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Greater Orlando Sports Commission Announces Local Award Winners for 2021 Celebrating Women in Sports Luncheon

Two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, Brandi Chastain, will deliver the keynote and the luncheon will honor local distinguished women for their service within the community 

ORLANDO, Fla. (August 19, 2021) – The Greater Orlando Sports Commission (GO Sports) has announced the four local award winners that will be honored during the 2021 Celebrating Women in Sports Luncheon presented by Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Institute. The 3rd annual luncheon will be hosted on Tuesday, September 28 at Addition Financial Arena on UCF’s campus.

The luncheon will recognize the local honorees in two categories: Stacey Allaster (USTA), Trish Highland (Orange and Lake County Public Schools), and Kay Rawlins (Orlando City Foundation) will receive the Women in Sports Leadership Award, while Megan Rose (USTA) will receive the Rising Star Award.

The Women in Sports Leadership Award recognizes leaders who have helped make the sports industry in Greater Orlando the success it is today. It is an honor reserved for those who have given their time, energy and passion to improving the industry and taking it in new directions.

Stacey Allaster is the United States Tennis Association’s Chief Executive, Professional Tennis & US Open Tournament Director. In this position she is responsible for setting the strategic vision for the USTA’s pro tennis division, including oversight of the US Open and the developmental professional pathway of aspiring young Americans. She is the US Open’s first female Tournament Director in the USTA’s 140-year history. Throughout her career, Allaster has been a fierce advocate for equality in women’s sports, playing a lead role in driving prize money growth, and securing equal prize money for women at Wimbledon, Roland Garros, & all other major WTA events.

Trish Highland enjoyed a storied 30-year career as an interscholastic athletic administrator.  From being the first female high school athletic director in the 6A classification in the state of Florida, to overseeing the overall athletic programs of two prominent school districts – Orange County Public Schools and Lake County Schools – she exemplifies the word leader. Highland has molded many aspiring athletic administrators that her stamp is firmly entrenched in Central Florida and the rest of the state. She was also inducted into the Special Olympics of Florida State Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations Award for Outstanding Service in 2014.

Kay Rawlins is a Founder of Orlando City Soccer Club and serves as the President of the Orlando City Foundation. Her role includes speaking engagements with a focus on community outreach. Rawlins is a board member for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Cannonball Kids cancer, Central Florida Foundation, 4 Rivers Foundation, Florida Sports Foundation, Women in Sports & Events (WISE) Greater Orlando, All Women Empowered and is on the Advisory Committee of the US Global Leadership Coalition.  Rawlins gave a talk at TEDx Orlando 2017 and was awarded 2016 Businesswoman of the Year by the Orlando Business Journal, Corporate Ally of the Year 2019 by the Pride Chamber and was included in Florida Trend 500 Most Influential Business Leaders in 2020.
The Rising Star Award recognizes a young female professional in the sports industry who has demonstrated strong leadership, initiative, and exceptional contributions early in their career. The award is intended to support and encourage the next generation of female sports industry leaders who will take sport to new heights.
Megan Rose is the Managing Director of Major Events for the United States Tennis Association. In this role, she is responsible for the promotion, operation, and strategic direction of the USTA’s professional tennis assets including the US Open Series, the Davis Cup & Billie Jean King Cup, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and many more. In addition, she serves as Team Leader for USA Olympic Tennis. In this role, she was responsible for the organization and planning of all team eligibility, activities and logistics for Tokyo 2021, and serves as the USTA’s National Governing Body liaison to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Rose was a 5-time NCAA All-American, ITA Player of the Year, and ITA National Indoor Champion, and competed on the WTA Tour before retiring to pursue a master’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies at the University of South Florida.

Two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, two-time Olympic gold-medalist, coach and sports broadcaster, Brandi Chastain, will deliver the keynote address. As one of the most notable female soccer stars, Brandi played for the United Sates Women’s National Team from 1988-2004, earning 192 appearances (caps) on the team and scored 30 goals including the 1999 World Cup winning penalty kick. She was named to the USWNT All Time Best XI in 2013 and inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2017.

“On behalf of our Chairman Faron Kelley and our entire Board of Directors, we are so pleased to honor Stacey, Trish, Kay and Megan for their passion, leadership and dedication to Greater Orlando’s sports community,” said Jason Siegel, President & CEO of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission. “We are thrilled to welcome Brandi Chastain as the featured speaker for this year’s luncheon. With so much attention on Orlando’s pursuit to host 2026 FIFA World Cup matches, it will be wonderful to have one of the legends of the sport join us in September.”
At the inaugural luncheon in 2018, ESPN’s first female MLB analyst and two-time Olympian (gold and silver medalist), Jessica Mendoza, delivered the keynote. In 2019, Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s Chief Brand Officer, was the featured speaker.

Registration and networking for the luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the program beginning promptly at noon. A limited number of Table Sponsorships are still available for $2,000. To purchase a table for the event or to learn about additional sponsorship opportunities, please contact Michael Kalinich at Michael@greaterorlandosports.com.Individual tickets are $75 and may be purchased online at https://greaterorlandosports.com/celebrating-women-in-sports/.

ABOUT THE GREATER ORLANDO SPORTS COMMISSION
GO Sports is a private, non-profit organization established to attract and manage sports-related events, conferences and activities that drive positive economic development in the City of Orlando, Lake County, Orange County, Osceola County, and Seminole County. Founded in 1993, the organization has hosted or co-hosted more than 1,450 events in the Greater Orlando area with a total economic impact exceeding $1.9 billion in spending within the community. For more information, please visit GreaterOrlandoSports.com.

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About the author

Diane Sears

A career journalist, author and advocate for business growth, Diane Sears is the CEO, editor and publisher of i4 Business. She is also the founder and president of DiVerse Media LLC, which has handled content marketing projects including nonfiction books, white papers, executive speeches and scripts since 2000. She is co-founder of the nonprofit Go for the Greens Foundation, which helps connect women-owned and minority-owned business owners with growth opportunities internationally.

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