New York (September 24, 2019) – Today, Athlete Ally announced that Tchernavia Rocker, Chief People & Culture Officer for Under Amour, Inc., and Rick Welts, President and COO for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, will co-chair the upcoming Sixth Annual Athlete Ally Action Awards. Athlete Ally is a nonprofit organization focused on fostering inclusive athletic environments and mobilizing the athletic community to champion LGBTQ equality. The awards ceremony, with honorees including out gay Major League Soccer player Collin Martin and others to be announced shortly, will take place on Tuesday, November 12th at the New World Stages in New York City.
Tchernavia Rocker is the Chief People and Culture Officer for Under Armour, Inc., a leading inventor, marketer and distributor of branded performance athletic apparel, footwear and accessories. In this role, Tchernavia leads all facets of the company’s human resources function. She works in tandem with other members of the Executive Leadership Team to innovate and execute Under Armour’s people and culture strategy.
Rocker joined Under Armour from Harley-Davidson, Inc. where she spent more than 18 years in HR leadership roles, most recently as the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. Prior to that, she served in various HR and operations roles at Goodyear Dunlop North America Tire Inc. Tchernavia has been recognized by numerous organizations for her outstanding professional contributions and community involvement, including: Ebony Magazine, The Milwaukee Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” The Manufacturing Institute’s 2016 “STEP Ahead” award and most recently as one of Black Enterprise’s “300 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America” for 2017.
“I’m honored to be a co-chair of the Sixth Annual Athlete Ally Action Awards,” said Rocker. “I’ve long believed that strong, impactful teams are those that value diversity and inclusion, and I look forward to celebrating the incredible athletes and supporters who champion those values every day.”
One of the most respected business executives in the NBA and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018, Rick Welts owns over 40 years of experience in the league and has spent the last eight seasons as president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors. In this role, Welts oversees all business-related operations for the Warriors, including the development of Chase Center, the team’s new home. He owns the rare distinction of being part of championship teams in the NBA (4), WNBA (2) and NBA G League (1). Prior to joining the Warriors in October 2011, he spent nine years as president of the Phoenix Suns.
In May of 2011, in a front page story in the New York Times, Welts became the highest ranking executive in men’s professional team sports to publicly acknowledge he is gay. He was presented with a United States Tennis Association 2011 ICON Award at the US Open in New York City, an award that recognizes and celebrates those who have had a positive impact on diversity and inclusion in the sports industry and society. Also in 2011, he was honored with GLSEN’s (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Respect Award, which honors those who have made a difference in the areas of diversity and inclusion. In September 2014, he was honored by GLAAD, the nation’s LGBT media advocacy organization, with the Davidson/Valentini Award, which is presented to an LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community. He also served as the celebrity Grand Marshall of San Francisco’s Pride Parade in 2015. In 2016 he was honored by the Anti-Defamation League with its “Torch of Liberty Award.”
“It’s vitally important to me to continue the conversation about our country’s acceptance on sexuality, particularly as it relates to sports,” said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. “Every single person, regardless of race, gender or sexual identity, should have the freedom to play or work in any role in sports. Athlete Ally is responsible for real change, and I’m honored to play a small part as Co-Chair of this year’s Action Awards.”
“We are thrilled to have Rick and Tchernavia as the co-chairs for this year’s Athlete Ally Action Awards,” said Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “Tchernavia is a leader in bridging sport and community engagement, and Rick is a pioneer for LGBTQ inclusion in athletics. Together, they bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and passion to what I know will be one of our most inspiring Athlete Ally Action Awards to date.”
To purchase tickets to the Awards, click here.
About Athlete Ally
Athlete Ally believes sport will change the world when it welcomes and empowers all people. As a leading national nonprofit working at the intersection of sport and LGBTQ equality, Athlete Ally works to end the structural and systemic oppression that isolates, excludes and endangers LGBTQ people in sport. We educate individuals and institutions to understand obstacles to inclusion for LGBTQ people and how they can build an inclusive culture within their athletic communities. We work to ensure sport governing bodies, teams and leagues adopt policies that reflect the diversity of their constituents. We incubate athlete activism to advance LGBTQ equality in and through sport.
The Sixth Annual Athlete Ally Action awards are made possible due to generous support, to date, from the National Basketball Association/Women’s Basketball Association (NBA/WNBA), HBO, Warner Media, Gatorade, Major League Soccer, Credit Suisse, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), TransPerfect, MillerCoors, and Tito’s Vodka in addition to individual supporters and other corporate support.