As a woman — and mother of four daughters — I was elated to learn that Jen Welter was the first female hired to coach in the NFL. After all, women deserve to have equal opportunities in all industries across the board. I teach my girls that they can do anything regardless of gender barriers. It seems Jen Welter worked hard to prove that.
Dr. Jen Welter served as an intern linebackers coach for the Arizona Cardinals. This signing made her the first female hired to coach in the NFL, but it was her third “first” in the men’s football arena. Dr. Welter was also the first female running back for the Texas Revolution. This position made her the first to woman play a contact position in a male dominant sport. Additionally, she was also the first woman to coach in a men’s professional football league when she was named the linebackers and special teams coach for the Revolution the following year. As you can see, Dr. Welter has not let her gender hold her back from achieving her goals in the world of football.
You can see from Jen’s interview with Sam Gordon that during her first meeting with the NFL, more of their conversation was about psychology and team dynamics than hard-core football due the NFL’s knowledge of her PhD. They wanted to understand what level of passion she had for the game and what new elements she could bring to the game. Today, she continues to look forward to the next adventure.
When asked by Sam (who helped start the first all-girls tackle football league) what her advice to young girls would be, Dr. Welter’s response was fabulous:
“Surround yourself with good people. And when people tell you what’s NOT possible, choose not to listen. Find people who show you how to do things instead of people who tell you what you can’t do.”
Not only does this establish Dr. Welter as a great role model for girls, but it also shows credibility for her education received at Capella University. Her unconventional paths toward reaching her goals have allowed her to shine and excel in the efforts she puts forward. Role models can have a distinct impact on the lives of youth. They can easily influence decisions and help mold paths. Dr. Welter’s confidence, determination and positive outlook are excellent examples for young girls to demonstrate. Remember those traits as you set out on your next adventure!
What inspires you to carve your own path?
Learn more about Jen Welter and how she is breaking barriers.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Capella University.
See graduation rates, media student debt and other information at http://capellaresults.org/outcomes.asp