Oaklandon Youth Organization Elects First-Ever Female President
The Oaklandon Youth Organization (OYO) recently announced its new Board of Directors for 2021, including the organization’s next Board President, Brittany Anderson, who becomes the first woman to lead the largest youth baseball and softball program on Indianapolis’ northeastside.
A resident of Lawrence, Indiana, Anderson has volunteered at OYO since 2017 as a coach, board member and executive board member in various capacities before being nominated and elected to serve as President of the OYO Board of Directors, which involves a two-year term running from November 1, 2020 through October 31, 2022.
Anderson graduated from Belzer Middle School and Lawrence Central High School, where she played varsity softball from 1991-95, before attending and graduating from Indiana University, where she majored in education and Spanish. She is married to her husband, Kevin Anderson, who is a graduate of Lawrence North High School, and they have three children, two of whom currently play in OYO’s rec league and participate on the league’s all-star teams.
She also has served as a head coach of both recreational softball and baseball teams, a division commissioner for one of our younger baseball divisions and vice president of our travel program. During a difficult 2020, where the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc over all programs and activities for our community’s youth, Anderson remained steadfast in her commitment to provide travel baseball and softball opportunities this past summer. Anderson also focused on ensuring players could take the field for an extended Fall Ball program serving nearly 600 players from 500 families across 50 teams. She helped make the vision for Fall Ball a success by collaborating to provide a safe and responsible environment for ballplayers from early August through mid-October without a single positive COVID-19 case being reported.
Founded in 1975, OYO has elected more than 20 Board Presidents to lead this non-profit organization committed to providing recreational baseball and softball programs along with all-star and full-time travel programs. Anderson assumes this prominent role leading a 43-member board of directors, including a nine-member executive board. The OYO executive board is comprised of nine members, including three women. Fellow exec board member, Karen Grese, who has served as Treasurer under four different Board Presidents spoke highly of Anderson’s engaging leadership style.
“OYO has embraced and rallied around many leaders throughout the years, but Brittany’s ability to engage her colleagues and provide timely support and encouragement always has our volunteers already going the extra mile,” said Karen Grese, 10-year board veteran, including six years as treasurer, and a mother of five children who have been involved at OYO since the 1990s. “Brittany has a keen ability to listen to new ideas and find ways to soundly and strategically execute those ideas to create a better OYO for today and the future.”
Every aspect of OYO Anderson has had a chance to support or lead has resulted in a better outcome for the league. When she began coaching in 2017, she encouraged a group of 12U softball players to not only continue to play the sport but also recruit more players to OYO the following season. When she was named Junior Rookie commissioner in 2018, the following season she helped expand the division by nearly 50 percent through her leadership and direct appeals for players to join the OYO program. When a vacancy stepped up at the head of our travel program, she was recruited to fill the gap. In the next six months she helped rebuild the travel program that more than doubled in size on her watch. And, lastly, as she was selected to be OYO’s next president, she expanded the board composition from 37 positions to 43 positions and achieved the highest percentage of positions filled at the start of the term. On election night, one of her executive board peers emphasized the impact she would have on OYO for years and decades to come.
“Brittany is highly committed and focused to providing opportunities to every ballplayer from our Challenger program to our rec league to our travel teams who wants to call OYO home for their on-field experience,” said Mike Springer, a seven-year board member and highly successful full-time travel coach. “She is focused on equality and committed to helping players succeed. And, she is an incredibly talented baseball coach, where she coaches with such tremendous success, especially in what many would consider a man’s world.”
As she has prepared for this role during the past two months, Anderson has worked hard to learn more about the fellow board members she will serve with, the ballplayers, coaches and families she will impact through her leadership, the inner-workings of the program and much more. In doing so, she has partnered with one of the organization’s veteran leaders for an in-depth orientation and knowledge transfer program.
“The selection of Brittany to follow a long line of impressive leaders was always very straightforward considering her strong work ethic, penchant for results and engaging demeanor,” said Michael DeSanto, 17-year veteran board member, including four years as OYO President. “The more we had a chance to work with Brittany, the more we witnessed firsthand her ability to craft a vision, rally others around an important cause, execute the finest of details and not only achieve — but also exceed — all expectations and goals.”
What’s more, DeSanto particularly noticed Anderson’s integrity and values in deftly handling difficult situations this past summer with the travel program and this past fall with new COVID-19 guidelines and policies.
“What impresses me most about Brittany is her remarkable ability to execute with grace, lead with humility, plan with precision, motivate with compassion and listen with clarity,” DeSanto said. “That’s what leadership is all about, and OYO is fortunate to find a person who can create a trailblazing path while being a leader and a friend to all. When her time as OYO President concludes, I can assure you she will have completely re-written the standards for what success at OYO resembles in a very impressive way – one that will benefit every player, coach and fan who calls OYO home.”