Blog Post

Cornerstone and Sloane Stephens: Serving learning to more people

Himanshu Palsule

CEO, Cornerstone

Sports and professional athletes have always inspired me.

The hustle, the grit, and the athleticism I often dream of having. That dream has driven me my whole life to be better and accomplish more. And it drives millions of other people, too. You see it on courts, in offices, and anywhere else you find people putting in the work to learn and grow. And that learning and growth is what we facilitate at Cornerstone.

Our commitment to empowering the growth, development, and agility of people around the globe is why I'm so excited to announce that we've partnered with tennis star Sloane Stephens to power potential on and off the court.

Sloane is a US Open champion and one of the top-ranked tennis players in the world. Even now, as she focuses on preparing for the 2024 Australian Open, her aspirations and impact go far beyond the tennis court. We partnered with Sloane because she is also an avid learning advocate.

For over ten years, the Sloane Stephens Foundation has used tennis and education to change the narrative around poverty, health inequity, and educational underdevelopment. They serve more than 10,000 students across the US and use tennis to empower kids to be healthy and well-rounded. She's helping people achieve the type of success she's seen.

But Sloane hasn't achieved all her success alone. As any good CEO or athlete will tell you (even in a singular sport like tennis), no one wins alone. Everyone wins as a team.

What it takes to have a winning team

Look closely at anyone who has achieved something great, and you'll see the people who supported, motivated, and inspired them. Sloane may have a successful singles tennis career, but she didn't get there on her own. Support and guidance from coaches, family, friends, and even rivals have all inspired her to learn, grow, and succeed.

As Sloane told Lauren Mazzo of Shape Magazine when discussing her inspirations and role models, "My mom is my forever role model. She is my best friend and my inspiration in everything I do. She is the executive director of the Sloane Stephens Foundation and treats every single child like her own; she is a former All-American [swimmer] who understands what it's like to train and compete; and she earned her Ed.D. while traveling with me to support my dreams. Above all of her accomplishments, she is kind and honest."

As a CEO, my support network extends to everyone at Cornerstone. I succeed because of the hard work over 4,000 people put in each day. It's my job to support their goals and ambitions as we all work together to positively impact the learning and growth of employees and organizations worldwide.

We see the same “it takes a village” mentality with our support of Chelsea FC Women. All the athletes say they can only perform at such a high level because they have a supportive infrastructure around them. They're the first people to thank their incredible coach, physios, nutritionists, and kit manager because everyone at their organization gives them the support they need to win.

The work everyone at Cornerstone does inspires me every day. And one of the reasons I'm so excited about our partnership with Sloane is that she inspires me, too.

Making opportunity the baseline

Sloane has accomplished a lot. There's how she overcame injury to win the 2017 US Open and how she's helping US Vice President Kamala Harris prevent and address online harassment and abuse. But the accomplishment I keep coming back to is what she's doing with the Sloane Stephens Foundation.

In an LA neighborhood down the highway from the Cornerstone main office, her Foundation runs a program called "Love, Love Compton." It provides at-risk youth with mental health resources, after-school tutoring, tennis camps, and most importantly — opportunities to learn and grow. Compton Schools Superintendent Dr. Darin Brawley called the program his district's "most successful and influential non-profit partnership."

"Giving back means a lot to me, and like we do with the Sloane Stephens Foundation, empowering and inspiring the next generation is so important," Sloane told Forbes earlier this year.

Opportunity is a gift we should give everyone. And we advocate for that at Cornerstone.

Along with the tools we provide companies and businesses, the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation has been making a difference for non-profits around the globe for over 10 years. Our foundation provides world-class professional development and necessary training tools to non-profits through free online training programs because each person has a talent or skill they have yet to access. They just need a support system that empowers them to learn and grow. And that's what Sloane does for the children of Compton through the Sloane Stephens Foundation. 

Our shared commitment to unlocking the limitless potential in people makes this partnership with Sloane a perfect match. We both believe that lifelong learning, continuous growth and development, and a winning mindset can lead anyone to success.

Doubles partners for success

The traits I need to be successful in business or that Sloane needs to be a successful athlete are similar to what you need to be successful at anything — dedication, teamwork, agility, flexibility, and a learning mindset. And those traits also make Sloane a perfect partner as we work together to open opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to achieve more.

So please join me in cheering on our partner Sloane Stephens at the Australian Open on January 14 as she looks to add a second Grand Slam to her trophy case. This time while wearing the Cornerstone logo.

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