I’ve participated in competitive sports my whole life. It really leads into the elements of my job with WTA, which I started in 2005. Like most general counsel, I am involved in every facet of the business, including sponsorships, tournament operations, player conduct, television, and media—I’m doing something new every day.
The legal department also oversees the Tennis Anti-Doping Program and the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program, both of which protect the integrity of the sport. Safety and security for our staff, players, and fans is most important. We have 55 tournaments in 32 countries, and we have 2,500 players representing 92 countries that are traveling to these events. Half of our members are tournament owners, and the other half are players. It’s a really unique organization in that way, because owners and players have a say in all decisions.
I enjoy the global nature of my job. While it makes the job more challenging, I like learning about new cultures. I’m motivated by the idea of how our work contributes to young girls growing into strong, independent women that control their own destiny.
In 2007, the last of the four Grand Slam tournaments agreed to pay equal prize money to the men and women competitors. Equal prize money has been over 30 years in the making, and it was one of the founding principles of the WTA. When the WTA started in 1973, the total prize money was $300,000. In 2012, we topped $100 million, and four of our players are the only female athletes on the Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful Celebrities list.
We’ve also worked together with our great tournament owners in the Middle East to assure all players who qualify by ranking are granted entry into the country to compete. When I started, we were in danger of having to cancel a tournament in the Middle East due to an Israeli player being denied entry into the country due to her nationality. It is now a nonissue. Sport has transcended politics.
I’m really excited to see how the sport is growing through social media. Currently we connect with about 41 million fans, and we’re seeing the sport blow up worldwide through fans that are accessing us through social media. For me, this means more opportunities around the world for young women to succeed.