Lisa Hillenbrand on Billie Jean King 


Lisa Hillenbrand Director of Global Marketing at Proctor and Gamble with her dog Biscuit.

The Cincinati Inquirer ran this story on May 9, 2010.We share it because she is our daughter and because it has a poweerful message. Here is the story.

We had standout figures in the community write letters on how Billie Jean King inspired them. This is Lisa Hillenbrand's story. Hillenbrand is director of global marketing at P&G.


Competing in sports I learned the life lessons that I've used to succeed in business. As a competitive swimmer and tennis player growing up, I learned success comes from focused effort, learning the components of each sport and moving forward even after losing. And I learned that women could be successful in formerly male worlds - whether they be tennis courts or corporate board rooms.
One of my role models was Billie Jean King. I grew up in Washington D.C. and watched her, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova play in local tournaments and on TV. It's hard to imagine today, but it was the early '70s and there were few avenues for women to compete. Tennis was one of the few professional women's sports and even there women earned far less than men. It wasn't until 1972 that the US Title IX law forced universities to fund women's athletics.
I saw King and Bobby Riggs' famous "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match, where King demolished vocally chauvinistic former Wimbledon champion Riggs on the court. I was happy she won, but embarrassed by the theatrical antics that went with the match. It had the quality of some of today's bad reality TV and deflected attention from the real drama - that women were coming into their own in domains previously considered men's.
What I remember about King was the strength of her game and her character - her aggressive serve and volley, her focus and her many come-from-behind victories which were fun to watch. She proved that women's tennis could be every bit as interesting and competitive as men's tennis.
And off the court she fought for bigger purses for female players, founded the Women's Tennis Association and coached the U.S. Olympic team. In all, she was the voice for women's sports and athleticism.
And I remember the strength of her character - powerful on the court and off, fearless in using her voice and influence to help other women succeed, dignified when her personal life became tabloid news and compassionate as she worked to help other players succeed.
Today, I'm Director of Global Marketing at Procter & Gamble and I use those lessons I learned from sports every day - figure out the goal, harness efforts of a diverse team, tackle projects as a series of matches - relishing small victories along the way, and keep sharpening skills working toward that goal. Billie Jean King showed us how to do it. And all that work paid off for generations of women who came after her and are now achieving success in sports and in professional life.






[ 7 comments ] ( 47 views ) permalink

<< <Back | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | Next> >>