Which brings us to her post-playing career. How did Adams transition from competing on the court to becoming the first African American and first former player to lead the USTA?
"It stems back to first being that professional tennis player and learning how to network and build relationships. But also, (you) learn (to get) respect from others and show that you are accountable and responsible in your actions," Adams stated. She was on the board as a competitor, which gave her an understanding of the inner workings of the business of tennis.
After being nominated to the USTA board, Adams discovered the true beauty in what the the organization and its programs can do for the game domestically. That piqued her interests, and started Adams on a path towards becoming a pioneer and a groundbreaking leader. "It was really about having my eyes wide open at all times, having my ears open at all times, and having my feet to the ground at all times. Because you never knew what was coming your way."
Adams was also the youngest CEO in history, and completed two successful terms in office. No one individual deserves sole credit for the recent growth and boom of tennis in the States, but Adams has certainly been one of the main catalysts for increased participation in all corners of the country.
Since departing from the USTA, Adams went on to write a highly acclaimed leadership book. "Own the Arena: Getting Ahead, Making a Difference, and Succeeding as the Only One" is Adams' story in her own words, and offers lessons that can applied to all avenues of life. It's no secret why she's received offers to speak to businesses, and why her voice continues to hold enormous weight in the tennis community.
Adams is a trendsetter, a trailblazer, and somebody who fights for inclusion over exclusion. Her contributions to the game cannot be understated, and they certainly are not on this podcast.