ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- 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.
• Rawlings Award »
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.