On Friday, October 14th in the ballroom of the Sheraton Grand Seattle, WISE Seattle announced the winner of the 2022 Women of Inspiration award. In it's inaugural year, the award recognizes a woman in our community who shares in WISE Seattle’s desire to leave a lasting impact on future generations of women in the sports and events industries.
The Women of Inspiration (WOI) Winner will encourage an inclusive community that promotes diversity and equity, and empower personal and professional growth of those in the sports and events industry while evolving the industry so it continues to thrive in years to come.
After weeks of public voting, we're proud to announce that this year's winner is Theresa Haynie of the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association.
Theresa Haynie (she/her)
Theresa Haynie gave in to the pickleball bug after a week of daily play in the desert. After relocating full-time to Seattle from Orcas Island with her pickleball-playing wife, Kathy, she started playing in earnest. Getting time on the courts proved challenging, however, and rather than sit on the sidelines, she took the plunge to help create an organization to encourage local municipalities to create more pickleball courts, indoors and out.
Theresa helped found Seattle Metro Pickleball Association to improve access and advocate for pickleball in the greater metro area. In 2019, following a gold medal win at the USA Pickleball National Championships, Theresa decided to focus on promoting play for women in the sport because of the need for safe and comfortable spaces for women to learn the game. Her early efforts have grown to 5 sessions each week, two-hour Women’s Skills and Drills groups (WDSG) supporting the play and development for more that 150 women who weekly cycle through the free events in Shoreline, WA.
Theresa likes to fix things, things like disparity in play opportunities, lack of venues, creating safe play spaces for women pickleball players, and actively works on reducing the age, ethnic, and geographic disparities common to sports activities. Upon seeing the south end of Seattle lacking play opportunities, she is expanding the WDSG to have a women’s skills group in Rainier valley. Improving access to learn and play, creating a safe space for women to gain confidence in their game, competing with peers and staying fit while having a lot of fun, and developing the community of women of all ages, backgrounds, and even interest levels, fill her post-technical professional workdays. And along the way, if a piece of equipment is broken, there’s a good chance that she can and will fix it in the interest of keeping the courts available for play for everyone.
In her words, “If I can do my part to foster and empower women on the pickleball courts, and in life, then I am grateful for the opportunity. Pickleball promotes fun, fitness, and friendship. Sitting on the sidelines – who wants that? Women want to play, compete, grow, and pickleball is the perfect sport to encourage them to experience all that and more.”
“What the donation would do for advancing my work of encouraging and empowering women in pickleball is to help offset court rentals for early evening access to women still in the workplace. In addition, the funds would support a new project to develop a circuit of frequent and friendly tournaments focused on bringing women of broader age range (under 40, over 60) and ethnic diversity to the sport of pickleball. It’s the fastest growing sport in the country, with women both its core and future.”
The 2022 WISE Seattle Women of Inspiration award winner will receive a WISE membership and a cash donation from WISE Seattle and its partners to be distributed to the non-profit or organization of the winner's choice to continue to Encourage, Empower and Evolve Women in Sports & Events in our community. To learn more about the Women of Inspiration Award or to submit your nomination please visit womenofinspiration.org.
About Women in Sports and Events (WISE): WISE is a networking outlet catering to women in the sporting and event industries. It values the potential that women have in the business world and through meetings, events, and mentor programs, it provides women with support to move forward in their careers and be successful businesswomen.