Women Leading Globally: Micky Lawler


Micky (den Tuinder) Lawler, standing President of the Women’s Tennis Association since 2015 and graduate of The American University of Paris (1980, BA in Political Science), is a model example of female leadership. Through her modest disposition and innate ability to foster connections, she has been an inspiration to many across the international community of global sports.

In childhood, she was already exposed to many different countries and cultures and considered herself a global citizen by nature. However, she cites the AUP experience, and the university’s “empathic approach to collaborating with different cultures in different languages,” that cemented the outlook established early on into an understanding of the need to appreciate diversity. “When you surround yourself with globality, which you do at AUP, you also get a very healthy dose of perspective because you get a better understanding of how big the world is. That (understanding) gives you perspective which is a very good thing to have when you’re approaching a challenge or an opportunity.”

Throughout her career she has continued to celebrate diversity all the while working hard to promote women’s leaders around her, especially in the world of tennis. Though she states that beginning her career in tennis was somewhat of a coincidence, she went on to grow women’s tennis throughout her time working at Octagon, a global agency in sports, entertainment and culture. After spending 27 years with the agency, 10 of which were spent as the Managing Director in tennis and global initiatives, she continued this pursuit of promoting women in Tennis during her 10 years spent on the WTA Board.

Before realizing that she would one day work side by side with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, Lawler remembers looking up to these two leading female figures. “They were up there for me,” Lawler says, “but I also looked very much next to me.” As a highly motivated undergraduate student, Lawler not only looked up to public figures; she also admired and sought to illuminate the women around her who were part of what she refers to as the impressive female student body at AUP. Among many others, she distinctly remembers Charla Carter (class of ’80), who is now a successful figure in the Parisian fashion world.

As she reflected on the impact women she looked up to, like Charla, had on her own future, Lawler stated, “There are different ways of being a ‘stand out’ in working hard and striving towards professional goals, or, you know, a vision of yourself. There are different ways of being and of getting there, and so I very much paid attention to these women in the student body. There were many who were very impressive.”

Among many other distinctions, in 2012, Lawler was named a “Gamechanger” for women in sports business by the Sports Business Journal.1 Though when asked how her ability to communicate in various languages has been an asset in her international role as president, she modestly credits multilingualism, solidified in part at AUP, as being the true game changer.

Alumni like Lawler, who do important work, are a positive influence on the world, and become inspirations to the current student body, make everyone in AUP’s global community incredibly proud of the impact of its members.


A special thanks to Tom Horgan (AUP Class of ‘79) for recommending Lawler for an Alumni Spotlight.


1 McCormick, B. (2023, March 13). Champions 2023: Micky Lawler. Sports Business Journal.