Canton native Brooklyn McDaniels no longer an NFL rookie
PLAIN TWP. The NFL didn’t play here this year as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, and will the league won’t be able to celebrate its centennial next month.
But a Stark County native who works for the NFL is confident there will be a kickoff.
“We’re excited for the season,“ said Brooklyn McDaniels, a GlenOak High graduate. “We are moving forward and hope to get through the entire season."
In March, McDaniels came home from New York City after the NFL shut down its corporate offices where she works as a corporate relations manager.
“We stopped working in mid-March,” she said. “I happened to be coming home anyway for my mom’s birthday. Three months later, I was still in Canton.”
McDaniels said she went to New York on July 4 for a visit, but returned, in part to celebrate her grandmother’s birthday.
“Everything was shut down,” she said. “I thought it makes more sense to be home. There’s more space to work at my parents’ house than in my New York apartment.”
McDaniels said the NFL began reopening its corporate offices last month in phases, on a voluntary, rotating basis. She’s head back next week.
The Ohio State University graduate has been with the league’s front office for two years. Following an internship at ESPN, she was accepted into the NFL’s rotational, entry-level program and then offered a full-time role with the NFL’s Sponsorship and Partnership Management Group.
She's in charge of managing the league’s relationship with seven of its corporate sponsors.
“I feel like I got really lucky,” she said. “It’s so exciting, going to the NFL and telling people I’m from Canton. At first, they didn’t believe I really was from Canton. Having grown up in the city where it all started, and seeing both sides of it, has been great.”
In 2015, McDaniels was part of the queen’s court for the enshrinement festival.
Women in charge
The NFL, aware that 50% of its fans are women, has made more of a concerted effort to welcome women into its front offices.
Two of the Cleveland Browns’ top three majority owners are women.
McDaniels said the public might be surprised to learn how many women executives the NFL employs.
"In my department, the chief revenue officer is a woman, an incredible woman,“ she said. ”Her first job was working for (Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO) David Baker. There’s also a lot of black women in leadership that a lot of people don’t know about, like Kimberly Fields, who worked with the NFL commissioner and the Minnesota Vikings. She’s had an incredible career.“
McDaniels noted that most of the league’s special events are run by women.
“People don’t understand how woman-heavy it is,” she said. “The Events Teams are 80% women, who are running the Super Bowl and the NFL Combine. I love when you’re at meetings and it’s all women. It’s not weird to us.”
McDaniels said she feels valued even though she’s been with the league for a short time.
“I’ve made some incredible friends and (acquired) mentorships,” she said. “Having gone to two Super Bowls, helping run an NFL Draft in Nashville, I’m given so much responsibility. I feel like my voice is heard. I feel like I got to do more in two years than I thought I would in 10.”
She urges aspiring young people to “take advantage of every opportunity,” and is happy to speak with anyone who reaches out.
“Apply for programs,” she said. “Every step of the way has been an important stepping stone for me. Don’t be nervous to get people’s information and make phone calls.”
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @cgoshayREP
Stark County native Brooklyn McDaniels is in her second year in the front office of the NFL. McDaniels recently spent several weeks working here when the NFL’s corporate offices shut down in New York City. (Photo courtesy of Brooklyn McDaniels)