New York, NY (January 11, 2023) — The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) is pleased to welcome four new members to its Board of Trustees, an elite group of cross-sector experts who will help guide the Foundation’s operations and mission, to unlock the possibilities of every girl and woman through the power of sport. The new Trustees include: Ralph Andretta, Bread Financial’s President and CEO who has nearly three decades of leadership experience with major financial services companies; Rosetta Ellis-Pilie, ESPN’s Vice President of Talent Development and Negotiations who worked as an attorney for the corporation for over a decade; Brenda Villa, Olympic gold medalist and one of the most decorated athletes in USA Water Polo history; and Vanessa Wallace, Nike’s Head of Marketing for the Jordan Brand North America. WSF is also pleased to announce WSF President Meghan Duggan was elected to serve a second year.
“We are delighted to welcome Ralph Andretta, Rosetta Ellis-Pilie, Brenda Villa, and Vanessa Wallace to the WSF Board of Trustees and are thrilled Meghan Duggan will continue leading as the Foundation’s President in 2023,” said WSF CEO Danette Leighton. “Each member brings a unique set of skills, perspectives and experiences to the Foundation’s Board that will help guide us forward, advance our mission, and deepen our impact as we work to provide girls and women with the tools they need to reach their full potential in sport and life.”
Andretta, Ellis-Pilie, Villa and Wallace are joining a Board known for its wide range of backgrounds, representative of the sports ecosystem and beyond. Members hail from professional sports, teams and leagues, collegiate conferences, media entities and sports broadcasting, powerhouse brands and corporate industry, and academia. This seasoned group of Trustees join in a shared passion and drive for advancing girls and women in sports, to realize the life-long benefits that come with sport participation.
“I am truly honored to extend my tenure as WSF President and look forward to continuing our work to reach true equity in sport,” said Duggan. “As we usher in the new year introducing our new Trustees, the major milestone of 2022 – 50th anniversary of Title IX – remains high on our radar. Together, we will continue to protect and progress this landmark law to ensure its full promise becomes a reality for All girls. All women. All sports.® ”
To learn more about the newest members of WSF Board leadership, please find their bios below:
Ralph Andretta joined Bread Financial as president and chief executive officer in February 2020 and successfully initiated the most ambitious multi-year transformation in company history. In his brief tenure, Andretta has led the successful streamlining of Bread Financial’s business model as a focused financial services company, enhanced its product set, modernized its technology and formalized and implemented diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategies across the enterprise. Under his leadership, he has championed corporate responsibility, DE&I and sustainability initiatives that include the support of women’s equity, advancement and advocacy in business and in the community. Andretta also serves on the board of trustees at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and has supported causes related to children and hunger, including The Boys & Girls Club of America, among others. As a proud father of two successful female collegiate athletes, he knows first-hand the meaningful and lasting impact sports can have in developing women’s confidence, independence and character.
Rosetta Ellis-Pilie is a natural negotiator. She is currently ESPN’s Vice President, Talent Development and Negotiations where she leads the efforts of ESPN’s Talent office, which is responsible for hiring, developing, guiding and negotiating contracts for ESPN’s public-facing Talent team. She began at ESPN in 2011 as an attorney where she played an instrumental role in overseeing and negotiating hundreds of on-air Talent agreements, as well as managing countless other Talent-related and other legal matters. Prior to joining ESPN, Ellis-Pilie led the labor and employment law practice for Sun Chemical Corporation and served as Chairperson of its Global Compliance Committee. A graduate of Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and a minor in business administration, the New Jersey-native earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. While there, she served as a member of the Virginia Law Review, the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law, and on the inaugural managing board of the Virginia Journal of Sports & the Law. Ellis-Pilie is also a military veteran who served in the United States Army. She received numerous awards for excellence, and her stationed sites included Germany, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.
Brenda Villa is a household name in the Olympic era of women’s water polo. The longtime captain of the USA Water Polo Women’s National Team, Villa took part in four Olympic Games winning a medal every time. Just five feet, four inches tall, the diminutive Villa defied expectation becoming a dominant force on both ends of the pool. She capped her storied career with a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. A three-time FINA World Champion, Villa bridged the gap from the pioneers of the Team USA women to the modern-day group that continues on a dynastic run. A native of Commerce, California, Villa first played high school water polo with boys before girls programs were available. From there, she headed to Stanford University where she won the 2002 NCAA title and was named the Cutino Award recipient as the best player in the college game. Named FINA Player of the Decade in 2010, Villa was also named Pac-12 Player of the Century in 2016. She has stayed close to the sport as a club and high school coach while taking on governance roles within the Women’s Sports Foundation and Pan American Aquatics, in addition to a spot on the USA Water Polo Board of Directors. She is a co-founder of the Brenda Villa Foundation, an organization focusing on increasing water safety and expanding diversity in aquatic sports.
Vanessa Wallace is a seasoned, global marketing leader who has held various positions with NIKE, Inc. over 15+ years, consistently driving brand and revenue growth through game-changing storytelling and experiences. Wallace’s work on the Jordan Brand has included developing strategies to elevate brand moments like All Star Weekend and the Jordan Brand Women’s Collective as well as playing a leadership role in establishing the Jordan Brand Black Community Commitment, of $100M over 10 years to fight systemic racism. Prior to working at NIKE, Inc. Wallace held roles at Grassroots Promotions, LLC, which included working with P&G brands, BET, MTV, WNBA, Southwest Airlines, Universal Music Group, ESSENCE and LATINA. In her agency career, Wallace also had the opportunity to work with Gatorade, Southwest Airlines, and Daimler Chrysler. She is a graduate of the University of Texas (UT) where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Corporate Communications. While at UT, she was also a member of the Lady Longhorns Basketball team where she was named Southwest Conference “Newcomer of the Year” in 1996. She led Texas in assists in back-to-back seasons in 1996-97 and 1997-98 and the 33.3 minutes per game she averaged in 1997-98 still ranks eighth on Texas’ single-season list. In 2016, she was inducted into the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016, and more recently in 2022, was named into the University of Texas Athletic Alumni Hall of Fame for Academic Career Achievement. When not traveling or enjoying sports, Wallace enjoys spending time with 6-year-old dog, Kobe and/or with her two nephews Suraii, Trey or her niece Ari.
For a complete list of the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Board of Trustees, please click here.
About The Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. We are an ally, an advocate and a catalyst. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we strengthen and expand participation and leadership opportunities through research, advocacy, community programming and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. From its inception to Title IX’s 50th anniversary in 2022, WSF has invested over $100 million in these impact efforts, helping to shape the lives of millions of youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes, elite athletes and coaches. We’re building a future where every girl and woman can #KeepPlaying and unlock the lifelong benefits of sport participation. All girls. All women. All sports.® To learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org.
Women’s Sports Foundation