Maria Sharapova shares business wisdom at the Forbes Under 30 Summit

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Maria Sharapova joined a dynamic roster of leaders as one of keynote speakers at the 2021 Forbes Under 30 Summit on October 10-12, 2021 at the Detroit Opera House.

Maria Sharapova

Forbes launched its 30 Under 30 list a decade ago, to celebrate the world’s leading young entrepreneurs and investors. This year’s Forbes Under 30 Summit focused on the theme “Decade of Disruption.” The retired tennis star‘s session was entitled: “Founding Companies Like A Champion: Maria Sharapova, Tennis Champion, Investor and Entrepreneur.”

With her legendary tennis career, multi-million dollar deals and lucrative off-court projects, Sharapova sure has a thing or two to say about doing business. Her entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic and knowledge about branding have made her an unprecedented leader in the WTA world, and beyond.

The roots of Sharapova’s knowledge date back to her early negotiations with Nike and the like:

I started learning by the partners that I was working with. I would get into meetings with Nike and contract meetings, where I didn’t really know what these terms were. I would say that now, in my 30s, I went back to those moments, and I’m like ‘that was my MBA’. That’s where I learned all the things I am able to apply now.

When it comes to the post-tennis chapter of her life, Sharapova is taking it slow. The Russian is working hard on her new ventures. However, she realizes that it takes time and she doesn’t want to think too high of herself. Her tennis career took more than a decade to reach the pro status, so the 34-year-old knows that she will need at least as much dedication to become an expert in a new field.

Whatever it is that I continue to do in this Chapter 2, it will just take time. It takes time to educate yourself and to learn, to be better, to be more professional, to be more knowledgable. I don’t want to rush that process. I don’t want to go in a room and be the smartest one in the room, because then I’m not learning. I want to find challenges that will continue to help me grow.

Besides patience, discipline is another major factor. Even though she clearly doesn’t have to exercise regularly, Sharapova pushes herself to maintain her form and get better in all aspects, every day.

During the Forbes Under 30 Summit, Sharapova discussed her furniture collection with Rove Concepts. In this excerpt she’s also telling a funny story from her cooperation with architect Frank Gehry, when they were designing a pair of Tiffany & Co. earrings together.

 

Sharapova’s most famous project is her Sugarpova candy line, launched in 2012. In the brand’s early days, the tennis player was greatly cricitized for producing candies, as she was expected to promote a healthy lifestyle as an athlete. However, Sharapova explained that moderation was key, the dust quickly settled and Sugarpova has been thriving.

Bala workout equipment and wellness brand Therabody are some of the most recent investment projects of the former top-ranked WTA player who retired in 2020.

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