By Daniel Anwar - ISportConnect.com
Since Steve joined USA Gymnastics in 1999, he has overseen the strategic planning and marketing of the organization’s national and international events, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and the World Gymnastics Championships. As president and CEO, he also oversees the organization’s finances, membership division, sports programs, public/media relations and marketing. Penny works closely with the Board of Directors and its chairman for the strategic direction of the organization.
Penny’s professional experience includes vice president of Bob Walsh Enterprises, a private sports marketing company in Seattle, and managing director of USA Cycling. He also worked for Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) on its premier international multi-sport event, the Goodwill Games, and for the Seattle Mariners in community affairs and public relations.
A graduate of the University of Washington, Penny enjoys all sports, including skiing and golf. He is married and has three daughters.
How have your previous experiences in marketing, broadcasting and at USA Cycling helped you in your current role at USA Gymnastics?
As I look at my career I really do feel that every step along the way has contributed to where I am today and helps me understand the challenges we face here at USA Gymnastics. I think the most important thing I’ve learned along the way is that sport is something that really tugs at people’s hearts, so you have to make sure that you’re serving the best interests of the organisations that you’re running.
I think the specific experiences that I have had outside of gymnastics are the things that help build an organisation like USA Gymnastics and you don’t often find those from people within the sport. That expertise has helped the organisation because it allows gymnastics to reach outside of its normal walls.
In what ways has USA Gymnastics progressed during your time there?
One of the biggest things is our athlete programme - our athletes have done very well and we’ve been able to create a very stable environment for our athlete support programmes, our coaches and our team staff.
That has allowed them to be as successful as they’ve ever been - our women’s programme being the most successful in the world over the last twelve years. Our women’s coaches and athletes have really created a dynasty of success, which is something that I’m very proud of.
The other thing that we’ve done very well is we’re very financially stable. We have a diverse revenue stream, we’ve grown our budget significantly over the years and we’ve been able to invest into the foundation.
I also think we’ve increased our visibility. We’ve done a good job of staying out front with what USA Gymnastics is all about, keeping our athletes out front and producing win-win environments for our sponsors and stakeholders. I think everyone that has been involved with USA Gymnastics since I’ve been here feels that they’ve benefitted from that partnership and that’s very rewarding.