You Call It Failures, I Can It Relevant Feedbacks – Lisa Borders

By Nina Zipkin

Three years ago, Lisa Borders knew exactly what to expect from her job. She was vice president of global community affairs at The Coca-Cola Company and chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation.


It was a company and an environment that was a part of her history. The Atlanta native’s maternal grandfather worked for Coca-Cola as a chauffeur for 30 years and her maternal grandmother had a job as a maid.

If Borders had to make a decision, she could draw from the company’s 126 years of history to figure out what might work. It was comfortable. But when Borders got the opportunity to become the president of the WNBA, she knew she had to take the leap.

“What was going through my mind was, what an awesome challenge that I would have to work for women. There are 144 women — 12 teams with 12 players each,” Borders says. “[I wanted] to help them reach their full potential and to help the business reach its full potential. My most exciting thought was, you get to paint the picture.”

Borders was intrigued by what sort of entrepreneurial endeavors could be possible with the 22-year-old league, but the first order of business was to bring more of an awareness to the WNBA.

Her persistence has paid off. In 2016, during Borders’s first year leading the league, the WNBA saw its highest attendance in five years. The following year, the league got a distribution partner in Twitter, had its first fantasy game partnership with FanDuel and each of the 144 players in the league got their own avatar in the popular NBA Live video game. Heading into the 2018 season, the WNBA had its most watched draft in four years.

But more than just visibility, Borders wanted to make sure that the values of the league shone through. This spring, the league launched its Take a Seat, Take a Stand empowerment initiative. With each ticket purchased, the WNBA donates $5 to one of six organizations, including Bright Pink, GLSEN, It’s On Us, MENTOR, Planned Parenthood and The United State of Women.

“It’s one thing to talk about public policy or to talk about what should be done. It’s quite another to put your money where your mouth is,” Borders says of the impetus behind the initiative. “We recognize that as an underrepresented and disenfranchised class that we have a responsibility to use our platform of sports in general and basketball in particular, to make the world a better place.”


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