2019 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award Winner Doug Conant to be Honored This Weekend in New York

Doug Conant
International business leader Doug Conant will be honored with the 2019 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award Saturday in New York.

TEMPE, Ariz. (September 5) – Doug Conant, alumnus of Northwestern University’s Class of 1973, and J.L. Kellogg School of Management’s Class of 1976, will be presented the prestigious Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) David A Benjamin Achievement Award during the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s (ITHF) Board of Governors Meeting Saturday (September 7) 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 Luca Bernasconi, President and CEO of 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


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.

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