Legendary sports icon and human rights advocate, Billie Jean King, has launched her new Leadership Initiative at a symposium to gather leaders across sectors to elevate the conversation around what can be done to address the gap in inclusive leadership.
Following the symposium, the first Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative gala will be held where Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States, and Gracia Martore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gannett, will receive the inaugural “Inspiring Leader” Awards.
“I am honored to present the inaugural “Inspiring Leader” Awards to Valerie Jarrett and Gracia Martore for their fearless leadership in the public service and corporate realms,” said King. “Both women have made significant strides in recognizing and rewarding talent in the workplace and beyond.”
The symposium and gala, which are being held at the Powerhouse at the Museum of Natural History, officially launch the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative. The effort was founded by King and her partner Ilana Kloss, in partnership with Teneo, to move the needle on issues impacting diversity and inclusion by inspiring future leaders and motivating those in positions of power to promote diverse identities and challenge the status quo.
“Across the globe there is a tremendous amount of untapped human potential due, in many instances, to unconscious bias,” said King. “We need leaders – in both the public and private sectors – to look at differences in the workplace through a lens where individuals are embraced for their unique contributions rather than judged, discounted or alienated for what makes them different.”
CEO of UBS Group Americas, Bob McCann said, "UBS is proud to support Billie Jean King and her lifelong commitment to advancing equality and fairness for all. The principles at the core of this initiative reflect our ongoing efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, and I look forward to working with Billie and many others to ensure our collective progress."
The afternoon symposium is sponsored by Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP and will bring together leaders such as Daniel Nigro, Fire Commissioner, City of New York; Paula Polito, Group Managing Director and Client Strategy Officer, UBS Wealth Management Americas; Patrick Quinn, Managing Partner-elect, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP; Kristian Ribberstrom, Partner, The Medici Group; and Christie Smith, Managing Principal, Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion, among many others.
“Teneo is proud to be the founding partner of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative,” said Paul Keary, Co-founder and COO of Teneo Holdings. “Since Billie and I first discussed the concept of what is today the BJKLI, our goals have remained constant: to identify the impediments to a diverse and inclusive workplace and quantify the economic and societal benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce. We look forward to working together to create a movement that is underpinned with rigorous analysis and research, and driven in partnership with leaders in business and government.”
Christiane Amanpour, International Correspondent from CNN who sits on the BJKLI Advisory Board, but was unable to attend the event, sent through a powerful video message to Billie Jean which stated that she was honored to join Billie Jean in her “vital mission to effect real change and have action and impact where it matters”, and that she was “proud to get into the ring with Billie and fight for equality, equity and ultimately success through social justice.”
Joining Billie Jean King, Christiane Amanpour, Paul Keary and Bob McCann on the Advisory Board are: Sir Elton John; Jason Collins, NBA Star; David Furnish; Margo Georgiadis, President of Google Americas; Maritza Gomez-Montiel, Former Vice Chairman and Deputy CEO of Deloitte; Jonathan Kraft, Kraft Group President; Pat Mitchell, Paley Center for Media President and CEO; Robin Roberts, Good Morning America Anchor; Andy Roddick, U.S. Open Champion; Pablo Salame, Goldman Sachs Global Co-Head, Securities Division; and Michael Strautmanis, Walt Disney VP of Corporate Citizenship.
In addition to the symposium and gala, the Initiative has formed a research collaboration with Deloitte and will produce a body of research early next year that explores creative ways in which organizations are leveraging the collective ideas, perspectives, and input of their inclusive talent to drive business and grow the bottom line.
For more information on the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, visit http://www.bjkli.org/