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The Behind-the-Scenes Playbook of Sandra Douglass Morgan

A League of
Her Own:
THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES PLAYBOOK
OF SANDRA DOUGLASS MORGAN
In the world of sports, breaking records is nothing new. But when our cover star Sandra Douglass Morgan stepped onto the field as the first Black female team president in NFL history, she wasn't just rewriting the game plan-she was creating a legacy that will be
etched in the record books.

Sandra’s journey from a young girl in Las Vegas to the helm of the Las Vegas Raiders is more than just a story of personal triumph; it’s an inspirational narrative for women in leadership everywhere. Sandra’s upbringing in Las Vegas was rooted in the values of education, integrity, and respect instilled by her parents. Her journey, spurred by a passion for making an impact and a commitment to forging her own path, spanned from her early aspirations in journalism to her eventual career in law.

She graduated from the University of Nevada Reno with a degree in political science and holds a Juris doctorate from William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and is currently a member of the State Bar of Nevada and the District of Columbia Bar. Sandra’s vast and varied experience includes more than two decades of leadership in the sports, gaming, legal, and corporate sectors, including her role as the Chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Sandra serves on multiple boards including, but not limited to, Allegiant Travel Company, Fidelity National Financial, and the UNLV Foundation.

Let’s dive into Sandra’s playbook and uncover the strategies, insights, and inspiration she offers for women seeking to lead and excel in any arena.

As the president of the Las Vegas Raiders, Sandra is not just leading a team; she’s leading a movement. Sandra is on a mission to cultivate a leadership team that reflects the community and fan base by breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for people to have a career, not just in sports, but in management and leadership as well. As the daughter of a first-generation Korean American, Sandra remembers how important watching Connie Chung succeed as a national news anchor was to her as a girl and recognizes the power of representation in shaping her own dreams and ambitions. Sandra says she is proud that the Raiders’ leadership team is currently half women and half people of color. Sandra explains, “We have an incredibly diverse fan base. Las Vegas is increasingly becoming more diverse, and it’s important that our leadership team and our workforce be able to connect with the fans regardless of where they are.” Sandra’s impact extends far beyond the gridiron, inspiring women everywhere to dream big and defy expectations. As she puts it, “It won’t be a success if I’m the first and the last.”

At the heart of Sandra’s success is her unwavering passion, resilience, and leadership. Whether facing challenges in the NFL or municipal government, Sandra’s positive attitude and determination have been her greatest assets. She feeds off the positivity of those around her and works to make sure she is bringing that same energy to share with others. Gratitude also factors into her optimistic outlook. Sandra regularly takes the time to acknowledge who and what she’s thankful for: her family, her friends, and her career opportunities. She adds, “I can’t take it for granted. We just don’t have time. Time is going to win, but we have to make the best of what we have.” Her purpose-driven approach also helps serve as a beacon to those on her team. She wants people to feel and love the Las Vegas Raiders and know that every single decision they make, every single conversation they have has to answer the question: “how is this going to help our team continue to grow in the right direction?”

By investing in herself and prioritizing self-care, Sandra has cultivated the resilience needed to navigate the demands of leadership while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Sandra recognizes that she could not achieve what she has without a support system in place. Sandra would love to offer advice on time management but admits that for her, it is a work in progress. She leans heavily on her family and friends and realizes the most important factor is to actively not focus on guilt. She tries to give herself grace, explaining, “Because we have to know that if we’re not full, if we’re not taking care of ourselves, then we can’t help our family. We can’t help our friends. We can’t be there for our children. We can’t be there for work.” Sandra also emphasizes the importance of leaders to learn and trust their teams because every time you lean on them, you are giving them the opportunity to make decisions and grow in their own careers.

For Sandra, leadership isn’t just about making the right decisions, it’s about being willing to take risks and embrace new opportunities. From her tenure in government to her leap into the NFL, Sandra has never shied away from a challenge. Her experience as city attorney during a recession in North Las Vegas, a majority minority city, taught her the importance of resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity. Amid recession challenges such as widespread foreclosures and budget constraints resulting from a significant reduction in taxes, she acquired the skill of taking strategic risks and seizing fresh avenues for advancement and leadership. Sandra realized that if she could help a city bounce back from the brink of financial insolvency, she was ready to tackle something else. Not letting taking risks hinder her, she went on to serve in Commissioner and Chairwoman positions in gaming regulation. It was around this time that Sandra decided to be more fearless in her career, telling herself, “I’ve either established a good enough network base or have enough experience that if this doesn’t work out, at least I know I will have another option.”

By investing in herself and prioritizing self-care, Sandra has cultivated the resilience needed to navigate the demands of leadership while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Sandra recognizes that she could not achieve what she has without a support system in place. Sandra would love to offer advice on time management but admits that for her, it is a work in progress. She leans heavily on her family and friends and realizes the most important factor is to actively not focus on guilt. She tries to give herself grace, explaining, “Because we have to know that if we’re not full, if we’re not taking care of ourselves, then we can’t help our family. We can’t help our friends. We can’t be there for our children. We can’t be there for work.” Sandra also emphasizes the importance of leaders to learn and trust their teams because every time you lean on them, you are giving them the opportunity to make decisions and grow in their own careers.

In Sandra’s playbook, we find not just strategies for leadership excellence but also a blueprint for creating meaningful impact in any arena. By listening, learning, and building trust within her organization, Sandra has paved the way for her own growth and achievements. Her advice to aspiring leaders? Embrace confidence, resilience, and diverse paths to success—and never be afraid to take risks.

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