Fireside Chat with Serena Williams and Nicole Sahin

 Fireside Chat with Serena Williams and Nicole Sahin

Serena Williams, tennis player, business woman, entrepreneur, and mother joined Nicole Sahin, Founder and Executive Chair at G-P, for a fireside chat during the PANGEO Conference 2022.

It’s all about getting started

Sahin kicked off the conversation asking Williams how she became such a “force of nature.” Williams emphasized that, while she wanted to become the best tennis player and win the Grand Slam, she was always focused on being true to herself.

“It’s about starting something very authentically having natural goals opens doors naturally for you.”

Speaking to how she made her dreams a reality, Williams said she firmly believes that just because someone claims something can’t be done, doesn’t mean it’s true, and she lives by that.

“When people say things are impossible, it’s because they think it’s impossible for them to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for you to do, or someone else to do.”

One of the first steps Williams takes when starting on the path to achieving a goal is establishing a plan, including the steps she needs to take to be successful – on her own terms. She emphasized the importance of being ready for the hard moments to power through when they inevitably arise.

She reminisced on the many times she felt discouraged, and how, regardless, she showed up. While making that initial move is tough, she assured Sahin that the steps that follow get easier – it’s just about getting started.

The unmatched support of family

Williams highlighted the crucial role her family played in her path to success and in making her who she is today, especially her dad’s strong and influential voice.

Despite the fame and tennis rivalry between Williams and her sister Venus, she told Sahin that they maintain a firm understanding that they are sisters before anything else, and that family comes first. 

“We competed fiercely against each other, but we loved even more fiercely after.”

She added that this unconditional love and support from her family has influenced the way she raises her daughter, stressing the importance of ensuring that her daughter feels empowered to make her own decisions and to ensure her voice is always heard.

Life off the court 

Williams touched on life after her retirement from tennis, particularly on what it’s like to run her recently established venture capital firm, Serena Ventures. Her organization’s core goal is to unlock opportunities for those who otherwise wouldn’t get them, especially promising entrepreneurs from minority backgrounds.

Seeing the companies she funds find success in today’s competitive business world is what fuels her passion and motivates her to continue her mission. She emphasized that the most important thing for her is to always do what she does for the right reasons and the right people. 

While walking away from the tennis courts was difficult for her, she noted that she’s worked hard for over 40 years and now looks forward to enjoying traveling, life with her family, watching her daughter grow, and focusing on her spirituality – to fully embrace all of the opportunities life has waiting for her.

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