"The beautiful location and elite amenities of La Manga Club are a unique draw", according to the ex president of WBNA Donna Orender

Having spent many years linked to the world of sport, first as a professional basketball player, later becoming the president of the women's NBA along with maintaining senior positions at the PGA, Donna Orender has undoubtedly become an expert in sports marketing. She spent a few days at La Manga Club as well as participating in a sports and marketing conference at UCAM.

La Manga Club, 2nd March 2016. The ex-president of the women's BNA Donna Orender (WBNA) spent a few days at La Manga Club and was accompanied by some of its directors to a speech given about marketing and sport at UCAM. Amongst those present were Jordi Robinat, chairman; Yves Pierre Gerbeau, non - executive chairman; Ricard Penadés, counsellor; MG Orender, counsellor and Jose Asenjo, CEO.

She also had the opportunity to get to know the joint projects taking place between the two institutions – UCAM and La Manga Club, with regard to teaching, research and sports tourism. Orender is one of the most prestigious people in the United States in terms of management and her sports marketing expertise.

  • You were a professional basketballer, and then president of the women's BNA, a notable member of the PGA TOUR and then took on your own business… What have you learnt about sport that can then be applied to your personal and professional life? 

I truly attribute whatever success I have had to my participation in sports. Sports teaches you how to compete and even more importantly how to prepare to compete. You learn that it takes hard work to excel and that you must have a desire to perform at a high level to achieve a high level success. Sport also teaches you to ask a lot from yourself… more than you think you can give. That is a most enduring lesson for me. 

  • There was a conference given to young people from different countries at the Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM). What advice would you give to those just beginning their studies or working career? 

Be open and be diligent. What I mean is that to feel free to explore. Life is not lineal or even hierarchical. With the advent of social media and the Internet life works like a network of webs and exploring the interconnectivity of ideas and possibilities will lead you to your passion. In that process, be diligent. Take advantage of the many opportunities in front of you. Talk to your professors, engage your fellow students, play outside.. truly explore the fullness of life.

  • You´re considered an expert in sports marketing. Do you have to know how 'to sell' the sport to make it seem attractive?

When you have been professionally engaged in a business for most of your working life you do learn a lot. Sports is a business like any other and it is a hard business. What makes it so attractive is that it is something people are very passionate about and so they are naturally drawn to the business. But it is important to understand that it is a business and whomever you represent whether it be a league, or team, or college team or athlete, the fundamentals of marketing and sales are vital to success. You must drive top line revenue and understanding the fundamentals of your consumer and the benefits of your "product" is very important in driving engagement.

  • La Manga Club is a resort committed to combining both sport and leisure, something we call ´sports tourism´. What do you think of this idea?

It is an idea for our times. With both the boomer and millennial populations, sport and leisure are very desirable activities. The combination speaks to the opportunity for sports participation, the ability to be around elite athletes and see their training and to be inspired to adopt their training methods, or to just play a leisurely round of golf on first class facilities. The beautiful location and elite amenities are a unique draw as they enable you to pursue a healthy lifestyle that engages both your competitive as well as mindful spirits.

"The beautiful location and elite amenities of La Manga Club are a unique draw", according to the ex president of WBNA Donna Orender

One of the important investments of La Manga Club is women´s sport. In fact, in March there will be a tournament where women´s football teams from around the world will compete. What position do you think women´s sport is currently in? Are there many improvements still to be made?

Women’s sports continue to be on the rise. The values and benefits of sport, learning how to compete, which I said earlier, to persevere, to learn teamwork and to win, are very vital and transferrable skills to making great citizens of the world. La Manga Club is showing great leadership by engaging women and sports and will surely be rewarded when it is time for women to make their travel destination decisions.

You´ve had the opportunity to get to know the facilities here at La Manga Club. What do you think stands out about the resort?

The resort is physically beautiful. The attention to detail, their concern for their guests, the most delicious food, the spa and outstanding golf all combines to make it a must go to place if you are looking for that special combination of active pursuits and relaxation.

After living an intense sporting lifestyle, do you still like to play sport?

I very much like to still play… I even go to the basketball courts with my sons every now and again… that still makes me the happiest. Playing golf with the family and especially my husband is always a treat and I do like to organize golf outings for my women friends. I find they want to play but appreciate some special low pressure tips so they can feel more comfortable on the course. I know that La Manga Club takes that special care as well. And lastly, I love the gym and did have the chance to spend time at La Manga Club’s gym and would go back daily if I didn’t have to go home.