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Deborah Slaner Larkin named Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation

NEW YORK, NY – August 5, 2014 – The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF)—the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports—has appointed Deborah Slaner Larkin as its chief executive officer. Larkin, who served as the WSF’s second executive director from 1986 to 1992, assumed the role on August 1, 2014.

“The Women’s Sports Foundation is an exceptional organization at the forefront of girls and women’s sports. Through its researched advocacy, the Foundation promotes participation and quality programming, and educates the public on the important educational and social benefits of sports participation that prepare girls and women to be leaders first on the field and later in the board rooms in the U.S. and globally. I’m honored for the opportunity to come home again,” expressed CEO Deborah Slaner Larkin.

In announcing Ms. Larkin’s new position, Sandra Vivas, Chair of the Board of the Women’s Sports Foundation expressed, “Deborah’s hard work and dedication promoting civil rights, women’s leadership and gender equity has helped integrate fitness and education into the lives of thousands of underserved youth. We are pleased she is returning to lead the Foundation during its 40th anniversary year with a wealth of creative fundraising and advocacy strategies. ”

Ms. Larkin has over thirty years of executive experience in corporate, government and non-profit leadership, serving most recently as the executive director of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Foundation from 2010 through March 2013.

Throughout her career Ms. Larkin has focused her efforts on promoting civil rights, women’s leadership and gender equity.

For eight years, she served on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports where she co-facilitated the renowned President’s Council Report: Physical Activity & Sport in the Lives of Girls, and gave expert testimony before Congress on health, gender equity and Title IX issues.

Ms. Larkin holds a BA from the University of Oregon and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Maryland.

She currently serves on the boards of the National Women’s Law Center, My Sisters’ Place, SUNY Purchase, Re: Gender (formerly the National Council on Research for Women), Federation Employment & Guidance Service (FEGS) and Aspen Institute’s Project Play. Larkin was named Distinguished Woman of New York (2012) and received the Foundation’s Billie Jean King Contribution Award (1999) for her years in service to WSF. This year, she accepted the Annalee Thurston Award honoring a distinguished woman from the world of sports and business. Larkin volunteers her time with local charities and is an avid tennis player who still competes in USTA leagues and tournaments.

Kathryn Olson will step away as CEO but continue to serve as a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees – a position she previously held from 2005 to 2010. “I have had the extreme pleasure throughout my CEO term to create strategic corporate and philanthropic organizational partnerships to enable the WSF to expand its reach to girls and women on both a grassroots and elite level,” shared Olson. Under Kathryn’s leadership the WSF launched an award-winning digital effort, issued ground-breaking research reports that identified solutions to close the gender gap in athletic opportunities and revamped a number of business processes to ensure future financial viability. Additionally, the WSF received the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy and two Effie awards for its “Keep Her in the Game” campaign.

Vivas thanked Ms. Olson for her leadership and longstanding commitment to WSF. “We are extremely grateful to Kathryn for her years of leadership and for her exemplary service to our organization and to the athletes and communities impacted by the Foundation’s work. Billie Jean King and the Trustees look forward to her rejoining the board to continue in the new initiatives introduced under her leadership.”

Also rejoining the Board of Trustees is Madeline Weinstein, former Senior Vice President at Merrill Lynch. Weinstein will serve alongside honorary chair and WSF Founder Billie Jean King and current WSF President and four-time Olympian Angela Ruggiero, effective immediately.

About The Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation — the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports — is dedicated to creating leaders by ensuring girls access to sports. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, our work shapes public attitude about women’s sports and athletes, builds capacities for organizations that get girls active, ensures equal opportunities for girls and women, and supports physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles. The Women’s Sports Foundation has relationships with more than 1,000 of the world’s elite female athletes and is recognized globally for its leadership, vision, expertise and influence. For more information, visit Follow us: or on Twitter @WomensSportsFdn.

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Media contact:
Kevin Pchola
Zeno Group
(212) 299-8950