Stories of Male Allies, Told by Women
Corner of the Court is a monthly feature on MARC published in partnership with The Corner of the Court Project, recognizing stories of male allies' impact on workplace inclusion, told by women.
For more stories (or to submit your own), visit www.cornerofthecourt.com.By Erin Pellegrino
. As Vice President at RISE (Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality) and a proud member of WISE (Women in Sports and Events), the professional advancement of women is an issue close to my heart.
I have been “the first” a few times in life. I was the first girl in my family; the first woman to coach football at the University of Albany; and the first woman to hold my position at both the New York Giants and the National Football League. As a frequent minority, I sought allies in the majority who could offer support and direction. My father and brothers served as early guides.
Later, I was blessed to be employed by one of the best male champions in the game, New York Giants Senior Vice President of Communications Pat Hanlon.
Once dubbed the “Rock Star of Football PR” by PR Week
, Hanlon may seem an unlikely feminist, but he has a long history of advocating for equal rights. Husband to a former NBA executive and father to two daughters and a son, he has helped launch and guide the careers of countless young people.
While working for him I was thrilled to be considered for the same assignments as my male colleagues and held to the same high standards. When issues arose that required different perspectives—such as a player publicly comparing a bad loss to rape—he sought and valued my opinion. He modeled true leadership in times of adversity and always helped us learn from our mistakes.
But what shaped me most was the way he used sports to help others. Through large and small gestures, he brightened the lives of sick children, wounded veterans, and the elderly. He always goes the extra mile to pass his blessings onto others, and inspired me to do the same.
Over the past 17 years, I’ve sought Hanlon’s advice on everything from switching jobs to burying my oldest brother and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. He is one of the busiest men I know, and yet he always makes time to be there.
Behind most women in sports you’ll find a male champion. I am grateful that he is mine.Erin Pellegrino, Vice President at RISE (Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality)New York City