Stephanie Hightower

Olympian and Council Member, International Association of Athletics Federations
President & CEO, Columbus Urban League

Stephanie Hightower is a Council Member for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world-governing body for track and field, and former USA Track & Field (USATF) President and Board Chair. To her position on the council, Hightower brings leadership skills and sports achievement as an Olympian and world indoor and American outdoor record-setter. She is the first African American woman to be voted into the post and will hold one of six seats designated to be filled by women.


She was part of 10 U.S. international teams, including serving as the U.S. women’s team manager at the 2004 Olympic Games, assistant manager at the 1996 Olympic Games, U.S. team leader at the 2005 IAAF World Youth Championships, Chief of the Delegation for Team USA at the 2003 World Outdoor Championships in Paris and head manager at the 1999 World Championships in Seville, Spain. Hightower was president of USATF from 2008 16, leading the federation’s efforts to improve the organizations efforts to serve athletic programs around the globe, working closely with IAAF leaders as well as colleagues in fellow federations. In 2018, she was awarded USATF’s Robert Giegengack Award, designated to a person who excels in contributing to the excellence and high standards of the sport of track & field. It is USATF's highest accolade for contributions to the sport in any category of volunteer work.

In addition to her roles within sport, Stephanie A. Hightower is the 8th President and CEO (and first female President and CEO) of the Columbus Urban League (CUL), Columbus’ oldest and most successful urban family advocate.

Hightower is among the greatest student athletes in the history of Ohio State and one of the highest profile female track athletes of the late 1970s and early 80s. She was a world record holder, 1980 Olympian and was an NCAA and Big 10 champion in the hurdles. In four years at Ohio State, from 1977-1980, she was undefeated in Big 10 competition. While an athlete, she was also active in USA Track & Field’s Athletes Advisory Committee.

Hightower’s additional civic involvement includes: Franklin County Community Corrections Planning and Justice Planning Boards, Ready Columbus, African American Leadership Academy - Advisory Board; Columbus Zoo, Board of Directors and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission.