NFL.com celebrates Women's History Month by highlighting those who are making an impact around the league.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true." This quote has always resonated with me and I've held it closely throughout my journey as a litigator and a sports agent. Over the past few years, I have dared to live the life I have dreamt of.
I dared to enter into two completely male-dominated industries. First as a litigator in Boston where most of my male counterparts presumed that I was the court reporter at a deposition -- certainly not representation for the co-defendant. They would often hand me their business cards to request a copy of the transcript.
In failing to find fulfillment as a litigator, I decided to follow my dream and pursue a career as an NFL agent where only about five percent of all registered agents were women. As it stands today, that is unfortunately still the case. I began representing players out of my home office in Boston until I eventually got my big break at Roc Nation Sports -- the first sports agency to hire a woman to lead a football department. At the time, a male reporter in Boston wrote an article on my hiring and indicated that, to date, my most newsworthy accomplishment had been marrying my law school sweetheart. The statement has provided me with the motivation to dare to defy the odds and put some more newsworthy accomplishments on my resume.
Since that article was published, I have had the honor of representing five Pro Bowlers and the agency has had six top-10 NFL draft picks. I have also had the privilege of representing Saquon Barkley in the 2018 draft when the New York Giants drafted him No. 2 overall. He became (and remains) the highest player ever drafted and represented by a woman. Saquon went on to win AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
I have also negotiated a five-year extension for my client, Baltimore Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Ronnie received nearly $71 million guaranteed at signing, which provides him with the most guaranteed money of any offensive lineman. I was elated to finalize Ronnie's deal, which allows him to earn up to $112 million over the next five seasons. The timing of the deal was crucial, as Ronnie would sustain a season-ending injury 48 hours within inking the contract. As I sat with Ronnie post-surgery in Green Bay, Wisconsin, we could both breathe a sigh of relief knowing we made the best decision for his future. Overall, it has been incredible to watch Ronnie transition from a college student at Notre Dame to becoming the highest-paid player on the Baltimore Ravens' roster.
Also, this past season, I was fortunate to witness one of my clients, Leonard Fournette, score a touchdown and win the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This achievement was particularly rewarding because Leonard had been unexpectedly cut from his prior team where he was drafted as the No. 4 overall pick. It was a humbling moment in Leonard's career, yet he was able to persevere and land a spot on the ideal team. Watching Leonard and his family on the field with smiles on their faces as the Lombardi trophy was being hoisted up is a moment that I will forever cherish. For me personally, being on the field pre-game and post-game at the Super Bowl was an emotional experience and really put into perspective how far I have come in my career.
Every day is a new adventure and that is why I love my job and find it so rewarding. I hope that my journey can help inspire young women to seek out a dream no matter how impossible it may seem.
Lastly, I hope that young women can continue to dare to break barriers and shatter glass ceilings. As a woman aspiring to enter into any male-dominated field, she should not look at a lack of diversity as a deterrent. Rather, she should see it as a unique opportunity to effectuate change and disrupt the status quo. Dare to dream big!
Kim Miale is an agent and General Counsel with RocNation Sports.