2023 OTA Distinguished Service Awards
The OTA recently hosted its annual Distinguished Service Awards dinner at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club. The event honoured 2023’s three deserving recipients (above, left to right), Diane Lang, Rick Bertozzi and Stuart Teather. Congratulations and thank-you to all recipients from the OTA team! See each honouree’s bio below.
Diane is a dedicated club volunteer and enthusiastic tennis player whose contributions span 40+ years.
Diane’s first foray into tennis volunteering began with the Scarborough Tennis Federation (STF) in 1979, serving as secretary, then taking a short break to start a family and returning in 1983-1984 as STF Treasurer. Diane’s early contributions to tennis in Scarborough have contributed in a significant way to STF’s success as one of the most engaged regions of the Ontario Tennis Association (OTA), boasting 19 member clubs and over 3,600 adult and junior players.
Diane’s most steadfast commitment to tennis has been within her local community. She along with husband Dan joined the Guildwood Tennis Club (formerly Kiwaniwood) in 1977 and have supported tennis in the community ever since. She served in various small ways at the club level throughout the 80’s and 90’s. As a teacher at Sir Wilfred Laurier Collegiate, Diane supervised tennis teams and helped teens improve their skills. Even now, her former connections help to facilitate community service opportunities for teens who assist in summer camps for juniors.
In 2021 Diane became President of Guildwood Tennis Club, having served 20 years prior as their Treasurer. She is especially proud of her strong leadership team who together have built a healthy club membership, fantastic home-grown junior program and built a solid financial foundation needed for a future clubhouse facility.
Juggling multiple challenges is nothing new for Diane, as she has also acted as Tennis Liaison Director at Tam Heather for the past six years. Under her leadership, a Tennis Committee was formed with broad representation including juniors, recreational and competitive players. Its role is to recommend policies that promote accessibility and fun for all members.
Diane is described by her peers as kind and thoughtful and always willing to help where needed: a truly dedicated tennis volunteer and most worthy of this outstanding award.
Rick has been involved in tennis volunteerism for over 25 years. He is well known for his willingness to organize winter tennis groups while being a member of many Ontario Tennis Association (OTA) member clubs over the years including Kleinburg, Nobleton, Richmond Hill, Thornhill Park, Applewood, Whiteoaks Park and others. He served as Applewood Tennis Club’s Vice President and teams director in the late 90’s, and as Thornhill Park Tennis Club’s Vice President and program director from 2006 to 2011.
Rick later became President of Kleinburg Tennis Club in 2020 and was successful in obtaining a $16,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant for club improvements. He also chairs many of their committees, including premises improvement, adult and junior development, and constitution and by-laws.
Rick quickly broadened his volunteer contributions by serving as Vice President and President of the Inter-County Tennis Association (ICTA) from 2008 to 2020 and still volunteers as a Division Chair. His leadership skills and ability to work well with others helped to strengthen the organization and has allowed it to continue to grow as the largest organization for team tennis competition in Canada. He has also captained several successful teams in the ICTA in the Mixed and 55 Plus Leagues.
During this time, Rick also held a number of Director positions at the OTA from 2015-2023, including Director-at-Large, and the last six years as Vice-Chair Finance and Administration. Rick served admirably at a time of extreme financial challenges, going from a healthy $2M budget, to having the OTA’s funding streams seriously reduced while the world tried to recover from a global pandemic. Despite these setbacks, Rick worked well with OTA staff and board and the Association’s finances remain sound to this day.
Rick continues to be an avid tennis player and is a Tennis Canada Certified Club Pro 1 who has volunteered his time and expertise in running clinics and private lessons to assist with player development over the years. He is inspiration to others seeking to make a difference in their community, and most deserving of this award.
Over the last two decades, Stuart has demonstrated what a dedicated and conscientious volunteer looks like to the Toronto community and to tennis in Ontario.
Stuart joined the Davisville Tennis Club in 2001 and quickly became an integral part of the Davisville tennis community. He joined the board in 2002 as Treasurer, became President in 2004 and has served in that capacity ever since. Davisville is often seen as one of the busiest and most vibrant clubs in Toronto and Stuart’s leadership helps to keep it very successful. He is an exemplary leader and an exceptional event/tournament organizer and community builder. He is frequently called on for advice, and on matters as varied as structuring programming, court maintenance, and club governance.
For the past 15 years, Stuart has chaired or co-led the organizing committee for Davisville Cup, an annual event that has raised over $165,000 for the Philpott Foundation, fostering junior tennis in economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the GTA. His support of this event is a great example of his commitment to tennis and its development. It also reflects the priority he places on the culture of Davisville Tennis Club community as a place where all are welcome with tennis at its heart.
Not one to sit on his laurels, Stuart has also been involved with the InterCounty Tennis Association (ICTA) since 2007. He was Tournament Director for 12 year and has been Vice President since 2018. He is an invaluable member of the ICTA Board and devotes hundreds of hours on a yearly basis to make sure the Association’s work is proper and professional, from working on the Association’s by-laws, to assisting with marketing efforts, to networking with partners and sponsors.
His peers, colleagues and friends describe him as a hard-working, devoted, genuine, caring and selfless volunteer. Stuart is a true leader and professional, exemplifying the true spirit of this most deserving award.