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2020 Annual Meeting

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2021 ALTA Board Chairman Joyce Vance, 2021 ALTA President and 2020 President’s Award Recipient Debbie Gaster, 2020 ALTA Board Chairman Robert Fitzgerald, 2020 ALTA President Sandy Depa, 2020 President’s Award Recipient Barbara Ingram, and 2020/2021 ALTA Treasurer John Lowell.
2021 ALTA Board Chairman Joyce Vance, 2021 ALTA President and 2020 President’s Award Recipient Debbie Gaster, 2020 ALTA Board Chairman Robert Fitzgerald, 2020 ALTA President Sandy Depa, 2020 President’s Award Recipient Barbara Ingram, and 2020/2021 ALTA Treasurer John Lowell.

By Emmy Powell

One of the long-standing and memorable traditions at ALTA is the annual meeting in November. But just like nearly everything in 2020, this year’s meeting was unlike anything ALTA had done before. We produced a top-quality video and then held a live streaming event to showcase where the organization’s top leaders gather to recognize the vast network of volunteers and to elect officers for 2021.

Along with the unprecedented annual meeting, this past year ALTA also had to continuously handle and respond to issues as they related to COVID-19 and league play. ALTA Board Chairman Robert Fitzgerald said the number-one issue ALTA experienced this year was COVID-19, as the spring season was canceled due to the pandemic. “This is the first time we had canceled a season, and my hope is that we never have to again,” he said. He thanked his fellow board members, the ALTA Executive Committee, the volunteers, and the office staff. “In particular, I want to thank the members for rising to the challenge of closing down the spring season and then opening back up in the summer.”

Despite the uncertain circumstances of 2020, the chairman said a major goal for ALTA this past year was improving members’ experiences, which included key advancements with our website and the team management system. “The line-up checker has made life much easier for our members and our coordinators,” Fitzgerald said. “Our intent is always to have members win or lose on the tennis court and not because someone put together an ‘illegal’ line-up.”

Fitzgerald complimented the incredible job of the office staff to continue the business of ALTA. “I want to thank Diane O’Brien, Renee Bowen, Joan Applebaum, Emmy Powell, and Leslie Gersack for adapting to this environment while still getting their work done,” he said.

One of the highlights of the year, before COVID forced event delays or cancellations, was watching Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov become two of our newest (honorary) ALTA members.

Financially, Fitzgerald said ALTA was in good shape and on sound footing. 2020 ALTA Treasurer John Lowell, who also will serve in that role in 2021, presented this year’s financial report. He said ALTA’s budget, which is approximately 1.5 million dollars, is sound. “That money is used almost in its entirety on providing our members with an outstanding tennis experience, says Lowell, adding that the board has approved a budget for 2021 that is conservative and prudent. “It serves our membership well and helps to ensure that ALTA will continue to be the best tennis experience in metro Atlanta, as well as the best tennis value in 2021 and for many years to come,” he said.

Following the treasurer’s report, Fitzgerald reiterated the unprecedented and unanticipated year of 2020. “We were extremely fortunate in so many ways to have Sandy Depa in charge, as she had to navigate through completely unchartered waters and find a way to keep our members engaged while making sure safety was a priority,” he said. Depa had to endure a year as president like no other, and she was definitely the right person at the right time. “I don’t think I will ever forget that afternoon of March 12 and the thought that went into the final decision to shut down ALTA tennis for the spring season due to COVID-19,” said Depa.

One positive result from the challenges of 2020 was the increase in people playing tennis. “After all, if you can’t go anywhere, it seems that the neighborhood courts were now an outlet for being pent up in our homes,” said Depa.

Depa also paid special tribute to the immense support that was received from “the wonderful office staff, the volunteers, other VPs, the board, the coordinators, and her husband and family.” She said there was no way that she would have made it through this year if she did not have the support from others.

That support includes so many people, and while Depa could not single out any one person who helped her the most, she did thank “two wonderful friends” who supported her throughout the year. Depa handed out the first Presidential Award to 2021 ALTA President Debbie Gaster. “Thank goodness for you and your logical thought process, and your honesty. I always knew that I would get an honest response regardless. I truly appreciate and thank you for time and all your help this past year,” said Depa.

The second Presidential Award was given to former Senior Leagues VP Barbara Ingram, who takes over as the Media VP in 2021. “She always gives with her heart 200 percent,” said Depa. “Thank you so much for always being there this year, but not only this year, all the past years as well.”

Turning to the future of ALTA and 2021, the organization plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary. 2021 President Debbie Gaster discussed the first season of ALTA league play, which was in the spring of 1971, when about 900 members joined to play in the Men’s and Thursday Women’s Leagues. “Very quickly, other leagues were added, and today we have the largest local tennis membership in Atlanta, and numerous league offerings for both adult and junior players, as well as a thriving ALTA Foundation,” she said. Gaster has been fortunate to remain with the same group of women for more than 20 years. “I could never have guessed that the people I would meet as a result of my decision to play ALTA would become and remain some of my closest friends today.”

Gaster has served countless hours in nearly every role with ALTA. This has given her the confidence to take on her new role as president. It is that same confidence she gained by working closely this year with Depa, whom she said included her in so many of the difficult decisions as she responded to the challenges of 2020. Gaster is optimistic about celebrating 50 years of ALTA league play in 2021 and says she fully expects the next 50 years to be just as successful.

 

2020 Award Recipients
RUBY
Chairman of the Board
Robert Fitzgerald

TSAVORITE
Executive Committee President
Sandy Depa

DIAMOND IN RACQUET
Executive Committee/Board of Directors, First Year
Keri Beck
John Lowell
Brenda Maddaleni
Cameron Turner
Roger Dennington

25-Year Hall of Fame 
Judy Battles
Charlie McCoy

ALTA Gold Pin
20 years of service
Sandy Depa
Lori Gangwisch
Martha Harvey

Honorary Membership
15 years of service
Erica Allen
Terri Astuto
Renee Bowen
Didi Chapdelaine
Robert Fitzgerald*
Bonny Robichaud

*already honorary

Bezel Rope for Coin
10 years of service
Kim Freeman
Leslie Gersack
Dawn Price
Diane Royston
Karen Sullivan

Diamond in Coin
Five years of Service
Debbie Adams
Kim Dlugolenski
Brenda Maddaleni
Gregory McAfee
Angela Selmon
Audrey Sherrod
Rebecca Williams

Gold Coin
Two Years of Service
Karen Carroll
Kimberlie Ensley
Shephalli Jain
Lazonia Jordan
Dee Lavender
Susan McGlynn
Cindy Pietkiewicz
Emmy Powell
Beth Stewart
David Stone

2021 ALTA Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board                 Joyce Vance
2019 ALTA President                         Bill Price
2020 ALTA President                    Sandy Depa
2021 ALTA President                 Debbie Gaster
The ALTA Foundation President   Diana Burger
2020 Elected Member                 Larry Waters
2021 Elected Member            Chequetta Allen
Treasurer                                     John Lowell
Secretary/First Vice-President       Lamar Scott

2021 ALTA Foundation Board of Directors
President                                    Diana Burger
Treasurer                                     John Lowell
Secretary                        Rita Maloof

2021 ALTA Executive Committee
President                                                    Debbie Gaster
First Vice-President (2022 President-Elect)       Lamar Scott
Secretary                                                  Camille Puckett
Treasurer                                                        John Lowell
VP Men’s League                                           Mitch Falkin
VP Thursday Women’s League                             Keri Beck
VP Sunday Women’s League                      Linda Shepherd
VP Senior Day Leagues                               Cathy Gonzales
VP Senior Leagues                                 Roger Dennington
VP Mixed Doubles League                        Cameron Turner
VP Junior Leagues                                       Tammi Copelli
VP Junior Challenge Ladder                   Brenda Maddaleni
VP Special Programs                                       Eric Behning
VP Media                                                  Barbara Ingram
President’s Appointee                                    Mimi McFall
2020 President                                               Sandy Depa
2019 President                                                    Bill Price
ALTA Foundation Rep.                       Rita Maloof