CHARLOTTE – Female leaders in the NFL shared messages of empowerment and inspiration in Charlotte during this year's International Women's Day.
Panthers team president Kristi Coleman and Raiders president Sandra Douglass Morgan talked about their journeys into the league, the challenges of the job, moments of vision and belief, foundations to succeed, and the example they hope to set for the next generation of young women and men on Wednesday at Bank of America Stadium and Quail Hollow Club. The question-and-answer event at Quail Hollow was presented as part of a speaker series hosted by the Charlotte Sports Foundation and moderated by Allison Latos.
Coleman, the NFL's second-ever female team president, and Morgan, the first Black female team president, assumed their roles at Carolina and Las Vegas, respectively, in 2022.
"I think it's important for women to be able to see that they can be in these roles – that the NFL is not just for men," Coleman said. "It's for everyone. I think it's important to be able to see that, and that's a big reason why we wanted to do this today."
Their day started with meeting Panthers' staff at the stadium. Coleman and Morgan held a meet-and-greet with introductions and mingled with staff in The Vault.
Coleman said she and Morgan have kept in touch since the two started serving in their roles last year. Coleman spent eight years with the Panthers as the team's director of finance before her promotion to chief financial officer in 2019 and president in 2022. Morgan, a Las Vegas native and attorney, was the first person of color to serve as chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the first African American City Attorney in the State of Nevada.
"It is so important," Coleman said when asked about the significance of female visibility in the NFL. "That's why I read (Morgan's) whole bio to the team, because everyone needs to hear what great things she's done, but also to inspire men and women that, 'Look, you can do this.' It's hard work. It's determination, and it's something anyone can do."
Morgan said she carries the responsibility to be a visible model for young women and girls who seek out the opportunity to work in professional sports. During the event at Quail Hollow, Morgan shared a story about a family of Raiders fans she met with a young daughter who said she aspired to "run the team" one day.
"It's bigger than us, right?" Morgan said. "Every single thing that we do, whether it be for the Panthers or for the Raiders, it's about the legacy you leave not only for your team, but hopefully making your communities and people around you just want to have more hope, opportunity, and hopefully, more options."
Coleman shared Morgan's sentiment and said she seeks to influence women working in sports positively.
"You carry this responsibility to make sure that you're a good person, that people see you treat people the right way," Coleman said. "I think that's what's important, and I try to be there for the women and men in the organization. But I know that the women are watching and they want to see that they can also do this. And they can."
View photos from Wednesday's all-day celebration of International Women's Day as Panthers president Kristi Coleman and Raiders president Sandra Douglass Morgan spoke to Panthers employees in the vault and members of the community as part of a Charlotte Sports Foundation event at Quail Hollow Club.