Venus Williams was a key speaker at this year's first Create and Cultivate Vision Summit in Miami, Florida, a one-day event full of panels, workshops, and other happenings with the intention of empowering working women.
Through her attendance at the event, not only did we get the opportunity to hear her gush about her little sister, but we also learned more about her endeavors, passions, and experiences navigating through life. One thing that Venus is serious about is women receiving equal pay, especially in the sports arena. So much so that back in 2005, she campaigned for pay equality for women competing in the US Open and Wimbledon that resulted in the organizations agreeing with the stipulation, which was a groundbreaking victory for all women competing in the sport. Venus explains:
"Growing up, I just wanted to win Wimbledon. When I got there, I didn't realize it wasn't equal for the men and women so it was a wakeup call. I was on the player's council and was a part of the governors of women's tennis. It was a long journey and a lot of people helped. Really a whole tour got behind it. I ended up being part of something that was much bigger than my dream of winning Wimbledon."
We grew up looking to both Venus and Serena as iconic athlete sisters, however, we often forget that they are the youngest of five, as their older sister, Yetunde Price's, tragic death happened in 2003. Venus learned the power of femininity by being surrounded by a loving mother and sisters who both nurtured and motivated her.
"I have three older sisters, one younger, and I have my mom. Those were the role models in my life. We're a tight-knit family. We were taught that your sisters are your best friends...We definitely support each other. We motivate each other. When I see her doing great, I feel motivated. After a while, I felt like whatever she was doing I was doing. Last year at Wimbledon, I was in the semifinals and realized, 'Oh no, I have to do this, Serena's not doing it.' It's a weird feeling. As a sister, when they're doing something, it's your success too."
Venus wants all women to feel a sense of security and encouragement when embarking on a new journey, as expressed by her beautiful active wear line EleVen by Venus. Designing is also one of her passions as she was just inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), is the head of an successful interior design firm V Starr, and went on to be formally educated at design school:
"Through EleVen, I want to see people say 'I'm living a healthier life because of this' or 'You wrote a blog and it made me feel better about myself'. EleVen, for me, is an opportunity to give back what being active and confidence through being active, focusing on what you can achieve instead of maybe what you look like. Everyone wants to look good but it's more important to feel good."
When it comes to the advice she would give women looking to be victorious in their own life, she embraces the underlying themes of being active instead of staying stagnant.
"The same amount of time you worry is the same amount of time you could use doing something about the worries you have. I do the best I can with the amount of time I have. If it doesn't work out, I get another plan."
Beautiful, legendary, and relatable, Venus continues to inspire us all through her womanhood. May we all find the time to invest in our passions and to speak up about important issues in our lives!
Check out more of Venus at the Create and Cultivate Vision Summit here.
Images via Jessica Bordner Photography.