The Los Angeles Rams recently held a career panel consisting African American members of their front office at Dorsey High School last month. This event is part of the Rams’ Game Unlocked campaign, which honors the diversity within the Rams organization.
“This is all about celebrating access for minorities and how the Rams are changing the game of football,” said Rams brand marketing manager Daleyna Adkinson. “To be able to share our story, share our staff, their role and the impact that they’re having in the organization and just around the community, it was really, really special.”
The purpose of the panel is to show students the various behind-the-scene jobs that are in the NFL. Among the panelists was community affairs and engagement manager and Dorsey alum Jonathan Franklin.
Along with explaining their current duties with the Rams, they talked about their individual career journeys while giving the students advice. They got the students engaged by asking them trivia questions about the Rams and giving out prizes.
The students were intrigued by Danielle Michael’s experience with being a payroll manager for the Rams. Michael does the pay roll of the staff and the players, she discussed with the kids about how taxes work.
“As an athlete, an entertainer, just someone that’s a high earner, your tax bracket is much higher,” Michael said. “It’s always very important to understand the taxing and how you’re being paid and where your tax bracket falls.”
Sofi Stadium premium sales coordinator Geornay Willis talked about her time studying at Loyola Marymount University and how she became the first Black and first female director of athletics in the student government.
“I always want to make sure that kids just know that you’re gonna hear “no,” it’s not always gonna be this perfect picture,” Willis said. “I want to always tell them just keep moving, that’s one thing that I never stopped doing.”
Rams premium sales consultant Christian Lewis used to work for the L.A. Sentinel and the L.A. Clippers. He talked about the importance of building a personal brand and how it’s okay to change your major when you’re in college.
“My advice is, start your career early and represent yourself well,” Lewis said. “Get the experience you need regardless of the sport, whether it’s minor league hockey or minor league baseball.”
Member services representative Janelle Alfano works with the season ticket owners for the Rams. She told the students to learn as much as they can while they’re young. Prior to working with the Rams, she worked with a minor league baseball team.
“Being here with the Rams, we’re the most diverse front office in the league,” Alfano said. “It’s been really exciting just being a part of that coming from baseball where I was the only person of color in the whole organization besides the players.”
Franklin told the students about his time at Dorsey and how an internship with former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa opened his eyes to different job opportunities.
“It’s exciting to be able to paint the picture of the power of sports and not necessarily what they see on the field, but off the field as well,” Franklin said. “You have a variety of roles within our organization that works for the Rams,”