How These Two Women are Disrupting the Sports Industry

WNBA legend, Sheryl Swoopes and NFL DEI Executive Sam Rappaport encourage women to be bold about what they can achieve both in and outside of work.

February 16, 2023

video poster alt

DEI Leadership Day Sheryl Swoops


There seems to be a powerful connection between successful leaders and experience with athletics: 94% of women who are at the C-suite level were athletes. Of this group, 52% were college-level athletes. This indicates not only a connection between leadership and growing up with athletics, but a positive one.

So, how do we get more girls into sports?

That’s a major focus of former professional basketball player, Sheryl Swoopes and Sam Rapoport, Senior Director, Diversity Equity & Inclusion at National Football League (NFL). “I remember growing up and really trying to understand my place. Like, where do I fit? Where do I belong as a female athlete?” says Swoopes. Today, after years of working to create better representation, things are different for young girls hoping to play in professional sports someday. “What I’ve been able to do for every little girl out there who has dreams of someday playing in the WNBA, and to see that dream come to fruition. I honestly couldn’t ask for anything better.”

That’s on the playing side of athletics. There’s also been a push to get more women into coaching, too. “About six, seven years ago, I looked around on the sidelines. And I asked myself, ‘Where the hell are all the women?’” says Rappaport, who soon after formed the NFL Women’s Forum. The Forum takes women in entry-level coaching opportunities and put them in the room with head coaches, general managers, and owners in order to network. The NFL went from zero women in coaching positions to having fifteen — the most in any professional male sports league.

This works extends beyond sports, both Swoops and Rappaport are working to empower young women to know they can achieve in fields that have traditionally been male dominated. “I want to empower young girls to say, ‘If they can coach in the NFL, I can be the CEO of a bank.’ I want them to feel that way,” says Rappaport.

JPMorgan Chase is focused on the empowerment of women by working to recruit and retain women at all levels. Learn more about our DEI initiatives here and check out our career opportunities here.


The views and opinions expressed are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan & Chase. JPMorgan Chase and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content, or any errors or omissions. The information shared by the speaker is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.