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Senior Softball-USA / Women’s Program 2006
July 1, 2006 – Terry Hennessy CEOWe are very pleased to announce a number of additions to the Senior Softball-USA Women’s Program staff.
As the women’s program has grown – especially the 40s Division – it has become apparent that we need a larger organizational structure to continue to offer an excellent women’s program – and to continue to improve.
Pat Lawlis is doing a wonderful job as National Women’s Director. Pat has worked extremely hard to build the program by keeping in close contact with teams, establishing a Women’s Website, and by working with other associations to try to work out common problems and spur growth in the program.
But one person – no matter how capable – can only accomplish so much.
We feel strongly that in order to prepare for the growth we are just beginning to see, we need to expand our organizational structure.
Today, women’s teams make up 3.5 percent of the total number of senior softball teams on the national level. Over the next decade, we expect the number of women’s teams to increase to about 20 percent or more.
I can think of no better way to lay the foundation for our continued growth than to bring in some of the best talent in the field of women’s senior softball.
Here are the positions in the new structure:
Fran Dowell, as Executive Director of Senior Softball-USA, will also be the overall head of the Women’s Program. It is appropriate to bring our new Executive Director into the top of the organizational structure because Fran Dowell is the first woman softball executive director in the history of the sport.
Pat Lawlis will continue to be the National Women’s Director, with primary responsibility for coordinating the Women’s Program with Fran Dowell. Pat will coordinate the activities of the Women’s Directors as well as other communication efforts, including the website and the column in the Senior Softball News. She will also be the 55-70 Women’s Divisions Director.
Connie Byro will be Women’s Director, with primary responsibility as the 50 Women’s Division Director. Connie is the incoming Chair of the Senior Softball Women’s Advisory Council, and much of her effort will also be directed at coordination among the senior softball organizations.
Cyndi Winslow will be Women’s Director with primary responsibility for the development of the Women’s Masters Program. Cyndi is the SSWAC Masters Division Representative and gives us the insight we will need to prepare our program for a whole new group of women entering the sport. In addition Cyndi’s experience in the corporate world will help us grow the entire program.
Pat (SS-USA Representative), Connie (LVSSA Representative), and Cyndi (Masters Division Representative) are all members of the Women’s Advisory Council. This membership provides Senior Softball-USA with the ability to coordinate our efforts with other organizations so that the entire sport of women’s senior softball benefits.
Here is how the structure will work:
All three Women’s Directors will discuss and vote on the policy, rules and budget for all divisions. The rules, policies and budget will be approved by Fran Dowell.
This structure allows us to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest during tournaments, as well. If any of the Women’s Directors are playing, they will not be involved in the decisions affecting their age groups. We will establish a 3-person Protest Committee made up of the Directors not competing in the age group, the Tournament Director and, if necessary, the Umpire in Chief or another member of SSWAC.
Our goal is to provide a mini-council of Women’s Directors that will:
• Brainstorm to develop new and better programs.
• Focus on the individual needs of the different age groups of players.
• Provide a check-and-balance system necessary for the program to continue to grow.
• Coordinate our program with the SSWAC because we feel strongly that women’s senior softball is at a stage where that coordination will help spur growth much, much more quickly than if associations act on their own.
This restructuring is an evolutionary process, not a revolutionary process. We want to build on the many strengths that Pat has brought to the program.
This restructuring is meant to lay the foundation for a dynamic system that can easily and continually change for the betterment of the Women’s Senior Softball Program in America and throughout the world. I am very excited about the potential of the women’s senior softball program in the near – and foreseeable – future because of the many talents these women bring to the program.
Chief Executive Officer