Getting To Know...
USTA Northern | March 15, 2018
Get to know new USTA Northern Executive Director Becky Cantellano.
Q. How long have you been a part of USTA Northern?
A. I was born and raised in Minnesota and been part of the Northern Section tennis community since I first started playing Junior Team Tennis as a teen. I was part of the section staff for 10 years prior to becoming the Executive Director of St. Paul Urban Tennis (SPUT). While at SPUT, I served on the CTA/NJTL and Diversity & Inclusion Committees.
Q. What is your tennis background? How did you "Find Yourself in the Game?"
A. My dad introduced me to tennis when I was about 12 years old, but it wasn’t until I joined my high school team that I truly found myself in the game.
Q. Where did you go to college, major, play college/high school tennis?
A. I’m a proud Mounds View Mustang and went on to play college tennis at UW-Lacrosse where I majored in Secondary Education and Spanish. ADVERTISEMENT
Q. What is your professional background?
A. I’ve been working in the tennis/non-profit industry my entire professional career. I think the combination of tennis industry experience and non-profit leadership will serve me well in this role.
Q. What made you decide to come back to USTA Northern?
A. It was the right opportunity. This is a dream job for me and I am excited about returning to a talented team of passionate staff and volunteers armed with the knowledge of what many of our organization members are challenged with on a day-to-day basis.
Q. What is your favorite part of being involved in tennis in the Northern Section?
A. The people. Tennis has connected me to so many wonderful individuals and opportunities.
Q. What are some of your perceived opportunities and challenges facing the Section?
A. A lack of indoor facilities, deteriorating outdoor courts, competition from other youth activities – not just sports. Tennis connects families and communities – it provides a great opportunity for grandparents, parents and kids to be active together – away from a screen. It’s also an international sport that speaks many languages. We need to harness those opportunities! We also need to tap into the energy and creative ideas of millennials to expand our adult tennis offerings.
Q. What are your top tennis memories?
A. There are so many…playing in the Minnesota State High School Tournament, summer at Tennis & Life Camps, Tennis Festival of the North, first visit to the US Open, meeting Billie Jean King, watching Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal’s epic Wimbledon final on television, the annual St. Paul Urban Tennis Summer Picnic, seeing the smiles that tennis brings to so many kids’ faces…especially my own!
Q. Outside of tennis, what are your hobbies and interests?
A. I love the seasons in the north and being outdoors – enjoying our lakes, parks and trails. I love exploring new places and trying new things. My in-laws live in Miami so we have taken to loading up our minivan each year for a road trip that most people find to be crazy, but has become a fun family tradition. There are also an unlimited number of new places to explore along the route!
Q. What three words describe you best?
A. Passionate, thoughtful, sincere
Q. Favorite food?
Q. Favorite TV show?
A. This Is Us
Q. Favorite Movie?
A. Love Actually
Q. Favorite Musical Genre or Group?
A. Depends on my mood…Maná and Adele are go-to favorites
Q. Favorite Place To Visit?
A. “The lake” in Osceola, Wis.
Q. Family? Married, kids, animals?
A. Married to husband, Aldo for 12 years with two kids Ela (8) and Javier (6)
Q. What would be your ultimate job?
A. This one
Q. When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
A. An astronaut
Q. Who are your heroes or people you admire the most and why?
A. Billie Jean King because of her courage, leadership and authenticity. Koua Yang, Sandy Martin, Peg Brenden and many of the other trailblazers at SPUT. Teachers – both in a formal setting and those who share their knowledge with others informally. My parents and my husband are also everyday heroes in my life.
Q. If you could take 24 hours and do anything you like, what would it be?
A. Probably take my kids on a fun adventure, maybe a trip to a nearby waterpark or ski hill, followed by a date night with my husband.
Q. In your mind, why should people play tennis?
A. Because it’s fun!