Women in sports play a pivotal role in shaping our society, transcending boundaries, and championing equality. Our presence and participation in the world of sports have profound significance, extending far beyond the boundaries of the playing field. It is a testament to our strength, resilience, and determination, inspiring generations of young girls to dream big and break barriers.
Being a woman in sports, particularly as a woman of color, is a responsibility I do not take lightly. I vividly recall a time when the presence of women in various roles within the sports industry was a rarity. However, at the Carolina Panthers, I am immensely proud to be part of one of the most diverse digital teams I have ever encountered. While I can speak specifically about our digital team and the incredible women I have the privilege to work with, it truly exemplifies the importance of representation within our community and organization.
Even at the highest level of the Panthers organization, women lead the way. Kristi Coleman set the bar by becoming the first female NFL team president in Panthers history. From then on, she, with Nicole and Dave Tepper, have made it their responsibility to make sure representation was at the fore front. Women now hold important leadership roles in our organization with Tanya Taylor - General Cousel, Kisha Smith - Chief Peoples Officer, Tamera Green – Chief Communications Offer and Caroline Wright – Chief Venues Officer.
Attending meetings where the majority of the room is filled with women is nothing short of amazing. It sends a powerful message about the significance of representation. Witnessing young girls who have never seen a female team photographer (myself), a Hispanic female social media manager (Angela Denogean), or a female video producer (Kelly Bright) is truly impactful. When I see Kelly, our long-form producer, confidently walking around the field with her camera, I can't help but think, "Wow, she is absolutely fierce!" It's a stark contrast to a time when such roles were predominantly occupied by men.
In society, the common perception of women in sports often revolves around on-air talent. However, witnessing women hold various positions outside of that realm is nothing short of incredible. Morgan Jenkins is a key member of our team as the Digital Platforms Coordinator. We collaborate closely to ensure that our website and app serve as more than just digital interfaces. Even beyond our digital space, most of our partnership team consists of exceptionally talented women who fearlessly negotiate and close deals with major partners for our professional football team. We collaborate closely with Khara Gibson-Taylor and Kendall Letterman daily, ensuring that we meet and exceed the requirements of all their partners.
Within our marketing department, women take the lead. The likes of Jaclyn Urda and Kalen Karahalios organizing and planning tentpole events, such the NFL Draft party, is a testament to their creativity and expertise. Their ability to execute such events with precision and finesse is truly remarkable and inspiring.
Jill Cole is an indispensable member within our community department. Daily, we collaborate closely with her, ensuring that every facet of our community events receives the attention it deserves from a content perspective. Jill consistently strives to elevate our outreach efforts, infusing each initiative with a sense of purpose that resonates deeply with our audience.
Working alongside Chandalae Lanouette, our Entertainment Manager, has been an incredibly inspiring experience. Witnessing her remarkable journey from being a member of the TopCat team to now holding the reins of leadership for the TopCats and managing the entire entertainment aspect is a testament to her unwavering dedication and the remarkable growth of women in sports.
The remarkable work lead by Hannah Chanaranda and her predominantly female team in managing our PSL (Personal Seat License) owners group is a responsibility of immense significance. Their dedication to directly engaging with fans, ensuring their access to the finest seats in the venue, and curating exceptional luxury events is a testament to their skills and commitment.
In conclusion, being surrounded by a team where women are occupying diverse roles in the sports industry is a profound experience. It showcases the progress we have made in breaking down barriers and the importance of representation. It is a constant reminder that women are capable of excelling in any position within the sports realm, and it fills me with pride and admiration for my colleagues. Their contributions and accomplishments pave the way for future generations of women, proving that there are no limits to what we can achieve.