she rose to numerous leadership positions in the NorCal section, and chaired six committees among her accomplishments. She eventually assumed the office of NorCal’s president and is believed to be one of the only people, if not the only person, to serve in this role for two different sectional associations. In 2011, Sloan retired from the City of Stockton and became a principal consultant to the Municipal Resource Group in Danville, Calif., where she currently specializes in organizational management and department evaluation for parks, recreation and community services. Being a consultant affords her the opportunity to continue promoting tennis throughout Northern California. Sloan’s dedication to the sport earned her assignments to more than 25 national committees, task forces and projects, including service on the USTA Board of Directors in 2009-10. Prior to her term as a director, she was selected by her fellow delegates as that committee’s vice chair, and by her fellow presidents as that committee’s chair during both her terms in the position - a sure sign of her leadership among her peers.


Among Sloan’s most significant accomplishments at the USTA national level was her service in the area of diversity and inclusion. She was a member of the inaugural Minority Participation Committee, and in that role, worked to forge a relationship between the USTA and the LGBTQ community, a group not initially recognized by the USTA, as part of the minority participation initiative. A tangible result of this effort was the eventual re-naming of this committee to the more inclusive title of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. For this committee, Sloan served as vice chair, and helped to develop a tool kit for growing the game in the LGBTQ community, a project that directly benefited NorCal’s Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation of San Francisco in promotion of the game. Sloan is also rightly proud of the USTA work she has done in the area of parks and recreation. She assisted in the development of the initial Public Parks Committee and advocated for the inclusion of parks and recreation systems to promote the game of tennis and carry on the mission of making tennis accessible in public parks everywhere. As a member of the Board of Directors for the National Public Parks Tennis Association and a past director for the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), as well as becoming a NRPA-certified parks and recreation professional, Sloan has leveraged these relationships to build a bridge between the USTA and these organizations.


In her community, Sloan invested her time with two World TeamTennis franchises in Northern California: the Sacramento Capitals California Dream as each team’s respective community outreach coordinator. This assignment included the formation of a Junior Team Tennis League, World Team Tennis Adult League, Adopt-A-Unit and clinics. She also co-founded the Stockton Junior Tennis Patrons, a CTA formed to help promote 10-and-under tennis, and assisted both the Sacramento Community Tennis Association and Antelope Tennis Association in becoming CTAs.


“From her first job in the 1970s as a director of youth sports, through to her current role, Pam truly believes sports—tennis in particular—is key to a fulfilling quality of life,” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “Tennis across the United States is better off thanks to all the work Pam has chosen in her professional and personal life for the betterment of our sport.”


Few know that Sloan once competed at the semi-pro level in softball, and has first-hand knowledge of what it takes to compete in sports at a high level. On the tennis court, Sloan describes herself not as a competitor, but “always a recreational player.” Her commitment to grassroots tennis stems from her contrasting experiences: that you don’t have to be great at a sport, can take advantage of public facilities, and don’t need expensive equipment, to have a wonderful experience in tennis.


Sloan’s passion for tennis was sparked when she began playing as a teenager, but it was as an adult working in the parks and recreation system that it blossomed.

Established in 2003, this award honors the late Barbara Williams, a longtime USTA volunteer who unselfishly gives her time and energy to promote the sport of tennis. It recognizes a female volunteer who, through her leadership and by her example, has encouraged and inspired others to become volunteers, and assume leadership roles at the community, section and/or national levels of the USTA.

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