NEW YORK -- Venus Williams, one of the most accomplished and popular athletes in the world, and Joe Girardi, manager of the 2009 World Champion New York Yankees, will be honored as Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year, respectively, by the March of Dimes New York Division at its 26th Annual Sports Luncheon on Wednesday, December 2 at the Waldorf - Astoria in New York. Additionally, the Corporate Leadership Award will be presented to David Levy, Turner Broadcasting System's President of Sales, Distribution and Sports, while The PGA of America's Chief Executive Officer, Joe Steranka, will be awarded the Sports Leadership Award.
Each year, March of Dimes honors the outstanding achievements of men and women in the sports industry. Past recipients include Major League Baseball manager Joe Torre, NBA Commissioner David Stern, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, baseball great Mickey Mantle, tennis legends Billie Jean King, Andre Agassi and Arthur Ashe, basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing, and Golfer of the Year Annika Sorenstam.
Girardi, who recently led the Yankees to their 27th World Series title, began his major league career in 1989. Drafted by the Chicago Cubs, he served stints with them and the Colorado Rockies before being traded to the Yankees in 1995. Serving as the day-to-day catcher for the Bronx Bombers from 1996-99, Girardi earned three World Series rings, as well as the honor of catching David Cone's monumental perfect game in 1999. After leaving the Yankees in '99, Girardi spent brief seasons back with the Cubs and then with the St. Louis Cardinals before retiring in 2004 and taking a commentary job with the YES Network. Eager to try his hand at managing, he landed a job as the Florida Marlins skipper, and in 2006 was named National League Manager of the Year. Girardi was first in line to interview for the New York Yankees managerial position when it opened up for the 2008 season, and after winning the job was back in New York where his playing days had excelled.
Williams, perennially one of the top ranked women's tennis players in the world, holds 41 WTA titles including seven Grand Slam Singles (five coming at Wimbledon.) Difficult to beat when playing solo, Venus has combined with sister Serena for 10 Grand Slam Doubles Championships, most recently at the 2009 U.S. Open. The duo also won their second gold medal during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, giving Venus her third Olympic gold. Venus has recently transferred her prowess off the court and onto the fashion runway as the topic of a recent photo book, "Venus." Always the entrepreneur, Williams has also started her own interior design firm, V Starr Interiors.
Levy has been President of Sales, Distribution and Sports for Turner Broadcasting System since the creation of the new position in May 2009. In addition to overseeing Turner Sports, a position he has held since 2003, he also leads advertising sales strategy and operations, marketing promotion, and interactive television and technology business development for the Turner Broadcasting Company. As the head of Turner Sports, he is responsible for overseeing the company's sports programming acquisitions, production, marketing, league relations and sports ad sales unit. In 2008, Levy was recognized as the top executive on the MediaWeek 50 list, acknowledging the industry's most indispensable executives.
Steranka was named The PGA of America's Chief Executive Officer in October 2005. Since joining the PGA of America's staff in 1988, Steranka has directed The PGA's expansion of events, media assets and marketing programs, including the PGA Championship, Ryder Cup and PGA.com just to name a few. Through his stewardship, Steranka has guided relationships with several television networks to broadcast The PGA's premier events to unprecedented worldwide audiences. As an ambassador for the game, Steranka is also CEO and Chairman of Golf's 20/20 Executive Committee, a member of the Board of Directors for Children's Healthcare Charity, Inc. and is an Advisory Council Member for the Environmental Institute for Golf.
For reservations to the luncheon, please contact March of Dimes at 212-353-1143 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit www.marchofdimes.com or www.nacersano.org.