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'Sky is the limit' at Raiders' 4th annual Girls Empowerment Summit


For the Raiders, investing in the next generation of women in sports starts locally.

Eighty girls flag football all-stars from various high schools around the Las Vegas Valley plus their coaches were welcomed into Intermountain Health Performance Center on Friday for the Raiders' fourth annual Girls Empowerment Summit.

President Sandra Douglass Morgan kicked off the event by welcoming the young women into the Raiders' team room, sitting in the same seats as the Silver and Black athletes do each day.

"To not let self-doubt stop you from trying to really achieve your dreams," Douglass Morgan said of what she hopes the group took away from the discussions. "You're not going to know if you like something until you try it. We're really encouraging them to not look at what they don't have or don't know, but focus on what they can do to grow and learn and adapt."

The young women got to hear not only from the team president, but from a panel comprised of senior members of the Raiders staff – Qiava Martinez, SVP, chief sales officer, and Piper Overstreet-White, VP, government relations – and General Manager of the Las Vegas Aces Natalie Williams.

Williams related to the young athletes as a former college volleyball and basketball player herself before winning a gold medal as part of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Team. She now serves as the first female African American GM in the WNBA.

Through years of growing her career to the point where she is now, her biggest piece of advice was to keep going even when things may seem challenging.

"The thing that we try to instill in them is that anything is possible. Believe in yourself," Williams told "Know that there will be hard days here and there, but you can accomplish anything."

To help shed light on all the different departments that make up a team on both the football and business operations sides, members of the Raiders' advocacy group FIERCE – created to provide an inclusive environment for women of the Raiders to support one another – led rotating breakout sessions and facilitated conversations around their day-to-day jobs, confidence building and leadership skills to each small group.

"Giving these girls visibility into so many different amazing women and so many different fields in business and football, they'll hopefully know that the sky is the limit," Douglass Morgan said. "That they can be the president of a team, that they can be a chief sales officer or a general manager."

"I think the challenge is just really not knowing the so many various disciplines and opportunities there are to be able to be a part of a sports team," she added. "I'm really hopeful that today, they'll understand that maybe you don't have to be the best athlete in your class right now to be able to work for a sports team."

Following Friday's summit, the all-stars return to Raiders HQ on Saturday to participate in a flag football game on the indoor field.

The Las Vegas Raiders hosted the Girls Empowerment Summit where 80 young women representing high school girls flag football teams in Southern Nevada attended a conference focused on inspiring, educating and boosting interest in careers throughout the sports industry.

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