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Donna Orender (center) in 2007

Donna Orender is a sports executive and a former collegiate and professional basketball player. She is the current president of the WNBA. She grew up in Long Island, New York and was a five-sport athlete in high school, lettering in basketball, field hockey, volleyball, softball, and tennis. She is currently married to M.G. Orender and has two children, Zachary and Jacob.


College years

Orender graduated from Queens College in 1978 with a degree in psychology, followed by graduate studies in social work at Adelphi University. While at Queens College she was an All-American basketball player.


Under the name Donna Geils, Orender played three seasons in the Women's Pro Basketball League (WBL), where she was an All-Star, and one of only 20 women to ever play all three seasons of the league. During that time span, she played for the New York Stars (1978-79), New Jersey Gems (1979-80), Chicago Hustle (1980-1981). In 1985, she also played for the U.S. Maccabiah Team. Orender's WBL career is featured in the book "Mad Seasons: The Story of the First Women's Basketball League, 1978-1981," by Karra Porter (University of Nebraska Press, 2006)

Her television production career began as a production assistant at ABC Sports and continued at the Sports Channel. Orender also owned her own production company, Primo Donna Productions.

She spent 17 years with the PGA Tour and became the Senior Vice President of Strategic Development in the Office of the Commissioner in 2001. Orender was the original producer of "Inside the PGA Tour". She helped negotiate television contracts that quadrupled the Tiger Woods phenomenon to $800 million.

In February 2005, Orender was named the new WNBA president, succeeding Val Ackerman.

In December 2005, Fox Sports Network named Orender as the seventh most powerful women in sports behind notable names like Danica Patrick and Sheila Johnson, owner of BET.


In her short tenure, Orender is already recognized as having a strong focus in branding, partnership establishments and marketing via new media.



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