Leadership in the Field: Interviews with Global Leaders
By Russell Reynolds & Associates with Roger O. Crockett
Val Ackerman, former WNBA President, discusses women in leadership, how to succeed in a male-dominated industry, and the leadership development benefits of sports.
For a glimpse of Val Ackerman’s views on leadership, watch the video interview by clicking the video box.
Valerie “Val”Ackerman served as the founding President of the Women’s National Basketball Association from 1996 to 2005. From 2005 to 2008, she served as the first female President of USA Basketball, which oversees both the U.S. men’s and women’s Olympic basketball programs. During her tenure, the programs notched a record of 222-23, including gold medal performances by the U.S. men’s and women’s basketball teams at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She currently is the U.S. representative to the International Basketball Federation, an adjunct professor of sports management at Columbia University and a sports consultant.
Ackerman was generous in praising several men, including NBA Commissioner David Stern, for their mentorship over the years. She even told me during our interview that she owes as much or more of her success to hard work rather than sheer smarts. Maybe so. But it doesn’t take long, when talking with Ackerman, to discern that she is one smart human being. It’s no easy task for a woman to achieve her level of success and in the male-dominated world of sports. Read the edited transcript that follows (more…)