GCSAA announces Women’s Leadership Academy inaugural class
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) announced the 40 turfgrass professionals chosen to be part of the inaugural Women’s Leadership Academy Nov. 7-9, 2023, at GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas.
Participants in the Women’s Leadership Academy will be guided along a path of discovery aimed at breaking down barriers and enhancing inner skills to maximize their impact as leaders. The event will feature education focused on key areas of self-discovery, understanding others, effective communication and inspiring others, all of which are key attributes of effective leaders.
Women currently make up only a small percentage of the overall turfgrass industry. By developing women leaders, inclusivity within the industry will grow through their actions and by the examples they set.
The 40 turfgrass professionals selected to be part of this inaugural event are:
Catherine Abramavage, marketing manager, Central Sod Farms
Maddie Adelsperger, grounds maintenance and greenskeeper team, North Central Texas College
Tonya Anderson, superintendent, Old Memorial Golf Club
Ana Barth, groundskeeper
Jan Bel Jan, president and golf course architect, Jan Bel Jan Golf Course Design
Molly Biggs, graduate student, Iowa State University
Emily Braithwaite, graduate student, Oregon State University
Beatriz Chavez Flores, golf course superintendent, Antelope Valley Country Club
Nancy Cienfuegos, assistant in training, WhiteTail Golf Club
Savana Decker, assistant in training, Laurelwood Golf Club
Rachel DeRuyte, assistant superintendent and health and safety coordinator, The Credit Valley Golf And Country Club
Vanja Drasler, superintendent, Montclair Golf Club
Bonnie Wells, Extension agent III, commercial horticulture, University of Florida
Amy Wilber, Extension associate, Mississippi State University
Leah Withrow, head groundskeeper, Reno Acres
Shirley Yanghua Ou, superintendent/club management, Beacon Ridge Golf & Country Club
Adrienne Young, assistant superintendent II, TPC San Antonio
Suzy Whaley, PGA Master Professional and first woman to serve as president of the PGA of America, will headline the event, sharing her experiences as a woman leader in the golf industry. Whaley continues to apply her expertise to create a more accessible, diverse, and engaging space not only in Golf but the entire sporting world.
In addition to educational sessions, the Women’s Leadership Academy will include networking opportunities and discussions on wellness, talent optimization, human resources and more.
“Women make up a growing segment of the industry, and the GCSAA Women’s Leadership Academy offers the opportunity to help these professionals sharpen their leadership skills, which they can use to improve their facilities, careers and communities, ” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “I congratulate the first members of the Women’s Leadership Academy and look forward to seeing them in November. They are taking steps to not only grow their own careers, but to encourage other women to consider working in the industry.”
The Women’s Leadership Academy is hosted and paid for by GCSAA based on the generous support of industry benefactors, which include The Toro Co., Nufarm and Yamaha who support this event as Trailblazer benefactors; Club Car and PBI Gordon as Pathfinder benefactors; and Target Specialty Products as a Flag Bearer benefactor. The event is endorsed by the Sports Field Managers Association (SFMA).
To learn more about GCSAA’s Women’s Leadership Academy, visit gcsaa.org/wla.