Women are increasingly earning prominent roles throughout the NFL, including front office positions, scouting, coaching, and more. The New York Giants are, in many ways, at the forefront of that development.
Laura Young is director of coaching operations, considered head coach Brian Daboll’s No. 1 assistant. Angela Baker is an offensive quality control coach. Ashley Lynn is the league’s only female director of player engagement. Courtney Kennedy is one of the longest-tenured members of the organization’s Data & Innovation Group. Midlands area scout Hannah Burnett is the first female scout in Giants history. Dr. Lani Lawrence, a sports psychologist, is director of wellness and clinical services.
“They’re all worthy and they all do a great job,” said general manager Joe Schoen. “I think it’s important to have diversity throughout the organization, and there’s a standard within the organization and they meet that and actually excel past it. They’re all very good at their jobs, they are key contributors to the organization, the players, and also key contributors in the success we’ve had thus far.”
Young, hired by Daboll after he became head coach, credits the organization for the opportunities women are receiving.
“I love it. I think that’s a tribute to the ownership here, the Maras and the Tisches,” she said. “Joe [Schoen], Dabes [Brian Daboll] — they’re not saying ‘Okay, this is a woman, she can’t do the role.’ They’re saying, ‘We’re going to get the best candidate in that position for that role,’” Young said. “And it’s been nice. This is probably the first organization that I’ve been in where women are in lead roles.”
Kennedy has also worked in Major League Baseball for the Tampa Bay Rays and in the NBA league office.
“I think I’ve been very lucky that all three sports organizations I’ve worked for have kind of prioritized women,” Kennedy said. “I’ve had a tremendous opportunity and just great experiences all around throughout my career. And I definitely feel very lucky for that, because I know that’s not the case for everyone in this industry. But it’s definitely exciting to have more people like Hannah and Bake and LY as well here and just exciting to see it kind of progress and move forward.”
Lynn has been player engagement director since 2021, but has been part of that department with the Giants since 2007.
“I will say that I was put in this position because of this organization,” Lynn said. “From ownership on down it’s always about the whole person. So I think that that is a big part of this family business that the Maras and the Tisches have created.”
Over 15 years with the Giants and in the NFL, Lynn has been witness to the growing role of women in the sport.
“I think it’s amazing to see and I think it’s just going to continue to grow,” she said. “Yes, it’s been a male-dominated area. But I think that we can do just as good of a job or better. I think the more different perspectives that we have coming from this locker room and toward this locker room, make a better team.”
Angela Baker, first-year offensive quality control coach, said she appreciates being treated like every other coach.
“It just feels like it’s comfortable here. Everybody in the building is extremely supportive of the women in all of these positions, you don’t see anybody rolling eyes or disheveled or bothered in any sort of way,” Baker said. “It’s embraced, from the players to the administration to the ownership. Nobody looks at you differently because you’re a female in those positions; they rely on you the same as they would anybody else. And just in working with Brian Daboll hand-in-hand, the way he relies on LY, and the way he speaks to me is just completely normal. There’s no differences for them.”
The Giants, an original NFL franchise, often seem like a conservative organization in which change comes at a glacial pace. Here, though, they are out front as having women in key roles across the league becomes more and more commonplace across the NFL.