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Volume 27 No. 35
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SBJ Unpacks: Washington Football's Jason Wright Talks New Era

The start of the NFL season marks a new era for the Washington Football Team, which retired its longtime nickname and has a new team president in Jason Wright. On the most recent episode of "SBJ Unpacks: The Road Ahead," Wright joined our Andrew Levin to discuss the organization’s future under his tutelage.

On having a cohesive front office, with Wright leading the business side and head coach Ron Rivera leading the football side:
Wright: It’s important that those two clear voices, and our interaction with the ownership as well, be very much in sync and thankfully, that was one of the reasons I was excited to take this job. In the interview process, I got to know coach Rivera and it was clear we had identical values when it came to what we valued in an organization and how the culture should be, values like inclusion, transparency, accountability. We are both very straightforward … so that’s helpful for being operational and being able to take action when needed. We very much work well as a team.

On creating a new culture within the organization:
Wright: The business strategy initially is to create a culture where those individuals are unhindered in the work that they have to do every day, where there are career paths that are clear to people, where there are leadership expectations of the values and the ethos that we want our leaders of all levels to create for their colleagues, especially those that work underneath them. In particular, pathways for lodging complaints and disputes and escalating them when they hit the right threshold, so you don’t have harassment and abuse in the workplace. It’s creating that environment so that the immense talent that we already have here can hit its full potential.

On being the first African-American team president in the NFL:
Wright: At first, I wanted to move past it and just get to work because most of the conversation devolved into something like, “Are you qualified enough,” which often happens with firsts or minority executives in general. I really wasn’t feeling it, didn’t want to have that conversation, so I tried to move past it. Since then, I’ve realized that it’s actually important to acknowledge the moment because of so many other people that came before.