Cari Champion recognized you as a leader in 2020 for using your platform to continually advocate for diversity and inclusion in the sports industry, as well as within your own community. What advice do you have for people, specifically young women today, who are fighting to break into a male-dominated industry?
“My advice is to persevere. Perseverance is not running into the same wall over and over. Perseverance is examining the wall and then determining how you are going to climb it. And when you fall, get back up and figure out what went wrong on the last climb and maybe this time you go around it. And when you get blocked, you might just crawl under that wall. You will persevere, but you must do it with smart strategy.”
What’s something you’d like people to know about you or your work that they probably don’t already?
“Something I would like people to know about me is that I did not wake up like this. I often look at successful people I admire and think they are perfect, and it is so comforting when I learn that they are human just like me. I have made lots of mistakes, I have been turned down, laid off, disappointed. The strength is in the resilience.
“Something I would like people to know about my work is that the 49ers, like other NFL teams, is full of smart young men who devote their time and resources to uplifting their families, their schools, their hometowns, our region and the country.”
What are some of the obstacles or hurdles you’ve had to overcome in your career?
“While there have been real, external obstacles, the greatest hurdles were all in mindset—in being vulnerable enough to study myself and, in turn, tough enough to maintain my sense of identity and confidence when others tried to tear me down.”
What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
“My biggest accomplishment to date is the team that I have built. The intelligent, tenacious, big-hearted people I have the pleasure of working with are why we have built one of the greatest live-entertainment venues in the world, why they won ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year, why we have the best and most innovative fan-engagement groups, why we have positively influenced public policy.”