Compiled by Suzanne Dent, Net News editor
There is a vast network of volunteers who make ALTA tennis happen. It starts with the captains, who work with the coordinators, who are guided by the overall coordinators, who are led by the league vice presidents, who are overseen by top officers.
The result is a substantial organization managed almost 100 percent by volunteers. Let’s repeat that … volunteers. So, thank your captains and tell them to send that gratitude on up the chain to members of the Executive Committee. These elected officers do more than just oversee league play. They keep an eye on rules, facilities, technology, finances and other issues by serving on subcommittees that facilitate the smooth operation of ALTA. It’s part of what makes ALTA and the ATL so special.
The elected officials for 2018 are:
Joyce Vance, President
Joyce Vance began her tennis tenure in the late 1980s after receiving tennis lessons at Coan Park through Coan Park Tennis Association. Her tenure with ALTA began in 1991, when she joined the Sunday Women’s League at Coan Park.
She has served as a co-captain, captain, scorekeeper, coordinator, overall coordinator, vice president of the Sunday Women’s League and first vice president. She now ascends to the presidency of the Executive Committee.
Her volunteer service with ALTA began in 2002; she was awarded an honorary membership for 15 years of service at the annual meeting held in November.
Though neither of her daughters play tennis, her grandson, Kevin Kindred Jr., a senior at M.E. Stillwell School for the Performing Arts, is a member of the ALTA Junior Challenge Ladder and plays Junior tennis.
Vance currently plays on teams out of Sugar Creek Tennis Center and Mainstreet Tennis Center. She at times finds herself juggling many hats. Along with her ALTA duties, Vance also volunteers managing a tax site at the Stonecrest Library, and she is also a board member on the National Alumni Association at Wilberforce University, which is her alma mater.
When time permits, Vance assists with Coan Tennis 10U youth tennis lessons from April to October. Though she wears many hats, Vance is looking forward to an exciting year serving as ALTA 2018 president.
Bill Price, First Vice President
Bill Price began his ALTA adventure in 1992 when a new team formed in his neighborhood. He was immediately hooked, serving as captain or co-captain almost every season until becoming a coordinator for the Mixed Doubles and the Men’s leagues in 2009.
In 2013, Price assumed the role of overall coordinator for Mixed Doubles and was elected vice president of the league in 2016, a position he held for two years. He is now first vice president, which according to ALTA’s bylaws, means he will become president of the Executive Committee in 2019.
In addition to volunteering with ALTA, Price served three terms on the board of Camp Sunshine and a term as leader of GE Volunteers in Atlanta. He also has been president of Lei Lani Condo Association in Orange Beach, Alabama. “I guess it’s just something in my blood. I like to get involved and help where I can.”
Price is employed by Elavon, a division of US Bank, where he is vice president of solution design and engineering. When not working or playing tennis, Price and his wife like to spend time in the north Georgia mountains or relaxing at the beach.
“ALTA is a very unique and special organization that has provided me with many great memories and wonderful friends. It is more than just exercise or recreation; it becomes your social life, too. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to give my time to this great organization.”
Candace Cole, Treasurer
Relax, ALTA. Your money is in good hands. “I love balancing budgets and really digging into the numbers,” says Candace Cole, who is ALTA’s new treasurer. The former corporate banker will also serve as treasurer for the Board of Directors and The ALTA Foundation.
Cole, a native of Miami who graduated from the University of Florida with a finance degree, moved to Atlanta in 1992 with husband Bob. “I stopped working to have children, but I stayed active in our community utilizing my financial background.” Her volunteer resume is impressive, having served (most often as treasurer) of many organizations, including Kennesaw Mountain High School’s Council, the KMHS Tennis Booster Club, Boy Scout Troop 002 and a number of local PTAs and youth sports booster clubs. “One of my ‘hobbies’ is volunteering at my sons’ schools. They don’t tell me anything, so this is how is stay in the loop.”
The family includes sons Bobby, 20, Connor, 18, and Andrew, 14. K.C. and Zoey, both King Charles Cavalier dogs, complete the family. Connor, who started playing ALTA tennis at age 9, has nine ALTA plates. “I might be a little jealous,” Cole says. “I only have four – two finalist and two championship.”
She and her husband play on teams out of Legacy Park. “My favorite thing about ALTA are the friendships that I’ve made on both sides of the court. I’m the girl that hugs her opponents at the end of a match even if they beat me.”
Losing doesn’t happen often. Cole can trace her early tennis career to some strong roots.
“My younger brother used to be a competitive tennis player. He actually trained with the Williams sisters in Palm Beach. I needed a job and was hired to book lessons for the pros at the local club.”
Anna Mitchell, Secretary
Anna Mitchell is afraid of heights, but she doesn’t let that stop her from doing big things. In fact, she uses her fear to motivate her. For instance, she made herself climb to the top of a 14,000-foot mountain peak in the Rockies. “I felt like I could conquer the world,” says the Washington, D.C., native who moved to Atlanta in 1968.
Next up? “I aspire to go sky diving in the very near future.” Makes volunteering for ALTA seem a bit dull by comparison, but Mitchell doesn’t see it that way. “I enjoy the relationships that I have formed with my ALTA family. I enjoy working with the players and captains. It’s priceless,” says the longtime coordinator who will now serve as secretary for the Executive Committee.
Mitchell began playing ALTA tennis in the 1980s. Now the A8 player competes out of North Park in Alpharetta. “Not only do I enjoy the sport, but I have made lifelong friends.”
In addition to tennis, Mitchell loves animals. She enjoys horseback riding and dreamt of being a veterinarian when she was a child. If she won the lottery, she’d buy a horse farm. (That, or take a trip around the world, she says.)
Mitchell and husband David have two children: Preston and Pauline. Bella, an Asian leopard cat, completes the family.
Terry Godbold, Men’s League Vice President
ALTA tennis has been a large part of Terry Godbold’s life since he moved to Atlanta in the fall of 1990. Like so many others new to Atlanta, it did not take long for him to know that tennis was a great way to meet people and socialize. He joined an ALTA team from Horseshoe Bend in 1991 and has been active ever since, playing both Men’s and Mixed Doubles and volunteering for ALTA.
He has served as captain, scorekeeper, coordinator and overall coordinator. He was treasurer for the Executive Committee for two years (2015-16) and this begins his second year as VP Men’s. His portfolio of service to ALTA earned him the President’s Award at the 2017 annual meeting.
As VP of the Men’s League, Godbold will oversee more than 900 teams and 17,000 players. “It is very important for me to give back to the sport and organization that has been such a large part of my family’s life for the past 27 years.” Tennis is truly a family affair for Godbold as his wife, Mary Jo, plays on Thursday Women’s, Sunday Women’s, Senior Women’s and Mixed Doubles teams and has earned four City Finals plates.
Retirement in 2015 has given him more time for travel and leisure: He plays golf and tennis three or four times a week “with a great group of senior men.” In addition to being an avid photographer, he actively supports Florida State University, where he has served as a member of the Board of Governors for the College of Business and was a member of the Alumni National Board.
Godbold also enjoys his growing family. His son, Michael, a physician in Knoxville, Tennessee, has a 4½-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter. His daughter, Kimberly Meade, a physician’s assistant at Atlanta’s Piedmont NICU, has a 2½ -year-old son and is expecting a baby girl in February.
Jane Milton, Thursday Women’s League Vice President
Jane Milton has a bucket list. “I want to travel the United States in an RV and hit all the national parks.” That dream will have to wait until she’s finished with her term as Thursday Women’s League VP.
Milton was born and raised in Los Angeles, but husband Rick’s job took them around the country, finally landing in Atlanta in 1996. Her story is like that of many who play ALTA tennis; the organization was a great way to meet people in a new place. It’s the thing she still likes best about ALTA. “I love getting to meet so many wonderful ladies, many who have become special lifetime friends.”
Milton has been captain, scorekeeper, coordinator and overall coordinator in addition to serving on the Executive Committee in 2010 as president’s appointee. This is her second year as VP Thursday Women.
“ALTA is an awesome organization with great volunteers who are dedicated to promoting a great sport,” she says. “A good friend got me involved, and I love all the great ladies I get to work with.”
With three grown children and one grandson, Milton is a “retired” stay-at-home mother. Deuce is her preferred side, and a short, cross-court angle volley is her preferred put-away. She enjoys gardening, outdoor activities and home improvement projects, in addition to dreaming about her bucket list travel plans.
Holly Underwood, Sunday Women’s League Vice President
Holly Underwood has a distinction that not many can claim. The Iola McCoy League (similar to ALTA) in Fort Lauderdale is named for her mother. “My mother was a huge supporter of junior tennis in south Florida.” It’s no wonder Underwood started playing as a youngster. “Tennis was good to me as a kid. It kept me out of trouble and gave me goals.”
Her tennis pedigree is not limited to her mother’s influence. “At 8 years old, a friend asked me to take lessons with her at Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale, where Chris Evert’s dad was pro. I grew up with the Evert family there at that park, along with a legion of other kids who were good junior players.”
A registered nurse with 41 years’ experience (31 of them at Piedmont Hospital), Underwood is passionate about her hobbies. Her love of cooking and baking led her to attend (and graduate from) the culinary school at the Art Institute in Atlanta. Her love of tennis drove her to volunteer with ALTA as a coordinator and overall coordinator for 18 years. Now she is serving a second year as VP of the Sunday Women’s League and is responsible for 1,089 teams.
Those teams are in the hands of someone who clearly values the game of tennis. “My best vacation ever was attending the first three days of Wimbledon in 2000. I got choked up looking at the Rolex clock on the ivied wall, and the courts were like green carpets since little play had occurred as yet.”
Kirsten Sykes, Mixed Doubles Vice President
Kirsten Sykes played tennis while growing up in Connecticut, “but I never liked it before coming to Atlanta and joining ALTA.” ALTA has a way of affecting people that way.
Like others who catch ALTA fever, Sykes joined a team and began volunteering. “I was a team captain for many years and, in 2007, began coordinating with the Thursday Women’s League. Several years later, I added coordinating for Mixed and then became a Mixed overall several years later.”
Now she will serve as vice president for Mixed Doubles and be responsible for overseeing more than 1,000 teams. “I love the people that are involved with ALTA. I think the ALTA organization brings many people together that might not normally meet,” she says.
When not occupied with tennis, Sykes likes globetrotting with her husband, Kinsley. The couple has visited many exotic locales, including Cairo, Hanoi and Shanghai. If time and money weren’t obstacles, she says, she would book a cruise around the world … or maybe even a private jet trip around the world, “being able to stop wherever I wanted.”
When at home, Skyes plays C-level tennis out of Park Brooke in Alpharetta. “I started at C5 got as high as AA3, but as I get older, I enjoy the social aspect of the game as much as playing, so being at a lower level is more fun for me.”
Celia Sheridan, Junior Leagues Vice President
Celia Sheridan has a new hobby to add to her tennis habit: grandbabies. “Grandchildren are the best,” says the mother of two grown sons. Both have blessed her and husband Larry with new grandsons. Given Sheridan’s devotion to Junior Leagues tennis, it’s a safe bet the two babies will grow up to play tennis.
Besides, it’s kind of a family thing anyway. “Everyone has been a member of ALTA at one time or another. We’ve all been on the same Mixed Doubles team at times,” she says of her husband and sons.
Sheridan began playing ALTA tennis in 1986. A few years later she began volunteering, working her way up to VP Junior Leagues. This is Sheridan’s second year to manage the youth tennis leagues for ALTA. She believes tennis is a great way to teach young players etiquette, sportsmanship and overall camaraderie in a team sport.
“In the Junior Leagues, it is always so refreshing to see the kids playing their matches, enjoying the social aspect of the game, but also not letting it ruin their day because they lost a match. As adults, we would benefit from having such a childlike attitude.”
In addition to volunteering for ALTA, Sheridan works full time as an administrative assistant and cares for an aging parent. The load sometimes is challenging, but she remains positive. “I love my job and I love tennis so it’s a win-win situation.”
Barbara Ingram, Senior Leagues Vice President
Barbara Ingram was born and raised in Atlanta, but she didn’t play tennis growing up despite ALTA’s prominence in her hometown. It was television that led her to the sport. “I always played sports in high school, then nothing for many years,” she says. “I always loved the majors on TV, so in my late 30s I took lessons and loved it.”
She joined a team and ALTA’s volunteer ranks. “I became a coordinator in 1999 after my Sunday Women’s team, that I captained, won City Finals. I loved all my coordinators and wanted to be a part of what they did and help other captains.” Soon she was coordinating in leagues year-round.
She plays in multiple leagues out of several neighborhoods and is known for “setting up a great-looking table especially with holiday themes.” But, be warned, when on the court, she likes the net. “I love to poach and put away shots.”
She’s also a runner and has done eight Peachtree Road Races and averages 30 other races each year, mostly 5Ks. Being retired gives her time to volunteer with the Atlanta Track Club, too, serving as a crew chief for the club’s major races. Her efforts were recognized with the club’s Ambassador of the Year award in 2015.
While she’s often on the move, Ingram still likes being a spectator, and ALTA provides her with some of the best on-court action. “I love tennis and watching tennis. When coordinating, you get to watch great tennis at City Finals, and it is not stressful like when it is your own team. You get to enjoy every great point, no matter who is making the shot.”
Sandy Depa, Senior Day Leagues Vice President
Sandy Depa started volunteering with ALTA in 2000 and has coordinated for every ALTA league … except Men! She enjoys playing tennis and the ALTA spirit of friendship and camaraderie. Her devotion to ALTA was recognized with the 2017 President’s Award.
Growing up in Michigan, moving to Oklahoma and then to Atlanta in 1994, Depa credits ALTA with giving all residents the opportunity to meet the greatest people, some of whom will be friends forever. Upon moving here, Depa and husband Tony joined ALTA teams, as did their three now-grown children, Katerina, Joey and Michael. She is working on getting her son-in-law, Joe, her daughter-in-law, Erika, and her soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Chelsea, on the courts now.
When not working full time running her business, Depa enjoys watching her grandchildren, Lexi and Nate, play tennis, and she can’t wait for her younger grandchildren, Maddie and Anthony, to play tennis when they get older. Depa also enjoys geocaching (a modern term for an old-fashioned scavenger hunt, but using today’s technology) with the grandchildren. The Depas also enjoy tailgating at Georgia Tech football games with family and friends, regardless of what the season brings.
The entire Depa family is dedicated to supporting CURE Childhood Cancer of Atlanta in the fight against childhood leukemia in memory of their 3-year-old granddaughter, Melissa, by holding fundraisers that specifically finance research for an AML leukemia cure. The Depas also support Pedals of Courage, a charity formed by 10-year-old granddaughter Lexi. Lexi was so inspired by her cousin’s fight that she formed the foundation when she was just 8 years old. Its mission is to provide “active” toys at regional hospitals for use by all children who are fighting cancers.
Donna Gilli, Junior Challenge Ladder Vice President
Donna Gilli has five grown children, and all of them played in an ALTA league and two of her sons played many years on the Junior Challenge Ladder. That means Gilli has been active in Atlanta’s junior tennis programs for more than two decades. She served ALTA as team manager, coordinator, overall coordinator and for two years was Junior League vice president.
She was then elected VP of the Junior Challenge Ladder for terms in 2014 and 2015. Now she’s back at the helm of the ladder, which offers high-level competition opportunities for serious junior players who schedule their own matches and “climb” the ladder with wins.
Gilli was instrumental in revising the JCL format from year-round play to a fall season, which allowed more players to participate because the compressed season does not compete with high school teams or tournament play.
A nearly native Atlantan, she left the area for a decade. Before returning to Georgia in 1986, she met her husband, Marcel, while living in Geneva, Switzerland, on Smith College’s Junior Year Abroad program. Gilli is fluent in French and once taught English to speakers of other languages.
She currently plays on teams out of Redfield, Dunwoody Country Club and Sandy Springs Tennis Center. To keep in shape, she teaches fitness classes and indoor cycling nearly every day of the week before the sun comes up. She also enjoys book clubs, skiing, scrapbooking, attending sports events and traveling with her family.
Didi Chapdelaine, Media Vice President
Didi Chapdelaine is starting her second year as VP Media. Although she dabbled in tennis in her native Connecticut, it wasn’t until she moved to Atlanta in 1992 that she really caught the bug. “I remember our real estate agent talking about ALTA and using it as a selling point. I had no idea what she was talking about or what a huge part of my life ALTA was about to become.”
That agent ultimately sold them a house in Windward Lake, a large tennis community in Alpharetta, where Chapdelaine says people ask, “Do you play tennis?” before they ask your name. Tennis quickly became a family sport and, with four young children, Chapdelaine managed countless Junior ALTA teams over the years. Once the kids had grown, the natural thing to do was to volunteer as a coordinator. That was 12 years ago.
Junior ALTA has changed a lot since her kids played — all for the better, she says. Her favorite part of being an ALTA volunteer is watching the young player at City Finals. “I really enjoy watching these kids play. Every season I am reminded that the future of ALTA is pretty bright if this is who we are sending up to the adult leagues!”
If you don’t find Chapdelaine on the tennis court, you are likely to find her on the paddle tennis court, biking the Greenway, or walking her two golden retrievers, Sophie, a rescue from Turkey, and Meggie, a 7-month-old pup. When the summer gets too hot, she and her husband, Rob, head up to the coast of Maine where they vacation for much of the summer.
Chris Cole, Special Programs Vice President
Chris Cole grew up in Augusta and attended the University of Georgia. He has always been a big sports fan and returned to tennis after moving back to Atlanta in the early ‘90s. He started playing ALTA (Men’s and Mixed Doubles) in 1994 and began working as a volunteer with the Atlanta Open Wheelchair Tournament in 1995.
He participated as a volunteer at the tennis venue of the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, and more recently worked as part of the media team for the International Paralympic Committee at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
He has been a committed volunteer with the ALTA Wheelchair League and The ALTA Foundation-sponsored clinic at Blackburn Tennis Center for the several years.
On a professional level, he has worked in the Atlanta area in the recruiting field for 17 years.
Bob Fitzgerald, 2017 President
Saturdays are special to Bob Fitzgerald, especially in spring and fall when he’s at the courts playing Men’s League tennis with good friends and family.
It’s a tradition he’s kept for almost a quarter of a century. In 1991, when he moved to Atlanta from Philadelphia, he was almost immediately recruited for a neighborhood team. That most assuredly turned out to be a good thing for ALTA. Fitzgerald has been an ALTA volunteer almost from the beginning of his recreational tennis career, starting as co-captain and now serving as a past president on the Executive Committee. He became a coordinator in 2004 and an overall coordinator in 2010. He spent two years as Men’s League VP and one year as first vice president.
And his volunteer history with ALTA continues. Past presidents remain on the committee for two years and are on track to serve as chairman of the board for a year. This longevity and continuity are contributors to ALTA’s strength as an organization.
He does it to give back. “ALTA is truly an amazing organization that is special to Atlanta,” he says. Fitzgerald plays out of Creekside Oaks and proudly displays four championship plates in his trophy case. Other things he holds dear include wife Teresa; grown children (including their spouses) Rob, Erin, Andrew, Will and Pilar; and grandchildren Silvia and Gus.
Marla Michalewicz, 2016 President
As a past president, Marla Michalewicz is a voting member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Originally from Texas, the Michalewicz family moved to Atlanta in 1994. “I was delighted to discover this vibrant tennis community. I couldn’t wait to find a team.” She has been playing ever since.
She signed up as a volunteer in 2006, came up through the Thursday Women’s League, and became first vice president in 2015. Being president taught her much about the organization, and she is happy to use that knowledge to guide other officers in regulating league play.
Her sons are grown and have families of their own. There are three grandsons with another on the way. Michalewicz reminds us the older two will be eligible to join ALTA in 2021, but “I am not in a rush. Having toddlers around is so much fun.” When not playing tennis or with grandbabies, Michalewicz enjoys quilting and needlepoint.
Dorian Jefferson, President’s Appointee
Dorian Jefferson’s experience on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors will serve him well as the president’s appointee.
Originally from Chicago, he steadily migrated south, moving to Atlanta in 1978. He began playing tennis in 1986, and it was on the courts that he met his wife, Melvina, also a longtime ALTA volunteer. Both are still active tennis players.
Jefferson began volunteering for ALTA in 2001 and has served as coordinator, overall coordinator, VP Tournaments, VP Men, first vice president, 2013 president and 2016 chairman of the board. He is the recipient of the 2010 President’s Award. He was instrumental in helping launch ALTA On The Go, the organization’s mobile app that allows players to look up directions to matches and to enter scores.
Jefferson enjoys playing golf and fishing. His hobby is model trains, and he has almost completed a new layout. He is also a genealogist and family historian.
Linda Shepherd, The ALTA Foundation Representative
Linda Shepherd has a servant’s heart. “My goal in life is to help others, to make each and every one feel appreciated and always look on the bright side.” That desire dovetails nicely with her new role as representative to the EC from The ALTA Foundation, ALTA’s charitable arm. She will also serve as secretary for the foundation.
Shepherd started playing tennis more than 30 years ago “in a great neighborhood, which made us all great friends.” She has played in all of ALTA’s leagues and has been a coordinator since 2004. “I enjoy meeting new people and being excited with them at the City Finals,” she says. “I love being part of such a dedicated group that enjoys helping others.”
One of her favorite things about ALTA is watching children play, “especially the ones who, without ALTA, wouldn’t have a chance to learn a sport, learn responsibility, have a purpose and, hopefully, a mission to strive and make a better person out of themselves.”
She involved her own children with ALTA at a young age, which she says taught sportsmanship and responsibility. “Today they are happy, on their own and very much a part of my life.” She has four grown children (John, Julie, Matt and Drew) and four grandchildren (Jacob, Molly, Hadley and Michael).
Shepherd is retired and enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking (teammates love her chicken salad sandwiches) and traveling. “I’m a definite world traveler. I’ve been to southern Italy, Paris, London, Mexico and Bermuda.” Her bucket list destination? China.