Olympic gold medalist, Grand Slam-winner, and certified nail technician Serena Williams has accepted a position on the board of SurveyMonkey and will indeed be settling down in the Bay Area with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, as
SFist surmised last month.
"I have been really interested in getting involved in Silicon Valley for years, so I have been kind of in the wading waters. Now, I am jumping into the deep end of the pool. When I do something, I go all out," Williams said in an interview with Associated Press.
We've been wondering if Williams was considered a move here for awhile now, after her recent engagement to Ohanian and recent pregnancy announcement. Remember back in February when she surprised players on Dolores Park's courts with an impromptu match? Heaven.
According to Williams, her main priority is to help tech companies diversify their workforce. "Change is always happening; change is always building," said Williams. "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."
The 35-year-old mom-to-be hasn't made it clear just exactly how she plans to help solve the tech world's diversity problem, but it's a glaring problem. According to numerous that SurveyMonkey provided to AP, the company employs about 650 workers and only 27 percent of technology jobs are filled by women. 14 percent of its total payroll consists of African-Americans, Latinos or people identifying themselves with at least two races.
But in a proactive move, Williams has already posted a SurveyMonkey survey, asking, "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?"
Answer choices are breaking down barriers, training for excellence, competitive fire, organizational strength and agility, and other. (Breaking down barriers, obvi.)
She's also posted a survey asking us if we think she's having a boy or a girl. (A girl, God willing.)
According to the AP, Williams's connection to SurveyMonkey "came through her friendship with Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer and another member of SurveyMonkey's board. Sandberg's husband, Dave Goldberg, was SurveyMonkey's CEO before he died in 2015 while the couple was vacationing in Mexico."
In fact, Fortune reports that Williams met SurveyMonkey's current CEO Zander Lurie at a dinner party hosted by Sandberg. Lurie told TechCrunch that Williams's "voice on the board sends a strong message to our company, investors, and the industry. We want change agents at our table."
As for her reason for choosing to serve on the board of this company, Williams explains to TechCrunch, "Like SurveyMonkey, I'm driven to ask what's happening, and why. We also share a fierce commitment to letting all voices be heard."