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Q&A: Breaking the glass ceiling of football dynasties
January 24, 2017 / 2:08 PM / 8 months ago

Q&A: Breaking the glass ceiling of football dynasties

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (R), his wife Gene (2nd R), their daughter Charlotte (C) and grandchildren arrive at the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada April 6, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When you think football dynasties, you do not often think about daughters being in the mix.

But every day, Charlotte Jones Anderson comes to work as executive vice president and chief brand officer of the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys.

She works alongside her iconic father, Jerry Jones, who is owner and general manager of what Forbes magazine lists as the world’s most-valuable sports team valued at $4 billion.

For the latest in Reuters’ “Life Lessons” series, Jones Anderson sat down to talk about the principles guiding her family’s dynasty on the gridiron.

Q: How did your upbringing help you get ready to be one of the top women in football?

A: I was lucky enough to grow up in a home that never saw gender. My father had more confidence in me than I had in myself. He said if I wanted to be president, I should go get it. That was helpful for me, growing up in a male-dominated atmosphere with two brothers.

Q: Did your dad spend time trying to teach you the value of a dollar?

A: Every day. I learned a lot of lessons around the dinner table, about what it was like to be an old wildcatter. Every lesson he told us was about being conscious of what it took to put food on the table. For sure, he had plenty of uncomfortable financial moments in his life - but he never liked us to see him sweat.

Q: Once your family bought the Cowboys, what was your approach to running ‘America’s Team?’

A: There is no handbook about how to run an NFL team, so every day was based on pure intuition and gut instinct. My father had two only instructions for us: Find a way to stop losing money, and don’t tarnish ‘The Star.’

That was a pretty intense time for us as a family. The team was losing $75,000 a day - over a million dollars a month. Every day we had to figure out how to keep our heads above water, and win some football games at the same time.

Q: Any advice for women on succeeding in male-dominated fields, like yourself?

A: A lot of times women think they need to be more like men in the boardroom. But I find it is more powerful to be yourself, and have a different perspective. That is an asset. After all, our fan base is 40 percent female, and someone in that boardroom needs to be thinking like them.

Q: How does your family handle its wealth?

A: The majority is committed to what we do, tied up in the club and the stadium. Since we have benefited from the success of the organization, we usually put earnings right back into it. We have always known that what we do for a living comes with a lot of risk - and a lot of reward, if handled properly.

Q: Outside of your team holdings, what is your investing style?

A: Very conservative. My father never even believed in the stock market, because you can’t control the outcome. He passed that feeling down to the rest of us, too. He was a wildcatter by trade, so the idea of turning your dollars over to someone else was beyond his comfort zone.

Q: How do you try to create a charitable legacy?

A: Our game is just that - a game. Our more important charge is raising awareness for organizations making an impact on the community. So we use our halftime show to launch the Salvation Army’s national Red Kettle campaign, which has raised billions over the years.

Q: Presumably the Cowboys will eventually pass to the next family generation, so what lesson do you try to instill in your own kids?

A: The same one that was most valuable to me: You may not be the smartest or the most-talented person in the world, but you can certainly work the hardest. That has been my motto. In the classroom or in the workplace or on the football field, you can always outwork the person next to you.

Editing by Beth Pinsker and Alan Crosby

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