Serena Williams Is Adding Another Feat to Her Resume—Joins SurveyMonkey’s Board of Directors

Tennis star Serena Williams has fought many battles on the courts during her legendary career—amassing over 39 Grand Slam titles and countless other accolades, but she’s about to embark on a journey of a different kind. A boardroom deep in the heart of Silicon Valley. Online poll-taking company SurveyMonkey announced her appointment this week, in an attempt to push their environment (and in turn the makeup of Silicon Valley) in a more diverse path. They certainly couldn’t have found a better representative.

In a statement to the Associate Press, Williams said that she feels like “diversity is something [she speaks] to, adding that “Change is always happening, change is always building. 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.” There are no open specifics of what her time as a board member will entail, or what she’s being compensated but this is certainly more of a statement by the company more than anything else. The tech industry has been under an enormous amount of pressure to display diversity among the hundreds of companies that reside in Silicon Valley—especially considering that their culture has been playing up this very fact. For example, of the 650 people that work at SurveyMonkey, only 14% of them are African American, Latino or people identifying as another race and only 27% of those employed there are women. To them, hiring Williams could be the start of an increased focus on diversity, something that has been a struggle for Silicon Valley for years. “My focus is to bring in change agents around the table who can open our eyes,” SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie said of the move.

Williams, who is connected to the company through her friend Sheryl Sandberg (who is also on the board of directors at SurveyMonkey), is already set to hit the ground running. Her interest in the tech industry has only grown more frequent due to her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohania, and now she’s ready to jump in “the deep end of the pool,” she said in a statement. “When I do something, I go all out.”

‘Silicon Valley’ Reflects the ‘F*cked Up’ Real World

The cast and executive producers of HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ hit up South by Southwest (SXSW) to promote the show’s upcoming Season 3 premiere. During the panel discussion, exec producer Alec Berg tackled the criticism directed at the show regarding the lack of diversity happening on screen.
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How One Man Is Tackling Tech’s Diversity Problem

The tech industry isn’t a hub of cultural diversity, that much we know. In fact, according to a Human Capital Venture Capital report — the only study ever conducted on VC-backed founders and their race, gender, education and age — 87% of founders are white and 92% of them are male.

A recent study found that venture capitalist-backed founders are 87%  white and 92% of them are male.

Those numbers have hit the public sphere, and programs such as CNN’s “Black In America: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley” have used the HCVC report to drive home the Valley’s lack of diversity. But few are actively addressing the issue with viable solutions quite like Tristan Walker.

Tristan Walker, former VP of business development at Foursquare, knows exactly what it takes to reach the top of the tech industry among a crowd that is significantly skewed toward white males. In 2012, Walker left Foursquare to become an “Entrepreneur in Residence” atAndreessen Horowitz, and while he works on his new, yet-undisclosed venture, he is paying it forward with his fellowship program Code 2040, which helps young black and Latino engineers get their foot in the door in Silicon Valley…

“The goal of it is to get the top performing black and Latino engineering undergraduates internships in the technology space, specifically Silicon Valley. We want to give them the tools and access they need to be incredibly successful.” – Tristan Walker on Code 2040

Read the rest at Mashable