Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Valentina (@valzarya) here. Ivanka Trump is partnering with the World Bank on a new investment fund, Maria Sharapova is back in the game after a 15-month hiatus, and Fortune’s MPW community gathers in D.C. to kick off the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership. Enjoy your Thursday.
• Tops in tennis. Three female tennis stars dominated the news cycle yesterday, starting with the current No. 1, Serena Williams, who spoke at length during a Tuesday night TED event about what it was like to train for the Australian Open (which she won) while pregnant. “It wasn’t very easy,” she admitted. “Pregnant or not, no one knew and I was supposed to win that tournament. Every time I play, I’m expected to win. If I don’t win, it’s actually much bigger news.”
Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova played and won her first match in 15 months at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany on Wednesday. The formerly top-ranked player has been on a hiatus since January of last year, when she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium.
Finally, the New York Times has an excellent profile of another former No. 1 player, Victoria Azarenka, who is currently on an extended break after pregnancy, but “is quietly yet fiercely determined to rise again.” The story chronicles her journey at the age of 14 from Minsk, Belarus, to the national stage, as well as her current ambitions to be the best once again. It’s not that far-fetched of an idea, especially given that her biggest rival, Williams, will be on pregnancy leave when Azarenka starts playing again this summer.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Meeting the mentees. Members of Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women community are in D.C. tonight to welcome the 2017 class of the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership. The evening’s featured speaker is Dina Powell, who will be interviewed by our own Pattie Sellers. Powell is President Trump’s deputy national security adviser for strategy and senior counselor for economic initiatives—and a longstanding advocate for women’s economic empowerment worldwide. Fortune
• Ivanka’s new fund. Ivanka Trump is working to raise a large investment fund that will focus on small and medium-sized women-owned businesses around the world. Early commitments have already come in from some government-linked investors in Canada, Germany, and the Middle East. Dina Powell is helping to develop the project, while the World Bank will be managing it. Axios
• Disagreeing with dad. In other Ivanka news, the first daughter broke with her father in an NBC interview that aired Wednesday. When asked if the U.S. should be open to Syrian refugees, she responded: “That has to be part of the discussion.” President Trump, meanwhile, has already moved twice while in office to restrict the flow of refugees—including those from Syria—into the U.S. Fortune
• Coulter won’t be at Berkeley. Conservative commentator and author Ann Coulter canceled an appearance scheduled for Thursday at the University of California, Berkeley because she lost the backing of the conservative groups that had sponsored her appearance. Young America’s Foundation, a group that was helping Coulter in her legal efforts to force Berkeley to host her, said the university was unwilling to “jeopardize the safety of its staff or students.” TIME
• Who needs VCs? Not women, apparently. A new study from Ernst & Young and the Women Presidents’ Organization finds that only 1% of female founders have used venture capital to fund their businesses. Instead of VC, most women are turning to personal savings and banks for capital. Fortune
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Kathi Vidal is joining Winston & Strawn LLP as managing partner of its Silicon Valley office. Mindy Grossman, the CEO of HSN Inc., is joining Weight Watchers as its new chief executive.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• O (Royal Bank of) Canada! RBC—our northern neighbor’s largest bank— has recruited an all-female team of financial advisers for its U.S. wealth-management arm. What makes this particularly noteworthy is that just 48,631 of the 310,500 brokers in the U.S. are women. WSJ
• Only in Russia? Two men with ties to Aeroflot, Russia’s largest airline, said that “the appearance of its employees” is a selling point for the airline’s passengers. The comments were made during a press conference during which two former Aeroflot flight attendants discussed their age and sex discrimination lawsuit against the company (they lost their suit and are appealing). Fortune
• Not Slacking on diversity. Slack’s employee demographics report is out and includes one dimension of diversity that most companies do not: 1.7% of its employees identify themselves as having a disability. As far as its gender breakdown is concerned, the messaging app shows modest improvements. Globally, 48% of managers are now women (up from 43% last year) and women make up 30% of technical employees (up from 25%). TechCrunch
• Cover girls. Girls creator Lena Dunham interviews Samantha Bee for the cover story of this week’s The Hollywood Reporter. The two talk about everything from President Trump, to Bee’s time on The Daily Show, to being a woman in the media. Hollywood Reporter
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ON MY RADAR
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