Dr. Helene D. Gayle to receive 2015 WNBA Inspiration Award

Four-Time WNBA Champion Sheryl Swoopes also to be honored at WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon

NEW YORK – Award-winning humanitarian and CEO of McKinsey Social Initiative, Dr. Helene D. Gayle will be the recipient of the 2015 WNBA Inspiration Award, WNBA President Laurel J. Richie announced today.

“Dr. Gayle’s extraordinary leadership has made a real difference in the lives of millions worldwide through her many humanitarian efforts,” said Richie.  “Her inspiring work and values embody what the WNBA is all about and we are thrilled to honor her with this award.”

The WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon presented by ESPN, which will be held Monday, Sept. 28, in New York City, recognizes individuals who have blazed new paths on the court, in the boardroom and in the community.  More than 300 people from the worlds of entertainment, sports, business and politics are expected to attend.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized by an organization that has done so much to inspire me and so many others,” said Helene Gayle. “Women and girls can accomplish great things when given the opportunity to let their talents shine, and the WNBA showcases that every day.”

In addition to bestowing the WNBA Inspiration Award, two special presentations will take place during the luncheon.

WNBA Legend Sheryl Swoopes will receive the Boost Mobile Pioneer Award, which recognizes females in the sports world who embody the spirit of both the WNBA and Boost Mobile, a leader in the no annual contract wireless industry.  Regarded as one of the greatest female athletes of all time, she is currently the head women’s basketball coach at Loyola University Chicago.  Her long list of professional accolades includes being named a four-time WNBA champion and a three-time Olympic gold medalist.

 The Cisco Inspiring the Future Award recognizes a female for her outstanding efforts and constant drive in the field of technology education.  This individual personifies the spirit of both the WNBA and Cisco through her dedication to today’s youth, using technology as a cornerstone for teaching and inspiring students.  Cisco is proud to honor Dr. Mary Lou Jepsen, an expert innovator with an exceptional track record of inventions.  She led the architecture and manufacture of the One Laptop per Child “$100 laptop,” which transformed the lives of millions of children throughout the developing world.

The WNBA’s Gold Partners for the luncheon include Aquafina, Baileys, Boost Mobile, Bud Light, Cisco, Essence, Morgan Stanley, PwC US, SAP, Sports Illustrated and State Farm.

At the league’s inaugural luncheon in 2006, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright addressed a group of the WNBA’s own inspiring women as the league honored and recognized the WNBA All-Decade Team.  Other past honorees include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, political commentator Cokie Roberts, United States National Security Advisor and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, award-winning journalist Katie Couric, the 2012 female Olympic medalists of Team USA, actress and UNICEF Ambassador Téa Leoni, and veteran political strategist Donna Brazile.

About Helene D. Gayle
Helene D. Gayle is CEO of McKinsey Social Initiative, a nonprofit organization that implements programs that bring together varied stakeholders to address complex global social challenges.  Previously, she was president and CEO of CARE USA, a leading international humanitarian organization.  An expert on global development, humanitarian, and health issues, she spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control, working primarily on HIV/AIDS.  Dr. Gayle then worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, directing programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues.

Dr. Gayle serves on public company and non-profit boards including: The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the New America Foundation, the ONE Campaign, and the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce.  Additionally, she serves on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Public Health Association, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women,” she has authored numerous articles on global and domestic public health issues, poverty alleviation, gender equality, and social justice.

Dr. Gayle was born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y.  She earned a B.A. in psychology at Barnard College, an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University.  She has received 13 honorary degrees and holds faculty appointments at the University of Washington and Emory University.

About the WNBA
The WNBA – which features 12 teams and is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world – is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity.  The league, which counts Boost Mobile as its leaguewide marquee partner, concluded its 19th regular season on Sept. 13, 2015.

Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education.  For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.