When it comes to powerful women leaders in sports, few come close to Val Ackerman and her resume. The former attorney and basketball star at the University of Virginia, was the first president of the WNBA, the first female president of USA Basketball, and is currently commissioner of the Big East Conference.
“I love this role. It allows me to contribute to women’s sports,” Ackerman said. “I have a platform to continue to help out something I’ve always had a passion for,” recently told the NCAA.
Ackerman’s passion is basketball. She was a four-year starter at Virginia and a two-time Academic All-American, in addition to being the first woman to score more than 1,000 points in her career in Charlottesville. Her challenge today is making sure female college athletes are on equal footing with the men.
“I think women are beginning to really assert themselves in a leadership position, but we’re still greatly outnumbered,” Ackerman said in an interview with Entrepreneur.
Ackerman has managed to have great influence in the male-dominated world of basketball.
“I never felt like I was looked at differently because I’m a woman,” Ackerman said. “Sometimes I would have those moments where I notice that I’m the only woman in the room,” she added. “But I never felt like I was treated differently,” Ackerman told GoodSport.