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League, Raiders And NFL discussed on That's What She Said with Sarah Spain

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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Level Give or take yeah. I don't remember the exact chronology but that sounds roughly right. What are some of the not not day to day? 'cause I'm sure it was always different. But what are some of the jobs that you did as. CEO of the raiders. Well look I worked for an organization where the owner of the business was. Shall we say hands on. How's that fanatic? Pinata there are some. NFL teams where the owner of the business is removed from it and simply delegate to to others. There's run the business now. By the way I am fond of reminding people that even an owner who ultimately delegate or delegates to general manager or a CEO or president still maintains ultimately control ultimate control because one delegates can always take back the authority which was delegated so Business owners on the business that I worked for an owner who was involved in every aspect of the business. There were some things. He was happy to delegate to me. Those were financial in nature business in nature but even things that others might consider something he would delegate he's still Was Involved Algen marketing decision. How we position the team advertising decisions? He had very strong views about that. And that is in no way a complaint. In no way of criticism. It was his organization from stem to Stern. And you know the one of the biggest misconception I think because the biggest misconception about Al is that you couldn't disagree with him and I note that right now because although I worked in all of the business areas yes I'm always very involved in all of them and I would say that over the course of the almost thirty years I was there. We disagreed more than we agreed. But I always always viewed it as my role to disagree with him when I disagreed but to recognize that as the owner of the business ultimately decisions were his and when he made a decision whether Roy agreed with it or not it was my responsibility to affect you. Wait it to the best of my ability and not to share with anyone that I disagreed with it. That's not what you do when you're part of a team and I think that's that's another thing is to be confident enough in your own abilities to be willing to be that sounding board that voice of of descendents there and believe that you'll keep your job right and that if you do disagree more than agreed than that will benefit the organization and not Not Lead to to a dismissal which requires a certain amount of confidence to be sure Well I'll just I'll just interject that I love what you just said. Disagreement can and be productive and healthy. Now now I believe that there's a way to disagree. You can disagree agreeably. You can be strong and present your case but hey come armed with facts come armed Zada make your case disagree and then whatever the decision is do your best to make. The best decision but disagreement is healthy Hopi and productive. Yeah and and you know I do think. Also there's it it doesn't serve to be a yes man or yes woman because the best idea wins requires multiple ideas for one to be the best. Not just only idea presented. Everyone agrees right He said You you went to your I league meeting and realize very quickly that there had been women there before they were always wives or mothers. And that's interesting. I watched the lifetime of Sunday's movie about the matriarch owners in the NFL. And you know taking over a team as owners very different than being in those meetings as part owner when the husband is still alive or the father is still alive and I'm curious what that was like for you and how quickly people immediately just I started treating you like everyone else in the room or if there were people that never really addressed the same way they might al or somebody else in the room. Well I'll answer that in regards I shouldn't be treated like an owner was treated in other words If people didn't treat me as I wasn't owner fair enough I wasn't an owner but as to the manner in which I was treated you know there were magnificent magnificent men in that room and you know when I did attend that I league meeting in the latter part of it was either the mid at eighty for the latter part of the eighties. I did realize very very quickly. I was the only woman in the room who wasn't on the catering staff because when we got the league meeting before it started everyone was milling around in the back of the room. Having coffee and breakfast and you know I was asked by someone to get a cup of coffee and that's when I looked around and thought. Wow I'm the only woman here who's not one of the women serving coffee And I point that out because the gentleman the owner of the team. He was a team owner. who asked me to do that at Oldham it? When he learned moments later that I was there as a participant in the meeting And he became one of my most ardent ardent supporters orders in the league and you know there were men throughout the leagues that were had very very substantial philosophical and business disagreements with our it was you know there was the League litigation that was pending between the NFL. And Al and they really were At odds with the raiders and yet men like Lamar or hunt. And Ralph Wilson and Wellington Mara and other stalwarts. The League went out of their way to make me feel included colluded and treated equally with other team executives who were men and I share that because that was back in the day I mean again for you kids that are listening. This was in the eighties. That was very long time ago and these are men who entered their careers when women weren't in business. Let's let alone part of the League. So the fastest you stalwarts of the League went out of their way And and there's There's well but you know some that. Do come to mind. Or Lamar and Wellington and Ralph and and these other league icons were really terrific today so I heard That coffee story on another podcast outcast and I want you to say the moment that you realized what he was asking you and why and the decision that you made and why and the payoff because you kind of just set it. But I I'd like the full story because I love it. I think it's a really good potential learning opportunity for someone else who may feel like that would be the right choice for them in a situation like that as well sure. Sure so we get to the League meeting. It's scheduled to start at eight thirty or eight or nine or whenever it was people. Got There early and milling around having coffee and breakfast and the owner of a team. I'm said to me you know. Will you get me coffee. And that's when I looked around and I all of a sudden realise. Oh you're the only woman in this room that's not on the catering staff serving coffee and food. I made an instantaneous decision. And I'll tell you why in a second I just looked at him and I said how do you take it. And he told me how he took it and I went over and got the coffee. I handed it to him with foil on my face and he said thank you. I did that. You know growing up my mom told me from the time I can remember and his only moms can do. Repeated repeated it ad nauseam. 'CAUSE I own self be true and I handled that situation in the manner that felt the best to me I knew that within moments of me handing him that coffee. We were all gonna walk into the meeting area and sit down and he was gonNA realize. Oh He's part of this meeting and that's exactly what happened. I handed them the coffee moments later. The meeting was called to order. We all walks in the back of the room to where we had staked baked out our seats and as I sat down right across from him he looked at me and you could see the blood draining from his face and I just I started laughing. I mean I really had what my husband refers to. As one of my giggle fit I started giggling. He started laughing. We both started what is laughing and from that moment on for the rest of my career at every league owners meeting. He walked up to me and said May I get you. Some coffee laughed about it and he became a supporter of mine. And and the reason I'm so passionate about sharing this story as I've taken a lot of criticism says I'm from a lot of women for the manner in which I chose to handle that I've been told you should have read him the riot act. You should have refused to do that. You you should have been up in arms and the answer is no. I shouldn't have. I should have and I did handle it in the manner that felt right to me. And that's what I encourage others to do handle things in a manner that is true to yourself. Yeah and I just think also there's so much room for for grace there and if someone wants to show you their true colors and they really do want to if they're doing that intentionally and they know who you are. That's very different than making an honest mistake and I would like to think that the way that you handle. That allowed him then. Going forward to not make assumptions because he did feel embarrassed by it instead of defensive because you made him feel bad what about it. There's a big difference there. I think it can be really useful in situations like that where you give someone a little bit of grace early on it pays off way better than give you know reading the riot act. It sounds like rate what happened over. You made a relationship with them. Fantastic Point Sarah fantastic and by the way every every you know. I wouldn't say I did this every time but at quite a few league meetings thereafter I would say to him. You know you never did tip me I love it. I love it So you did financial work lead compliance. You were the raiders point of contact between the League and the team You handled Debt ceiling compliance relations with teams limited partners. You helped Al Davis Sell Equity in the team. which part of the many many things that you did which included even chiming in occasionally on how much players should be paid and stuff like that? What did you enjoy the most? I enjoyed everything. You just articulated. I loved all of the work with Finance and banking and debt covenants. And you know that may sound on rather nerdy so let me raise my hand and say you know. I'm a nerd. I loved all of that. I loved interacting with the League office and the point on that. Is You know for many of my years in the League Until we ultimately settled all of our litigation the League office and the raiders were at odds in the courtroom but I shall forever appreciate shape and respect and just love the people in the League office with whom I worked that. Put that aside and we fought you know we. We built a very very strong working relationship. So when you put it into context that I was working directly with all these people. When the raiders in the League were at odds and litigation is is really something very very special? I I loved working with the League office and the other thing is I loved interacting with our fans on game same day and otherwise..