Taking up tennis at age 10, Stephanie Tolleson (b. 1956) went on to play a major role off the court in developing women’s tennis as a worldwide phenomenon. Nationally ranked as a junior, Tolleson earned a full athletic scholarship to Trinity University, a rare occurrence prior to the implementation of Title IX. She captured the intercollegiate singles title as a freshman in 1975, and helped her team win back-to-back national championships in 1975 and 1976. Turning pro in 1976, she played three seasons of World Team Tennis and competed twice at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

Joining the business side of the game in 1979, Tolleson spent two formative years with the WTA, then began a 25-year career with sports marketing giant International Management Group (IMG), founded by Mark McCormack. She quickly rose up the ranks into client management, representing the world’s top players. Promoted to Senior Corporate Vice President, Tolleson oversaw all aspects of IMG’s global tennis division. She capped her remarkable career by brokering Sony Ericsson’s $88 million title sponsorship of the WTA Tour in 2005, the largest sponsorship ever in women’s sports.

Career Highlights

  • Ranked No. 1 in Arizona in Girls’ 14, 16 and 18 Singles, Women’s Singles and Mother-Daughter Doubles 1970
  • Sugar Bowl Girls’ 14 Singles Finalist, Doubles Champion; Sugar Bowl Sportsmanship Award 1970
  • U.S. Girls’ 16 Hardcourt Doubles Champion 1972
  • USTA Girls’ 16 Sportsmanship Award 1972
  • U.S. Girls’ 18 Hardcourt Singles and Doubles Champion 1974
  • U.S. Junior Wightman Cup Team 1974
  • USTA Girls’ 18 Sportsmanship Award 1974
  • U.S. Collegiate Singles Champion, Doubles Finalist 1975
  • U.S. Collegiate Team Championship 1975, 1976
  • Texas Collegiate Singles Champion 1975, 1976
  • U.S. Amateur Clay Court Mixed Doubles Champion 1975, 1976
  • Gold Medal in Doubles, Pan American Games 1975
  • World Team Tennis Phoenix Racquets 1976-77, Los Angeles Strings 1978
  • Administrative and Public Relations Coordinator WTA 1979-81
  • International Management Group 1981-2006; became highest ranking woman as Senior Corporate Vice President
  • Managed business careers of No. 1 players Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Monica Seles, Venus Williams, Serena Williams
  • Responsible for record-breaking commerical endorsements for female athletes
  • Responsible for worldwide sponsor sales of WTA Tour to Corel, Sanex, Whirlpool, Sony Ericsson
  • Oversaw all elements of IMG’s Worldwide Tennis Division as Senior Corporate VP
  • Head of IMG Corporate Communications and Human Resources/Administration; Management Committee member
  • WISE (Women In Sports and Events) Woman of the Year Award 2001
  • Advertising Age Marketing 100 List 2001
  • Named No. 4 on the Top 20 Most Influential Women in Sports Business List by Sports Business Journal 2005
  • Inducted into the Trinity University Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of intercollegiate national champion tennis teams 2005