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NWLC Staff

Deborah Slaner Larkin

Board Member

Former CEO, Women’s Sports Foundation

Larkin is currently a consultant in nonprofit management, advocacy, research and education. Her focus is promoting civil and human rights for all, equity in women’s sports and all aspects of education through Title IX enforcement, educational opportunities for underserved youth, especially people of color, the LBGTQ community and eliminating sexual abuse. She has 40+ years of executive experience with corporate, nonprofit and government entities.

A long-term board member of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Larkin was instrumental in creating a marketing campaign, Title IX Information. Through her philanthropy at the Center, she created the MARGARET Fund (May All Resolve, Girls Achieve Real Equity Today), to support compliance of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and was actively involved in the NWLC ‘s landmark Supreme Court victories: Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education; Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, as well as a major pay equity victory when President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law and most recently with the national Childcare Initiative. In 2022, Larkin founded DemandIX, a national campaign that brought hundreds of individual 50th Anniversary of Title IX efforts together to maximize awareness, education and advocacy.

Larkin served as Executive Director of the Women’s Sports Foundation from 1986 –1992, again from 2014-2017, and from 2017 – 2018 served as Chief Advocacy officer. Following the philosophy that research drives advocacy and programming, she directed multiple national research reports, advocacy strategies and youth programming, including the creation of National Girls and Women in Sports Day (1987), Sports for Life grants program in (2014), Beyond X’s and O’s: Understanding Work Place Gender Bias among Intercollegiate Women Coaches (2016).

During her tenure on the White House Project Board, she co-authored The White House Project Report: Benchmarking Women’s Leadership; while serving on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, she co-authored the landmark report, Physical Activity & Sport in the Lives of Girls: Physical & Mental Health Dimensions from an Interdisciplinary Approach. While Executive Director of USTA Serves, the U.S. Tennis Association’s philanthropic Foundation she oversaw the multi-million-dollar grants, scholarships and tennis and education programs for underserved youth.

Considered an expert on Title IX and women’s sports, Larkin has presented at conferences and conventions across the US, has testified before Congress, has appeared on NPR, CBS, ABC, USA Today, the NY Times, ESPN and other major media outlets. Larkin continues to compete in national tennis tournaments, coaches the Mt, Anthony high School Varsity tennis team, delivers for Meals on Wheels and has served on local, regional and national boards.

Larkin earned her BA from U of Oregon in 1974 and MBA from U of Maryland 1982.