2023 Billie Jean King Leadership Award Recipient

Published on September 13th, 2023

Stacey Allaster

Photo Credit: USTA

Chief Executive of Professional Tennis at the USTA and Tournament Director of the US Open

“I have always found a way. No matter what the challenge is.” For over 30 years, Stacey Allaster has demonstrated that no obstacle is too great for her to overcome. Despite never having played professional tennis, she is one of the most competitive, visionary, and successful leaders in the sport. Allaster has helped grow tennis on an international level while advocating for equality and has paved a path to the C-suite that other women can follow. For her dedicated advocacy and achievements on behalf of women athletes in one of the world’s most popular sports, she is being honored with the Women’s Sports Foundation’s 2023 Billie Jean King Leadership Award.

A native of Canada, Allaster began working in tennis at age 12, cleaning red clay courts for pocket change at a community club. By 16, she became a certified teaching professional to pay for her own lessons, eventually competing at the University of Western Ontario while earning her bachelor’s degree (and where she later received an MBA and Honorary Doctorate of Law). After being rejected three times for positions at Tennis Canada, she finally got her foot in the door in 1991, and became VP of Sales & Marketing, and the Tournament Director of the Canadian Open.

Joining the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) as president in 2006, she became Chairman and CEO in 2009. Under her leadership, the WTA grew the brand globally: doubling prize money, securing over $1 billion in revenue and creating one of the largest media rights and production ventures in women’s sports history. Allaster also ensured women athletes received equal prize money at 11 events, including the Grand Slams.

For these achievements, she was named one of the “most powerful women in sports,” a “50 over 50 Visionary” by Forbes, and a “Top 50 Hero in the past 50 years” by Tennis Magazine. In 2022, Allaster was named Companion of the Order of Canada, her native country’s highest civilian honor, for her trailblazing contributions to women’s equality in professional sport and for her dedicated mentorship.

Allaster now serves as Chief Executive of Professional Tennis at the USTA and Tournament Director of the US Open, the first woman director in its 140-year history. Only four years after her USTA tenure began, her leadership and crisis management skills were tested by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when, with focus and determination, Allaster was a driving force helping to put the entire tennis industry back to work, not only in New York City but around the world. The 2020 US Open became a blueprint for how professional tennis could stage events during the pandemic. Most recently, Allaster was part of the team that staged the hugely successful 2023 US Open, celebrating Billie Jean King and the USTA’s commitment to awarding equal pay for 50 years.

Allaster has often reflected on the role that Billie Jean King played in her life and has often said that the best way she can express her gratitude and honor BJK is to “pay it forward;” to serve as a role model and inspire the next generation of women to accept no limits on their dreams, and to become leaders in the male-dominated world of sports business.

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