Welcome to Refinery29's Why I Do It, a series where we ask inspirational, successful people 29 questions about what fuels them on and off the clock. Because, let's face it: life is about so much more than chasing inbox zero.
Sloane Stephens is a professional tennis player, Grand Slam Champion, and Olympian. Oh, and she's also a French Open Finalist, WTA Year-End Finalist, and Australian Open Semi-Finalist. Off the court, she's just as accomplished — she serves as a Top-20 representative on the WTA Player Council and she's an investor, entrepreneur, social activist, and philanthropist. The Sloane Stephens Foundation, a nonprofit that benefits underserved youth through educational programs and tennis, has helped over 15,000 kids and teens through programs in Compton, California and South Florida. And, there's more — Sloane and her husband were honored by Hope for Haiti in November 2022 for the school they constructed in the southern Haitian community of Boisrond. Here's why she does it.
What’s the very first thing you do when you wake up? Check my phone.
Power nap or power workout? Power nap!
Early bird or night owl? Early bird.
How many unread emails do you have in your inbox right now? Zero!
What’s your favorite thing that you keep on your desk or work space? A photo of my grandparents, Doc and Glo.
When was the last time you felt like a success? Reviewing the annual report for the Sloane Stephens Foundation. We worked with over 10,000 kids in 2022 alone.
What do you do on those days when you don’t feel that confident? Take it back to basics and breathe through each moment.
What’s something you wish you did every day? Meditate.
What’s your favorite piece of advice that you’ve gotten? "It’s not 'if,' it’s 'when.'"
What’s your least-favorite piece of advice that you’ve gotten? A lot of awful DMs I won’t repeat here.
Who inspires you the most? My mom!
Who, if anyone, do you try to emulate? No one. You can’t try to emulate other players’ strokes and routines, you have to do what works best for you.
What’s something people ask you for advice about often? My skincare routine.
What’s a piece of advice you felt proud to give? When my friends are having a bad day or doing a lot of negative self talk, I ask them to name one thing they love about themselves.
What is your most-used app on your phone? Instagram, Slack, LTK.
Where do you put your phone while you’re sleeping? On my nightstand.
What do you do when you feel yourself burning out? Take time for myself. Usually this includes some type of wellness moment, whether it be a bath or a massage, etc.
What’s something you consider a secret weapon? My memory. I remember conversations, directions, and faces like no other.
Where are you, compared to where you thought you’d be at 12 years old? So blessed to live a life beyond my wildest dreams.
If you could change one thing about your professional life, what would it be? Constantly changing time zones. Jet lag is brutal.
What’s been your biggest pieces of support, helping you get where you are? My family and friends.
What do you do to start your workday? Play tennis!
What do you do to end your workday? Check in on Slacks from my team.
What’s the last song you listened to? "Tití Me Preguntó" by Bad Bunny.
What’s the last photo in your favorites folder on your phone? A photo of my husband Jozy and I from our trip to South Africa and Rwanda in December.
If you could go back and do one thing differently in your career path, what would it be? Enjoy myself more along the way, not be so focused on the destination.