The Time’s Up initiative to combat sexual violence in the workplace announced yesterday (October 2) that Lisa Borders, former head of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), is now its first-ever CEO and president. Borders discussed her history and the movement’s future in a new Vanity Fair profile and Q&A posted online yesterday.
In a V.F. exclusive interview, @TIMESUPNOW’s first president and C.E.O., Lisa Borders, speaks out about what’s next for the movement and invites everyone to “come join us on this journey.” https://t.co/4urS6Pg8Wi
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) October 2, 2018
The article traces Borders’ leadership training back to her childhood in Atlanta, where her grandfather served as the pastor of a church frequented by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
Her grandfather was Reverend William Holmes Borders, a civil rights leader and pastor of Atlanta’s influential Wheat Street Baptist Church. As a kid, Borders saw politicians like Maynard Jackson launch campaigns at her grandfather’s pulpit. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would sit up in the front row on Sundays, absorbing and learning, taking inspiration from her grandfather’s powerful sermons and preaching tactics. To her, King was just the father of her friends Yolanda, Martin III, Dexter and Bernice, with whom she is still close. One of her more enduring memories is holding her grandfather’s hand at King’s funeral procession, watching two mules pull the wagon carrying his casket.
Borders’ ambitions took her in and out of both local politics (she’s a former Atlanta City Council member and unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2009) and the corporate world. She parlayed an executive position at Coca-Cola into her role leading the WNBA. She earned the Time’s Up position after two years with the association, during which she impressed Time’s Up search committee members like Shonda Rhimes (“How to Get Away With Murder”).
“Lisa has the qualities I wanted most, which is proven experience and commitment to gender and inclusion issues, and an amazing track record moving the needle of change,” Rhimes told Vanity Fair.
Borders said that she plans to take Time’s Up to a new level of public awareness and impact. She skipped questions about President Donald Trump and former CBS head Les Moonves, who both face sexual assault accusations, and instead doubled down on Time’s Up’s broader message of structural change:
This is not about any one person. This is about bad behavior. We are talking about making systemic cultural and societal change with regard to women, how they are treated in the workplace, how they are perceived, how they are received. We want to be true to our mission, which is making sure the world is comprised of safe, fair and dignified workplaces for women. So anything that jeopardizes that or displays the negative of that, we’re going to push back against it.