Serena Williams Aims To Shake Things Up In Silicon Valley

Serena Williams is a champion at the side hustle. In addition to continuing to dominate the tennis court — she won her twenty-third Grand Slam, the Australian Open, this January, while pregnant — she runs a clothing line, owns a stake in the Miami Dolphins, and is the face of Intel’s latest campaign.
Now, she’s venturing further into the tech world. Today, Williams took to Instagram to announce her new role as a board member for poll-taking company SurveyMonkey. “I believe in the power of a question and the impact of data,” Williams wrote in her caption. “Like SurveyMonkey, I’m driven to ask what’s happening, and why. We also share a fierce commitment to letting all voices be heard.”
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It’s the last part of that statement — “letting all voices be heard” — that Williams intends to champion in her work with the company. In a tweet about her new position, she included a link to a survey of her own. The focus: diversity in the workplace.
"In recent years, we've made progress in closing the gender pay gap in professional tennis. How much progress, if any, has there been where you work?" She asked. There is a five-star rating system, going from "no progress" to "a great deal of progress."
She also zooms in on the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, in particular: "This position gives me a new platform in Silicon Valley, and I have a lot to say. What are the important issues you’d like me to focus on first?" The answer options include, "Breaking down barriers, training for excellence, competitive fire, organizational strength and agility, and/or other."
In an interview with The Associated Press, the tennis ace talked about the impact she hopes to have, though she doesn't detail how she will achieve it.
"I feel like diversity is something I speak to," Williams told the AP. "Change is always happening, change is always building. What is important to me is to be at the forefront of the change and to make it easier for the next person that comes behind me."
This isn't the first time that Williams has expressed an interest in bringing more diversity to the tech industry. In a 2015 interview with Wired, she said: "I’m a Black woman, and I am in a sport that wasn’t really meant for Black people. And while tennis isn’t really about the future, Silicon Valley sure is...I think we’re making progress. But we can keep working even more to increase equality — whether it’s making sure to interview Black candidates for tech jobs or standing up to cyberbullying or making sure that our technology is designed by all kinds of people. "
According to The AP, Williams was connected with SurveyMonkey by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who is also on the board and whose late husband, Dave Goldberg, served as SurveyMonkey’s CEO.
Serena Williams and Sheryl Sandberg? That is one powerful doubles pairing.
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