​The National Football League hosted the first-ever NFL Women’s Summit: “In the Huddle to Advance Women in Sport” on February 4 and 5 in San Francisco leading up to Super Bowl 50. The event brought together prominent leaders from sports, government, academia, media and a variety of other fields, including the World’s #1 Female Tennis Player & 2015 Sports Illustrated “Sportsperson of the Year,” Serena Williams, in an interview with Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, to discuss how participation in sports positively influences the future success of young women both personally and professionally. The NFL Women’s Summit aims to reinforce the power of sports in women’s lives and to encourage broad support—from men and women alike—for girls’ athletic participation.

At the culmination of a year in which the league has celebrated the history and future of NFL football in the lead-up to Super Bowl 50, the NFL is honoring the critical role sports have played in the lives of female leaders past and present and raising awareness of how sports can help in developing the next generation of leaders.

The exclusive live stream of the NFL Women’s Summit will be hosted by http://www.MAKERS.com, AOL’s women’s leadership destination that highlights the stories of groundbreaking women today to inspire the leaders of tomorrow—it is the largest and most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled. Links to the live stream will also be available on http://www.NFLWomensSummit.com. Fans can follow live social media coverage of the NFL Women’s Summit on Twitter via the NFL’s @SuperBowl handle and join the conversation across platforms with #inthehuddle.

Summit attendees included approximately 250 NFL, Club and partner executives; local government officials; teen, collegiate and pro athletes and coaches; non-profit organization members and media.

Confirmed participants included:
Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL
Serena Williams, World’s #1 Female Tennis Player & 2015 Sports Illustrated “Sportsperson of the Year”
Dr. Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State
Billie Jean King, Women’s Sports Foundation Founder
Charlotte Jones Anderson, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer, Dallas Cowboys and Chair, NFL Foundation
Brec Bassinger, Star of Nickelodeon’s “Bella and the Bulldogs”
Christine Brennan, USA Today Columnist, TV Commentator & Author
Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair of Public Policy, Ernst & Young Global Limited
Alex Flanagan, NFL Network & NBC Sports Broadcaster
Jane Skinner Goodell, Former Daytime News Anchor, Fox News Channel
Cynthia Hogan, Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, NFL
Angela Hucles, President, Women’s Sports Foundation, two-time Olympic and two-time World Cup medalist
Dawn Hudson, Chief Marketing Officer, NFL
Deborah Slaner Larkin, CEO, Women’s Sports Foundation
Elizabeth Marks, U.S. Army Sergeant & Paralympic Swimmer
Jessica Mendoza, Olympic Gold Medalist & ESPN MLB Broadcaster
Holly K. Peterson, Women’s World Football Games
Sarah Robb O’Hagan, President, Equinox
Pattie Sellers, Assistant Managing Editor, Fortune & Co-founder “Fortune’s Most Powerful Women”
Claire Shipman, ABC TV Journalist & Author, The Confidence Code
Annika Sorenstam, Champion Pro Golfer
Jordin Sparks, Platinum-selling Recording Artist
Phillippi Sparks, NFL Legend
Debra Sterling, Founder/CEO, GoldieBlox
Sarah Thomas, First Female NFL Official
Rebecca Van Dyck, Vice President of Marketing, Facebook
Peyton Watson, NFL “Together We Make Football” Contest Finalist
Dr. Jen Welter, First Female Coach in the NFL

There is increasing recognition that sports participation helps develop leadership, teamwork and other skills that promote success throughout one’s life and career. The NFL Women’s Summit will highlight that playing sports in the teenage years develops the character and values that last a lifetime. EY’s Women Athletes Business Network, with which the NFL has collaborated to bring this event to life, has been tracking the role that sports has played for female leaders across industries.

Executive women are more likely to have played sports and to hire other women who have played sports, according to EY global research. The 2014 EY report, Making the Connection: Women, Sport and Leadership, shows that the majority of female executives surveyed believe a sports background helps fast-track a woman’s career and has a positive influence on hiring decisions. Additionally, according to research from a variety of sources compiled in EY’s 2015 report, Where will you find your next leader?, girls who participate in organized sports have greater social and economic mobility, are less likely to use drugs, have greater personal safety, and perform better in school.

In conjunction with the NFL Women’s Summit, the NFL is partnering with the Women’s Sports Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to cultivating leaders by ensuring girls access to sports, particularly in underserved and diverse communities where opportunities are fewer. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, 2 in 5 girls participate in high school sports in the U.S., totaling 3.3 million participation opportunities for girls. By contrast, there are 4.5 million opportunities for boys to play high school sports. While great strides have been made to increase participation levels among young women since Title IX’s passage in 1972, the NFL Women’s Summit seeks to advance the conversation and inspire forward progress in this area.

The NFL Women’s Summit builds upon the goals of NFL PLAY 60, which brings together the NFL’s long-standing commitment to health and wellness with partner organizations to tackle childhood obesity by encouraging youth to be active 60 minutes a day. The Summit will evolve the conversation by focusing on the benefits of organized sports participation and the positive character and values learned on the field of play.

For more information about the NFL Women’s Summit, visit http://www.NFLWomensSummit.com.

“EY” refers to the global network of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited.

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