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Women Leaders Podcast

Oct 24, 2021

Hello, and welcome to the Women Leaders podcast! I’m Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports. Today I’m sharing an uplifting conversation with Sam Rapoport, the Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the National Football League.

Sam started playing football at age 12 in Canada, ultimately rising to play for Team Canada and pro tackle football teams. By the end of college, she knew she wanted to work in pro football. Sam landed an internship with the NFL by pitching herself as a quarterback who could deliver a ball 386 miles—from Montreal to New York City. Sam still recommends finding ways to stand out.

In two stints with the NFL, Sam has brought significant change to the league, spearheading programming to retain, develop, and promote qualified diverse candidates into the football operations pipeline at NFL clubs and the league office.

Rapoport created the Women’s Careers in Football Forum in 2017, which served to inspire and connect qualified women to football operations positions in professional and college football programs. As a result, 82 female coaching, scouting, and operations candidates have been hired in the three-year period, a record number.

By developing strong relationships and giving people reasons to believe in her, Sam forged a unique path in the NFL and proposed bold new initiatives. Sam tells us that sometimes, doing something new or different might not be well-received. Figuring things out and proving her credibility helped remove some of the obstacles and has created truly impactful change. Don’t miss a moment of this conversation! And remember, we are Women Leaders!