World. Class. Champion. As one of the most prolific athletic figures in history, multifaceted icon Serena Williams talks about business, product development and marketplace brand positioning with innovative athletic brand MISSION.
MISSION was founded in 2009 by an elite core of athletes looking to create an innovation-led brand focused on solving problems for athletes. Pioneering a new product category dubbed AthleteCare; MISSION uses science and real life insight from the world’s greatest athletes to create disruptive sport technologies that elevate performance, according to the company’s website: We’re not just passionate about performance. We’re perseverance pioneers. Because like you—we find a way. A way to push a little harder. To move a little quicker. To feel a little stronger.
Here, Williams talks about her involvement with the MISSION brand.
BlackEnterprise.com: As an ambassador and partner of MISSION, what makes the MISSION brand different from your perspective? Why did you choose to partner with MISSION?
Williams: MISSION’s focus on innovation and performance was something I wanted to be part of. Their commitment to charity and causes that were important to me and their other (athlete and student) partners were other reasons I felt this was the right partnership.
What was your role in product development? Can you briefly share what that experience was like?
At MISSION, testing the product and technology during development was a key part of our process. For the EnduraCool™ Instant Cooling Towel, I not only made sure the technology held up to extreme conditions, but worked with the team on the sizing and colors.
How does EnduraCool™ contribute to the overall experience and performance of your game—whether pre-, during or post-?
When I’m playing, for example, at the Australian Open, it is brutal and can be very draining on my energy. When I have a break, it is critical for me to cool down so I can preserve my energy. The cooler I keep my body, the longer, harder, and faster I can compete.
What are the top three benefits that you endorse about your MISSION product?
Basically, I need products that work immediately, are easy to use, and last. MISSION products deliver that. EnduraCool™ helps me stay cool [for the duration] and allows me to focus on my game.
Was there ever a time when you did not have your product (though highly unlikely) and it affected your game?
MISSION was just developing the EnduraCool™ technology four years ago during the Australian Open. It was 120 degrees on the court that year. I am just glad I don’t have to be without it now.
Regarding athleticism and entrepreneurship—how do you manage and balance being successful in business and a world-class athlete?
When I am competing and training I am 100% focused. But I love being an entrepreneur and love working with other entrepreneurs on products and projects that are meaningful. Making time for that work is important and energizing. It is a balance,but one that I enjoy.
How important a role do you think entrepreneurship plays in the onward revitalization of the U.S. economy?
I think it is really important. New ideas, entrepreneurship, and creativity have always played a vital role in our economy, and I think it will continue to.
Roz A. Gee (@RozAGee) consults as The MediaMatch Maven™ of The Rated Gee Agency with service sectors in media relations, brand readiness, and speaking and training. Roz has masterfully mixed over 20 years of cumulative experience and has worked professionally for industry titans such as General Electric, AT&T, AOL, IBM, and Northrop Grumman. Schedule a complimentary analysis at www.MediaMatchMaven.com. You can also find her on Twitter (@RozAGee) and Facebook.