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Venus Williams – Keynote Speaker

Legendary tennis champion and UNESCO Promoter of Gender Equality

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Specialist Subjects

  • Motivation
  • Gender Equality
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Design/Creativity

Language

  • English

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Biography

By the tender age of 14, Venus Williams had already become a professional athlete, taking the world of tennis by storm. Fiercely determined and wielding an impressive physical prowess, she spent the next decade rising to the top-ranked position and winning numerous championships, including the US Open, Wimbledon, and doubles at the Australian Open and French Open, in addition to three Olympic Gold medals.

Currently, Williams holds 43 WTA Tour titles, which include seven singles Grand Slams. In July of 2008, she won her fifth Wimbledon Championship in a riveting match against her sister, Serena Williams. Williams now joins the ranks of only a handful of legendary women’s singles tennis champions who have won five or more Wimbledon championships. In true champion form, Williams has been known to break records: during the 2007 French Open she made history with a record-breaking serve of 129 miles per hour, and she tied this record during the 2008 Wimbledon tournament, making this the fastest serve ever recorded in women’s tennis history. In 2005, after an intense two-hour, 45-minute match against Lindsay Davenport, Williams took home her third Wimbledon championship. This match was to go down in history as the longest women’s final in Wimbledon’s 128-year history. This victory further validated her excellence and in November of 2005, Glamour magazine named her one of their “Women of the Year.”

She has been photographed by some of the most world-renowned photographers for top fashion publications around the world. She has even been the subject of a coffee table book photographed by avant-garde photographer Koto Bolofo. Appropriately titled Venus, this exquisite book offers a unique perspective of the legendary athlete. Presented in the book are rare and striking images of Williams’ physical beauty, as well as her life as an international tennis star.

A true believer of equal rights, she became the first to be named “UNESCO Promoter of Gender Equality,” stating, “Through my partnership with UNESCO, my goal is to let women and girls throughout the world know that there are no glass ceilings, and to do my part to support programs that provide real opportunities for women to succeed in whatever they set their minds to.”

Venus Williams has parlayed her fine-tuned business acumen with her healthy competitive spirit to excel in several ventures. She has gained a comprehensive education on the business side of the sport as well. It’s a mindset that has served her well as she’s reached adulthood and begun looking beyond tennis. July 5, 2010, her book, Come to Win: Venus and Friends on Life Lessons Beyond the Playing Field hit the bookshelves; it reached #5 on The New York Times Bestseller list.

In addition to her worldwide tennis competitions, the young entrepreneur is a uniquely creative designer. Moreover, she has become a certified decorator and owner of V Starr Interiors, a successful interior design firm based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

The transformation from tennis force majeur to savvy businesswoman didn’t happen overnight. It had been brewing all along, instilled in her early by her parents and embraced by the bright youngster. So, while winning countless matches across the globe and becoming an icon for youth and women everywhere, she took note of changing styles for both interior design and fashion.

True to her bold spirit, she simply enrolled in fashion design school while off-tour. She followed her dreams and recently earned a degree in Fashion Design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and became a Certified Interior Decorator.

Her entrepreneurial spirit and design success does not end there. In November of 2007, Venus Williams launched her clothing line EleVen, which was the largest clothing line ever launched by a female athlete.

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