Orender inducted in International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame
By Jacksonville Jewish News
Jacksonville Jewish community member Donna Orender was recently inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame at the Wingate Sports Institute in Netanya, Israel. Friends and family for the ceremony joined her, including her husband MG Orender and friends, Debbie and Garry Kitay. Orender is the CEO of Orender Unlimited, a business consulting company, and founder of Generation W, a not-for-profit platform dedicated to connecting, inspiring and educating women and girls. She was recognized both for her outstanding work as a sports executive as well as an athlete. She served as president of the WNBA from Jan. 2005 to Dec. 2010 revitalizing the brand and the business. Within a year after taking the WNBA helm, Fox Sports named her the seventh most powerful woman in sports and Newsweek as one of the top 100 people in sports. Prior to her post at the WNBA, Orender was an executive with the PGA TOUR for 17 years, and rose to Senior Vice president of Strategic Development in the Office of the Commissioner.
The sports executive also shined on the court as she was a regional All-America basketball player at Queens College in N.Y., played in the first women’s game ever played at Madison Square Garden and played three seasons as an all-star guard in the Women's Professional Basketball League (WBL). During that period, the only three seasons the league was active, Orender, wore the uniforms of the New York Stars (1978-79), New Jersey Gems (1979-80), and Chicago Hustle (1980-81). “It was an incredibly emotional honor for me,” said Orender, to be able to stand tall as an athlete, is always a privilege, to be able to say “I am a Jewish athlete, has a depth and breadth of meaning, that is really hard to describe, and fills me with a tremendous sense of responsibility.”
The Long Island, N.Y. native now calls Jacksonville Beach home, where she and her husband M.G. have four children with their two youngest graduates of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School.