Simmons Leadership Blog

Tennis legend Billie Jean King says women need more female role models

Billie Jean King

Tennis legend Billie Jean King changed the playing field for women. With a career that included a record 20 Wimbledon titles, King fought for equal prize money for women tennis players. She also paved the way for women to receive equitable compensation for product endorsements. Her crusade for gender equality was vividly played out during the epic "The Battle of the Sexes" match with Bobby Riggs, whom she defeated. The win forever altered the way parents viewed their daughters and how daughters viewed themselves.

Below, King, a keynote speaker at the April 5 Simmons Leadership Conference, offered her best career advice, and how women can help other women become better leaders. 

What's the best piece of career advice you've gotten along the way?

Relationships are everything. You never know how someone will touch or change your life or how or when you can change theirs.

How do you think women can support other women on their path to success?

Women need to mentor other women and we have to help each other. Additionally, we need to make sure we look at our potential and not just our performance. The Wall Street Journal had a story last year that said men are hired on potential and women are hired based on performance. We need to change that and evaluate both potential and performance.

People would be surprised to know that I [blank].

Am shy

Do you have a favorite quote?

Two quotes that I used in coaching and I use every day in business are "Champions Adjust" and "Pressure is a Privilege."


You can see Billie Jean King at the 2012 Simmons Leadership Conference, the premier professional event for women, April 5, at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. Follow the conference live on Twitter @SimmonsConf and #SLC12.


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