Passion for philanthropy: Lesley Baker with Octagon and ACE Group CLassic

Lesley Baker, The ACE Group Classic Tournament Director

Lesley Baker, The ACE Group Classic Tournament Director

Lesley Baker

The ACE Group Classic Tournament Director and CME Group Titleholders Tournament Director

Organization: Octagon and The ACE Group Classic/CME Group Titleholders Tournament

Tell us a little about your (ACE’s) involvement with The Education Foundation.

The ACE Group Classic has been a long-time partner of The Education Foundation dating back to assisting us park cars in dust fields to most recently our support of their annual Men of Distinction program. Susan McManus and the entire organization has been very supportive of our efforts to bring a first-class, world-class, golf event to the Naples market.

The ACE Group Classic is very involved in the non-profit world. Why did you decide to sponsor the entire Men Of Distinction Golf Tournament for The Education Foundation this year?

Youth and education are the charitable focus of the ACE Group Classic. This year, The ACE Group Classic’s signature charity and host organization is The First Tee (First Tee Philadelphia and First Tee of Naples/Collier). However, in an effort to continue our partnership with the Education Foundation, we brainstormed some ideas together and concluded the Men of Distinction golf tournament would tie in nicely with our media day. While we will be talking about the legends of golf returning to Naples and having our defending champion, World Golf Hall of Famer Bernhard Langer talk about the upcoming event, The Education Foundation will be talking about the legends in our community and how they have such a positive impact every day on the youth in our community. It seemed like a natural fit.

Tell us a little bit about the charity mission of the ACE Group Classic.

A total of $3 million has been donated to charities from proceeds raised from The ACE Group Classic. Youth and education has always been the focus of our charity mission and has included partnerships with The Education Foundation, Northside Naples Kiwanis, and the YMCA. This year’s signature project is The First Tee and their chapters here in Naples/Collier and their sister chapter in Philadelphia, ACE Group’s U.S. headquarters, will benefit from tournament proceeds along with a few other charitable groups.

As the tournament director, tell us a little bit about how your work impacts the charities that ACE benefits.

As tournament director, I have the great pleasure of not only working with great people with Octagon, Champions Tour, ACE Group, our countless local corporate partners, and Twin Eagles, but also more than 700 incredible community volunteers who are the lifeblood of this event. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary this year, the constant year after year have been these community leaders who tirelessly work behind the scenes to insure that we have a great event. My work with all of these different people and groups, managing the different activities of tournament week, puts us in a position to raise the money that we are able to provide to all of our deserving charitable organizations.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and when/why you came to the Naples area.

I serve as the tournament director of The ACE Group Classic. Since joining Octagon in January of 2007, I have served in numerous leadership capacities for more than 20 events with responsibilities in sponsor and hospitality services for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G and the Sybase Match Play Championship.

Also with Octagon, I have worked extensively managing logistics for professional air shows across the country as a sponsor services manager for the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, working closely with title sponsor Toyota. I am originally from Hillsboro, Illinois and attended the University of Arkansas where I graduated with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations.

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