Two-Time Olympian and Operations Expert to Help Bolster Water Polo Growth
Huntington Beach, Calif. – Ellen Estes Lee and Bob Sternfels, two innovators in their respective fields and passionate water polo veterans have joined the USA Water Polo Board of Directors. Estes-Lee, a two-time Olympian from the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games fills an athlete representative slot, previously occupied by Rachel Ruano. Estes is joined by Sternfels, a managing director at McKinsey & Company and former member of the USA Junior National Team.
“Ellen will be a great addition to the board,” said Chairman Michael Graff. .”She brings a wealth of athletic leadership and experience to us, and can therefore inform our thinking from the athlete's perspective on a number of issues. I also expect Ellen to be able to contribute to our thinking on a range of management and organization topics given her management education and experience.”
“Bob will add a number of dimensions to our board,” Graff went on. “He is an ex-Stanford player. He also led the Mckinsey/USA Water Polo growth strategy team, and from that experience can help guide us through its implementation. We are eager for his help on a number of new initiatives to grow our sport. He is also our first independent board member from the Northern California region.”
Estes Lee is no stranger to the water polo community having carved out a stellar undergraduate career at Stanford University while becoming a stalwart for the women’s national team. She earned two Olympic Medals at the 2000 and 2004 Games in Sydney and Athens in a national team career spanning six years. A respected leader in the pool, she has accomplished a great deal out of the water as well. Currently a candidate for an MBA from the Harvard Business School, Estes Lee has spent time at The Boeing Company as an engineer and project leader, and at Genentech, a biotech company. She will serve as the Athlete Advisory Committee representative to the United States Olympic Committee and as one of two athlete reps on the USAWP board, along with Jeremy Laster, who joined the board in 2008.
Sternfels was also a graduate of Stanford University and brings strong ties from the Bay Area. A senior partner for McKinsey and Company- a revolutionary global consulting firm - Sternfels has been with the group for over a decade and has helped to launch an office in South Africa while also working with clients around the globe. Specializing in private equity practice, Sternfels has helped oversee a strategic growth plan with USA Water Polo CEO Christopher Ramsey. Sternfels was a Rhodes Scholar and earned an MA in politics, philosophy, and economics from Oxford.
To satisfy US Olympic Committee regulations, Estes Lee’s appointment made it necessary for former USAWP athlete representative Rachel Ruano to step down after three years of distinguished service. Bradford Bowlus, another three year board veteran also announced his resignation to spend more time on his various business interests. “USA Water Polo is indebted to the service provided by Rachel and Brad,” said Christopher Ramsey. “Rachel helped shaped the board’s understanding of competition and athlete concerns, as well as providing an informed perspective from one of our most successful clubs. Brad made a tremendous contribution to building our annual fund, as well as providing savvy management counsel. Both were generous with their time and committed to doing the very best for our sport. They will be missed.”
photos Janos Schmidt