By JENNIFER A. OVERMAN
AWSM has selected Lydia Craver as the winner of its 2015 Ann Miller Service Award, given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the organization.
An AWSM member since 2000, she has coordinated more conventions and regional events – including the group’s 25th anniversary celebration – than any other member.
Craver also has been the organization’s top fundraiser. She held various board positions from 2003-2013, including serving as a vice president for five years.
“If there’s anyone who epitomizes service to AWSM, it would be Lydia,” said Kathy Kudravi, AWSM Chair of the Board. “If you have been to a convention in the past few years and loved the location, the food, the experience, you have Lydia to thank for it.
“Lydia has been amazing at finding great hotels at great prices. She tirelessly finds the best restaurants to hold our off-site events. She negotiates the best deals for us. Truly, without Lydia in her role with the conventions, we would have been adrift. No one deserves this more.”
Craver continues to manage site selection and contract negotiation for AWSM’s convention properties and serves as a valuable resource to the organization.
“I’m honored to be chosen,” Craver said. “But I certainly did not reach these achievements on my own and should thank not only AWSM’s supportive membership but also all of the board members I served with – particularly Nicole Vargas, who was vital to the success of various events in more ways than I can begin to name.”
Craver joined ESPN in 2008 after spending a decade in newspapers, primarily in South Florida at The Miami Herald and Palm Beach Post.
“I have had so many great experiences related to AWSM, going back to the first convention I attended in Toronto (in 2000),” Craver said. “I’m so grateful to Tim Burke, my sports editor at the Palm Beach Post back then, for putting the organization on my radar and urging me to get involved.”
Miller, for whom the award is named, is a recently retired Hawaii-based sports reporter and was one of AWSM’s charter members who served on the board for the group’s first 10 years.
Said Miller, “If I was as thorough as Lydia when I was treasurer, AWSM would have a LOT more money. She has given our conventions a huge upgrade, and I still haven’t figured out where she finds the time to do it all. … I’m just thankful she does!”
Craver, along with Mary Garber Pioneer Award winner Robin Herman, will be honored at AWSM’s 2015 conference during Memorial Day weekend in Denver.