Serena Williams is always busy even off the court. The North American icon, Olympia’s enthusiastic mother, also struggles between start-ups and fashion. One of her peculiarities is that of pushing for workforce diversity.
In a recent interview, Nike CEO John Donahoe praised Serena Williams, who pushed for better representation in the company’s workforce. Williams and Nike have had a partnership since 2004, we recall.
Donahoe said about her: “Serena Williams is obviously one of the greatest tennis players in history and has been a long-term Nike athlete. About five years ago, before I joined full time, Serena came to our campus and said: You know what? I’d like to see more footwear and apparel designers who look like me, I’d like to see more black and brown designers creating the product you put my name on.”
Nike CEO prises Serena Williams
He also said that Serena Williams’ proposal was a welcome challenge: “It was a wonderful challenge and a very appropriate challenge because the footwear and apparel design community is not particularly diverse. So we created the Serena Williams Design Crew where the our young black and brown designers could apply, show their work and join Nike as a designer.”
Donahoe then added: “I’m going to tell a little story about a wonderful person, Juan Huerta, who joined Nike retail in New York five years ago and his goal was to become a Nike designer.
Two years ago, submitted his portfolio to join the Serena Williams Design Crew, and out of hundreds of nominees, he was one of 10 shortlisted and is now a graphic designer for the footwear team.
Earlier this summer, that team designer launched Serena Williams’ first collection. It is a wonderful example of how one of our elite athletes made us better, challenged us in a completely appropriate way and, listening to the athlete, made us rethink how we recruit, learn and train designers.”
Serena should come back on the court in the next season. She still looking for her 24 Slam, which could give her the Major record. Utopia or not?
The inaugural collection has arrived.
— TENNIS (@Tennis) August 17, 2021