BATON ROUGE, LA (BRPROUD) – For the last five years the NFL has hosted the NFL’s Women’s Careers in Football Forum in hopes of bringing diversity, equity and inclusion to the league. A select group of women get to participate and this year two of those women are from right here in Baton Rouge.
Typically, when you think of the NFL and college football , you think of men standing on the sidelines and in the press boxes. But, thanks to recent efforts, if you take a closer look, you’ll notice a little more girl power.
“Each year they’ve seen more and more women in the league,” Olivia Ohlsen said.
Women like Keava Soil-Cormier and Olivial Ohlsen
“I really wasn’t sure, but again I came in working under a women, Sharon Lewis. Having her showing you what to do and what not to do in a male dominated field was very helpful,” Soil-Cormier said.
Both Soil-Cormier and Ohlsen work for LSU football. They are two of just six female staff members.
“It definitely can be intimidating, but I think because of my experience as an adult working in sports I always had a women in some leadership role above me,” Ohlsen said.
They may be one of the few, but their work isn’t going unnoticed. The two were selected to participate in the NFL’s 5th Annual Women’s Careers in Football Forum.
“It’s, it’s great honestly. I think that’s invaluable having a woman in sports whose already done it and been there and helping mentor you. Showing you what to do and what not to do has been amazing,” Soil-Cormier said.
The forum connected them with 40 other women, 75% of whom are a minority, all in an effort to promote diversity within the league.
“She wants it to become less and less of the first and more just normalized,” Ohlsen said.
It’s something Soil-Cormier said is needed.
“I think representation matters. Sometimes you walk into a room and no one in that room looks like you, so having people be intentional about paving the way for minorities in sports, especially minority women, was very helpful,” Soil-Cormier said.
Ohlsen said she hopes to be that person for the next girl.
“The connections we made with the 39 other women, who are at the same level as us, we created a group chat so we could empower each other. That’s where the groundwork really was done.”