Title IX propelled women from college courts to CEO offices
With the 50th anniversary of Title IX on the horizon, here’s a look at some of the women who have played college sports through the law and embraced the opportunity off the court. Some women have used the competitive skills learned while playing sports to become CEOs, commissioners and start their own businesses:
GAIL KOZIARA BOUDREAUS
Sports career: Dartmouth basketball, 1978-1982. She is still the school’s leading scorer and rebounder with 1,933 points and 1,635 rebounds in 89 games. Three-time Ivy League Player of the Year who led Big Green to the first of many league titles. Also Ivy League shot put champion four consecutive years, earning All-American recognition as a senior.
Business Career: Boudreaux earned an MBA from Columbia Business School and has run several businesses. She is a former CEO of United Healthcare and took over as Chairman and CEO of Anthem, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, in 2017.
On Title IX: Boudreaux played for Massachusetts State high school basketball champions who couldn’t practice in their own gymnasium. “We had to go to college to train, so Title IX wasn’t really implemented,” she said.
It’s one of the reasons giving back is so important that Boudreaux has endowed the position of women’s basketball coach at Dartmouth. His company has also partnered with four WNBA teams for community outreach programs.
Athletic career: Two-time Olympian, 1980, 1984. Won silver in rowing, 1984. All-American rower at Yale, 1975-1979. Perhaps her most notable achievement as a college rower was taking part in the famous “Yale Strip-In” to protest the unequal treatment of male and female rowers in school.
Business Career: Earned an MBA in Washington in 1991. Gilder founded Washington Works, a Seattle foundation focused on helping women on public assistance in the 1990s. Became CEO and founder in 2004 of Gilder Office for Growth, a family investment office. She remains the director of the company. Managing member of Force 10 Enterprises, owner of Force 10 Hoops, WNBA’s Seattle Storm and Force 10 Sports Marketing.
On Title IX: “In my career, what I’ve learned is that no matter the obstacles. Whether someone thinks you can’t do something or that you shouldn’t be allowed to .If you want to do something, you kind of have to go.”
Sports career: Gatorade National Player of the Year, 1991. Played basketball at Notre Dame 1991-92, transferred to Tennessee, 1993-1996. Marciniak played in two national championship games, helping coach Pat Summitt win a fourth national title in 1996. She was the 1996 Final Four Most Valuable Player. ball and three seasons in the WNBA.
Business career: scouting coordinator and assistant coach for women’s basketball in South Carolina, 2003-2008. She worked with trainer Susan Walvius to found their own company SHEEX in 2007 using performance fabrics for bedding and sleepwear. Marciniak remains co-CEO with Walvius. Their products are sold nationwide with plans for international growth.
On Title IX: Everyone who has played for Summitt has learned the history of Title IX, how the game evolved, and the stories of those who came before it. As the Gatorade National Player of the Year, Marciniak shared a magazine centerfold with Chris Webber when the two were playing for national titles in college.
“He lost theirs. We won ours in Tennessee. So we go pro, and Chris comes in with a salary of $14 million. And my first salary, I think…was $21,000. We’re on the same path, We’re supposed to have the same, you know, equality. But the pay gap was huge, and it still is.
Sports career: Hampton basketball and volleyball, 1987-1991. She helped Hampton win the 1988 NCAA Division II basketball title as rookie of the year. McWilliams was named CIAA Volleyball Player of the Year in 1990.
Business Career: Earned a master’s degree at Temple, coached volleyball at the Virginia Union, and later served as the first female assistant on a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball team. Worked in sports administration at the CIAA as Director of Compliance and Championships. McWilliams went to the NCAA in 2003 and worked her way up to director of championships and alliances. Hired in 2012 as the CIAA’s first black female commissioner.
On Title IX: “I think there’s still a long way to go. I’d like to see more women, more women of color, black women in roles of opportunity and have that access. And we have there is still work to be done there.”
Athletic Career: Played basketball, lacrosse, tennis and was captain of the high school swim team. Played squash and lacrosse at Princeton, 1975-77.
Business career: Started as brand manager at Procter & Gamble, 1979. Consultant at Bain & Company. She was vice president of strategic planning for the Walt Disney Company and then for DreamWorks, Procter & Gamble and Hasbro. As CEO of eBay Inc., she led the fledgling 30-employee startup from 1998 to 2008. Whitman took over as CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 2011. She oversaw the company’s breakup, with Whitman continuing to lead HPE until his resignation until late. 2017. Bought a stake with her husband in Cincinnati FC from MLS, 2019. President Biden appointed her as Ambassador to Kenya in December 2021.
On Title IX: “I preferred team sports. When I put together a business team, I always use those basketball aphorisms I learned in my youth: ‘Let’s pass the ball a little before the game time. “‘Do we need man-to-man or zonal defense?'” Whitman wrote in his book, “The Power of Many.”
For more on the impact of Title IX, check out the full AP package: https://apnews.com/hub/title-ix Video timeline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= NdgNI6BZpw0