Deborah Slaner Larkin, CEO

With more than thirty years of executive experience in corporate, government and non-profit leadership, Ms. Larkin served from 1986-1992 as the WSF’s second Executive Director. She is currently working with the Aspen Institute’s Sport and Society – Project Play effort, which seeks to reinvent youth sports in America, fostering a culture of health through the building of “Sport for All, Play for Life” communities. She served as Executive Director of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Foundation, from 2010 through March of 2013. Charged with bringing the organization to the next level, Ms. Larkin built an infrastructure prepared for 21st century finance and communications; navigated the subtleties of working with a non-profit board and the overall USTA organization; and added creative marketing programs and revenues streams, substantially increasing returns. While at the USTA Foundation, she commissioned the WSF research team of Dr. Marjorie Snyder and Dr. Don Sabo to conduct a national research study, USTA Serves Report: Tennis, More Than a Sport, to identify the health, education and social benefits of sports participation to high school athletes. The study was the first of its kind to explore the educational, social and health benefits of high school-aged athletes by sport.

From 1994 to 2002, Ms. Larkin served on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports where she co-managed the renowned President’s Council Report, Physical Activity & Sport in the Lives of Girls, and chaired the committee on Minorities.

Throughout her career Ms. Larkin has focused her efforts on promoting civil rights, women’s leadership and gender equity on the local, regional, state and national level. She was instrumental in creating Title for the National Women’s Law Center. She has been an active board member, and created the MARGARET Fund (May All Resolve, Girls Achieve Real Equity Today), a non-profit effort that develops and supports programs that promote education and compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. She was also involved in the National Women’s Law Center’s landmark Supreme Court victories: Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, which holds schools accountable for student-to-student sexual harassment; Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, which prohibits retaliation by schools against those who protest discrimination; and a major pay equity victory when President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act into law. Her hard work and dedication has helped integrate fitness and education into the lives of thousands of underserved youth. In recognition of these services, on May 15, 2012, Ms. Larkin received the Distinguished Woman of New York in Albany, NY nominated by State Senator Jeff Klein. In recognition of her service to the WSF, Larkin received the Billie Jean King Contribution Award in 1999.

Ms. Larkin currently serves on the boards of the National Women’s Law Center, My Sisters’ Place, SUNY Purchase, RE:Gender (formally the National Council on Research for Women), Federation Employment & Guidance Service (FEGS) and Aspen Institute’s Project Play. She was a multi-sport athlete who still competes in USTA leagues and tournaments and recognizes the role athletes have in influencing the next generation to be fit and healthy and to transition into successful leaders. Ms. Larkin holds a BA degree from the University of Oregon and an MBA degree in Marketing from the University of Maryland.

Women's Sports Foundation Team

*Click on a name for each team member's email.

External Relations

Natoya Curd, Operations Manager, Executive Suite
Shari M. Levitz, Director, Development Operations
Ann Thomen, Data Entry Clerk
Chris Voelz, Steward/Ambassador

Marketing and Communications

Lindsay Hock, Digital Media Manager 
Aleia Naylor, Vice President, Marketing  

Programs and Events

Sarah Axelson, Advocacy & Program Manager
Elizabeth L. Flores, Program Officer
Carole Oglesby, International Policy & Program Advisor


Dr. Marjorie Snyder, Senior Director, Research & Programs
Dr. Don Sabo, Sport and Health Policy Advisor

Not sure who to contact? Write us at and your email will be directed to the appropriate staff member.


Published Jun 20, 2011
By Women's Sports Foundation


MARCH 29, 2010 – The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, and a driving force in attracting girls and women to sports, better health and education, today named Kathryn Olson as the new CEO of the organization. Olson, a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2005, served as chair of the Governance Committee.

Meet Our Team

We are athletes. We are activists. We are individuals dedicated to a cause we believe in – working together as a team.


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