Leila Annie Fernandez of Canada returns a backhand kick against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia during their singles first round match at the Internazionale BNL d’Italia at Foro Italico on May 9, 2022 in Rome, Italy.
Alex Buntling | Getty Images
Leila Fernandez is no ordinary twenty-something. She is ranked among the best tennis players in the world. She has won two Women’s Tennis Association titles and was a finalist at the 2021 US Open.
But Fernandez is also making a name for herself off the field — and she’s passionate about financial literacy.
This week, Fernandez was in New York, too Morgan Stanley The WTA announced a new multi-year global partnership. The program promotes inclusivity and expands access to tennis. In addition, the partnership will include financial literacy and resource planning for players.
“Morgan Stanley’s partnership with the WTA is a great step forward for women’s sports in general. I love seeing companies that support women’s sports because there’s so much we can do together and improve together,” Fernandez, Morgan Stanley’s brand ambassador, told CNBC In an interview on Wednesday.
Fernandez said many of her fellow competitors worry about a career-ending injury and don’t know what to do. She added that the Morgan Stanley program will help prepare them.
“We’ve been focused on tennis all our lives. That’s the one thing we know, but it’s not something we can always count on. I want to have that stability, that belief that everything is going to be OK and we need those resources.”
Because of her association with Morgan Stanley, Fernandez said she feels an added responsibility to not only ask the financial questions for her own good, but to encourage others on the tour to have the same confidence as well.
“It would be great if we could have conferences to open up the conversation in a healthy environment where the WTA players feel comfortable speaking their minds. I think the difficulty is that we want to be seen as strong and know-it-all, but we don’t,” she told CNBC. .
Morgan Stanley was drawn to Fernandez’s example of leadership.
“She’s a role model that people can see themselves in. She also reflects our brand values, including giving back to the community, valuing fairness and inclusion,” said Alice Milligan, director of marketing at Morgan Stanley.
Alice Milligan, Leylah Annie Fernandez and Micky Lawler attend the launch of the Morgan Stanley x Women’s Tennis Association partnership on March 1, 2023 in New York City.
Mike Coppola | Getty Images
In addition to Fernandez’s involvement with Morgan Stanley, she has worked with her lululemonAnd the alphabetOn Google and Subway. Fernandez said she learned a lot from her experience in the business world.
“At first I was afraid to ask because I was worried it was stupid or too simple, but asking questions is the most important thing. I need financial stability in life after tennis, so being able to participate has opened my eyes and mind to a new world,” she said. to CNBC.
While traveling around the world participating in tennis tournaments and climbing to a career-high 13th ranking this past summer, Fernandez, who hails from Canada, has made her education a priority. She’s a business major at Eastern Indiana University, which has a partnership with the WTA, along with the Women’s Tennis Advantage Association, to allow players to earn baccalaureate degrees online while competing on tour.
As for her future ambitions outside of tennis, she said it’s still very early days, but she wants to learn more about business and the stock market. She said working with a Wall Street giant helps on that front.
“I don’t want to make any drastic decisions so quickly without knowing all the details. That’s why it’s so great that I’m working with Morgan Stanley to help me understand that you can’t put all your coins in one stock,” Fernandez said.