June 23, 2021
President, Washington Football Team
Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Outreach, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
A former undrafted NFL player turned entrepreneur, Jason Wright previously worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company. He then took his business acumen to the Washington Football Team and became a shining example of a leader.
During the 2021 U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s National Summit on Equality of Opportunity, Wright shared his perspective on leadership and equality to inspire a more inclusive business world.
Wright’s First Year Was a Milestone for Social and Commercial Change
Wright faced an uphill battle during his first year as president of the Washington Football Team. He credits his success in landing the position to all the Black leaders in the NFL that empowered and came before him.
“[There were] visible Black leaders for me when I was in the league … [who] really drove home the adage that representation matters and at a subconscious level allowed me to believe that I should be in one of these roles going forward,” Wright said.
That confidence allowed him to implement a lot of change in a situation where things needed to be shaken up.
“The advantage of being in a turnaround situation and a transformation situation is that you can make a lot of change quickly,” he continued. “The first year has been one of bringing in a diverse set of leaders from within sports, from outside of sports that are innovative, that are thinking about our commercial enterprise differently, that are getting data-driven in how we think about our fans and our guest experience, and really trying to become the world-class organization our fans deserve.”
Wright Gets His Sense of Values and Perspective From His Parents
When asked how his early life and experiences have shaped his perspective, Wright credits the values his parents instilled in him. His father was a civil rights leader turned entrepreneur, and his mother was a flight attendant.
“Their whole MO was to work hard, both to change society and to change our own economic situation, so that … their ceiling would be my floor,” he said. “There was always this implicit discussion of opportunities through an economic lens.”
Wright Believes Social Impact Needs to Be Built Into Business
In order to have the most impactful changes, Wright said social impact needs to tie in directly with businesses and their reach.
“Social impact is most sustainable and viable when it's built into our business models and it's tied to the way that we do our day-to-day business,” he explained. “As our players have become incredibly sophisticated … on how they think about the issues that matter to them most … I believe the responsibility for me on the business side of the house is to put structure around it, to build it into our business model.”
“I think we have an opportunity to write the playbook that other sports media and entertainment franchises can follow in the future when they need to go through one of these transformations,” Wright continued. “And if we do that with integrity, with great principles, with a team, a diverse team that is built on character, we can change things that extend well beyond us and the league.”
From the Series