If you’re Black and into both tennis and tech, you’re bound to salivate over this news nugget. The queen of the court herself, Serena Williams has been named as the Keynote speaker for the upcoming Black Tech Week Conference. The annual event which is scheduled to take place July 18 through the 22 in Cincinnati, Ohio has been bringing Black tech founders, influencers, and innovators together since 2016. The conference will host such sessions as, “Getting Acquired by a Tech Giant,” “Removing Bias from Fundraising” and “Mergers and Acquisitions.”
“Black Tech Week is a movement in support of the success of ecosystems being built by Black founders,” Williams said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to joining this strong community of talent, connecting and impacting the future of technology.”
The tennis superstar has been proving she’s no one trick pony, having had her hands in the tech and venture capital spaces for years now. Williams runs her own venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, which boasts a focus on backing minority and women-owned businesses, and other marginalized communities.
For nearly a decade, Williams has been putting in the work off court to back business owners and entrepreneurs like herself.
“We need people like me and people like Alison and like our team at Serena Ventures to be writing the big checks, to change that narrative so we don’t have to be overlooked,” Williams said, referring to Alison Rapaport, the company’s Vice President who joined the fund in 2018.
Williams and Serena Ventures recently made headlines in March for raising $111 million dollars in an inaugural fund.
In response to the NY Times article about the news, Williams tweeted: “No matter how far we come, we get reminded that it’s not enough. This is why I raised $111M for @serenaventures. To support the founders who are overlooked by engrained systems woefully unaware of their biases. Because even I am overlooked. You can do better, @nytimes.”
According to Revolt TV, other panelists for the Black Tech Week Conference include Kimberly Bryant, Founder of Black Girls Code, Arlan Hamilton, Founder of Hire Runner and Backstage Capital, Janeen Uzzell, CEO of National Black Society of Engineers and more, with a total of 60 events overall.
Black Tech Week will also run parallel to the Cincinnati Music Festival headlined by none other than Janet Jackson, featuring other Black music superstars such as Charlie Wilson, Ari Lennox, Fantasia, and BJ The Chicago Kid. Let’s hope our girl Serena gets a tech break to enjoy the additional festivities!