Promoting your passion for Tennis - By Dunja Antunovic

Promoting your passion for Tennis

Dunja AntunovicBy Dunja Antunovic, DePaul Graduate Assistant Coach
2010 ITA/USTWA Writing Contest Winner

As a player, Lauren Lui was one of those people who constantly lingered on the ITA website, checking for updates and results. One day as she was going through her routine of browsing, she stumbled across an opportunity that seemed to be tailored for her.

The Wilson/ITA National Promoter of the Year Award is an accolade given out annually to those players or team managers “who promote the game of tennis at the collegiate level by devoting consistent time and effort to promotional activities and who support and bring awareness to either their school program or to the sport as a whole.”

In her four years as a Northwestern University Wildcat, Lauren Lui did just that.

An outstanding leader both and off the court, Lauren participated in various activities that created a bond between her team and the Evanston community and brought visibility to the sport of tennis.

Lauren was an integral part of the Wildcats’ numerous outreach programs. Among many others, she participated in Northwestern’s USTA Campus Kids’ Day and in an annual fundraising event. She also served in soup kitchens and reached out to local elementary schools where she showed the joy of doing physical activity to kids.

The ITA selected two recipients of the award in 2010. Lauren Lui was one of them along with Daniel Canellas from University of Alabama – Huntsville. But Lauren and Daniel got to do much more than just enjoy the prestige of winning the award. Both of them received a summer internship at the Wilson Sporting Goods in Chicago, IL.

“We got to work in the division of Racquet Sports,” Lauren said. “Our manager had us work in all different departments such as sports marketing and promotion, indoor tennis balls, social marketing, accessories and bags, equipment. We rotated around every few days so we got a broad overview of how a manufacturing company works.”

But the real fun began in August when Lauren and Daniel accompanied Wilson to the US Open. The two award winners stayed in New York for the event for three weeks.

“Wilson had a store at the US Open so our job was to set everything up, do an inventory, make it look pretty, then work in shifts during the tournament and at the end close down the store,” Lauren described. “It was a crash course in retail.”

“I enjoyed it a lot,” Lauren said. “I dealt with so many different people – they came to the US Open from all over the world.”

Additionally to the work experience, the internship also gave Lauren a perspective and a new appreciation for her racquets.

“You take for granted how your equipment is made, but we actually got to see how it gets produced and how it gets into your hand.”

Lauren graduated in June of 2010 with a degree in Learning and Organizational Change and is currently working in downtown Chicago at CS Stars, a risk management software company. In her job, she utilizes the skills she acquired in her career as an intercollegiate athlete.

“Tennis has taught me how to multi-task and work more efficiently,” Lauren said. “I learned how to get things done and take initiative in a team environment. It prepared me for the corporate life.”

The internship at Wilson only added to her skill-set and she reflects on it with joy.

“Everybody I worked with was awesome and really helpful,” Lauren said. “I still keep in contact with them to this day. It was an experience I will never forget.”

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