The sixth-annual Women in Sports Day at the 2019 FS Investments U.S. Open, presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, was highlighted with a special court-side reception before the evening’s matches. Co-chaired by Ashley Bernhard and Katherine Joyce, Women in Sports Day honors the achievements of women squash leaders and promotes equality and opportunity.
Kevin Klipstein, the president and CEO of US Squash, welcomed the many guests to the reception. He noted that the Women’s Squash Committee had taken Women’s Squash Week and turned it into a global phenomenon, with more than a hundred cities around the world. Since 2013, the U.S. Open has been a world leader in prize money parity and promotion of the women’s game. Women in Sports Day highlights the efforts to advance the lives of women and girls through squash and sport, and celebrate the on and off-court achievements of women leaders.
Klipstein introduced Karen Dougherty Buchholz, the senior vice president of administration for Comcast. Buchholz led the development of Comcast’s Tech Center, the tallest building in the U.S., not in Chicago or New York. Buchholz is also a squash mother, as her daughter Julia plays for the Penn team. “We intentionally named this Women in Sports Day,” Buchholz said, “not Women in Squash Day. We are focused on empowering women in sports and in life.”
Buchholz screened a powerful three-minute video called Letters of Change, based on the experience of Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, the twin sisters who lead Team USA to a gold medal victory in ice hockey in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. “Sometimes the real win,” the film concluded, “has nothing to do with a gold medal.”
Kim Clearkin, the vice president of programs and events at US Squash, then introduced the Lamoureuxs. She talked about the pressing need for role models. “You have to see it to be it,” Clearkin said, quoting the famous Billie Jean King line. She then presented the 2019 Women in Sports Day Special Recognition Award to Jocelyne Lamoureux and Monique Lamoureux.
Jocelyne spoke about their mother’s mantra: “cheer for the one behind.” She uses that advice to work for a more inclusive environment for all people. Monique said that “when we speak about gender equity, we need more than just women in the room. We need the men there too. We need all of us.”
Previous honorees at Women in Sports Day at the U.S. Open include Kasey Brown, the former world No. 5 and pro tour president; Anne Farrell, the longest-serving US Squash employee in history; Alicia McConnell, the former world No. 14 and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee leader; Maria Toorpakai, the Pakistani squash player and women’s rights advocate; and last year’s honoree, Jenny Duncalf, the former world No. 2 and gay rights pioneer.
Klipstein then introduced Lara Rhame, the chief U.S. economist for FS Investments. Rhame spoke about FS Investments’ synergy with US Squash, as both seek to develop access, community and equality.
Sakora Miller, US Squash’s events manager, then awarded the 2019 Achievement Bowl to Molly Pierce. A number of Pierce’s family were present, including two of her national champion siblings, Connie and Michael.
Pierce, a longtime leader and many-time national champion, has been a weekly mentor, board member and key philanthropic supporter of SquashSmarts, the Philadelphia urban squash program. “This is where I belong,” she said, talking about her first encounter with SquashSmarts back in 2001. “This is my passion and I love it. Bruce Springsteen says you can’t start a fire without a spark. I will continue to try to be that spark.”
The Achievement Bowl is US Squash’s oldest award. Every year since 1955 it has been given out to women who have made notable and profound contributions to the advancement of squash. Last year’s recipient was Gail Ramsay.