By Meri-Jo Borzilleri
The Association for Women in Sports Media is pleased to announce that longtime member and past AWSM president Joanne Gerstner has won the inaugural Ann Miller Service Award.
The award, named in honor of AWSM charter member and longtime treasurer Ann Miller, was presented at the annual convention in Orlando, Fla. Miller presented the award.
“Joanne has been instrumental in AWSM’s success for the last decade,” said Stef Loh, AWSM president. “She has always been a reliable sounding board, a mentor and an invaluable resource for the board, and we’re honored to present her with the first-ever Ann Miller Award for service.”
Gerstner played a pivotal role at a critical time for AWSM. Her push for non-profit status gave AWSM a framework for financial stability. She then successfully spearheaded the largest sustained fundraising campaign in AWSM history, and helped establish the endowment of the organization’s scholarships program.
“I am incredibly humbled and honored that AWSM would choose me to receive the Ann Miller Award,” Gerstner said. “It has been a labor of love for me to give back to AWSM, an organization that I have been a member of since I was starting out in the business. I know AWSM has given way more to me than I have been able to give back to the organization.”
A member since 1992, Gerstner has held numerous board positions and was most recently responsible for helping start and oversee AWSM’s college chapters, a flourishing program that is raising awareness of the organization for the next generation.
“I certainly did not achieve anything for AWSM by myself,” Gerstner said. “I must thank all of the board members I served with, my AWSM mentors and friends, and the supportive membership for playing huge roles in our shared successes. A sincere thank you to the AWSM board and membership for this recognition.”
A 2012-13 Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan, Gerstner was a longtime Detroit News staffer and has worked for USA Today, the New York Times and ESPN.com, among others. She has also written four children’s non-fiction sports books.
Miller, a longtime Hawaii-based sports reporter, was one of the charter members of AWSM when the organization was founded in 1987. She was treasurer for AWSM’s first 10 years, and also served as board chairman. She has attended nearly every convention (22) despite traveling from Hawaii.
The Ann Miller Service Award will be presented each year to a person who has made a significant contribution to the organization.