Amy Schultz serves as the associate tournament director for marketing for the Winston-Salem Open and handles outside events for athletics at Wake Forest University.
That makes her tournament director Bill Oakes’ most-trusted assistant, an integral part of daily operations in getting the first-year tournament up and running.
There are many fascinating things about her, not the least of which is her career path to the Triad.
First, she went to the Little Apple.
Then, she moved on to the Big Apple.
Schultz earned degrees in Speech-Communications and English from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas – known affectionately as the Little Apple.
Then she spent seven years in New York City working for the United States Tennis Association, assisting on various projects before eventually being promoted to national league manager.
"I was at the Little Apple in college, and it was great," Schultz said. "Then I moved to the Big Apple and it was great. And now coming to Winston-Salem, I have no regrets."
"The first time I came to visit Winston-Salem, the warmth and support for this tournament was apparent and overwhelming, really. Everybody here at Wake is so supportive and excited, and the sponsor support is overwhelming as well. People have really committed to this, and for multiple years. With the history of tennis here and the Davis Cups and all the success, it was an easy decision to come here."
Oakes got to know Schultz while he was marketing director of the USTA Southern Section in Atlanta, and he is excited that Schultz has joined the WSO staff.
"We are very lucky to have someone with Amy’s caliber and experience, not only running professional events but having tremendous success running recreational tournaments throughout the United States," Oakes said. "Her organization, skills and personality will be well-received here in Winston-Salem."
A native of Topeka, Kansas, Schultz started playing tennis at age five under the guidance of her father and older sisters. Her interest grew and grew, and when she went off to K-State she got her first tennis-related job working at Cottonwood Racquet Club in Manhattan. She also taught tennis in the Hamptons during the summers while in college.
Upon graduation, she followed the footsteps of her older sister Adrienne (the USTA’s Coordinator of Junior Team Tennis) by landing her job with the USTA.
By that point, she had decided that she would only pursue a career in a field that she truly loved – and she came to realize that her love was tennis.
"Originally I declared my major as Pre-Dental," Schultz said. "But then I decided I wanted to study something I actually enjoyed. I enjoyed reading and writing so I switched my major to English and Speech-Communications. From there I just decided I wanted to stay in something I loved. Tennis was always a part of my life; I think one of the best things about the sport are the people and the passion people have for it. It’s unbelievable. So I’m fortunate it all worked out for me to go to the USTA."
Among her responsibilities over her seven years at the USTA were wheelchair tennis, senior international play, adult league tennis and, ultimately, the job of National League Manager.
"I got to know a lot of people in tennis throughout the country, and I got to know a lot of people in the 17 Section offices," Schultz said. "As time went on at the USTA I realized I really had a passion for what I was doing, and I had a passion for the people, and I realized I was good at it. Getting to work with all the different groups in the USTA – whether it was with membership or communications on how to gain awareness for the program – was a great experience. You’re doing things that are best for the players, what’s actually best for the sport."
After seven years, though, she was ready for a new challenge.
"My husband John is originally from Atlanta, so we were ready to move South to a warmer climate," Schultz said. "The winters in New York are terrible. And I was living in the city and commuting to White Plains, and that was an hour and a half each way every day, and that was just getting a little taxing. So I really pursued this job. I wasn’t shy about it at all.
"When I came here for the interview, it was everything I was hoping for. I had spent about five minutes when I signed on the dotted line."