Venus Williams Aces BDNY

The tennis star/interior designer served up inspiration and information in a motivational keynote at our sixth annual East Coast trade fair.

The minute Venus Williams walked into the room to deliver the keynote for the Boutique Design Power Players: Women Leaders in Hospitality panel discussion at Boutique Design New York 2015, pretty much every one of the 250-plus attendees was buzzing for their Instagram moment, smartphone at the ready.

The autograph line went out the door and Williams graciously said yes to every photo request and introduction. When Venus Williams, ceo of 13 year old V*Starr Interiors, comes to talk to designers, she comes not as a tennis superstar, but as, like many of the women in that room, a small business owner with a passion for the industry and an upfront awareness that in this job, her name closes as many doors as it opens.

At the end of the day, though, Williams knows that for a small firm like hers, it’s a team effort. “We make sure everybody takes a turn taking out the trash, including me,” she says. As for her best career advice, for tennis or design? “Just keep your eye on the ball.” Something both she and the other trailblazing women on the dais know more than a thing or two about.

Keep an eye out for our November issue for more on Williams and the other Women Leaders.