ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Minor League Baseball and Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. announced today that Omaha Storm Chasers Assistant General Manager Laurie Schlender has been named the recipient of the 41st Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year Award.
Since 1976, the Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year Award has been presented annually to a woman who has made outstanding contributions to her club or league, or to baseball. Schlender will receive the award at the Baseball Winter Meetings Awards Luncheon on Monday, Dec. 11, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.
“It was an honor just to be nominated for this award, but to be the recipient is truly humbling,” said Schlender. “I am blessed to work with this organization, and my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported me both inside and outside of baseball.”
“Laurie has been instrumental in the achievements and successes of the Omaha Storm Chasers over the last decade,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. “She has demonstrated tremendous versatility in overseeing various departments and leading each to success. On behalf of Minor League Baseball, I congratulate Laurie on being named the 2017 Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year.”
A CPA by trade, Schlender’s work with Omaha began in 2000 when she was contracted to provide accounting assistance. Schlender became a full-time employee of the club in 2008 and has continually added responsibilities throughout the years, including Human Resources, IT, risk management, community relations and other day-to-day operations. When the team moved to Werner Park in 2010, Schlender led the efforts of designing the wired and wireless networks as well as updating security procedures for the new stadium. In October 2011, she became the highest-ranking female executive in the franchise’s history when she was promoted to Assistant General Manager.
Since Schlender’s first year with the organization, the team’s net income from operations has grown by over 500 percent thanks to her work in improved budgeting, financial reporting and analysis. Schlender also took on the role of managing the Storm Front Team Store in 2012, where she has assisted in increasing gross merchandise revenues by over 36 percent.
“There are many, including me, who believe there is no one more deserving of this award than Laurie,” said Storm Chasers President and General Manager Martie Cordaro. “The impact she has made on this organization cannot be overstated. We all have become better at what we strive to do because of her commitment and leadership.”
“To say that this is a well-deserved honor for Laurie is an understatement,” said Storm Chasers Owner Gary Green. “I’m thrilled to see Minor League Baseball recognize everything I have known about her since we met in 2012.” Schlender earned her Bachelor of Science in business administration-accounting from Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska.
The Quimby, Iowa native has been active in the community, completing extensive volunteer work with the Millard Public Schools.
PREVIOUS RAWLINGS WOMAN EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
1976 Alice Neighbors, Tulsa (AA)
1977 Mary Anne Whitacre, Hawaii (PCL)
1978 Patty Cox, Oklahoma City (AA)
1979 Doris Krucker, (MWL)
1980 Frances Crockett, Charlotte (SOU)
1981 Arlene Woodford, Portland (PCL)
1982 Linda Pereira, San Jose (CAL)
1983 Karen Paul, El Paso (TEX)
1984 Mildred Boyenga, Waterloo (MID)
1985 Frances Crockett, Charlotte (SOU)
1987 Leslie Leary, Auburn (NYP)
1988 Mindy Rich, Buffalo (AA)
1989 Pat Hamilton, Toledo (INT)
1990 Leanne Pagliai, High Desert (CAL)
1991 Marta Hiczewski, Buffalo (AA)
1992 Tammy Felker-White, Portland (PCL)
1993 Shereen Samonds, Orlando (SOU)
1994 Naomi Silver, Rochester (INT)
1995 Mary Cain, Portland (NWL)
1996 Audrey Zielinski, Detroit (MLB)
1997 Dot Cloud, Nashville (AA)
1998 Lois Schneider, Cincinnati (MLB)
1999 Judy Ellis, Missoula (PIO)
2000 Mary Barney, Louisville (IL)
2001 Linda McNabb, Ft. Myers (FSL) & Lori Webb (SOU)
2002 Brenda Yoder, Greenville (SOU)
2003 Luchy Guerra, L.A. Dodgers (MLB)
2004 Carolyn McKee, Asheville(SAL)
2005 Lisa Walker, Salem-Keizer (NWL)
2006 Ashley Forlini, Reading (EL)
2007 Shari Massengill, Kinston (CAR)
2008 Carol Gehr, Hagerstown Suns (SAL)
2009 Katie Dannemiller, Greensboro (SAL)
2010 Sharon Ridley, Nashville (PCL)
2011 Marla Terranova Vickers, Montgomery (SOU)
2012 Darlene Giardina, Rochester (INT)
2013 Joan McGrath, Arizona Fall League
2014 Melanie Peiffer Fiore, Pacific Coast League
2015 Lindsey Knupp, Lehigh Valley (INT)
2016 Brandy Guinaugh, Dayton (MID)
About Minor League Baseball
Minor League Baseball, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the governing body for all professional baseball teams in the United States, Canada and the Dominican Republic that are affiliated with Major League Baseball® clubs through their farm systems. Fans are coming out in unprecedented numbers to this one-of-a-kind experience that can only be found at Minor League Baseball ballparks. In 2017, Minor League Baseball attracted 41.8 million fans to its ballparks to see the future stars of the sport hone their skills. From the electricity in the stands to the excitement on the field, Minor League Baseball has provided affordable family-friendly entertainment to people of all ages since its founding in 1901. For more information, visit www.MiLB.com.
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