Tennis star Serena Williams is the guest editor and cover star of Wired magazine’s November 2015 issue.
In Wired the 34-year-old icon tackles the issues of race, gender, and equality in the digital age. She also listed 10 trailblazers for the article:
1. Common, musician and activist for change
2. Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code
3. Mahalia Hines, Common’s mother, a lifelong educator and member of Chicago Board of Education
4. Billie Jean King, one of the first openly gay major American athletes
5. DeRay Mckesson, civil rights activist and face of Black Lives Matter
6. Mary Meeker, venture capitalist
7. Geena Rocero, transgender model
8. Ronda Rousey, MMA champion athlete
9. Tristan Walker, CEO of Walker & Company and one of the highest profile African American startup founders in Silicon Valley
10. Jen Welter, first female preseason coach of the Arizona Cardinals
Here are excerpts from her interview.
On staying positive: “Back in 2008, when I was competing in the US Open, I would keep little “matchbooks,” where I’d write affirmations to myself and read them during matches. It worked pretty well. But before long I found an even better way to inspire myself: I started using affirmations as the passwords to my phone and my computer. (No, I’m not going to tell you what my current affirmation is!) You should try it. You’ll be surprised how many times a day you log in and have an opportunity to trigger the positivity. I love that I can use technology that way.”
On making a change in Africa: Here’s one of the affirmations I gave myself when I was younger: “I will work in Africa and help kids and help people.” And I did. I opened a school in Kenya in 2008 and a second in 2010. Now, sometimes in Africa they send only the boys to school. So we had a strict rule that our schools had to be at least 40 percent girls. It was impossible to get 50-50 boys to girls, and we really had to fight for 60-40. But we got it.
On equality: Equality is important. In the NFL, they have something called the Rooney rule. It says that teams have to interview minority candidates for senior jobs. It’s a rule that companies in Silicon Valley are starting to follow too, and that’s great. But we need to see more women and people of different colors and nationalities in tech. That’s the reason I wanted to do this issue with WIRED— I’m a black woman, and I am in a sport that wasn’t really meant for black people. I want young people to look at the trailblazers that we have assembled [in this issue] and be inspired. I hope they eventually become trailblazers themselves. Together we can change the future.
Photo Credit: Wired