Billie Jean King
LIFT, LEARN, LEAD
With the millennial generation expected to be 75% of the global workforce by 2025, King looks at the unique opportunity in the workplace for generations past, present and future to work together in an inclusive environment. Throughout companies and organizations all over the world, leadership tends to be homogeneous, but if those in positions of power are not representative of our globalizing world, fresh ideas, diverse talent, and an inclusive work environment cannot prosper. The status quo is already shifting, as people of all backgrounds are being recognized and promoted for their varied skills, experiences, and viewpoints. But more must be done. Her mission is to move the needle on issues impacting diverse talent globally. In this talk, King ignites transformation in the conversation through three primary pillars of leadership: LIFT through action and advocacy, LEARN through research and innovation, and LEAD through insight and empowerment.
As one of the 20th century's most respected and influential people, Billie Jean King has long been a champion for social justice and equality. She has created new inroads for both genders in and out of sports during her legendary career and she continues to make her mark today.
King, who won an astounding 39 Grand Slam titles during her career, blazed trails for women everywhere in 1970 when she became one of nine players to break away from the tennis establishment and accept a one dollar contract from tennis promoter Gladys Heldman to compete in the newly created Virginia Slims Series. The revolt led to the birth of women's pro tennis and the formation of the Women's Tennis Association.
In 1973, King produced one of the greatest moments in sports history when she defeated Bobby Riggs in the famous match dubbed “The Battle of the Sexes.” The Riggs-King match took place at the Houston Astrodome, and garnered huge publicity. In front of more than 30,000 spectators and a worldwide television audience estimated at 50 million people in 37 countries, 29-year-old King beat the 55-year-old Riggs 6–4, 6–3, 6–3. It still remains one of the most viewed sports events of all time, and the story is now a major motion picture starring Emma Stone as Billie, and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs.
Named one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century" by Life and a 2009 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, King was honored on August 28, 2006, when the National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. She is also the author of Pressure is a Privilege: Lessons I've Learned from Life and the Battle of the Sexes to commemorate the 35th anniversary of that historic match.