The San Francisco 49ers announced on Tuesday that they have implemented new initiatives to attract and retain a diverse talent base. The team will implement diverse slate interviewing practices, ensuring that women and people of color are included in the interview pool for every full-time business operations position posted by the team. In alignment with the 49ers continued commitment to diversity, the team also announced enhancements to the Denise DeBartolo York Fellowship, which will now employ a rotational program providing cross-functional experience for young women who aspire to have a career in sports.
Following the NFL's recent expansion of the Rooney Rule, requiring at least one woman be interviewed for all executive-level positions at the league office, the 49ers are furthering that commitment by pledging the interview pool for every full-time business operations position posted will include at least one person of color and one woman candidate.
"As the world of sports has proven time and time again, talent comes in all forms," said 49ers CEO Jed York. "Therefore, it is our responsibility to provide every opportunity for talented individuals to showcase their abilities on an even playing field regardless of race or gender. This organization is very proud of our efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, and these new enhancements strengthen our commitment. We are privileged to utilize our highly visible platform as a National Football League franchise and take a leading role in promoting equal opportunities for all."
Beginning this year, the 49ers Denise DeBartolo York fellow will rotate between departments where women have historically been underrepresented in the sports industry including Finance, Strategy & Analytics, Sales, and Stadium Operations. To maintain continuity, the fellow will have one employee assigned to support her through all of the rotations. She will also be assigned executive mentors to facilitate her growth throughout the duration of the program. The year-long paid program was established by CEO Jed York in 2011 as a tribute to his mother.
Applicants should apply at Career4.SuccessFactors.com before May 10. The fellowship begins July 5th and will continue through June 2017. Applicants must have graduated from a four-year college or university in 2015 or expect to graduate by June 2016 (degree verification required).
The 49ers have a long history as an influential proponent of diversity and inclusion, not only in sports but also in the greater community. 49ers Co-Chairman Denise DeBartolo York's pioneering success as a female sports executive and the efforts of Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh, who spearheaded the NFL's minority coaching internship program among other initiatives, are a few notable examples of the organization's influence. This past February, the 49ers efforts were acknowledged by the Fritz Pollard Alliance which honored the team as the recipient of the 2016 Paul J. Tagliabue Award of Excellence – presented annually to an organization or executive who demonstrates integrity and leadership in career development opportunity and advocacy for diversity.