TEMPE, Ariz. (July 15) – Doug Conant, alumnus of Northwestern University’s Class of 1973, and J.L. Kellogg School of Management’s Class of 1976, will receive a prestigious honor from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) when he is presented with the 2019 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award September 7 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s (ITHF) Board of Governors Meeting at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. The ceremony will be hosted by the ITHF and presented by Rolex Watch, U.S.A.
Stan Smith, President of the ITHF, will present the award along with David A Benjamin, ITA Chairman Emeritus; Timothy Russell, ITA Chief Executive Officer, Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the ITA Board of Directors, and a representative from Rolex Watch U.S.A. Conant will be presented a distinctive, personally engraved, Rolex timepiece, invited to watch a session of the 2019 US Open from the President’s Suite, courtesy of the USTA, and recognized during the ITHF’s Legends Ball.
“The Intercollegiate Tennis Association is thrilled to recognize Doug Conant as the recipient of the 2019 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award,” Russell said. “The ITA’s mission is to serve college tennis, advance our sport, and return the leaders of tomorrow. Doug is a shining example of a student-athlete taking the tools and experience gained on the tennis courts and in the classrooms and applying them throughout a distinguished professional career.”
Now in its 26th year, the ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award pays tribute each year to past participants in the world of varsity tennis who have achieved excellence in their chosen careers. The spirit of the award honors both professional success and contributions to society, made either as a direct result of a career, or through humanitarian efforts. In 2015, Margie and Stan Smith endowed the ITA Achievement Award in honor of Benjamin.
“We are very proud to partner with the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Rolex Watch U.S.A. to honor Doug Conant as the 2019 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award laureate,” Benjamin said. “And we would also like to thank once again Margie and Stan Smith, for their generous endowment donation for this most special award.”
Conant was a four-year starter on the Northwestern University men’s tennis team where he played at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles and earned a political science degree before graduating from the University’s J.L. Kellogg School of Management. He then went on to become an internationally renowned c-suite business leader, New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and social media influencer with over 45 years of leadership experience at world-class global companies.
On his learning that he is the 2019 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award, Conant said:
“The sport of tennis has been transformational to my life journey. It took a shy young man and helped him find his way in a fiercely competitive world—teaching me the values of honor, hard work, integrity, self-reliance, and perseverance in the face of adversity. Throughout it all, I have found that the more I give back to tennis, the more I continue to get from it, reaping rewards of continuous learning, growth, and personal fulfillment. I greatly admire how the USTA and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association are advancing the same bedrock values with the youth of today, helping to develop conscientious and diligent leaders of tomorrow.”
Doug Conant’s Career Highlights
- Four-year starter on the Northwestern University men’s tennis team
- Earned a B.A. degree in political science from Northwestern University in 1973
- Graduated from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg School of Management in 1976
- Internationally renowned c-suite business leader
- Forty-Five years of leadership experience at world-class global companies
- President of Nabisco Foods
- CEO at Campbell Soup Company
- Chairman of Avon Products
- Founder of ConantLeadership, a mission-driven community of leaders and learners who are championing leadership in the 21st century
- Penned “13 Life Lessons Learned from the Game of Tennis”
- Currently serves as Chairman of Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP) and Chairman of the Higher Ambition Leadership Institute in Boston
- Former Chairman of the Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute at Northwestern University
- Former Member of the Board of Directors at AmerisourceBergen
- Co-author with Mette Norgaard of New York Times bestseller Touchpoints: “Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments”
- Named a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust each year from 2014-17
- Became a Top Thought Leader in Trust Lifetime Achievement Award recipient in 2018
- A Top 30 Leadership Professional by Global Gurus
- Featured blogger at Harvard Business Review online and writes extensively about “leadership that works” on the ConantLeadership website and as a LinkedIn Influencer
PAST ITA DAVID A BENJAMIN ACHIEVEMENT AWARD LAUREATES
2018 Rick Barton – Harvard University, 1971
2017 Howard Lutnick – Haverford College, 1983
2016 Brian Hainline – Notre Dame, 1978
2015 John Bridgeland – Harvard University, 1982
2014 Lynn Tilton – Yale University, 1981
2013 Roger Crawford – Loyola Marymount University, 1982
2012 General Ann E. Dunwoody – State University of New York at Cortland, 1975
2011 Jon D. Erickson – University of Michigan, 1959
2010 Robert A Swift – Haverford College, 1968
2009 John L. Thornton – Harvard University, 1976
2008 Sheridan Snyder – University of Virginia, 1958
2007 Dr. Geoffrey Tabin – Yale University, 1978
2006 Thomas Cundy – Florida State University, 1955
2005 Steve Appleton – Boise State University, 1982
2004 Dr. George Fareed – University of California, 1966
2003 Gene Sperling – University of Minnesota, 1982
2002 Jack Blanton, Sr. – University of Texas, 1947
2001 Patricia Beckford Acheson – Queens College, 1972
2001 Judge Gerald E. Rosen – Kalamazoo College, 1973
2000 Dr. Ruth M. Haude – Indiana State (PA), 1958
2000 Dr. Michael P. Johnson – Clark University, 1979
1999 Christine Grant – Swarthmore College, 1969
1999 Governor Pedro Rossello – University of Notre Dame, 1966
1998 Lieutenant Colonel Gail Allen – Air Force Academy, 1982
1998 Dr. William Bowen – Denison University, 1955
1997 Dr. Bert Vogelstein – University of Pennsylvania, 1981
1997 Lisa Hoffstein – University of Pennsylvania, 1981
1996 Roger B. Porter – Brigham Young University, 1969
1996 Wilma A. Lewis – Swarthmore College, 1978
1995 Dr. Rebecca Birchmore Campen – University of Georgia, 1963
1995 Senator John Breaux – University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1964
1994 Judge Peggy Brenden – Luther College, 1976
1994 Athan James Shaka – Harvey Mudd College, 1980
About the Intercollegiate Tennis Association
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is committed to serving college tennis and returning the leaders of tomorrow. As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA oversees men’s and women’s varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College divisions. The ITA administers a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men’s and women’s varsity players, coaches and teams in all divisions, providing recognition for their accomplishments on and off the court. For more information on the ITA, visit the ITA website at www.itatennis.com , like the ITA on Facebook or follow @ITA_Tennis on Twitter and Instagram.
DOUG CONANT COMPLETE BIO
Doug Conant was a four-year starter on the Northwestern University men’s tennis team where he played at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles and earned a political science degree before graduating from the University’s J.L. Kellogg School of Management in 1976. He then went on to become an internationally renowned c-suite business leader, New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and social media influencer with over 45 years of leadership experience at world-class global companies.
For the past 20 years of his leadership journey, he has honed his leadership craft at the most senior levels – first as President of the Nabisco Foods Company, then as CEO of Campbell Soup Company, and finally as Chairman of Avon Products. In 2011, he founded ConantLeadership: a mission-driven community of leaders and learners who are championing leadership that works in the 21st century. Conant began his career in marketing at General Mills and held leadership positions in marketing and strategy at Kraft.
Using a practical 6-step process he created over the course of his career—a process that is now being captured in his forthcoming book The Blueprint (Wiley 2020)—Conant identified the purpose that has guided and fortified him on his leadership journey: to help build high-trust, high-performance teams that honor people, defy the critics, and thrive in the face of adversity.
Throughout his leadership career, Conant has chiefly fulfilled his purpose through his mission to achieve superior employee engagement; this focus on people has been a crucial contributor to the exemplary performance of the companies he has led. At Campbell, over the course of his ten-year tenure as CEO, employee engagement skyrocketed from being among the worst in the Fortune 500 to being world-class as measured by Gallup. As a result of this and other transformational improvements, Conant led Campbell from being beleaguered in 2011 to delivering cumulative shareholder returns in the top tier of the global food industry by the time he retired in 2011. To achieve these results, Conant’s motto has faithfully been, “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.” This people-first approach also informed the development of his uniquely effective leadership model that champions workplace trust and clarity of purpose among the key factors to delivering extraordinary results (this model has evolved to become “The ConantLeadership Flywheel”).
When Conant retired as CEO of Campbell Soup Company in 2011 and founded ConantLeadership, he still felt anchored to his purpose and was called to contribute his leadership expertise to another iconic organization that was in a period of unrest. Serving as Chairman of Avon Products from 2013 to 2016, he helped steer the company through the most challenging time in its history, ultimately overseeing the sale of its North American business to private equity, and the establishment of a new Avon Headquarters in London responsible for managing the business in the rest of the world.
Today, continuing his legacy as a champion of leadership that works, Conant, among his other commitments, also serves as Chairman of CECP: Chief Executives for Corporate purpose and Chairman of the Higher Ambition Leadership Institute in Boston. He is former Chairman of the Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute at Northwestern University, and a former Member of the Board of Directors at AmerisourceBergen
Conant is the co-author with Mette Norgaard of the New York Times bestseller Touchpoints: “Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments” and is in the final stages of writing a second book, intended to be the definitive resource for empowering leaders to reach their full potential. He is a featured leadership blogger at Harvard Business Review online and writes extensively about leadership that works on the ConantLeadership website and as a LinkedIn Influencer.
Conant was named a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust each year from 2014-17, and in 2018 became a Top Thought Leader in Trust Lifetime Achievement Award Winner. He has also been named a Top 100 Leadership Speaker by Inc. Magazine; a Top 100 Most Influential Author in the World; a Top 30 Leadership Professional by Global Gurus; a Leader to Watch by the American Management Association (AMA); a Top 50 Leadership Innovator Changing How We Lead by Inc.com; and a Top 75 Human Business Champion by Switch & Shift.
His written leadership resources have been recognized as a Best Leadership Blog to Follow; a Top 100 Socially Shared Leadership Blog in 2014-2018 by CMOE; a Top 20 Blog on the Future of Work by SAP; and a Top Leadership Blog by Skip Prichard Leadership Insights. He has also been recognized for his contribution to the leadership conversation on social media; Doug has been named a Global Top 35 CEO on Social Media, a Top 3 CEO Killing it on Social Media by SocialSensr, a Top 5 Non-Tech CEO Using Social Media to Drive Business Results by Hootsuite, and was celebrated as one of 8 People You Should Be Following on Twitter by Gary Vaynerchuck.
Doug and his wife Leigh, currently reside in Chicago. They have two sons, Ben and Tyler, and a daughter, Sarah, who is also a Northwestern Alum.