IWBC Board Member Bios
DR. KAT WILLIAMS, President
Kat is a Professor of Women’s Sport History, author, lifelong baseball fan, and former shortstop. It is her sincere belief that she accomplished all of the former goals because of the latter. She has dedicated many years to the preservation of women’s baseball history. Some of her current projects include “From the Streets of Havana; Isabel “Lefty” Alvarez” and “But It Does Matter If We Get to Play.”
SHIRLEY BURKOVICH, Treasurer
Shirley is a former infielder, outfielder and pitcher who played from 1949 -1951 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She was signed to play at age 16 and was nicknamed “Hustle” for her boundless intensity on the field, as she filled in at every position except catcher. After baseball she worked for Pacific Bell Telephone for 30 years. She is an active collaborator in different projects of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association.
PERRY BARBER, Director
Perry is one of the nearly invisible number of ladies who have literally had the balls to go for baseball umpire-hood. She is an international umpire with 35 years of experience at all levels of amateur and professional baseball, including major league spring training, and logs 150-200 games per year. Although she still plans on umping for some time, her focus shifted toward inspiring the next generation of women umpires; she hopes that in her lifetime she will see a woman umpire in a regular season MLB game. She is a board member of the International Women's Baseball Center, Inc. and an advisor to Baseball for All.
MAYBELLE BLAIR, Director
Affectionately known as “Mae,” she is a former pitcher who played in 1948 for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. She also played in the National Women’s Softball League in Chicago in the early 1950s. After baseball she worked for Northrup Aircraft where she became the first female Manager of transportation. She travels the United States speaking on behalf of women’s baseball. She’s been been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, honored at Fenway Park in Boston, Wrigley Field in Chicago and Angel Stadium in Los Angeles.
DR. LESLIE HEAPHY, Director
Dr. Leslie Heaphy, is an associate professor of history at Kent State at Stark and a lifelong Mets fan. Her favorite baseball memory is the Mets winning the World Series in 1986. Her projects include a number of books edited/written about the Negro Leagues and Women’s baseball. She has been the chair of the SABR women in baseball committee since 1995.
TRACY REINER, Museum Board
With four decades in Hollywood, Tracy Reiner's talents include writing, directing, and acting. At age 8, she moved to Los Angeles with her mother, actress/director Penny Marshall, and stepfather, actor/director Rob Reiner. She majored in the History of Storytelling at Bennington College, has authored several scripts and has consulted on studio films. She has worked on scripts for directors Sergio Leone, Francis Ford Coppola, and Garry Marshall. Tracy is CEO of Manifesto Films.
GREG SCHWANKE, Director
Greg fell in love with baseball at an early age. A chance encounter with a former Rockford Peach at the Field of Dreams in Iowa generated the question "Is Rockford ever going to do anything with our ball field?" He located the Friends of Beyer organization online, but it was inactive. With old softball friend Steve McIntosh, Greg, now head of Friends of Beyer, began the renovation of the stadium in 2008, culminating in a re-dedication in June 2010. The new ball field is designed to look like a field from the 1940's and 50's, complete with all wood construction.
RYAN WOODWARD, Director
Ryan is an avid fan of minor league baseball and enjoys visiting and studying the history and architecture of ballparks. He is an advocate and fan of all women's sports and is eager to see the return of women to baseball, playing in a league of their own. He is a longtime associate member of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association. Ryan developed the inaugural Women in Baseball Week in 2017 and continues to explore projects commemorating women in baseball. Pursuing a career in Library and Information Science, it is his hope that by preserving the rich history of women's baseball, others will be equally inspired, creating more opportunities for current and future athletes. Originally from Kentucky, Ryan currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA.
AMY MODGLIN, Director
Amy is the President and CEO of Modglin Leadership Solutions. Having grown up in Boston, she is a raging Red Sox fan. From childhood, Amy dreamt of playing baseball at Fenway Park. This dream came true in 2016 when the Boston Red Sox held the first ever Women’s Fantasy Training Camp. In 2016, she thought she would be checking something off her bucket list, which she did. Pitching and catching at Fenway are two of the most exciting highlights for her. She continues to attend camp every year and now serves as an ambassador for the rookie class. After seeing how many women want to play the game, she had to step up and be part of an amazing organization that is moving women’s baseball forward.
EMILIE YONAN, Director
Emilie is a passionate supporter of all things related to women’s sports. As a child, she loved playing 2nd base on her little league teams but like many women, she was pushed out when she got to middle school. With a background in urban planning, Emilie sees sports as not just entertainment but as an important thread in an equitable and vibrant community fabric. Before joining the International Women’s Baseball Center board, Emilie researched this history and current use of Olympic venues. When not watching sports, Emilie can usually be found volunteering for a political campaign, exploring sports bars, or trying a new cookie recipe.
KAREN VIOLETTA KUNKEL, Founding Director Emeritus
Karen, who earned two degrees from Michigan State University, played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She was one of the founders of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association and was a technical advisor on the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own”. Perhaps Karen’s greatest achievement in sports was organizing and administering the U.S. Olympic Training Center at Northern Marquette University providing athletes, coaches and the Olympic movement training, research, sports medicine and the opportunity for educational advancement.
JANE MOFFET, Founding Director Emeritus
Jane is a former utility player who played from 1949 through 1952 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She was among the most versatile players in the late years of the league. She graduated at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, received her Masters degree at Rutgers University and worked in education for nearly four decades. “Its funny, I worked in education for 42 years, but people remember me best for baseball”.
EDE MOODY, Founding Director Emeritus
While playing fast pitch softball in Kalamazo, Michigan she was recruited by the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She graduated from Western Michigan University and is a retired educator, administrator, guidance counselor, and consultant. During her professional tenure she developed and implemented academic and behavioral/classroom management programs at both the state and local levels. She is a former officer of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association.
LAURA HIRAI, Youth Ambassador
Laura, a high school student from the United Kingdom, is the first woman in the game of baseball to represent the Great Britain National team, pitching at the U18 European Baseball Championships in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, Laura co-organized and participated in the first ever game of women's baseball in the UK. Laura has also represented the Great Britain softball team since 2012, participating in several European and World championships, even winning the U19 European Championships in 2016 for the first time in Great Britain softball history. Her aspirations are to play collegiate ball in the USA.
KENDRA LEVESQUE, Junior Ambassador
Twelve year old Kendra made her mark in Cooperstown, NY during a home run hitting contest known as the "King of Swat", beating out 103 boys to become the first girl to become the "King of Swat". She plays on three teams in her hometown of New Mexico, and is an infielder and pitcher for the Sparks, a national all-girls team for players 12 and under, sponsored by Baseball for All, Inc. She has traveled all over the world to play the game she loves and the hat she wore at a recent tournament in S. Korea is on display in Cooperstown at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. She's been featured in Sports Illustrated and on ESPN. Someday she hopes to play high school baseball and earn a scholarship to attend the college of her choice and after that, to play professional baseball. She is an ambassador to Baseball For All, Inc. and a youth advocate for the International Women's Baseball Center, Inc.