News — The   has partnered with the  to produce a series of case studies on topics including women in leadership, inclusion, access and opportunity. As a result of the partnership,  will publish 10 cases focused on the business of sports, highlighting the unique leadership opportunities and challenges facing women in leadership.

The first case, , is now available from Darden Business Publishing.

"These cases will bring a number of pressing issues with broad applicability into classrooms at Darden and around the world."


“We’re thrilled to partner with an American icon like Billie Jean King for this series of cases,” said Darden Professor , academic director of the Institute for Business in Society. “These cases will bring a number of pressing issues with broad applicability into classrooms at Darden and around the world.”

The first case offers a short chronological biography of King as she climbed to the highest levels in tennis and became known for her groundbreaking advocacy on topics such as pay parity for female athletes, outlining the key decision points along the way. One of the first athlete activists, and one of the most decorated athletes in the world, King continues to make her mark today, advocating for a variety of topics related to equality, equity and inclusion, and formed the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative in 2014 to further her life’s work.

“This partnership with the Darden School of Business reinforces, and perfectly aligns with, our commitment to equality in the workplace and lays a foundation for future business leaders to learn from the legacy of Billie Jean and other great sports icons,” said Ilana Kloss, Co-Founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative.

Cases in development consider issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the National Women’s Soccer League, the Women’s National Basketball Association, USA Gymnastics, and Nike, among other organizations, and topics will include issues in women’s athletic uniforms and outfits as well as efforts to attract and retain female talent.

Future cases are expected to focus on mental health, access and membership at exclusive organizations, and the formation of the first women’s professional tennis tour, among others.

Cases Further Organizations Interest in Inclusive Excellence

The new case collaboration was born out of shared interest in sharing knowledge and experience to help leaders understand their values and set paths to leverage and promote diversity. Bill Shelton (MBA ’93), chief marketing officer of Group1001 and longtime advocate of gender equity in sports, was the impetus to bring Darden faculty members together with the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative to collaborate on the cases.

“I am so excited to be part of this project,” says Shelton. “Billie Jean King is not only a sports legend but one of the first activists in sports that took extensive personal and professional risks to promote global equity and these Darden cases will help educate tomorrow’s leaders on the juxtaposition of sports, business, and gender equity. Hopefully it will inspire students to challenge the status quo while also be immensely successful.”

At Darden, the new collaboration furthers the School’s commitment to inclusive excellence and is a tangible outgrowth of the  initiative, which seeks to make Darden the graduate business school of choice for women leaders across the world. Darden is taught entirely by the case method, and diversifying protagonists in cases has been a priority for Darden faculty.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.