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RingCentral Executive-Athletes Go For The Gold


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RingCentral CEO Vlad Shmunis Kiteboarding

There are many parallels between sports and business: both involve wins, losses, teamwork, training, determination and persistence. As a former college varsity athlete, I frequently apply my athletic skills and experience to the business world. I’m not the only one — plenty of hardworking entrepreneurs and executives grew up on sports and compete as adults, including our executives at RingCentral.

I asked a few RingCentral leaders how athletics have shaped their business approach. Although they are too modest to say it themselves, it’s clear these executives have scored significant wins due to their athletic mentality. Check out their inspirational quotes below and add your own quote on sports and business.

Vlad Shmunis, Chairman and CEO: “The first rule they teach you in snow/wake/kiteboarding is to look where you want to go and you’ll end up there. Works great in business, as well.”

Vlad Vendrow, CTO:

“I played chess and badminton at school. In chess, you have to calculate your moves as far head as possible. And in badminton, you have to move quickly. Both skills — foresight and speed — are important factors in business success.”

Praful Shah, SVP Strategy:

“Successful businesses cannot be built by a team of one. So while I enjoy playing individual sports like golf and tennis, I find that team sports have taught me more about building great teams and being a leader. The team mentality is the best game plan for winning in business.”

Naveen Gupta, SVP Product:

“Table tennis is about being on the offense– don’t wait for the ball, hunt for it. This applies well to business, especially when it comes to being an innovator and entrepreneur.”

David Sipes, EVP Sales, Marketing, Support:

“I value the teamwork, leadership, and training skills that I’ve learned as a lifelong athlete. The first step towards being a champion in athletics and business is to step on the practice court.”

Bob Lawson, CFO:

I grew up playing team sports – basketball, baseball and football – and apply lessons learned there to business. My top three:

1) Play your position well and help the team win.

2) Practice, practice, practice – invest the time to be fully prepared for a big business event like you would a big game.

3) Coaching accelerates your progress. Seek coaching in business just like you do in sports. Then apply it.

Originally published Aug 16, 2012, updated May 23, 2021

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