In Their Own Words – Monica Wiley

In Their Own Words profiles former student-athletes who have leveraged their experiences on the field, court, and in the pool to buoy their professional careers. They’ve had success in the classroom & in their sport, and now are enjoying tremendous success in various sectors around the world.

In Their Own Words with the Honorable Monica Wiley

As fans wait to find out the outcome of the NFL labor disputes that are taking place in the courtrooms, we caught up with a former point guard on the UC Berkeley Women’s Basketball Team who spends the majority of her days in her own courtroom. The Honorable Monica Wiley, the Judge of the Superior Court in San Francisco, tells us how her days as a student-athlete have impacted her life in the judicial system.

The Honorable Monica Wiley - San Francisco Superior Court

What is your current title and how long have you been in this position?
I am currently a Judge for the San Francisco Superior Court, a role that I have been in for 19 months.

Tell us what your specific role is with the organization?
Currently, I have a family law assignment. I handle dissolution proceedings, motions for custody and visitation, and domestic violence restraining orders.

What is your favorite part of the job?

Being able to help people in tangible ways.

What was your first “REAL” job?
Working as a researcher for NASA. Seriously.

Has being a competitive athlete helped you in your current role or during your career? If so, please tell us in what ways.
Being a competitive athlete was certainly helpful when I was an attorney practicing in the area of civil litigation. Being a litigator requires not only a sense of focus and a dedication to hard work, but also requires you to engage with others in an adversarial manner.

What do you miss and what don’t you miss about being a competitive athlete?
I miss the perfection of my body. I do not miss working out to ensure the perfection of my body.

What was your most memorable moment as an athlete? What was your most embarrassing moment?
Most memorable was definitely when my Cal women’s basketball team beat then No. 1 ranked Stanford (they were 10-0 at the time) in the first game of the Pac-10 season in 1991. Of course Stanford did go on to win the National Championship in 1992, but for one night we were victorious. I’ve never had an embarrassing moment. Or at least not one that I am about to share.

How often do you workout? What type of things do you do to stay active?
Please refer to Question 4 above (“I do not miss working out”). I play basketball every 3-4 months just to make sure that I can, and practice yoga.

If you knew then what you know now, is there anything that you would do differently in your career?
No – my career has worked out perfectly for me.

Do you have a mentor (or mentors) that has helped you along the way?
I have had several mentors in my life, but the one with the most lasting imprint is my high school basketball coach, Mary Brown. She expected excellence each and every day from her players and taught me to expect no less from myself.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
My parents – Paul and Shirley Wiley

Do you have any advice for young professionals and/or former student-athletes hoping to have a successful career after sports?
Find a profession and not a career – something that you are passionate about and that excites you each and every day. And always, at whatever stage you are in your profession – always find time to enjoy yourself.

Favorite Book
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

Favorite Movie
To Kill a Mockingbird

Reading, movies

Favorite Place to Vacation
Clovis, CA

What’s playing on your iPod?
Nothing anyone would recognize starting with Simon and Garfunkel

Android or iPhone?

Mac or PC?

Favorite TV Show
The Wire

Favorite Restaurant
Le Cheval

Favorite Quote
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill