New York, NY (February 27, 2019) — The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) announced today that it has elected five new members—Scott Pioli, Shawna Ryan, Carol Stiff, Molly Van Wagenen and Jim Wilkinson—to serve on its Board of Trustees. The new members will join an elite group responsible for the exemplary operation of the organization which is dedicated to ensuring all girls and women have equal access to sports and physical activity.
“We are delighted to welcome five new board members who have shown a serious commitment to advancing equal rights for all girls and all women. They bring expertise in areas like communications, advocacy, corporate strategy and the sports industry, and their perspectives and passion will lead the Foundation forward on an exciting path,” shared Women’s Sports Foundation CEO Deborah Antoine.
The new class joins WSF President Elana Meyers Taylor, the most decorated U.S. women’s bobsledder in history, who began her term on January 1, 2019.
Scott Pioli, Assistant General Manager, Atlanta Falcons, is a three-time Super Bowl winner and five-time NFL Executive of the Year honoree. Scott was named NFL Executive of the Decade by Sporting News and Sports Illustrated and named ESPN Personnel Executive of the Decade. As Assistant GM for the Atlanta Falcons, Scott is passionate about the importance of equality, education and the arts and focuses on those three cornerstones by serving on the board of directors for Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), The Women’s Intersport Network for Kansas City (WIN for KC) and the Black College Football Hall of Fame, among others. In May 2018, he established the Scott Pioli & Family Fund for Women Football Coaches and Scouts with the Women’s Sports Foundation. Scott attended undergrad at Central Connecticut State University and earned a master’s degree from Syracuse University – S.I. Newhouse School of Communications.
Shawna Ryan, Director of Experiential Marketing, Gatorade, leads experiential programming for the brand, which includes oversight of key partnerships, and planning and strategy for grassroots events. A 15-year PepsiCo veteran, her team oversees the newly launched Gatorade Performance Academy camps and the Gatorade High School Player of the Year program. In 2016, under Ryan’s leadership, Gatorade launched Play it Forward, a cause component to the Player of the Year program that has distributed over $1.5M in its first two years. Prior to PepsiCo, Ryan managed large-scale consumer promotions for clients like McDonald’s, Kraft Foods, Mobil Oil, Sprint and MGM. Shawna is a former varsity softball player at Northwestern University who enjoys coaching her sons’ baseball teams and participating in intramural sports.
Carol Stiff, Vice President, Programming & Acquisitions, ESPN, is one of the most influential executives in women’s college sports with a career at ESPN that spans more than 25 years. Carol is tasked with leading the company’s efforts in NCAA women’s basketball and the WNBA, as well as integrating espnW content across ESPN platforms. She was instrumental in the development of Jimmy V Week, raising money for cancer research, and has received numerous honors including WISE Woman of the Year and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health Leadership Award. Carol was named one of Sports Business Journal’s “Game Changers of 2016” and currently serves on the board of directors for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Pat Summitt Advisory Committee. As a student-athlete, Carol earned a BS in physical education and received a Master in Human Performance/Physical Education from Southern Connecticut State University.
Molly Van Wagenen graduated from Stanford University in 1995 as a two-year captain and member of four consecutive NCAA women’s swimming and diving championship teams. After Stanford, Molly advised multi-national corporations in the areas of tax and strategy implementation, living in New York City and California. Since 2002, Molly has been an advocate for women, sports and education, spearheading a campaign to bring the Darien, Connecticut school system into compliance with federal laws regulating the rights of children with disabilities. Her work was featured in the Wall Street Journal and resulted in a complete restructuring of the district’s policies and personnel. Molly serves on the boards of the Stanford University Athletic Department and STEAMahead, a partnership between IBM and NASA, and she is a trustee of the Eagle Hill School. Molly is married to Brodie Van Wagenen, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the New York Mets.
Jim Wilkinson is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TrailRunner International, a global strategy and communications advisory firm. Prior to founding TrailRunner, Jim served as Senior Vice President, Head of International Corporate Affairs for Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online and mobile marketplace. At Alibaba Group, Jim played a key leadership role in the company’s historic IPO in 2014. Jim also held senior-level positions at PepsiCo and Brunswick Group. Jim’s esteemed career in public service includes serving as Chief of Staff for U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson, in The White House as Deputy National Security Advisor, and as Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among other roles. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves and taught international communications at The Johns Hopkins University. Jim holds degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington (BBA, Finance) and The Johns Hopkins University (MA). He is a commercially rated pilot, avid skier and snowboarder, and endurance sports enthusiast with 26 marathon finishes.
For a complete list of the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Board of Trustees, please visit: wsfstaging.wpengine.com/home/about-us/people/board-of-trustees.
About The Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation is a powerful voice, catalyst and convener dedicated to ensuring all girls and women have equal access to sports and physical activity and the tremendous life-long benefits they provide. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we seek to strengthen and expand opportunities for all girls and women to participate in all sports at all levels through research, advocacy, community impact and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. The Women’s Sports Foundation has relationships with more than 1,000 of the world’s elite female athletes and has positively shaped the lives of more than 3 million youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes. To learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org, or follow us at @WomensSportsFdn on Twitter, @womenssportsfoundation on Instagram and at www.facebook.com/WomensSportsFoundation.
Women’s Sports Foundation