In this position, Katz is responsible for the planning and implementation of the annual celebration of National STUDENT-Athlete Day and its Giant Steps Awards Program. National STUDENT-Athlete Day sees over 220,000 high school and college student-athletes honored annually for achieving excellence in academics and athletics, while making significant contributions to their schools and communities. To date, over 3.6 million student-athletes have been recognized. Giant Steps Awards are given in conjunction with National STUDENT-Athlete Day. Individuals are nominated in the categories of courageous student-athlete, barrier breakers, coaches, civic leaders, community organizations and heroes among us are chosen by a national voting committee. Katz is also responsible for coordinating the Annual Giant Steps Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
She coordinates the Hope for Stanley (HFS) Alliance, whose mission is to provide people in sports with volunteer opportunities in areas affected by natural disasters. While Hope for Stanley was created to help rebuild the city of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, it has widened its scope. Volunteers have also traveled to Tuscaloosa, AL. and Long Island, NY. December 2013 marked the 39th trip spent by the Hope for Stanley Alliance rebuilding homes in devastated areas. Hope for Stanley volunteers have worked on 107 homes and have donated over 43,000 hours.
In addition, Katz oversees the outreach and community service program for the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at UCF and its annual week-long new student orientation in New Orleans. Katz has created and cultivated partnerships within the Central Florida community providing volunteer opportunities for DeVos Graduate Students. Current partnerships include Frontline Outreach, Restore Hope Orlando, the Central Florida YMCA’s Teen Achievers Program, Harbor House, Out of the Life, Orlando Magic Recreation Centers, St. Bernard Project, Habitat for Humanity, Camp Boggy Creek and Deliver the Dream.
In her spare time Katz volunteers at the Salvation Army Women and Children’s Living Center, Katz providing special programs throughout the year. She is committed to educating individuals about human trafficking both nationally and internationally focusing on the sex-trade and the trafficking of children. She is also working to help raise awareness of child sexual abuse.
Previously, Katz has volunteered for and created volunteer opportunities for UCF student-athletes with Special Spectators, Florida Children’s Hospital, The Miracle League, Orlando’s Coalition for the Homeless, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Soaring Beyond Expectations, Red Ribbon Week, Second Harvest Food Pantry, Hands on Orlando, MADD, Orange County Public Schools and After School Programs (ASP). Since 1997, with the assistance of UCF student-athletes, Katz’s programs reached over 40,000 individuals in the Orlando community with a record number of student-athletes participating.
Katz was the former Director of the NCAS Southeast Region located at the University of Central Florida. In that position Katz was responsible for overseeing NCAS members in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. She coordinated the NCAS National and Regional Conferences for six years and became a member of its National Planning Committee as well as the Giant Steps Awards & Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Committee.
Katz led the first-ever brand campaign leading to the development of a first-ever National STUDENT-Athlete Day logo, an interactive website for high schools and colleges nationwide (www.ncasports.org) and a marketing plan for National STUDENT-Athlete Day. In celebration of National STUDENT-Athlete Day, Katz was an invited guest of President Bill Clinton at the White House in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
In 2009, Katz independently published her first novel entitled “A Life Revealed” which was picked up by Barnes and Noble for in-store availability. Currently, she is working on its sequel, “Hiding in the Open.”
In 1997, Katz was named as the Class of 1992’s Distinguished Alumni by Fitchburg State University for its Centennial Graduation Ceremonies. In 1999, Katz was named as a Sports Ethics Fellow by the Institute for International Sport. That same year she was also awarded the first-ever Fitchburg State University’s Alumni Leadership Award and in 1999 she was chosen as one of Orlando’s Fifty Finest Single Professionals by Orlando Magazine and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Prior to her position at Central Florida, Katz spent over four years at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society ending as its Director of Special Projects. Katz earned her Bachelor of Science degree in communications/media from Fitchburg State University in 1992 and her Masters of Science in sports business and recreation management from Northeastern University in 1995.
Katz, originally from Boston, is former figure skater and professional figure skating coach and an avid Boston Bruins fan. She currently resides in Orlando with her daughter Maia, 11 who is a fencer, artist and community volunteer.