By Didi Chapdelaine, Media Vice President
The year was 1978. Georgia’s own Jimmy Carter was president. A gallon of gas cost 63 cents, and the average price of a house was $55,000. “Annie Hall” won the Oscar for best picture (it was a good one), and Pete Rose got his 3,000th hit. In tennis news, Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert were the US Open champions, but, more important, Jill Soulen came to work at ALTA.
At the time, Jill was an enthusiastic tennis player and ALTA coordinator, but a sprained ankle put her on the injured reserve list. Her good friend – and league VP at the time – mentioned there was an opening for part-time help at ALTA. Jill thought, “Why not?” and applied for the job. The rest is history.
Now, for those of us who can remember the year 1978, computers were a thing of the future. Everything at ALTA was pretty much done by hand. The league was growing by leaps and bounds, and papers were piled everywhere trying to keep teams in divisions and levels. Captains had to deliver their rosters by hand to the ALTA office. It was done that way for years until a voice response system was implemented, and then, ultimately, the future arrived and we can all enjoy the system we have today.
ALTA is an organization run by the volunteers. Today there are hundreds of volunteers, but just a few paid employees keep us all in line. Captains, coordinators, overalls and league VPs come and go, and if you asked any of those thousands of volunteers could they have done their job without the knowledge, patience and wisdom of Jill Soulen, the answer would be: No, we could not have.
ALTA has just gone through yet another transition as we moved offices from Dunwoody to Roswell. This is Jill’s fifth move with ALTA, and she has decided this is as good a time as any to transition herself to a much-deserved retirement.
We all send Jill best wishes for this new phase in her life! There is no way to express the gratitude any of us who have worked with her feel. Her professionalism, dedication and wealth of knowledge will be sorely missed.
ALTA volunteer Didi Chapdelaine worked with Jill Soulen as a Juniors League manager, coordinator, overall coordinator and vice president. Chapdelaine now serves ALTA as Media VP.
Below is Jill’s retirement letter.
“ALTA, this is Jill.” That’s the way I’ve answered the phone for 39 years in five different ALTA offices. Sometimes I’d forget and even answer my home phone that way as well.
I started at ALTA when I had sprained an ankle and was on crutches. One of my ALTA teammates who was a league VP suggested I go up to the ALTA office on Copeland Road, as they were looking for part-time help. I limped up to the office, applied for the job and that was the beginning …
Does anyone remember having to deliver your roster by hand to the ALTA office, and then the staff would have to enter each and every one into the system? Then came the voice response system, and finally the smooth and easy system ALTA uses now.
As I look back, the thing that stands out most clearly in my ALTA life is the fantastic army of volunteer officers without whom ALTA would cease to exist. The hundreds of coordinators, overalls, league VPs and officers I’ve known along the way are the best, and they made my job so easy.
As you can probably tell by now, this is really a love letter to ALTA, and my parting words are these: Remember, ALTA is an organization run by volunteers, and they have the great good fortune of having the very best.
Love you ALTA!