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Lisa Borders: CEO of Time's Up seeks gender equality across all industries

“We must work for safe, fair and dignified workplaces.”
Illustration of Lisa Borders.
Adriana Bellet / for NBC News

"She Thrives: Black Women Making History Today" puts the spotlight on 10 amazing individuals whose achievements transcend generations, occupations and regions. These women — all leaders in their communities — are truly elevating the conversation around black identity, politics and culture. Meet all of our "She Thrives" honorees here.


Lisa Borders


President and CEO of Time's Up




Atlanta. Lives in New York City

Words you live by

"Failure is not fatal. It is feedback."

Your hero

Harriet Tubman

How she thrives

Perhaps there isn’t a person better suited to lead Time’s Up than Lisa Borders.

Last fall, Borders was named the president and CEO of the movement to stop sexual assault, harassment and gender inequality in the workplace. The Atlanta native hit the ground running in January to start strategizing how to make the movement feel tangible and accessible to women everywhere.

In several interviews, Borders has characterized the Time’s Up movement “as the civil rights movement of the 21st century.” It may seem like a fateful path for her to follow. Her parents and maternal grandparents instilled in her the importance of equality, fairness and social justice. And Borders’ paternal grandfather helped desegregate buses in Atlanta and preached in front of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“The values that he, and my parents, and my maternal grandparents instilled in me are certainly coming to life through this role,” she said. “I really have had the privilege of learning at their feet and living through the civil rights movement, and frankly being a direct beneficiary.”

Time’s Up — and the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund — were launched in January 2018, after reports of abuse and harassment by powerful men in the entertainment industry sparked a reckoning there. The Legal Defense Fund, which is administered by the National Women’s Law Center, has raised more than $22 million to help pay for legal fees for cases involving sexual harassment and work-related retaliation, according to the NWLC.

“We must work for safe, fair and dignified workplaces,” Borders told NBCBLK. “But we also have to work on parity and equity for women in all industries, and we want them represented everywhere and reaching their full potential.”

In 2019, Time’s Up has made its mission to double the number of women in leadership across all industries, its website reports. If you remember, Regina King made a nod to this initiative at the 2019 Golden Globes, by pledging that all her future projects would have gender parity, with 50 percent of employees being women. That’s the kind of work that Borders and the Time’s Up team hopes to see more of this year, as the organization is set to release its strategic plan to accomplish its goals in the coming months.

Borders says her career path has also set her up for this moment. She’s been a public servant, as vice mayor of the city of Atlanta; she was president of the Grady Health Foundation, where she oversaw fundraising for what was then Atlanta’s only level-1 trauma center. Then, she worked at the Coca-Cola Foundation, where she led a global team that put money back into local communities. Most recently, Borders served as the president and CEO of the WNBA, fighting for women to have their rightful place in professional sports.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with folks who were either underserved, underrepresented, whose voices hadn’t reached their full potential, who didn’t have their rightful seat at the table of opportunity,” she said. “Every single one of those roles was a learning place and leverage point for me to pick up information, work through crises and help build capacity for individuals and for the collective.”

On Feb. 18, Borders resigned as head of Time's Up "with deep regret" due to family issues.

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