To support the sport of tennis’ dedication to diversity and inclusion as 2020 has thrust social injustice, systemic oppression and lack of leadership opportunities for Blacks into the forefront of our social consciousness, the USTA has named Marisa Grimes as its Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer. Grimes will begin her tenure with the USTA on Jan. 4, 2021.
Grimes comes to the USTA after a decorated tenure at Mastercard, where she most recently served as Director, Diversity & Inclusion. There, she led all diversity and inclusion efforts across the company’s North American regional and global business units.
Under her leadership, the company expanded both its internal and external diversity initiatives, impact and accountability.
The USTA is hoping she can continue to work her magic as a senior executive. Grimes will report to USTA CEO and Executive Director Michael Dowse, and will work with USTA’s established leadership team to develop and implement a cultural shift throughout all levels of the organization, reflecting its commitment to elevating inclusiveness and equity in the sport.
According to the USTA, one of her highest priorities will be to ensure the USTA fulfills its mission of growing the game by bringing new generations of diverse players and providers to the sport across the United States, in order to transform the business and culture in every facet of both the USTA and the tennis ecosystem at large.
“The USTA has historically honored our sport’s cultural icons, such as Althea Gibson, Billie Jean King, and Arthur Ashe, but we understand that our actions have not always matched our beliefs,” said Dowse. “We know that Marisa’s energy and leadership will help us bridge that gap and ensure that tennis is the inclusive sport we aspire it to be.”
A graduate of University of Maryland, Grimes will be responsible for creating tangible and measurable diversity and inclusion initiatives for staff and volunteers at both the national and section levels of the USTA, designing programs that improve cultural awareness and sensitivities and promote inclusive practices.
“My hope is that I can contribute to the USTA in a meaningful way to help create policy changes and actions that reflect a commitment to doing the right things for the right reasons to address longstanding inequalities in our country and the sport of tennis,” said Grimes. “It is not going to happen overnight, but we can establish a solid pathway for progress.”