Through founding the Women’s Tennis Association
and the Women’s Sports Foundation, we have made serious headway for women in and out of sports. One of the many lessons I’ve learned throughout my career is that it takes the power of corporate support to bring about major change. There would not have been a Virginia Slims Tour in 1970 without businesswoman and magazine publisher Gladys Heldman and corporate support of Joe Cullman III from Philip Morris.
The current lack of progress for women and people of color in corporations frustrates me and led me, my partner—Ilana Kloss—and a team of people to start the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative (BJKLI). We believe everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, ability, or sexual orientation, should have equal rights, opportunity, and access. We work with corporations and people in positions of power to ignite change in pay equity and leadership culture through advocacy and access work.
Our pillars—LISTEN, LEARN, and LEAD—continuously guide our work. As an example of our LISTEN pillar, we recently supported research by Girls Leadership
that explored the many structural and systematic ways young Black and Brown women are prevented from reaching leadership roles in our country, despite the fact that these girls identify as leaders from a very young age.