WNBA President Donna Orender Steps Down to Launch Independent Marketing, Media, and Strategy Company

During Donna Orender's six-season tenure as President, the WNBA has experienced growth in attendance, ratings, digital consumption and sponsor activation.
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

NEW YORK, December 3 – Following six successful seasons as President of the Women’s National Basketball Association, Donna Orender has decided to step down from her position, effective Dec. 31, 2010, to launch Orender Unlimited, an independent marketing, media, and strategy company. Orender will continue to serve as a consultant for the league.

“I am extraordinarily proud to have served as WNBA President and to be a part of this league and all that it stands for,” said Orender. “While delivering a major-league experience on the court, the WNBA is truly a beacon for global, social, and cultural change off the court. The opportunity to play a role in growing this league, building its business and leveraging the power of sports to truly help change people’s lives has been extraordinary.”

Orender continued, “It was simply time for me to take this step in my life. My work on behalf of women and girls around the world will only deepen as will my ongoing engagement in sports. I am pleased to be able to continue my involvement with the WNBA as I move ahead with my new venture.”

“Donna’s contributions to the WNBA and women’s sports have been extraordinary,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “Under her leadership, the WNBA has continued its growth and further solidified its position as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity. We are grateful for her passion and dedication and look forward to her continuing counsel as we build upon the success she helped sustain.”

Named WNBA president in April 2005, Orender succeeded Val Ackerman, the league’s president for its first eight seasons, and on her watch, the WNBA has experienced growth in attendance, ratings, digital consumption and sponsor activation. During her tenure, the WNBA signed an eight-year extension of the league’s network television contract featuring up to 30 games annually on ABC and ESPN2 and a six-year extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with its players.

During Orender’s time at the league, the WNBA introduced the “WNBA Marquee Marketing Partnership” program, which features branded sponsorship of game jerseys, as well as the Inspiring Women Luncheon, which brought together and recognized the nation’s female leaders, including such extraordinary women as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, newscaster Robin Roberts, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice.

The search for Orender’s successor will begin immediately, and NBA Senior Vice President, Team Marketing and Business Operations Chris Granger will oversee the league’s operations on an interim basis.

Prior to joining the WNBA, Orender spent 17 years with the PGA TOUR, serving most recently as Senior Vice President of Strategic Development in the Office of the Commissioner. Orender was responsible for the development and management of strategic direction across all business lines, including new media, Internet, advertising, and brand management. Prior to this, she ran the tour’s worldwide television and production businesses for nine years.

Orender was an All-American basketball player at Queens College of New York and played professionally for three seasons as an All-Star point guard in the Women's Basketball League (WBL). She received the 2007 WISE Woman of the Year Award, was recognized with the March of Dimes’ Sports Leadership Award in 2006, and was recently named as a global ambassador for the UN’s Girl Up campaign.

Orender serves on the boards of the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, Inc., the V Foundation, the UJA Sports for Youth Initiative, The Hadassah Foundation Board, and Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel.

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